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About Paloma

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  1. Ha ha, I thought the same when someone introduced me as an investigator. I "swallowed" the retort I wanted to give, and smiled politely (I hope!).
  2. Thanks for this hymn, Calm, as it helps satisfy my curiosity about this type of hymn. After reading the hymn that praises people for, essentially, "nation building", I'm thinking that there may be hymns honouring those who have fought wars, etc. (I could really go down a rabbit trail, but will resist, especially since I know that derailing threads, though maybe sometimes interesting and fun, is not advisable!) One more (sadly, irrelevant) comment I just have to add is this. When I read the words to the hymn you referenced above, I thought to myself that such a hymn extolling the great people who helped build the land, would go over much better in the U.S. than in Canada. We're much too self-effacing up here north of the border.
  3. Regarding Scott Lloyd's and mbukowski's conversation ... Several years ago, I attended some sessions of General Conference (transmitted by satellite to an LDS church in a city near to where I live). I sang along with some of the hymns (as I recall, one of the hymns was "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty"). But I recall starting to sing, "Praise to the Man ..." and stopping suddenly in extreme distaste and almost disbelief when I realized that the hymn wasn't praising God, but was about Joseph Smith. I don't think it was so much about Joseph Smith, but that I'd never sung praises (in a spiritual context) to anyone other than God. It still comes across as inconceivable (and yes, heretical!) to me that Christian believers would sing hymns praising anyone other than God Himself. I can appreciate that those who believe that God chose Joseph Smith as His prophet, and restored the church through him, would see it differently. It's encouraging to me to know that there are some of you who understand how unfathomable it is to non-LDS Christians, to encounter a hymn that apparently worships someone other than God. I'm trying to think of hymns that showcase Biblical prophets, and I don't believe there are any. Jesus Christ, the One that Abraham, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, etc. foretold, shines brightly front and center, and it's impossible for me to imagine singing the heavenly praises of anyone else. Hymns that come to mind are "Once in royal David's city..." and "Angels from the realms of glory ...", but they're praising Jesus. I just thought of the children's hymn, "Dare to be a Daniel ..." , and it's the closest thing I can see that focuses on a biblical character without specifically highlighting Jesus (though it does mention "holding the gospel banner high"). But it doesn't so much praise Daniel, as encourage children to be brave in standing for the Lord.
  4. Hi Navidad, I've replied to you before ... I'm the one who was a missionary in Africa with AEF (which merged with SIM in 1998). Earlier, I'd found we have a lot of similarities, not only with SIM but we also share a Mennonite connection. I was raised Presbyterian (but my church experience was not stridently Calvinist, and my mother's Evangelical Free background and influence always tempered the Reformed traditions.) However, I've been part of (and I'm a credentialed minister in) a Mennonite congregation for the last 30 years, ever since we returned from Africa. I want to say that I resonate so much with your thoughts and feelings, and to a certain extent, share your pain. While I've not been part of an LDS church community as you are, I've spent years in a close relationship with several LDS missionaries whom I've known not only while they were serving their missions, but have retained relationships with them ever since. I also have friends who are both presently Latter-day Saints, and who are ex-LDS. I agree with you that, while I fully embrace my LDS sisters and brothers as fellow Christians who need nothing more than their love for Christ and their trust in Him for salvation and eternal life, they cannot say the same for me, when they view me through the parameters of their own beliefs. But some of my LDS friends have told me that they know me and they honestly believe that there's nothing that can separate me from God the Father and Christ. (They often say this after we've been talking about the Celestial Kingdom and the Terrestrial Kingdom, and they know that the Terrestrial Kingdom wouldn't "do it" for me, as it would mean I'd be with Christ, but not with the Father. Of course, I don't see eternal life in terms of one Kingdom or another, but simply being with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Jesus said, the Kingdom came to us when He appeared and offered a Kingdom way of believing and living in Him. In Jesus, the Kingdom of God is among us.) You've often said that you think the lack of unity and mutual acceptance in God's people makes him cry ... and I'm with you! You've often expressed how much you appreciate your friendships with the LDS folk that are part of your life. I would say the same. My LDS friends are warm and beautiful people. Of course, we're going to cling to our own theological understandings, unless and until the Holy Spirit impresses on us something different. And of course, we have huge points of disagreement, such as our own ontological view of God where He is always the Creator, and we are always created. And LDS Christians see themselves as uniquely different from all other churches because of their belief in a general Apostasy and their Restoration identity. That in itself, I think, results in their being unable to see us as truly and fully Christian. (One very blunt and honest missionary, erstwhile companion to one of my missionary friends, said as much to me ... "you are not really a Christian", were his very words.) While we are able to accept them as fully Christian, needing nothing more (though we see them as wrong and misguided). As I read the article that you referenced in your opening post, I especially noted these thoughts of Richard Mouw. (I've quoted various parts of the article while omitting much of the whole article.) : Nonetheless, during the course of my participation in the Evangelical-­Mormon dialogue, I’ve come to see that the relation of specific doctrinal affirmations to one’s larger system of theology is complex. It is possible for people to affirm profoundly important orthodox Christian tenets even as they remain loyal to a heterodox tradition. …By my lights, it’s possible to be operationally orthodox, at least in part, even when one’s explicit theology suffers from ill-considered and defective elements. …A person’s actual trust in Christ is not the same as his theological account of what goes into a proper trust in Christ. … the former can be legitimate even when the latter is faulty. I’ve drawn a similar conclusion from Mormon hymnody. On one occasion, I was invited to speak to a meeting of faculty at a university-based LDS Institute in Utah. They wanted me to explain what I meant in calling myself a Calvinist. As I walked into the seminar room, the leader was announcing a hymn: number 193 in the LDS hymnal. As they began, I recognized it as a popular one in my Evangelical upbringing, but one that I had not heard sung in recent decades. It begins: “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me . . .” and then the chorus, “Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me/Enough to die for me!/Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!” No one in the room was looking at the words. They knew all the verses and the chorus by heart. I glanced at the faces and saw one Mormon scholar’s eyes well up with tears as he sang the final verse: I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt! Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget? No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat, Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet. What did those tears “mean” in relationship to, say, the first half of the Snow couplet? Were the words that the LDS scholar was singing informed by his desire to become his own “god”? Or did his personal experience of what it took for him to be reconciled to God the Father “mean” that he looked forward to the eschatological posture of kneeling in praise and adoration at the “glorified throne,” in gratitude for “hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt”? I choose the latter interpretation with considerable confidence, with the conviction that a person’s piety is often a better test of his faith in God than are his theological formulations. This does not mean I downplay the role of theological formulations. From an Evangelical perspective, pushing certain teachings to the margins may not be enough. I would certainly prefer a clear repudiation of the implication that God is on the same ontological level as the human beings he has created. But marginalizing is a way of promoting theological development in good directions. And when it is accompanied by a genuine willingness to engage in serious conversation with others, as it is in the Evangelical-Mormon dialogue, it can be a sign of a sincere desire to bring a historically heterodox tradition into greater conformity with the orthodox Christian consensus. This can only be encouraged, however, if we approach our conversations with Mormons with a trust that they genuinely “mean” what they say—especially when they are singing Christ-adoring hymns.
  5. Interesting that you say that about Navidad, Jane, because I see in him a rare and beautiful appreciation of many distinctive beliefs of others, and particularly of Latter-day Saint teachings and practices.
  6. Navidad, I find such a beautiful generosity of spirit ... and spirit of love and inclusion ... in your posts. There's so much in your writing that resonates with me. (And I find it interesting that we have certain points of connection ... mission work in Africa, when I was serving with AEF that later merged with SIM ... I served on the Canadian Board of both AEF and SIM for many years, and have friends within AIM ... like you, I have a Mennonite connection and love foot washing ... and I identify with the peace position, both the conscientious objector stance and actively working for peaceful rather than violent solutions ... and like you, I have a deep love for people of the LDS faith that's rooted in my relationships with them. And the most profound way I find kinship with you is in your central, all-encompassing belief that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I love that you say: "I have very little need to be right; to have the only truth. I have Christ. He is my truth. I have enough challenge living a Christ-honoring life as it is.") As I was reading your post above, two thoughts from my post-grad Seminary days (distinct from what LDS understand as Seminary!) came to me. The first was during the first day of a course in Systematic Theology when the professor cautioned us to approach our study with great humility, because "we're all full of a thousand heresies". And the second relates to a paper I wrote for my Minor Prophets course on "The Knowledge of Yahweh in Hosea and Amos". "To know (Hebrew "yada') God" is rooted in covenant relationship and requires exclusive loyalty and heart obedience to the Lord. The natural outgrowth of this is lives marked by love and faithfulness, compassion and justice. Or, for short, love God and love people! For you and for me, I see, exclusive loyalty to the Lord results, almost paradoxically, in a robust and joyfully inclusive embrace of others whose hearts incline to the Lord. My earliest upbringing was in a Calvinist tradition that was also evangelical and inclusive. (Maybe that'll blow the socks off some LDS folk who like to try and 'categorize' our many, many {crazy !!!???} distinctions!) I love the title of Brian McLaren's book - A Generous Orthodoxy: WHY I AM A missional + evangelical + post/protestant + liberal/conservative + mystical/poetic + biblical + charismatic/contemplative + fundamentalist/calvinist + anabaptist/anglican + methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed -yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished CHRISTIAN. I also love Clark Pinnock's book, A Wideness in God's Mercy. And I see your presence on this board as a gift (though, of course, who am I to say that, since I'm a non-LDS Christian 'guest' here, and a very rare poster at that!).
  7. Zambia It sounds like you may have served with SIM.
  8. Isn't it interesting how our faith leads us to want (almost desperately want!) our friends and neighbours (and even strangers we want to "see the light"), to come into a saving relationship with Jesus. I know that you've been a missionary, bluebell. And I've been a missionary (15 years in Africa). Several years ago I became good friends with a number of LDS missionaries (and yes, it started with two of them coming to my door!). We ended up having a deep respect and appreciation for each other, and an ongoing friendship. At this point, I'm long past the "arguing" stage, and so are they. Some of us are still really interested in learning about the specific nature of the other's faith, and some of us aren't. But it's the friendship, the relationship, that we value, and that endures. And somehow, I think that pleases our Lord. Of course, I would still love for them to be all about "Jesus only" without the 'encasement' of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And of course, they (who are still LDS, as some have left) would love for me to become part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And that's where we have huge respect for each other, because we know that our desires for each other come from a place of deep love and concern.
  9. I had a feeling that would be the case, which is a big part of why I shared that. I have learned, i think, to try to read people's hearts and respect their longing after God and devotion to Jesus. There's much more harmony and unity that way. And I'm sure that God can safely be trusted to sort out all of our individual heresies and hangups, and in the meantime we're far less guilty of arrogance and judgmentalism and just not appreciating each other!
  10. It's hard to say I would have issues with your statement above without getting into the nitty gritty of what certain ideas such as "bring resurrection to all" mean. Here is the doctrinal statement of my church regarding the Atonement (that's in the whole context of Jesus and Salvation, because it needs the full context, I think). Jesus Christ and Salvation God’s plan of salvation for sinful humanity is central to God’s eternal purpose and is fully revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ, chosen by God before creation to be the Savior. We affirm that Jesus Christ is truly divine and truly human. Jesus Christ, God the Son, is a distinct person of the Trinity, in perfect equality and unity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He is eternally existent and is fully God. He created all things and is the source and sustainer of life. In the fullness of time God the Son took on human likeness, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary. He was God incarnate — God in the flesh — and lived on earth as a man, fully human, yet without sin. He grew physically and mentally, and experienced hunger, thirst, fatigue, rejection, and the range of human emotions. He was tempted in every way, but remained sinless. He was perfectly obedient and submissive to the Father. He took on the role of a servant and responded in compassion to those in need. Jesus modeled perfect humanity and called people to follow Him. The divine nature of Jesus of Nazareth was shown clearly during His life on earth. At infancy He was announced as Immanuel, God with us. At His baptism he was acknowledged to be God’s Son. His ministry was marked by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. He taught with divine authority and commissioned His disciples to proclaim His gospel. He said that anyone who has seen Him had seen the Father. He was the Son of God, full of grace and truth. Jesus came to earth as the promised Messiah revealed in the Scriptures. He inaugurated the kingdom of God and demonstrated its presence by healing the sick and casting out demons. His miracles were signs of God’s kingdom. In His teaching, Jesus set God’s rule over against the kingdoms of this world. He called those who followed Him into the church, the new covenant community based on the values of the kingdom of God. He came to destroy the works of the devil and to redeem the human family from sin. Christ’s work of redemption was accomplished in His death and resurrection. God purposed in Christ to redeem us from the guilt and power of sin and to free us from the rule of Satan, so that all who believe would be restored to divine favor and fellowship. By His suffering and sacrificial death for us, Jesus Christ provided complete atonement for sin. His death and resurrection opened the only way for reconciliation between a holy, just God and sinful humanity. His life-blood freely given on the cross provided pardon and ratified the New Covenant. The bodily resurrection of Jesus testifies decisively of His deity and His victory over Satan, sin, and death. The risen Christ ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for us. Jesus Christ is now our risen, exalted, and reigning Lord. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. He is the Head of the church and the Lord of human history. At the end of time, all things in heaven and on earth will be brought under His rule. Every person will bow before Him and He will reign forever. With joy we confess that Jesus is Lord and acknowledge His authority over our lives. We honor him with our worship and obedience. The salvation graciously provided by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ becomes effective in our lives by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who prepares us for faith in Jesus Christ. He awakens us to our need, enables us to acknowledge our guilt, and calls us to respond to God in faith and obedience. The response of faith is a personal reliance on God’s grace and a turning from sin to righteousness. Repentance involves an acknowledgment of sin. It is expressed in genuine sorrow, forsaking sin, and a change in attitude toward God, preparing for the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit. Repentance includes a willingness for reconciliation and restitution. All who come to faith in Christ are born again, receive the Holy Spirit, and become children of God. They are acquitted of all guilt for sin, are granted the righteousness of Christ, and are reconciled to God. Persons thus justified by grace through faith enjoy peace with God, are adopted into God’s family, become part of the church, and receive the assurance of eternal life. We become new creatures in Christ, regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This change of heart becomes evident in the development of Christlike character and a walk of obedience to God. Conversion is expressed in a changed life with new direction, purposes, interests, and values. The new life in Christ is developed through Christian spiritual disciplines such as prayer, study of Scripture, fasting, self-denial; they do not make the believer immune from temptation. Persistent disobedience impairs fellowship with God and can destroy one’s new life in Christ. When there is sin in the Christian’s life, it needs to be confessed and forsaken in the confidence of God’s willingness to pardon and His power to cleanse from evil. We believe that God’s grace provides for more than forgiveness of sin. As the Spirit works in the life of the believer, he or she is led forward in sanctification to a full surrender and commitment of the motives and will to Christ. This results in freedom from the control of sin and in empowerment to live the holy life. The Holy Spirit fills persons yielded to God and equips them for effective witness and service. Sanctification is also an ongoing journey of yielding to God and growing in grace. The quality of the surrendered life corresponds to the believer’s responsiveness to the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Word of God. The Spirit-filled life results in a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, inner strength in times of temptation, godly living and wholehearted service to the Lord. The Holy Spirit produces virtuous character—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These virtues characterize the believer’s walk in the Spirit. The salvation provided by our Lord Jesus Christ will be consummated for the believer in the joy of heaven and the full realization of the kingdom of God. In our glorified bodies we will be free from all the effects of sin. Restored in the likeness of Christ, we will worship God and reign with Christ throughout eternity.
  11. Yes, there is a difference between the crucifix and a cross ... but in my experience, that difference is becoming less and less, and I think that's a good thing. Speaking from my own experience again, I definitely "preferred" the empty cross at one point as a Protestant, and would have pointed out that for us Protestants, Christ has risen from the cross and is not still hanging on it. I would have known that Roman Catholics also believed in the risen Christ, but I would have seen in their preference of the 'crucifix' that they thought something further was needed ... their own works, perhaps ... and so, in my thinking, they didn't completely trust in Jesus' atonement for full and free salvation. Now, I think I was wrong-headed in that, but I also think a number of Protestants think/thought as I did. In fact, as I think about what my own attitude was, it seems to me a lot like what MiserereNobis saw and objected to in the article that explained the LDS view of the cross in the other thread that you started on the Atonement. I agreed with his thoughts and assessment there. What he didn't say (but implied, I think) is that there was some arrogant prejudice in the statements downplaying the centrality of the cross as a Christian symbol. I say that because i recognize the arrogance and near-sightedness of my former views. I have come to deeply appreciate the crucifix as it symbolizes so powerfully the "passion" (i.e. the suffering) of Christ on our behalf. And while I'm still a Protestant (albeit one who values and has learned much from Catholic teaching and practices), I've repented of my former prejudice, even while I still acknowledge the differences in Catholic and Protestant theology. Over the years, I've gravitated toward books written by Catholic priests (Henri Nouwen) and former Catholic priests (Brennan Manning), and have been involved in Christian healing ministries (emotional/spiritual healing) where it's really helpful to have a deep understanding of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Focusing on Jesus on the cross, and on His work after His ascension because of the cross, are both essential. Now, I really love both symbols, the cross and the crucifix. Paul talked about 'boasting' in the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14) and he spoke of the power of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:17) and of wanting to know only the cross (1 Corinthians 2:2). So for me, there is no difference now in the symbols of the cross and the crucifix. And I would say that is true in most institutions and most people in my own context. I hope the differences (and often the attendant prejudices) are more and more a thing of the past.
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