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Bill “Papa” Lee

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As N.T. Wright beautifully described the gospel, "It is a royal summons to submission, to obedience, to allegiance; and the form that this submission and obedient allegiance takes is of course faith. That is what Paul means by

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As N.T. Wright beautifully described the gospel, "It is a royal summons to submission, to obedience, to allegiance; and the form that this submission and obedient allegiance takes is of course faith. That is what Paul means by

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So to summarize, if I am understanding you correctly, to have faith in Christ requires obedience/faithfulness to Him. That it is impossible to have faith without obedience/faithfulness. Is this a fair summary?

There's a more succinct summary:

Covenant

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You're right, I don't, because it isn't.

Well perhaps you'd like to point out where I deserved the accusation of making an ad hom attack; you seem to be rather selective in how you apply the term.

CFR. In order to substantiate your claim that ad hominem "is an [sic] major part of what" IRR does, you should be able to provide half a dozen examples with little difficulty. I promise to take steps to remove any genuine examples of ad hominem fallacious arguments on the IRR web site. But be sure your examples are genuine examples of the ad hominem fallacy. Not all criticisms of someone's religious claims or points of view are ad hominem fallacies.

Just a couple will suffice; however, the board rules do not permit linking to anti-Mormon sites, so I'll just ahve to describe them.

First, your willingness to use the pejorative "cult" in relation to us is nothing more than a shallow attempt to cast both the Church and its faithful members in a negative light. I consider it ad hom, though you will no doubt disagree. Dan Peterson has done an excellent job of addressing the misuse of "cult" by enemies of the Church. You provide a bibliography on your site directly listing Mormonism as a cult. And need I say more about the ad hom content towards Mormonism of many of those books?

Second, you have quite a number of exit stories on your site outlining how awful the Church and its members are. There were a number of stories that were less than complementary concerning the character of leaders of the Church and its members.

I don't doubt that you will disagree, but my point stands. One of the methods that your site makes frequent use of is to cast members and leaders of the Church in the worst light possible, NOT just to criticize religious claims. That is classic ad hom, just like the personal attacks on Joseph Smith anti-Mormons make are.

That's fine, because I emphatically disagree as well. My position is not that a person cannot have faith unless he can back it up with hard facts. My position is that a person's faith is misplaced if the cognitive content of that faith is in reality false
.

And yet it's still all about "facts", as you like to interpret them. You place great emphasis (as you note later on in your post) of providing "factual" evidence that contradicts the claims of Mormonism in an attempt to claim our faith is misdirected. It's still all about "facts", isn't it. They're very important to your methodology, and that's because you seem to link both faith and facts inseparably together. Doesn't matter whether that evidence is supportive or contradictory, faith must be subjected to those facts.

And again, I'll note that facts and conclusions are rarely totally objective. There is significant subjective interpretation involved in your application of facts, both in support of your religious belief, and in criticizing my belief. The exit stories on your site are a prime example of that.

Not so. The New Testament frequently associates knowledge and faith (or belief) together (John 4:42; 6:69; 10:38; 16:30; 17:8; 19:35; Rom. 16:26; 1 Cor. 13:2; 2 Cor. 8:7; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 4:13; 1 Tim. 4:3; 2 Tim. 1:12; Titus 1:1; James 1:3; 1 Peter 5:9; 2 Peter 1:5; 1 John 4:16; 5:13). I just did a search and, oddly enough, I cannot find a single biblical text that supports this idea that if you know something you are no longer having faith. Where did you get this idea?

It was noted earlier in the thread and is supported by Hebrews 11:1.

No. I don't "dismiss" them; I refute them. That is, rather than claiming that the arguments don't matter, I argue that they don't work because they are faulty arguments
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Refute and dismiss - often using an emotionally driven response. The end result of such refutation is to claim, on your part, that the faith of Latter-day Saints is misplaced. Because it contradicts the interpreted framework of "facts" that you have so carefully built up. Many of those "facts" are demonstrably false, such as the "cult" ad hom association.

The point of all this is, if you feel it so important to tear down Mormonism through "factual" evidence, one can wonder how that same emphasis on factual corroboration influences your own belief system.

No. Lack of evidence is not a sufficient argument against the truth-claims of the LDS religion. Evidence contrary to your position is the decisive problem.

Christianity and the BIble seem to have this same contradictory evidential problem, according to a number of other sources I'm aware of (visit any atheist site for more info).

Yet, claimed contradictory evidence to my belief system doesn't seem to affect my faith. It's not linked to the necessity of fact in the same way EV Christianity seems to have it linked, and as you've inferred in previous comments.

Inerrancy has absolutely nothing to do with being able to prove something rationally. Nothing
.

Tell that to the people leaving Christianity after discovering that the doctrine of inerrancy isn't supported by factual evidence, and that there is much contradictory evidence that can be used to refute inerrancy. Fath and fact, fact and faith. Inerrancy is indeed a very interesting indicator of what is really going on.

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jwhitlock,

I'm afraid you don't know what an ad hominem fallacy is. Labeling a religion as a "cult" according to a particular stipulated definition is not an ad hominem fallacy. Nor is it such a fallacy for a former member of a religion to share their experiences. Try reading this explanation of the ad hominem fallacy.

You claimed:

Just a couple will suffice; however, the board rules do not permit linking to anti-Mormon sites, so I'll just ahve to describe them.

Not so. There is no such board rule here (I just checked).

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Labeling a religion as a "cult" according to a particular stipulated definition is not an ad hominem fallacy.

Humm, do you explicitly stipulate the definition when you use the word?

If you don't then this is the result of your use.

From; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult

The word cult pejoratively refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered strange.

From; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pejoratively

Pejoratives[1] (or terms of abuse) are words or grammatical forms that denote a negative effect; that is, they express the contempt or distaste of the speaker.

So it looks like it could be ad hominem. But maybe it is just the "poisoning the well" fallacy.

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There's a more succinct summary:

Covenant

So by "faith" we are to understand a covenant of obedience.

Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith (covenant of obedience); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Rom. 1:5 By whom (Christ) we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith (covenant of obedience) among all nations, for his name:

This makes perfect sense and explains all of the very very numerous "do", "keep" and "obey" verses in the scriptures.

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So to summarize, if I am understanding you correctly, to have faith in Christ requires obedience/faithfulness to Him. That it is impossible to have faith without obedience/faithfulness. Is this a fair summary?

Based on the research I've seen, yes.

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There's a more succinct summary:

Covenant

Precisely. Pistis was also used to mean covenant, oath, or pledge. See David M. Hay, "Pistis as "Ground of Faith" in Hellenized Judaism and Paul," Journal of Biblical Literature 108:3 (1989).

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So by "faith" we are to understand a covenant of obedience.

Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith (covenant of obedience); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Rom. 1:5 By whom (Christ) we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith (covenant of obedience) among all nations, for his name:

This makes perfect sense and explains all of the very very numerous "do", "keep" and "obey" verses in the scriptures.

The reason the covenant is "the gift of G-d," is that, for human contracts, each must give something perceived to be of approximately equivalent value to the other. What G-d promises to give us, and what He certainly does give us, is of such supernal and profoundly precious value, and what we offer in exchange is of such little value, that we can hardly call it a "covenant" at all: It is a gift freely given by a magnanamous Father to His children, Who demands so very little in exchange that, our quibbling over those demands is far worse than childish pettiness.

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So by "faith" we are to understand a covenant of obedience.

Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith (covenant of obedience); and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Rom. 1:5 By whom (Christ) we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith (covenant of obedience) among all nations, for his name:

This makes perfect sense and explains all of the very very numerous "do", "keep" and "obey" verses in the scriptures.

Blake Ostler explained it well,

There is no sense of earning the relationship by keeping the commandments. We keep the commandments to maintain our fidelity with God...One is justified when one enters into the relationship, for acceptance into the relationship is justification

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Grace must be met with grace; favor must always give birth to favor; gift must always be met with gratitude. An image that captured this for the ancients was the picture of three goddesses, the three
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Heartbreakingly beautiful stuff, WW. Thanks!

Isn't it? This new understanding of grace, faith, and covenant within the context of gift-giving and reciprocity has made the LDS concept of ordinances and good works much easier to understand. It has also made the entire project of Zion come more alive for me.

But most importantly, it has helped me understand the gracious plan of salvation and the Savior's atonement much more clearly.

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Humm, do you explicitly stipulate the definition when you use the word?

If you don't then this is the result of your use.

From; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult

The word cult pejoratively refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered strange.

From; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pejoratively

Pejoratives[1] (or terms of abuse) are words or grammatical forms that denote a negative effect; that is, they express the contempt or distaste of the speaker.

So it looks like it could be ad hominem. But maybe it is just the "poisoning the well" fallacy.

Ditto...in a big way.
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Mike Licona's book, which I cited earlier, examines the "visionary experience" explanation quite thoroughly and shows that it simply does not hold up. Such an explanation does not account for the fact that the witnesses included both men and women; individuals and groups; skeptical family members, devoted friends, and at least one antagonistic opponent of the movement (Paul). The diversity of witnesses to the Resurrection stands in stark contrast to the list of witnesses to the Book of Mormon, a group of a dozen men drawn almost entirely from two families (one of them Joseph's).

Diversity is good. But just leaving the description of the BoM witnesses as "a group of a dozen men drawn almost entirely from two families" doesn't do it justice. The consistent testimonies regarding the Gold Plate experience despite apostasy offers quite a bit of diversity. Cowdery, Harris, and Whitmer became skeptics of Joseph's prophetic calling, but not of the Gold Plates.

I strongly suggest reading Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating the Book of Mormon Witnesses (Deseret Book, 1981) if you haven't already. See some of his other work on the witnesses here, here, and here.

Hypothetically, their testimonies might be taken to mean that they "saw" the plates in the sense that they believed in their hearts that the plates existed. That having been said, and admitting that I have more research I want to do on this question, my working hypothesis is that Joseph had some metallic plates of some kind, but that these plates did not have a Reformed Egyptian text of the Book of Mormon written on them. This hypothesis explains the testimonies of those who claimed to handle the plates and also explains why Joseph kept them covered up and did not refer to them when producing the English text of the Book of Mormon.

But the experiences must be taken within the context of the recovery of the plates and its translation/dictation. As Richard Bushman said,

Rather than reply to the revilers, Joseph contented himself with writing an account of events as he had experienced them, to which were added reports from many friends and family members. Together they constitute the bulk of the historical record, the original source material for the story of the Book of Mormon's recovery. Narrations that balk before the miraculous events and try to tell another story must suppress these sources and disregard the consistent and detailed accounts from the people who knew Joseph Smith best.

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It does to his cause. We all know what that is...

Oh, I like Rob. I don't agree with him always, but I like him. His criticisms are more informed than most. I am rather surprised at his rather simplistic dismissal of the BoM witnesses and embrace of the New Testament witnesses, but I assume it is because he has spent more time with the NT and not with the BoM witnesses.

I think a good historical case can be made for the Resurrection. I just think the case for the BoM witnesses is better, mainly due to the availability of historical documents and writings. For me, though, the two don't contradict.

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Vance,

I sincerely hope that this thread is not hijacked into a discussion of the merits of using the term cult to describe the LDS religion. I would prefer not to use the term in this context because of the post-Jonestown association of the term with criminally deviant religious groups, of which the contemporary LDS Church clearly is not one. That having been said, evangelicals customarily use the term in a different, purely theological sense to designate religious groups that profess to be true Christianity but that reject historic orthodox Christian theology (e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity). When they use the term in this sense, and when I am asked, I agree that the LDS religion is a "cult" in that sense. But as I said, I don't like that theological use of the term, and came out in print twenty years ago urging evangelicals to avoid it.

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Pa Pa,

Your comments make a carefully calculated comparison between elements of the Bible for which we would generally not expect to find historical or archaeological evidence (although, surprisingly, for some of it we do have some evidence), ignoring in some cases alternative orthodox explanations of the biblical texts, and elements of the Book of Mormon for which some Mormons claim to have evidence, again ignoring contrary claims by other Mormons.

By the way, the discipline of biblical archaeology, as a scientifically-based, academic, discipline, is less than two centuries old. The first serious archaeologists in the modern sense of that term worked in the second half of the nineteenth century.

You asserted that I ignored the fact that other people claimed to see the gold plates. I did not ignore that fact. I have in fact acknowledged that there may well have been some gold-looking metallic plates. My working assumption is that such plates probably did exist.

Where is the

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Vance,

I sincerely hope that this thread is not hijacked into a discussion of the merits of using the term cult to describe the LDS religion. I would prefer not to use the term in this context because of the post-Jonestown association of the term with criminally deviant religious groups, of which the contemporary LDS Church clearly is not one. That having been said, evangelicals customarily use the term in a different, purely theological sense to designate religious groups that profess to be true Christianity but that reject historic orthodox Christian theology (e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity). When they use the term in this sense, and when I am asked, I agree that the LDS religion is a "cult" in that sense. But as I said, I don't like that theological use of the term, and came out in print twenty years ago urging evangelicals to avoid it.

"Cult" as used by the Evangelicals is a derogatory and abusive term intended to smear and insult the Churches or religions they don't like, such as the Mormons or JWs. It is not used in a purely "theological" sense as you suggest.

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Vance,

I sincerely hope that this thread is not hijacked into a discussion of the merits of using the term cult to describe the LDS religion.

Of course not. Let's avoid discussion about how Evangelical anti-Mormons use the word "cult" knowing full well that their audience will associated Mormons in the context of the post Jonestown association, while dishonestly attempting to maintain that they are simply using it "in a different, purely theological sense".

Ever notice that they and you studiously avoid using it "in a different, purely theological sense" to describe their own version of Christianity.

I would prefer not to use the term in this context because of the post-Jonestown association of the term with criminally deviant religious groups, of which the contemporary LDS Church clearly is not one.

Yet you know full well that is the way your target audience WILL take it.

That having been said, evangelicals customarily use the term in a different, purely theological sense to designate religious groups that profess to be true Christianity but that reject historic orthodox Christian theology (e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity).

See above.

When they use the term in this sense, and when I am asked, I agree that the LDS religion is a "cult" in that sense.

See above.

But as I said, I don't like that theological use of the term, and came out in print twenty years ago urging evangelicals to avoid it.

If you say so.

Like I said, in the purely theological sense it can and SHOULD be used by you to describe your own theology.

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Vance,

You wrote:

Of course not. Let's avoid discussion about how Evangelical anti-Mormons use the word "cult" knowing full well that their audience will associated Mormons in the context of the post Jonestown association, while dishonestly attempting to maintain that they are simply using it "in a different, purely theological sense".

This part of the discussion is now ended from my side by your baseless, incoherent, and offensive blanket accusation of dishonesty against unnamed "Evangelical anti-Mormons." I have no patience with such vacuous criticisms.

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This part of the discussion is now ended from my side . . . .

What ever.

. . . by your baseless, incoherent, and offensive blanket accusation of dishonesty against unnamed "Evangelical anti-Mormons." I have no patience with such vacuous criticisms.

If it was incoherent, how did you know it was baseless and offensive?

And as far as "baseless" goes, from your very own website a paper written by YOU;

Evangelical Surveys of Cults and NRMs

. . .

Hoekema, Anthony A. The Four Major Cults: Christian Science, Jehovah

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