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Navidad

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3 hours ago, Navidad said:

Thanks for the post. I understand what you are saying. I understand that the folks are confused, as we are. I tried to address that in my testimony Sunday. It seems to be because the idea of someone coming to the church to worship and fellowship with them and not to join is very rare in their experience. All investigators eventually leave or join. That is their world. We are an anomaly. Most have decided they like it; some are not so sure.  What we are doing is very common in other churches and wouldn't even raise an eyebrow. For example the church I pastored was right next to a large IBM facility. We often had folks who were transferred to that facility come to our church to fellowship and worship with us. There was zero pressure to join and they wanted to keep their membership in their home church, wherever that was. They could have been Methodists, Pentecostals, Catholic, or any other Christian group. It just didn't matter. If we found them to be spiritually minded and knowledgeable they could have taught, prayed, sang, ministered and even played on the church baseball team! Clearly they didn't baptize or lead the sacrament. That wasn't because they weren't members. It was because they weren't ordained to that ministry. Probably at any one time 25% of our congregation of 300 were not members. We were a fellowship of believers; all believers regardless of denomination were welcome. 

Just to clarify a little - I do not believe that any baptism washes away sin, nor is valid for that purpose. Not Mennonite, Catholic, or Mormon. So, no I don't accept any baptism, as valid for that purpose. Baptism is a sign ordinance. It is a sign of previous repentance, identification with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (hence we immersed adults only). We would have accepted any believer's baptism (as we call it) for church membership. We did not accept infant baptism under any circumstances. Baptism in our understanding has nothing to do with salvation. It is a testimony of salvation. The person receiving it is witnessing to a prior experience. Therefore it is not salvific. When you use the word "valid" that goes over my head. I don't believe any baptism is valid for anything other than what I have described, a public testimony of repentance and identification with Christ. It is confessional, not valid. We only immersed - that was our mode of baptism. The meaning was completely different. So, I have never been baptized for the remission of sins. My sins are covered by the blood of Christ. I am merely trying to respond to your wonderful email. I am not trying to begin a debate on baptism. I don't care to do that. There is no purpose to that. Perhaps Jane Doe wants me to fight for my view, but I will just state it and move on. 

I accept you as a fellow Christian, a full-fledged member of what the LDS website calls the "core of Christianity." The reason for that is because of your belief in, and fealty to the atonement of Christ. I am not quite sure how you see yourself. It seems self evident from everything that I have ever read or heard that you see yourself as a Christian. I agree. If you see yourself as something other than a Christian then we would have to talk about it. For example, if you see yourselves as "the only Christians" you are right, I don't see you that way. If you see yourself as a higher order of Christian, you are right, I don't see it that way because I don't believe there is such a thing! My version of baptism is definitely not your version of baptism. There is no question about that. That is precisely why I reject being baptized in the LDS church. You attach eternal significance to it; I don't. There will be perpetual awkwardness and any day the bishop could ask us not to come back. Any day we could decide not to go back. However, that hasn't happened yet and I hope it doesn't. In Spanish, the lucha vale la pena! The struggle is worth it for what the blessings we get out of it.

Please listen to me; we love attending our ward and we love the people and we love all we learn from attending. After my testimony Sunday the first counselor to the Stake President, who was presiding stood up with tears in his eyes. I didn't know what he was going to say. He looked at my wife and I , fourth pew from the front on the right, where we always sit and said. "Brother Phil and Sister Jeanne, we love you. Please don't stop teaching us. We love learning from you." The Holy Spirit moved in his words. It was a very special time. As we went to Sunday School i can say with great certainty, I have never had so many hugs in a church in my life. La lucha vale la pena! 

Regarding baptism, what about original sin? Can your personal repentance take that away? just asking I will not reply regardless of what you say. I just want to know how you handle that.

Why are we all fallen and in a carnal state if not for Adam's transgression? 

That is essentially the rationale for infant baptism. If that original sin is not removed by infant baptism the baby could die and be in hell. Or at least that was the early conception of Catholicism. It was softened by postulating limbo and then limbo was given up as well.

I thought that Evangelicals believed in or original sin as well.

Edited by mfbukowski
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 My contribution to the Baptism comments above - http://www.bebaptized.org 

The Atonement It Is he Central Doctrine

Washing My Garment/Robe In His Blood

In His Eternal Debt/Grace

Anakin7

LDS, Saint, Christian, Sentinel, Son Of Thunder, Kryptonian, Warrior

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14 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Regarding baptism, what about original sin? Can your personal repentance take that away? just asking I will not reply regardless of what you say. I just want to know how you handle that.

Why are we all fallen and in a carnal state if not for Adam's transgression? 

That is essentially the rationale for infant baptism. If that original sin is not removed by infant baptism the baby could die and be in hell. Or at least that was the early conception of Catholicism. It was softened by postulating limbo and then limbo was given up as well.

I thought that Evangelicals believed in or original sin as well.

First, you are welcome to reply to my posts. You have every right to do so and I welcome your insights. I simply and only ask that you not mock me. For a host of reasons, I am very sensitive to that, so I simply and personally ask you not to mock. I am too old, have done too many bad things, and too many good things in my life to be mocked by someone who doesn't even know me, what I have lived through, and what motivates me in terms of regrets and successes. Fair enough?

Now to your question - it is important that you understand that not all Evangelicals believe the same way or the same things about various and sundry doctrines. There are wide differences. Evangelicals are not a monolithic group. Anabaptists (Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren) do not consider themselves Protestants or Catholics. Much like Mormons, we think of ourselves as a third wave. Therefore back in the 16th century as Anabaptism was forming it had no need or desire to conform to the reformationist views of Protestants, or traditional views of Catholics. Mennonites considered themselves restorationist in outlook; not reformational. Obviously the Saints will understand that outlook.

So Anabaptists clung to neither the Protestant (predominantly Calvinist early on), nor the Catholic, nor the views of Erasmus (a more "liberal" reformer who also viewed himself as a restorer) on such topics as original sin. Mennonites have always given the idea of original sin short shrift. It is barely mentioned in codifications of our doctrine. Mennonites do acknowledge that Scripture teaches that we inherit sin from Adam, but are very sold on texts in Ezekiel informing us that the sons do not inherit the sins of the father. Several old Mennonite theologians have described original sin as not being an "inescapable fate." Therefore we do not believe that original sin is ever "removed by" anything. We believe that the grace that empowers our redemption is sufficient to enable us to overcome, fight against, achieve victory over (even if never permanently) the original sin that we have inherited. Another version of this is the Nazarene (a large holiness group out of the Methodist tradition) concept of "prevenient grace." It is kind of similar to Mennonite beliefs, but involves a more definite act of the Holy Spirit in the defeat of original sin. Their view is very acceptable to me as well. I believe you are from SOCAL so you might know of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. The latter view would be the view of that large Nazarene community. I have been a guest lecturer there many times and have always enjoyed good fellowship with them - prettiest university campus I have ever seen by the way. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask or comment on this. Sometimes I think after having discussions with Saints that they confuse or conflate Calvinist views as being the majority view of Evangelicals or Protestants. They are one branch - not the largest, or the smallest. At one time their views dominated, but not any more. My views tend toward what is often described as an Arminian position, mixed with Baptistic views of ecclesiology and eschatology. I probably inherited a lot of that from my dad's influence. He was both a Brethren and Baptist minister. I hope I have answered your question.

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13 hours ago, Anakin7 said:

 My contribution to the Baptism comments above - http://www.bebaptized.org 

The Atonement It Is he Central Doctrine

Washing My Garment/Robe In His Blood

In His Eternal Debt/Grace

Anakin7

LDS, Saint, Christian, Sentinel, Son Of Thunder, Kryptonian, Warrior

That appears to be a website of some folks who are aligned with the Church of Christ, another US founded and restorationist church group. They don't like to be called a denomination, so I won't do that. They very strongly believe in baptismal regeneration. I have spoken in their churches in the southeast and in Texas. I love their singing. It is so much like what I grew up with - no instruments - all acapella.  I once talked to someone in leadership in our ward if I could teach the men how to sing acapella. It is so beautiful. So far no takers! 

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14 hours ago, Anakin7 said:

Navidad are you familiar with - http://www.scrollpublishing.com  ?

Grace To you.

Anakin7

Yes and no. It is the site of David Bercot. I don't know him personally but I know of his work. He is often seen as a self-taught (not a negative) guru of the ante-nicene fathers. He has had quite a spiritual journey from the Jehovah Witnesses, to the Anglican, to the Anabaptist traditions. I haven't heard much of him for about 5 years. He wrote several books on the ante-Nicene fathers. The last I heard he was advocating for the Anabaptist peace position and was speaking in Mennonite churches in Pennsylvania. He may have adopted a simple lifestyle now of the more conservative Anabaptists and that is why I have not read much about him lately.  I don't know him or his work well enough to offer any intelligent opinion. I think (not sure) I have read him quoted in some LDS sources who have used him to bolster the argument for a great apostasy of the Church. I think he has rejected that tie-in, but again I am not sure. I can ask my family back in Pennsylvania. Sorry I don't know more. I have never personally read any of his books. 

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18 hours ago, pogi said:

Thanks for the clarification on baptism and acknowledging that they are different. 

I hope that an understanding of how we perceive baptism might help you feel flattered instead of annoyed and insulted when a member of your ward asks you when you are going to be baptized.  This means that they love you and care about you, even if they don't fully understand you.     

I accept you as a fellow Christian too.  No doubt about it.  But I think this is perhaps where some misunderstanding is happening as well.  You seem to place Christianity to the level of salvific significance that we place baptism.  You attach eternal significance to it; we don't.  Being a Christian is more important in your view of things then baptism.  For us, it is viewed as a helpful stepping stone towards the gate of baptism.  We don't reject your Christianity in any way.   However, we don't believe that being a Christian with a good heart is any more salvific than being a Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist with a good heart, without baptism.  We love and respect you all equally (at least I do).  Because this life is probationary, we are all on the same playing field - brothers and sisters trying to find our way home.   There is a gate, but the gate is not the end. There are people who are moving forward in Christ and there are people who are moving backward.  I have absolute confidence that all of those who continue to move forward in Christ, Christian or not, are equal to me in salvific hope and promise.  

Yes, baptism is important in our view, but even more important is your continuation in the spirit of the Lord.  That is why your bishop will NEVER ask you to stop coming to church.    

 

Hi Pogi: You are correct, I certainly put Christianity on the level of, not only the highest, but the only salvific significance. It is by grace, through faith that we are saved. It is possible to be saved without being a Mennonite, Baptist, Nazarene , or Mormon, but it is impossible to be saved without being a Christian. I am expressing my beliefs. Not trying to get into a debate. On the taxonomy of faith, being a Christian is the highest, second I am an Evangelical (in the formal theological sense of the word, and a Mennonite third). If I ever became a Mormon via baptism, or a Catholic, it would only replace Mennonite, not the other two. All Christians have been saved (experienced salvation) or they wouldn't be called Christians; one can't be "in Christ" the root meaning of Christian without experiencing the grace through faith by which we are saved. I know the word salvation has a different meaning to the Saint. It seems to include what we term salvation and adds to it what we call sanctification. I have no problem at all with that, it is a matter of understanding terminology. What is understood as exaltation by the Saint also seems to incorporate what I would think of as sanctification - the process of becoming like- Christ. The Saint would probably be more comfortable with using the term "as-Christ." Right? 

If what you have said is the belief of Mormonism, then I must be very careful with my continual statements that I believe Mormons are Christians. If the correct LDS view is that being a Christian is a "stepping stone towards the gate of baptism" which is the gate of some higher calling than being a Christian, then being a Christian has a whole different meaning. In my view, being a Christian is the end product, not a stepping-stone to anything. It is a state that can be lost, but there is nothing higher. Becoming sanctified is a growth process within Christianity, but it is not in itself a stepping stone to anything other than becoming more mature in Christ.

Your post may be the single most important post I have read in over a year of being on this forum. I never understood the LDS approach as you described it. Now I am not sure what Mormons believe a Christian is? Perhaps you could help me further. For a Saint, what is a Christian? Who is a Christian, or perhaps more importantly who is not a Christian? Every investigator of the Church is already a Christian? So one is already a Christian before one is baptized, right? That is why you can call me a Christian. But I have not yet been redeemed? I have not experienced the atonement? My repentance for my sin means what? Is it good guy - baptism -salvation begins and continues through exaltation - final judgment where your level of heaven is determined? I almost missed your post. So glad I didn't. 

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3 hours ago, Navidad said:

Hi Pogi: You are correct, I certainly put Christianity on the level of, not only the highest, but the only salvific significance. It is by grace, through faith that we are saved. It is possible to be saved without being a Mennonite, Baptist, Nazarene , or Mormon, but it is impossible to be saved without being a Christian. I am expressing my beliefs. Not trying to get into a debate. On the taxonomy of faith, being a Christian is the highest, second I am an Evangelical (in the formal theological sense of the word, and a Mennonite third). If I ever became a Mormon via baptism, or a Catholic, it would only replace Mennonite, not the other two. All Christians have been saved (experienced salvation) or they wouldn't be called Christians; one can't be "in Christ" the root meaning of Christian without experiencing the grace through faith by which we are saved. I know the word salvation has a different meaning to the Saint. It seems to include what we term salvation and adds to it what we call sanctification. I have no problem at all with that, it is a matter of understanding terminology. What is understood as exaltation by the Saint also seems to incorporate what I would think of as sanctification - the process of becoming like- Christ. The Saint would probably be more comfortable with using the term "as-Christ." Right? 

If what you have said is the belief of Mormonism, then I must be very careful with my continual statements that I believe Mormons are Christians. If the correct LDS view is that being a Christian is a "stepping stone towards the gate of baptism" which is the gate of some higher calling than being a Christian, then being a Christian has a whole different meaning. In my view, being a Christian is the end product, not a stepping-stone to anything. It is a state that can be lost, but there is nothing higher. Becoming sanctified is a growth process within Christianity, but it is not in itself a stepping stone to anything other than becoming more mature in Christ.

Your post may be the single most important post I have read in over a year of being on this forum. I never understood the LDS approach as you described it. Now I am not sure what Mormons believe a Christian is? Perhaps you could help me further. For a Saint, what is a Christian? Who is a Christian, or perhaps more importantly who is not a Christian? Every investigator of the Church is already a Christian? So one is already a Christian before one is baptized, right? That is why you can call me a Christian. But I have not yet been redeemed? I have not experienced the atonement? My repentance for my sin means what? Is it good guy - baptism -salvation begins and continues through exaltation - final judgment where your level of heaven is determined? I almost missed your post. So glad I didn't. 

First, let me clarify my words a little.  When I say that being a Christian has "no eternal significance", I could have probably worded it better.  It CAN have eternal significance if we allow it to lead us through the gate of baptism.  One does need to eventually become a Christian to be saved (exalted, rather) - but that in and of itself is not enough.  Without entering the gate of baptism, one is left without the walls of the kingdom of God. There is only one gate and one baptism which leads to the kingdom of God.  One can be a Christian without entering that gate, but one cannot enter that gate without becoming a Christian.  That is why it is more significant.

You believe that only Christians are saved, but we believe that all mankind has been saved.  The atonement has been applied to all. Christian or not.  We will all be saved in a kingdom of glory because of the atonement of Christ.  Baptism takes that salvation a step further - it qualifies (does not guarantee) one for what you call sanctification - becoming like Christ/exaltation/deification.  Even you acknowledge that being a Christian does not necessarily guarantee sanctification.  So even in your taxonomy, there are indeed higher levels of being Christian.   There are sanctified Christians and unsanctified Christians.  For us, that higher level is only possible through the gate of baptism and sanctification through the Holy Ghost.  

You ask if the atonement does not apply to you if you are not baptized.  Of course it does.  It applies to all from Adam to the last man.   One can repent without baptism (in fact it is required before baptism) - but not to the level of sanctification unto exaltation via baptism by fire through the reception of the Holy Ghost.  

For us, a Christian is simply anyone who believes in Christ.  It does not necessarily mean that they are "in Christ" as you say.  I don't think that was the original meaning of the word "Christian", in fact it was a derogatory term. They could be the worst of the worst or the best of the best, the vilest of sinners or the purest of saints.  It really does not say much about their qualification for exaltation.  Neither does baptism.  That is just one more step toward sanctification which comes through a life lived in faith and endurance in Christ.

I would take your taxonomy and flip it on its head in terms of significance.  The more refined point of the pyramid is where we depict the actual species of a being, and is more significant in terms of exaltation. The pyramid points to exaltation through the point, not the base.

image.png.8ffa1728f29de0b73a728628a1b265b9.png

In comparing the above chart, the kingdom would be Christianity - pretty broad and not specific at all. Sure we are all animals, but that doesn't say too much about us. Class might be evangelical, and species might be mennonite.  You get my drift.  The point is that the refinement of who we are is at the top of the pyramid not the bottom.  It comes through baptism, and sanctification through the Holy Ghost, and endurance to the end.  At the very tippy-tippy top of the pyramid is Godhood.  Each level potentially refines us further through Christ.  Christ is indeed the way - he makes it possible to advance through each of these taxonomic levels until we become like Him.  Not all Christians are like Him (I think that goes without saying), only those who progress up the pyramid through him and by him reach his fullness.

I think this passage pretty much sums it up in 2 Nephi 31:

Quote

17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

So, yes, I agree that it is by grace through faith that we are saved.  Faith is what allows us to walk through the refiners fire upwards. 

Edited by pogi
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20 hours ago, Navidad said:

First, you are welcome to reply to my posts. You have every right to do so and I welcome your insights. I simply and only ask that you not mock me. For a host of reasons, I am very sensitive to that, so I simply and personally ask you not to mock. I am too old, have done too many bad things, and too many good things in my life to be mocked by someone who doesn't even know me, what I have lived through, and what motivates me in terms of regrets and successes. Fair enough?

Now to your question - it is important that you understand that not all Evangelicals believe the same way or the same things about various and sundry doctrines. There are wide differences. Evangelicals are not a monolithic group. Anabaptists (Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren) do not consider themselves Protestants or Catholics. Much like Mormons, we think of ourselves as a third wave. Therefore back in the 16th century as Anabaptism was forming it had no need or desire to conform to the reformationist views of Protestants, or traditional views of Catholics. Mennonites considered themselves restorationist in outlook; not reformational. Obviously the Saints will understand that outlook.

So Anabaptists clung to neither the Protestant (predominantly Calvinist early on), nor the Catholic, nor the views of Erasmus (a more "liberal" reformer who also viewed himself as a restorer) on such topics as original sin. Mennonites have always given the idea of original sin short shrift. It is barely mentioned in codifications of our doctrine. Mennonites do acknowledge that Scripture teaches that we inherit sin from Adam, but are very sold on texts in Ezekiel informing us that the sons do not inherit the sins of the father. Several old Mennonite theologians have described original sin as not being an "inescapable fate." Therefore we do not believe that original sin is ever "removed by" anything. We believe that the grace that empowers our redemption is sufficient to enable us to overcome, fight against, achieve victory over (even if never permanently) the original sin that we have inherited. Another version of this is the Nazarene (a large holiness group out of the Methodist tradition) concept of "prevenient grace." It is kind of similar to Mennonite beliefs, but involves a more definite act of the Holy Spirit in the defeat of original sin. Their view is very acceptable to me as well. I believe you are from SOCAL so you might know of Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. The latter view would be the view of that large Nazarene community. I have been a guest lecturer there many times and have always enjoyed good fellowship with them - prettiest university campus I have ever seen by the way. I hope this helps. Feel free to ask or comment on this. Sometimes I think after having discussions with Saints that they confuse or conflate Calvinist views as being the majority view of Evangelicals or Protestants. They are one branch - not the largest, or the smallest. At one time their views dominated, but not any more. My views tend toward what is often described as an Arminian position, mixed with Baptistic views of ecclesiology and eschatology. I probably inherited a lot of that from my dad's influence. He was both a Brethren and Baptist minister. I hope I have answered your question.

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. ;)

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, pogi said:

First, let me clarify my words a little.  When I say that being a Christian has "no eternal significance", I could have probably worded it better.  It CAN have eternal significance if we allow it to lead us through the gate of baptism.  One does need to eventually become a Christian to be saved (exalted, rather) - but that in and of itself is not enough.  Without entering the gate of baptism, one is left without the walls of the kingdom of God. There is only one gate and one baptism which leads to the kingdom of God.  One can be a Christian without entering that gate, but one cannot enter that gate without becoming a Christian.  That is why it is more significant.

You believe that only Christians are saved, but we believe that all mankind has been saved.  The atonement has been applied to all. Christian or not.  We will all be saved in a kingdom of glory because of the atonement of Christ.  Baptism takes that salvation a step further - it qualifies (does not guarantee) one for what you call sanctification - becoming like Christ/exaltation/deification.  Even you acknowledge that being a Christian does not necessarily guarantee sanctification.  So even in your taxonomy, there are indeed higher levels of being Christian.   There are sanctified Christians and unsanctified Christians.  For us, that higher level is only possible through the gate of baptism and sanctification through the Holy Ghost.  

You ask if the atonement does not apply to you if you are not baptized.  Of course it does.  It applies to all from Adam to the last man.   One can repent without baptism (in fact it is required before baptism) - but not to the level of sanctification unto exaltation via baptism by fire through the reception of the Holy Ghost.  

For us, a Christian is simply anyone who believes in Christ.  It does not necessarily mean that they are "in Christ" as you say.  I don't think that was the original meaning of the word "Christian", in fact it was a derogatory term. They could be the worst of the worst or the best of the best, the vilest of sinners or the purest of saints.  It really does not say much about their qualification for exaltation.  Neither does baptism.  That is just one more step toward sanctification which comes through a life lived in faith and endurance in Christ.

I would take your taxonomy and flip it on its head in terms of significance.  The more refined point of the pyramid is where we depict the actual species of a being, and is more significant in terms of exaltation. The pyramid points to exaltation through the point, not the base.

image.png.8ffa1728f29de0b73a728628a1b265b9.png

In comparing the above chart, the kingdom would be Christianity - pretty broad and not specific at all. Sure we are all animals, but that doesn't say too much about us. Class might be evangelical, and species might be mennonite.  You get my drift.  The point is that the refinement of who we are is at the top of the pyramid not the bottom.  It comes through baptism, and sanctification through the Holy Ghost, and endurance to the end.  At the very tippy-tippy top of the pyramid is Godhood.  Each level potentially refines us further through Christ.  Christ is indeed the way - he makes it possible to advance through each of these taxonomic levels until we become like Him.  Not all Christians are like Him (I think that goes without saying), only those who progress up the pyramid through him and by him reach his fullness.

I think this passage pretty much sums it up in 2 Nephi 31:

So, yes, I agree that it is by grace through faith that we are saved.  Faith is what allows us to walk through the refiners fire upwards. 

The key here is what is meant by salvation and our peculiar definition of "damned" as synonymous with  "dammed" as in stopping progression of a stream. 

Perhaps someone back at the beginning of the church was not so great at spelling. ;)

But yes we are all saved in the evangelical Christian sense, but what is missing is exaltation/theosis.

I think this equivocation on these two words is behind this entire thread.

Everyone is saved through the atonement but only LDS are able to be exalted.

Damnation for us does not mean burning in hell forever. It's simply a stop in progression.

I think we all assume that we are on the same page here when we are nowhere close to it in terminology. 

So in discussions with the Evangelicals they think that we are saying that if you are not LDS you will be burning in hell forever.

Not at all. They will still get from God the reward that they desire which is being happy forever near to his presence.

But that will be where their progression ends.  That's fine for them because that's all they want.

Our mission is to teach them effectively that they can have more but we have not done that due to these ambiguous usages of these common religious terms.

In interfaith discussions we use that ambiguity in our favor, as did President Hinckley.

No we do not teach much about the mechanics of exaltation because we don't know much about it. He was exactly right.

So the common interpretation of President Hinckley is that we no longer believe in exaltation.

It's just that pesky ambiguity kicking in again.

We gotta fix that somehow.

 

 

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I noticed that Mouw made no Biblical defense of the "orthodox" position, nor did he provide a Biblical based justification for rejection of the "LDS" position.

 

I am thinking it is because he could do neither.

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my opinion defying the Godhead as unified by an "immaterial substance" is no explanation at all.

Defying or defining?

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20 minutes ago, Calm said:

Defying or defining?

Oops thanks, defining

Spell "check" strikes again.

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13 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

 in my opinion defying the Godhead as unified by an "immaterial substance" is no explanation at all.

 

Let's just call it what it really is, "immaterial material". ;)

The interesting thing to me is that when the term "immaterial" was coined, it referred to things like, spirit, breath, and wind (from the Greek word "pneuma").  Let us get out of the dark age science and just admit that "immaterial" doesn't mean what people think it means.

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On 2/6/2019 at 3:06 PM, pogi said:

First, let me clarify my words a little.  When I say that being a Christian has "no eternal significance", I could have probably worded it better.  It CAN have eternal significance if we allow it to lead us through the gate of baptism.  One does need to eventually become a Christian to be saved (exalted, rather) - but that in and of itself is not enough.  Without entering the gate of baptism, one is left without the walls of the kingdom of God. There is only one gate and one baptism which leads to the kingdom of God.  One can be a Christian without entering that gate, but one cannot enter that gate without becoming a Christian.  That is why it is more significant.

You believe that only Christians are saved, but we believe that all mankind has been saved.  The atonement has been applied to all. Christian or not.  We will all be saved in a kingdom of glory because of the atonement of Christ.  Baptism takes that salvation a step further - it qualifies (does not guarantee) one for what you call sanctification - becoming like Christ/exaltation/deification.  Even you acknowledge that being a Christian does not necessarily guarantee sanctification.  So even in your taxonomy, there are indeed higher levels of being Christian.   There are sanctified Christians and unsanctified Christians.  For us, that higher level is only possible through the gate of baptism and sanctification through the Holy Ghost.  

You ask if the atonement does not apply to you if you are not baptized.  Of course it does.  It applies to all from Adam to the last man.   One can repent without baptism (in fact it is required before baptism) - but not to the level of sanctification unto exaltation via baptism by fire through the reception of the Holy Ghost.  

For us, a Christian is simply anyone who believes in Christ.  It does not necessarily mean that they are "in Christ" as you say.  I don't think that was the original meaning of the word "Christian", in fact it was a derogatory term. They could be the worst of the worst or the best of the best, the vilest of sinners or the purest of saints.  It really does not say much about their qualification for exaltation.  Neither does baptism.  That is just one more step toward sanctification which comes through a life lived in faith and endurance in Christ.

I would take your taxonomy and flip it on its head in terms of significance.  The more refined point of the pyramid is where we depict the actual species of a being, and is more significant in terms of exaltation. The pyramid points to exaltation through the point, not the base.

image.png.8ffa1728f29de0b73a728628a1b265b9.png

In comparing the above chart, the kingdom would be Christianity - pretty broad and not specific at all. Sure we are all animals, but that doesn't say too much about us. Class might be evangelical, and species might be mennonite.  You get my drift.  The point is that the refinement of who we are is at the top of the pyramid not the bottom.  It comes through baptism, and sanctification through the Holy Ghost, and endurance to the end.  At the very tippy-tippy top of the pyramid is Godhood.  Each level potentially refines us further through Christ.  Christ is indeed the way - he makes it possible to advance through each of these taxonomic levels until we become like Him.  Not all Christians are like Him (I think that goes without saying), only those who progress up the pyramid through him and by him reach his fullness.

I think this passage pretty much sums it up in 2 Nephi 31:

So, yes, I agree that it is by grace through faith that we are saved.  Faith is what allows us to walk through the refiners fire upwards. 

Hi Pogi: I am not sure there is any evidence the term Christian was used initially as a derogatory term. It was used in the extremely metropolitan city of Antioch to distinguish Christians from the many other religious groups in the city. Christ-ians were those who belonged to , were associated with Christ as opposed to Jews and other sects. I appreciate your taxonomy. Mine was spoken in terms of importance to me, not in the biological sense. I am first and foremost a Christian. That is my primary identity. Second I am an evangelical Christian, used in the formal sense of the word. That tells a lot about me, but Christian is still most important. Third, I am a Mennonite - important, but certainly fungible; fourth I belong to the Mennonite Church USA. which is least important, but clearly distinguishes me from other, more traditional Mennonite groups. To me, Mennonite and Mormon are at the same level in terms of identity within Christianity. I understand that Mormons see that very differently. I don't believe it is possible that I would ever believe that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the only anything. I know far too many Godly, spirit-filled others in the Christian faith of many different groups. I also believe that authority is a term best applied within a specific denominational setting for administrative purposes; it is granted by the Holy Spirit to whomever the Spirit wills. As long as Christ was on earth he granted authority. Once he ascended and the Holy Spirit came, the Spirit granted authority and still does. It is the Spirit that grants; not the man through whom the Spirit works. Not trying to argue, just trying to explain my perspective. I don't see that changing even if I agreed to join the LDS Church, which I probably couldn't do with my belief system intact. Take care!

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On 2/7/2019 at 4:04 PM, Vance said:

I noticed that Mouw made no Biblical defense of the "orthodox" position, nor did he provide a Biblical based justification for rejection of the "LDS" position.

 

I am thinking it is because he could do neither.

Oh my, you obviously don't know Richard Mouw! 

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On 2/7/2019 at 8:12 AM, mfbukowski said:

The key here is what is meant by salvation and our peculiar definition of "damned" as synonymous with  "dammed" as in stopping progression of a stream. 

Perhaps someone back at the beginning of the church was not so great at spelling. ;)

But yes we are all saved in the evangelical Christian sense, but what is missing is exaltation/theosis.

I think this equivocation on these two words is behind this entire thread.

Everyone is saved through the atonement but only LDS are able to be exalted.

Damnation for us does not mean burning in hell forever. It's simply a stop in progression.

I think we all assume that we are on the same page here when we are nowhere close to it in terminology. 

So in discussions with the Evangelicals they think that we are saying that if you are not LDS you will be burning in hell forever.

Not at all. They will still get from God the reward that they desire which is being happy forever near to his presence.

But that will be where their progression ends.  That's fine for them because that's all they want.

Our mission is to teach them effectively that they can have more but we have not done that due to these ambiguous usages of these common religious terms.

In interfaith discussions we use that ambiguity in our favor, as did President Hinckley.

No we do not teach much about the mechanics of exaltation because we don't know much about it. He was exactly right.

So the common interpretation of President Hinckley is that we no longer believe in exaltation.

It's just that pesky ambiguity kicking in again.

We gotta fix that somehow.

 

 

Hey amigo: I never heard of the term exaltation until I started studying LDS stuff. If only the LDS will be exalted, I guess that is ok with me. My hope is for the resurrected body of I Cor. 15; imperishable, raised in glory, raised in power, and raised a spiritual body. I am familiar with the term sanctification - the process of becoming more like Christ. It is something I strive for now and that I believe will be ongoing on the other side as I learn from the Master. I have thought of that in terms of the LDS concept of exaltation, but there may be more differences than similarities. As you said we are probably nowhere close in terminology. Inventing similarities doesn't negate differences.

The one thing you said that caught my attention is "They will still get from God the reward that they desire which is being happy forever near to his presence." "Near to his presence" is not what I desire; neither is it all I want.  There would be no happiness, as you postulate with that kind of reward. Nope! That is the definition of eternal sadness. I find it interesting that on the LDS.org page on exaltation there is no scriptural reference to it from the Book of Mormon; there is one verse from Psalms and all the rest are D&C. I am coming more to the conclusion that the missionaries should suggest that the investigators read the D&C cover to cover more so than the BOM. The nitty gritty of current - have evolved over time beliefs that the Saints hold are in D&C. That isn't a criticism; just one observation from one irrelevant guy. I think part of the ambiguity you speak of comes from the pre-conversion focus on the Book of Mormon and the post-conversion teaching from D&C. In fact if I read Alma 34, I get more confused about this exaltation business. Anyway, you all are pretty tired by now of me being confused!  Take care.

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On 2/4/2019 at 3:40 PM, The Nehor said:

I agree with President Hinckley. We do not know much about it. We also have not repudiated it.

Joseph Smith seemed to know a lot about it.

Did we forget what he said? Or do we just want to run away from it?

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On 2/5/2019 at 2:33 PM, Navidad said:

Thanks for replying. I appreciate you so much. I am glad the dialogue continues . . . Let me be very plain; I am not talking about doctrinal differences. I don't agree with and I find personally offensive the LDS doctrine of "onlyness." However, I accept that, outside of some new revelation (which is certainly possible -- not likely, but possible - a lot of things have changed in Mormonism since 1830) that onlyness identity is not going to change, especially when its origin is attributed to God.

<this was overall an excellent post, I'm just snipping it for length here>

Upon several days of reflection her, I think things here dissect to two parts:

1) Your drive to have people love and respect each other, regardless of faith.

2) Your personal dislike of theological "onlyism".  

Mixing these two up creates a paradoxal regiment, and that's where things go sideways and rubs a lot of people (myself included) the wrong way.  

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1 hour ago, Jane_Doe said:

Upon several days of reflection her, I think things here dissect to two parts:

1) Your drive to have people love and respect each other, regardless of faith.

2) Your personal dislike of theological "onlyism".  

Mixing these two up creates a paradoxal regiment, and that's where things go sideways and rubs a lot of people (myself included) the wrong way.  

Thanks for your reply. I understand your point and agree with it. I also regret the disharmony. I am sorry. Having said that I wish you could see my point from a perspective other than it is simply "my personal dislike." That to me is also a paradox and a disappointment. Our beliefs take us to two very different places on the subject of "onlyism." You believe you are the only because it is the teaching of God. I understand that, yet I believe it is offensive to God and makes him cry when any group of His children are that presumptuous. I am not sure we can get much further (farther? - I always confuse these two) apart. This specific "only" belief of the Saints certainly "rubs me and a lot of people the wrong way" too. So here we are. If I didn't love and respect my LDS brothers and sisters, I would never bring it up in an effort to help you understand why so many get so unkind with you. I interpret your thoughtful reply to be a good faith effort to help me see a blind spot. In that spirit, I appreciate your comment.  Please see mine in the same way and appreciate it if you possibly can. 

With all my heart I am sure that God is equally concerned with what we believe and how we behave. I have not always behaved well or believed well on this forum. I regret that and am trying to do better. I understand that I am an enigma wrapped up in a paradox. I am trying to make sense of the teachings without being unkind to the teachers. Several of the posts the last week or so have in one way or another, tried to help me by pointing that out, especially in relationship to our presence in our ward. I have found your comments and those of others very helpful. I spent about seven or eight hours alone with my bishop last week talking, discussing, and sharing. That was helpful too. He is such a good Godly man. Take care. 

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2 hours ago, Navidad said:

Thanks for your reply. I understand your point and agree with it. I also regret the disharmony. I am sorry. Having said that I wish you could see my point from a perspective other than it is simply "my personal dislike." That to me is also a paradox and a disappointment. Our beliefs take us to two very different places on the subject of "onlyism." You believe you are the only because it is the teaching of God. I understand that, yet I believe it is offensive to God and makes him cry when any group of His children are that presumptuous. I am not sure we can get much further (farther? - I always confuse these two) apart. This specific "only" belief of the Saints certainly "rubs me and a lot of people the wrong way" too. So here we are. If I didn't love and respect my LDS brothers and sisters, I would never bring it up in an effort to help you understand why so many get so unkind with you. I interpret your thoughtful reply to be a good faith effort to help me see a blind spot. In that spirit, I appreciate your comment.  Please see mine in the same way and appreciate it if you possibly can. 

With all my heart I am sure that God is equally concerned with what we believe and how we behave. I have not always behaved well or believed well on this forum. I regret that and am trying to do better. I understand that I am an enigma wrapped up in a paradox. I am trying to make sense of the teachings without being unkind to the teachers. Several of the posts the last week or so have in one way or another, tried to help me by pointing that out, especially in relationship to our presence in our ward. I have found your comments and those of others very helpful. I spent about seven or eight hours alone with my bishop last week talking, discussing, and sharing. That was helpful too. He is such a good Godly man. Take care. 

I do understand your perspective, your words here are very effective in that regard.  This perspective just creates that self-contridoring paradox.

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On 2/9/2019 at 10:51 AM, Navidad said:

Oh my, you obviously don't know Richard Mouw! 

I notice that you didn't either.  Is it because you can't?

You could start by showing where in the Bible it says that God is "immaterial".

Edited by Vance

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On 2/9/2019 at 10:25 AM, Navidad said:

The one thing you said that caught my attention is "They will still get from God the reward that they desire which is being happy forever near to his presence." "Near to his presence" is not what I desire; neither is it all I want.  There would be no happiness, as you postulate with that kind of reward. Nope! That is the definition of eternal sadness.

The problem is that what you mean by "his presence" and what we mean by "his presence" are different.  You will indeed be in the presence of Jesus.  I would think that most Christians would be elated by that fact.  The Father, as being a separate entity from Jesus, is a foreign and even heretical concept to most Christians.  They may be in for a surprise, so keep an open heart ;)

Edited by pogi

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On 2/9/2019 at 2:16 PM, Teancum said:

Joseph Smith seemed to know a lot about it.

Did we forget what he said? Or do we just want to run away from it?

I love it but we know little and this doctrine should be treated carefully because it can be used with arrogance and well or not so well meaning people can extrapolate from it and wander into speculation masquerading as doctrine.

I believe in apotheosis but I know little about it.

Edited by The Nehor
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On 2/9/2019 at 10:25 AM, Navidad said:

Hey amigo: I never heard of the term exaltation until I started studying LDS stuff. If only the LDS will be exalted, I guess that is ok with me. My hope is for the resurrected body of I Cor. 15; imperishable, raised in glory, raised in power, and raised a spiritual body. I am familiar with the term sanctification - the process of becoming more like Christ. It is something I strive for now and that I believe will be ongoing on the other side as I learn from the Master. I have thought of that in terms of the LDS concept of exaltation, but there may be more differences than similarities. As you said we are probably nowhere close in terminology. Inventing similarities doesn't negate differences.

The one thing you said that caught my attention is "They will still get from God the reward that they desire which is being happy forever near to his presence." "Near to his presence" is not what I desire; neither is it all I want.  There would be no happiness, as you postulate with that kind of reward. Nope! That is the definition of eternal sadness. I find it interesting that on the LDS.org page on exaltation there is no scriptural reference to it from the Book of Mormon; there is one verse from Psalms and all the rest are D&C. I am coming more to the conclusion that the missionaries should suggest that the investigators read the D&C cover to cover more so than the BOM. The nitty gritty of current - have evolved over time beliefs that the Saints hold are in D&C. That isn't a criticism; just one observation from one irrelevant guy. I think part of the ambiguity you speak of comes from the pre-conversion focus on the Book of Mormon and the post-conversion teaching from D&C. In fact if I read Alma 34, I get more confused about this exaltation business. Anyway, you all are pretty tired by now of me being confused!  Take care.

If they had non member investigators read the D&C before the BoM, they might have a problem converting them, IMO.

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