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Navidad

Would Love to Hear . . . err . . . read your thoughts on this article

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On 2/7/2019 at 7:00 AM, mfbukowski said:

I am very sorry that you feel that I have mocked you. I I'm not sure how I have done that, but I hope I don't do it again.

I used to live in San Diego and I actually worked on point Loma. I am very familiar with the Nazarene University and drove past it daily. I was a civilian employee on one of the Navy facilities there.

Thanks for your explanation. I think overall we agree on original sin.

My point is that I think that M. Is wrong in that essay you quoted.

A core logical problem within Christianity is how three Persons can be seen as "one God."  The ontological problems between Creator and created are not just going to go away and in my opinion no one is going to go back to the previous 2000 years of confusion. in my opinion defying the Godhead as unified by an "immaterial substance" is no explanation at all.

I believe Mennonites subscribe to the Nicene Creed.?

Do some have questions on how the Trinity is supposed to work logically?

How do you handle those questions?

Are those with questions satisfied by the answer that "the atonement is the most important doctrine and so we don't worry about that?"

I consider myself a mystic because I think that there are no "true explanations" of how God works. all we have are human invented explanations.. Explaining God fully as he is simply can't be done.

But then I don't subscribe to the Nicene Creed. ;)

 

 

 

Hi so forgot to answer you. No, Mennonites do not follow any specific Patriarchal Creeds, especially not the Nicene Creed. Mennonites have historically from the beginning of their organization have believed in believers baptism. immersion was the early mode. They do have articles of faith from the 16 th century just as do the Saints from the 19th.

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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.

 

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8 hours ago, Paloma said:

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.

 

It's hard for me to believe a God would only want 1 to 2 percent of His children around. I can't imagine a church that does this either. I'm LDS and endowed in the temple but have since had a faith transition. I am glad I don't believe that there are these segregations among such awesome people such as yourself and Navidad. And another thing is my parents have passed on, but my dad had struggled with belief in the church though he was sealed in the temple to my mom. I have a hard time believing that he would be in the lower kingdom than my mother. That just makes me angry at God because I know the goodness of my dad and what he went through in taking care of my mother, and then we have an LDS stake president or bishop but I wonder how much they had cared for their loved one like my dad and if they make it to the top and not my dad, well I just can't accept it.

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On 2/18/2019 at 12:49 PM, Paloma said:

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. 

This is why they say that (and they are right!):

On 2/18/2019 at 12:49 PM, Paloma said:

Of course, we're going to cling to our own theological understandings, unless and until the Holy Spirit impresses on us something different. 

If we both heed and obey the enticing of the Holy Spirit, then there is no way that we can end up in different places in the end.  Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little our paths will eventually merge in this life or the next.   They have to, or else the Holy Spirit is a deceiver.

 

Edited by pogi

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On 2/18/2019 at 12:49 PM, Paloma said:

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.

 

Hi Paloma - Thanks for your post. It is great to know we have so much in common. I have a long history with both AIM and SIM and knew some AEF missionaries as well. I have very high regard for the Evangelical Free folks (an evangelical denomination) and TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). I was licensed as a minister in The Mennonite Church USA when I was the headmaster of one of their K-12's. I am really enjoying reading everything I can find right now on Mormon-Evangelical inter-faith dialogue. I am afraid the leaders of that effort on both sides are getting old and the effort may lose some steam. Thanks again for your kind reply and for all your work. Navidad

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