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James White on Why Mormons Aren't Christians


maklelan

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I know this topic has been done to death, but someone directed me to

, which is a little old. I thought it was an interesting take, especially since James White basically states that Christianity fundamentally defines itself according to its relationship to Mormonism. I have a lengthier response up on my blog (here). What are your thoughts on James' argument?
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From your blog:

However, I must disagree that Christianity is monotheistic, at least in a way that materially distinguishes it from Mormonism. Christianity, in all the manifestations of which I am aware, accepts the existence of angels, demons, cherubim, seraphim, and all kinds of divine beings. From an etymological point of view, Christianity is absolutely not monotheistic. It believes in numerous divine beings. A divine being is and always has been, by very definition, a god. We may argue that one is higher than, and rules absolutely over the others, but this is monarchism, not monotheism, and it erases the lines of distinction between James’ Christianity and Mormonism.

I believe this is an error. As not one of your examples of "divine" beings are worshiped as God is, rather all of them worship the one true God.

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Hughes:

Note Maklelan's last two sentences: "A divine being is and always has been, by very definition, a god. We may argue that one is higher than, and rules absolutely over the others, but this is monarchism, not monotheism, and it erases the lines of distinction between James’ Christianity and Mormonism."

What you just advocated falls under monarchism.

Maklelan:

Excellent point on how White defines Christianity in contrast to Mormonism. I'd never thought of it this way, yet it seems to be a consistent approach of many evangelical critics.

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Excellent point on how White defines Christianity in contrast to Mormonism. I'd never thought of it this way, yet it seems to be a consistent approach of many evangelical critics.

Any of the defining points as used by White could have been expressed by Maimonides, the Karaites, or any number of rational Muslim philosophers, all of whom would have excluded Christianity from monotheism.

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From your blog:

I believe this is an error. As not one of your examples of "divine" beings are worshiped as God is, rather all of them worship the one true God.

I disagree on a number of grounds. First, if you intend to characterize Christianity as recognizing the existence of other gods while only worshipping one God then you're describing monolatry or monarchism, not monotheism, and what you're describing is no different from Mormonism. Next, according to Revelation 3, the Philadelphians will be worshipped by the "synagogue of Satan." The Bible flatly contradicts your claim. The Dead Sea Scrolls also mention the nations worshipping the people of God (4Q246). Other Second Temple Jewish and even rabbinic literature describes the worship of other divine beings as well. Lastly, many of the other divine beings recognized in the BIble certainly were worshipped by their respective cultures. According to Deut 4 the gods of the nations were set up by God so their nations could worship them.

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I enjoyed and agree with your response. I particularly appreciate your mention of the non-univocal character of the Bible. This is a key element in understanding the development of Christian denominations. Also, recognizing the historical developments connected to the reformation do go unnoticed in more recently created belief systems. They are attested, as is the Bible, as being perfect and as coming into being fully formed. This being the basis for some belief systems lends to exclusionary behaviors aptly demonstrated in this video. Using monolithic terms to define belief systems, with no exceptions to broad generalizations, are easy to juxtapose.

I would add that in his argument, he misrepresents the nature of Jesus Christ and His atonement as Latter-day Saints understand it, along with other beliefs. This falls in his pattern, which you point out, of sensational proclamations regarding LDS beliefs. This is the basis for his "Mormonism is not Biblical" argument and "Mormonism is not Christian" argument. His underlying reasoning is flawed, though elements of LDS doctrine are embedded in part giving some seeming validity to his arguments. Few specifics in line with his call for post-modernistic reasoning are presented further jeopardizing his position by his own call for reason.

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I disagree on a number of grounds. First, if you intend to characterize Christianity as recognizing the existence of other gods while only worshipping one God then you're describing monolatry or monarchism, not monotheism, and what you're describing is no different from Mormonism. Next, according to Revelation 3, the Philadelphians will be worshipped by the "synagogue of Satan." The Bible flatly contradicts your claim. The Dead Sea Scrolls also mention the nations worshipping the people of God (4Q246). Other Second Temple Jewish and even rabbinic literature describes the worship of other divine beings as well. Lastly, many of the other divine beings recognized in the BIble certainly were worshipped by their respective cultures. According to Deut 4 the gods of the nations were set up by God so their nations could worship them.

Thanks for your kind reply.

1. I am not describing monarchism. For Christianity, as with the old testament, the record acknowleges accurately, that people worship all sorts of things/idols/other so called gods... this doesn't mean that Christianity agrees that they are to be worshiped or that they even exist as a "being" to be worshiped. Only that other people do worship them.

2. Revelation 3:9 "I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you."

Notice it doesn't say worship. And also notice that Jesus is speaking, and he is stating that he will *make* them come and fall down, in other words Jesus will humble them and *make* them acknowledge that Jesus loved them. This is actually the opposite of worship. This is Jesus humbling those in question, by force. Juxtaposed to the concept of worship, which is a willful adoration of a subject. These people weren't willfully worshiping anything. Jesus is humbling them.

3. I don't know that the Dead Sea Scrolls or what Rabbinical Literature describes as worship is relevant to a discussion of Christian theology. Nor do I have a way of looking them up. Unless you know a source on line?

4. I read Deut 4 and couldn't find the statement, "the gods of the nations were set up by God so their nations could worship them."

Maybe you would be so kind as to cite that portion for me?

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Thanks for your kind reply.

1. I am not describing monarchism. For Christianity, as with the old testament, the record acknowleges accurately, that people worship all sorts of things/idols/other so called gods... this doesn't mean that Christianity agrees that they are to be worshiped or that they even exist as a "being" to be worshiped. Only that other people do worship them.

You're talking about monarchism within a Christological framework. I'm talking about monarchism within a simple monotheistic framework. See the Oxford English Dictionary definition: "belief in a sole ruler among all the gods." The main question is whether or not the early Christians and Jews who wrote the Bible believed other gods existed. If they existed, then you cannot have monotheism, according to an etymological understanding of it. You have monolatry or monarchism. Even a quick glance shows that the authors of the Bible believed they existed. Angels and demons are considered gods throughout the Bible. Heb 2:7 translates the Hebrew word elohim, "gods," with "angels," as does Heb 1:6. Like I show in my post, Paul says, "Indeed, there are many gods and many lords." Deut 32:8-9, 43, in the original versions attested at Qumran (4QDeut-j and 4QDeut-q) very clearly show the author not only thought they existed, but that God had given them their stewardships over the nations. According to Gen 6:2, 4; Ps 29:1; 82:1; 89:7; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 God has a number of divine sons who are involved in his administering to the affairs of humanity. For discussion of why the Bible never actually denies the existence of other gods, see my blog post here.

2. Revelation 3:9 "I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you."

Notice it doesn't say worship. And also notice that Jesus is speaking, and he is stating that he will *make* them come and fall down, in other words Jesus will humble them and *make* them acknowledge that Jesus loved them. This is actually the opposite of worship. This is Jesus humbling those in question, by force. Juxtaposed to the concept of worship, which is a willful adoration of a subject. These people weren't willfully worshiping anything. Jesus is humbling them.

You're using an English translation that is trying to soften the language. In the Greek it reads thus:

ἰδοὺ ποιήσω αὐτοὺς ἵνα ἥξουσιν καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν ἐνώπιον τῶν ποδῶν σου, καὶ γνῶσιν ὅτι ἐγὼ ἠγάπησά σε

Behold, I will make them so that they come and worship before your feet, and know that I have loved you.

The word προσκυνήσουσιν is the word translated "worship" in Matt 4:10; 28:9; Luke 24:52; John 4:22-24; 9:38; 1 Cor 14:25; Heb 1:6; Rev 4:10; 5:14; 15:14; and dozens of other places. This is the word most commonly used to mean "worship" in the New Testament. It is how the Septuagint translates the Hebrew word most commonly used for "worship." This is the action that Alexander the Great asked his men to perform before him which caused everyone to get upset. This is what John does before the angel in Revelation when he tells him not to worship him because he's a fellowservant. The other commonly used word is λατρευω, and it is used less than half as much. Rev 3:9 does indeed mean worship.

3. I don't know that the Dead Sea Scrolls or what Rabbinical Literature describes as worship is relevant to a discussion of Christian theology. Nor do I have a way of looking them up. Unless you know a source on line?

These show the practice of worship being offered to others besides God was not exclusive to Christianity, but was just a part of the wider culture of which Christianity was a part. You can find an English translation of the relevant Dead Sea Scroll text along with a great commentary here.

4. I read Deut 4 and couldn't find the statement, "the gods of the nations were set up by God so their nations could worship them."

Maybe you would be so kind as to cite that portion for me?

Deut 4:19 warns the Israelites not to go worship the astral deities that God gave to the nations. For further context, go to Deut 32:8 (the DSS or LXX version) where it states that God divided up the nations according to the number of the sons of God. Each son of God received a nation. Deut 4:19 represents them as astral deities because that was quite common in Babylonian culture at the time. We know the author means actual gods, since he calls them that in Deut 17:3. Deut 29:26 explains that the Israelites will go after the other gods anyway, calling them "gods he had not allotted to them." They were given to other nations. See also Deut 6:14.

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Just a minor point, "worship" originally meant "to show respect for worthiness." It's still used this way sometimes in Britain, where judges are addressed as "Your Worship."

Han Solo also called Leia "Your Worship."

:vader:

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You're talking about monarchism within a Christological framework. I'm talking about monarchism within a simple monotheistic framework. See the Oxford English Dictionary definition: "belief in a sole ruler among all the gods." The main question is whether or not the early Christians and Jews who wrote the Bible believed other gods existed. If they existed, then you cannot have monotheism, according to an etymological understanding of it. You have monolatry or monarchism. Even a quick glance shows that the authors of the Bible believed they existed. Angels and demons are considered gods throughout the Bible. Heb 2:7 translates the Hebrew word elohim, "gods," with "angels," as does Heb 1:6. Like I show in my post, Paul says, "Indeed, there are many gods and many lords." Deut 32:8-9, 43, in the original versions attested at Qumran (4QDeut-j and 4QDeut-q) very clearly show the author not only thought they existed, but that God had given them their stewardships over the nations. According to Gen 6:2, 4; Ps 29:1; 82:1; 89:7; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 God has a number of divine sons who are involved in his administering to the affairs of humanity. For discussion of why the Bible never actually denies the existence of other gods, see my blog post here.

I'm sorry, but I disagree. I'm not advocating for Monarchism or Monolatry. And as far as the question of Elohim - "Despite the -im ending common to many plural nouns in Hebrew, the word Elohim, when referring to God is grammatically singular, and takes a singular verb in the Hebrew Bible. The word is identical to the usual plural of el meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'lhm found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite Gods, the children of El and conventionally vocalized as "Elohim" although the original Ugaritic vowels are unknown. When the Hebrew Bible uses elohim not in reference to God, it is plural (for example, Exodus 20:3). There are a few other such uses in Hebrew, for example Behemoth. In Modern Hebrew, the singular word ba'alim ("owner") looks plural, but likewise takes a singular verb." From Wikipedia

You're using an English translation that is trying to soften the language. In the Greek it reads thus:

The word προσκυνήσουσιν is the word translated "worship" in Matt 4:10; 28:9; Luke 24:52; John 4:22-24; 9:38; 1 Cor 14:25; Heb 1:6; Rev 4:10; 5:14; 15:14; and dozens of other places. This is the word most commonly used to mean "worship" in the New Testament. It is how the Septuagint translates the Hebrew word most commonly used for "worship." This is the action that Alexander the Great asked his men to perform before him which caused everyone to get upset. This is what John does before the angel in Revelation when he tells him not to worship him because he's a fellowservant. The other commonly used word is λατρευω, and it is used less than half as much. Rev 3:9 does indeed mean worship.

These show the practice of worship being offered to others besides God was not exclusive to Christianity, but was just a part of the wider culture of which Christianity was a part. You can find an English translation of the relevant Dead Sea Scroll text along with a great commentary here.

A couple of problems. First is the context. You offered nothing to refute my statement, "This is Jesus humbling those in question, by force. Juxtaposed to the concept of worship, which is a willful adoration of a subject. These people weren't willfully worshiping anything. Jesus is humbling them."

In other words, your argument is that they are worshiping the Philippians, but the text doesn't bear that out.

I agree, that the word used there is "to worship" however, all the comparable texts you used, also indicate something else in their contexts, which is missing in Rev. 3:9

Matt. 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”

Matt. 28: 9 Suddenly Jesus met them.“Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Luke 24:50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

John 9:38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

1 Cor. 14:25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”[c]

Rev. 4:10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:

Notice that the context of all these passages indicates who is worshipped. Yet in Rev. 3:9 the object isn't stated as the Philippians. There is no indication of worshiping the Philippians as if they were gods of some sort.

Rather, it's made plain by Jesus, "For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”

Deut 4:19 warns the Israelites not to go worship the astral deities that God gave to the nations. For further context, go to Deut 32:8 (the DSS or LXX version) where it states that God divided up the nations according to the number of the sons of God. Each son of God received a nation. Deut 4:19 represents them as astral deities because that was quite common in Babylonian culture at the time. We know the author means actual gods, since he calls them that in Deut 17:3. Deut 29:26 explains that the Israelites will go after the other gods anyway, calling them "gods he had not allotted to them." They were given to other nations. See also Deut 6:14.

As Deut. 4:28 explains: "There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell."

Indicating that they aren't real gods in the mind of the writers of the text, nor in God's opinion. They are "man-made" or make believe or simply vapor.

And no. 4:19 doesn't say that God gave deities to the other nations. Sorry. "do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven." is saying that they shouldn't be enticed to worship these made up, false gods that don't really exist, based on "things" such as the sun, moon, stars etc., such as was common, as you said, in the Babylonian culture. That these are given to "all nations" [to use as in gaining warmth from the sun, not to worship it].

I don't think I could have said it better:

Deut. 4:35 "You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other."

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In Modern Hebrew, the singular word ba'alim ("owner") looks plural, but likewise takes a singular verb.

As far as I know, I'm the only native speaker of Ivrit in this board, so I'd better address your wiki quote. Ba'alim is originally a legal term, somewhat of an abstract for the owner of something. Thus it could be a single male owner, a single female owner, or multiple male and/or female owners. It is now used colloquially by everyone outside the legal profession and is nothing more than an example of sloppy Hebrew. You won't find, for example, ba'alei ha-bait if used of a single individual.

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Most of the information contained in the Hebrew Bible on idols and their worshippers is polemic. Isaiah 44:10-21, where the idol worshipper uses the same block of wood for fire and for bowing down to, is a classic example. It is worth noting that polemic rarely takes into account the meaning of the thing targeted to its devotees or adherents. In other words, the attitude of an idol worshipper to his idol might differ substantially from the portrait painted by Isaiah.

The Babylonian might have pointed out that for several centuries Yahweh, after emerging from the obscurity of a remote desert, had lived inside, or at the least in close association with, a decorated chest made of acacia wood. He was of rather uncertain temper, but in the main could be kept good-humoured by regular offerings of the smoke of burnt beef fat, of which he was inordinately fond. In contrast, Marduk was a spiritual being, creator of heaven and earth, and so transcendent that it was impossible to see or to comprehend him

H.W.F. Saggs, The Encounter with the Divine in Mesopotamia and Israel (London: Athlone Press, 1978), p. 15.

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I'm sorry, but I disagree. I'm not advocating for Monarchism or Monolatry. And as far as the question of Elohim - "Despite the -im ending common to many plural nouns in Hebrew, the word Elohim, when referring to God is grammatically singular, and takes a singular verb in the Hebrew Bible.

I don't find it necessary to make a point of the fact that an epithet used of a singular referent, irrespective of its morphological number, is grammatically singular. Elohim is singular because it was an abstract plural. It became concretized in reference to an object. On this, see Joel S. Burnett, A Reassessment of Biblical Elohim. The old notions of plural of excellence or of majesty are obsolete.

The word is identical to the usual plural of el meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'lhm found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite Gods, the children of El and conventionally vocalized as "Elohim" although the original Ugaritic vowels are unknown. When the Hebrew Bible uses elohim not in reference to God, it is plural (for example, Exodus 20:3).

This is false. There are numerous instance of the plural elohim being used in reference to singular foreign deities. In fact, despite the fact that this should not have to be stated, whenever the word is used to refer to a singular deity, it is singular. Every time it is used of plural deities, it is plural. Whether or not the referent is the God of Israel or not is absolutely immaterial. See 1 Kgs 11:33, for instance.

There are a few other such uses in Hebrew, for example Behemoth. In Modern Hebrew, the singular word ba'alim ("owner") looks plural, but likewise takes a singular verb." From Wikipedia

This article is full of errors, and it hardly bears on the difference between monarchism and monotheism.

A couple of problems. First is the context. You offered nothing to refute my statement, "This is Jesus humbling those in question, by force. Juxtaposed to the concept of worship, which is a willful adoration of a subject. These people weren't willfully worshiping anything. Jesus is humbling them."

I don't find the distinction relevant. Worship is worship, whether it is forced or not. If coercion invalidated the soul of worship then early Christians and Jews would have had no problem with worshipping other deities under the coercion of Babylon, Greece, and Rome.

In other words, your argument is that they are worshiping the Philippians, but the text doesn't bear that out.

I agree, that the word used there is "to worship" however, all the comparable texts you used, also indicate something else in their contexts, which is missing in Rev. 3:9.

This is a modern qualification. For the ancients, the act of prostration before another was worship, and coercion did not change the nature of it in any sense.

Notice that the context of all these passages indicates who is worshipped. Yet in Rev. 3:9 the object isn't stated as the Philippians. There is no indication of worshiping the Philippians as if they were gods of some sort.

Is that so? Rev 3:21 states that those who overcome will sit in God's throne exactly as Christ sat down in God's throne. This does seem to indicate they would be divinized, and numerous texts from this time period assert that humanity could commune with the gods.

Rather, it's made plain by Jesus, "For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”

Are you presupposing a univocal view of the Bible?

As Deut. 4:28 explains: "There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell."

Indicating that they aren't real gods in the mind of the writers of the text, nor in God's opinion. They are "man-made" or make believe or simply vapor.

The Hebrew Bible often alternates between referring to idols and to the actual deities as "gods." Deut 32:8-9 clearly states that God set up the gods, his sons, over the nations of the world. Are you insisting that this refers to idols that God set up as gods over the nations?

And no. 4:19 doesn't say that God gave deities to the other nations. Sorry. "do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven." is saying that they shouldn't be enticed to worship these made up, false gods that don't really exist, based on "things" such as the sun, moon, stars etc., such as was common, as you said, in the Babylonian culture. That these are given to "all nations" [to use as in gaining warmth from the sun, not to worship it].

You're neglecting Deut 17:3. The astral deities are very clearly identified as gods. You're also neglecting the scriptures I pointed to that very clearly explain that the Israelites would worship those deities not allotted to them, but allotted to other nations. For what were they allotted to the nations that they were not allotted to Israel, if not for worship?

I don't think I could have said it better:

Deut. 4:35 "You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other."

See my discussion here.

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Insights regarding deification and human worship:

If at the beginning of the [the Book of Revelation], "the one seated on the throne" was a designation of God in contrast to the Lamb, by the end of the book the throne is described as being "the throne of God and of the Lamb" (22:1, 3). There is also a clear sharing of the same titles between God and Christ...This sharing of titles stands within Jewish agency tradition, which transferred titles to an emissary as a way of showing his authority to speak and act for the one who sent him...The examples from Revelation precisely parallel the transfer of roles and attributes between the sender and the sent, between God and his agent, that one finds elsewhere in early Jewish literature. The language and imagery used is thus well within the bounds of what one might expect to find in a Jewish context as a response to the arrival of God's eschatological redeemer. The fact that the same sharing of throne and sovereignty is explicitly said to extend to Christians as well is not without significance. (James F. McGrath, The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context, University of Illinois Press, 2009: 74-75 emphasis mine)

Indeed, the rabbinic tradition sometimes went to the extreme of anthropomorphism: Not only did it make the notion of man's likeness to God as physical and detailed as possible (it included circumcision among the distinguishing marks of the Deity), but it took the likeness as proof of the potential perfection of man and taught that Adam before the fall and the righteous in the world to come realized this perfection and were rightly, therefore, to be worshipped by the angels: We read in Baba Batra 75b, "Rabba said R. Johanan, 'The righteous are destined to be called by the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, for it is said, "Everyone who is called by my name, him have I created, formed and made that he should also share my glory.""...R. Elazar said, 'The trishagion [i.e. Holy, Holy, Holy] will be said before the righteous as it is said before the Holy One, blessed be He.' In a later passage in the Tanhuma and in the condensation of Bereshit Rabbati this potential divinity and predicted worship are presented as the direct consequences of man's being in the image of God. So it is in the Latin life of Adam (13ff.), where, after Adam's creation, the angels are ordered to "worship the image of God." (Morton Smith, "The Image of God: Notes on the Hellenization of Judaism, with Especial Reference to Goodenough's Work on Jewish Symbols," in Studies in the Cult of Yahweh, Vol. 1: Studies in Historical Method, Ancient Israel, Ancient Judaism, ed. Shaye J.D. Cohen, Brill, 1996: 120-121)

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Juxtaposed to the concept of worship, which is a willful adoration of a subject

Would you care to substantiate the bolded part?

I'm not sure, are you disagreeing with the idea that worship is done out of a willing heart?

In other words, as Jesus said about the pharisees, "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

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Interesting video and a really good response.

Couldn't it be argued that Mormonism is to Christianity as Christianity is to the Jewish faith?

No. Mormonism still accepts the ccentral tenent of Christian faith- the divinity of Jesus Christ.

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I'm not sure, are you disagreeing with the idea that worship is done out of a willing heart?

In other words, as Jesus said about the pharisees, "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

I'm disagreeing that worship requires that it be done out of a willing heart.

Why would there have been Christian martyrs if you could worship a foreign deity and not have it considered worship if it were under duress?

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I don't find the distinction relevant. Worship is worship, whether it is forced or not. If coercion invalidated the soul of worship then early Christians and Jews would have had no problem with worshipping other deities under the coercion of Babylon, Greece, and Rome.

This is a modern qualification. For the ancients, the act of prostration before another was worship, and coercion did not change the nature of it in any sense.

However, the passage doesn't mention anything about worshiping the Philadelphians (I miss wrote it last time as Phillipians, sorry). Which if your position was correct, that they were forced to worship the men, then we'd expect some mention of them as the object of that worship. However, as I pointed out that in every other passage you mentioned where worship was mentioned, the object was always mentioned and it was always God. Further, if it meant as you are arguing, to worship man, then we'd have a direct contradiction with Jesus statement to worship God alone!

Is that so? Rev 3:21 states that those who overcome will sit in God's throne exactly as Christ sat down in God's throne. This does seem to indicate they would be divinized, and numerous texts from this time period assert that humanity could commune with the gods.

It indicates exactly what it says. "Divinized" isn't implied or taught in the Biblical texts. Rather, divinity is what God is by nature. His creation, what we are, is what we will always be, no matter our location. Communing with God directly doesn't make us more divine or change who we are, we will still be his creation. In essence, this is the purpose for his creating us in the first place, to commune to share his love and life with us.

Are you presupposing a univocal view of the Bible?

I don't presuppose it, but see it through my study of it.

The Hebrew Bible often alternates between referring to idols and to the actual deities as "gods." Deut 32:8-9 clearly states that God set up the gods, his sons, over the nations of the world. Are you insisting that this refers to idols that God set up as gods over the nations?

Even the KJV doesn't say what you say Deut. 32:8, 9 says, "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

9For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance."

Please point to me where, as you say: "Deut 32:8-9 clearly states that God set up the gods, his sons, over the nations of the world."

You're neglecting Deut 17:3. The astral deities are very clearly identified as gods. You're also neglecting the scriptures I pointed to that very clearly explain that the Israelites would worship those deities not allotted to them, but allotted to other nations. For what were they allotted to the nations that they were not allotted to Israel, if not for worship?

First there wasn't any verse that says, "Israelites would worship those deities not allotted to them, but allotted to other nations." Please quote it for me, thanks.

And as for Deut. 17:3:

Deut. 17:2, "If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, 3 and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, 4 and this has been brought to your attention..."

Notice that this isn't an instruction on how real those gods are, but rather an instruction about what to do with said people who do these things. In other words, just because someone worships the sun, moon, or stars, it doesn't follow that those sun, moon, or stars are deities or are divine, or can even receive worship. The Bible does this a lot. It's written in the culture of that time, and accepts that people worship things that don't actually have any power at all, that aren't a deity at all. This is one of those passages.

In Deut. 4:28 God explains that these gods aren't real at all, by saying - "There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell." Not God allotted, but man-made, or "made up by man" if you will.

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From the first minute of the video.

"We believe god has eternally has been God."
"God Himself has not been created."

From these definitions it is obvious that the God of James White is incapable of reproduction.

The God of James White is impotent, rather than omnipotent.

And as far as "monotheism" in the Bible, what about these verses?

Josh. 22:22 The Lord God of gods, the Lord God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the Lord, (save us not this day,)

Deut. 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

Ps. 136:2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Dan. 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

Dan. 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

Are these "gods" that worship God true or false gods?

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I'm disagreeing that worship requires that it be done out of a willing heart.

Why would there have been Christian martyrs if you could worship a foreign deity and not have it considered worship if it were under duress?

I'm guessing that we're disagreeing about degrees of worship.

Can a person worship under duress? Can a person be forced to worship?

Yes and no.

In other words, if you forced people to worship, under threat of death, then would you consider the simple act of bowing down to be equal to a person who was sold out and into worshiping the same person?

Would both be "seen" as worship? I suppose. But, as it relates to the passage in Rev. 3:9, it doesn't change the fact that the object of worship isn't stated as the Philadelphians people. Rather, the bowing is submission to the fact that Jesus loved them.

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I'm guessing that we're disagreeing about degrees of worship.

Can a person worship under duress? Can a person be forced to worship?

Yes and no.

In other words, if you forced people to worship, under threat of death, then would you consider the simple act of bowing down to be equal to a person who was sold out and into worshiping the same person?

Would both be "seen" as worship? I suppose. But, as it relates to the passage in Rev. 3:9, it doesn't change the fact that the object of worship isn't stated as the Philadelphians people. Rather, the bowing is submission to the fact that Jesus loved them.

Worship was an act, not a motive behind the act.

In Re. 3:9 the church of Satan will worship the Philadelphians, and know that God loves them. You can't get around the element of worship.

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However, the passage doesn't mention anything about worshiping the Philadelphians (I miss wrote it last time as Phillipians, sorry). Which if your position was correct, that they were forced to worship the men, then we'd expect some mention of them as the object of that worship. However, as I pointed out that in every other passage you mentioned where worship was mentioned, the object was always mentioned and it was always God. Further, if it meant as you are arguing, to worship man, then we'd have a direct contradiction with Jesus statement to worship God alone!

There is a direct contradiction. They're all over the Bible. The Philadelphians are very clearly the object of the worship. The speaker is speaking in the second person to the Philadelphians and says the synagogue of Satan will "do obeisance/fall down/worship before your feet." In absolutely every instance I can find of this verb found in connection with the word "feet," the feet are the feet of the object of the worship. The Philadelphians are absolutely unquestionably receiving the worship of the synagogue of Satan.

It indicates exactly what it says. "Divinized" isn't implied or taught in the Biblical texts.

I disagree. John 1:12 says that humans may become the "sons of God," and that has always meant divinity. Revelation states that humans will sit down in God's throne as Jesus sits in God's throne. What else could that possibly mean?

Rather, divinity is what God is by nature.

That's nowhere in the Bible.

His creation, what we are, is what we will always be, no matter our location.

Also nowhere in the Bible.

Communing with God directly doesn't make us more divine or change who we are, we will still be his creation.

Being a creation in no way precludes divinity, but the above is also nowhere in the Bible.

In essence, this is the purpose for his creating us in the first place, to commune to share his love and life with us.

And we disagree over whether that means we remain non-divine or return to divinity. My conclusion has sound methodologies supporting it, however, as well as the testimony of numerous contemporary Jews and Christians who asserted that they could be reckoned among the gods.

I don't presuppose it, but see it through my study of it.

And I see the exact opposite in my study of it. If I recall I challenged your research on this in the past (here) and you stated that you didn't have time that day, but never came back to it. Feel free to take that argument back up from here if you wish to appeal to univocality or inerrancy in this debate.

Even the KJV doesn't say what you say Deut. 32:8, 9 says, "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

9For the LORD's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance."

Please point to me where, as you say: "Deut 32:8-9 clearly states that God set up the gods, his sons, over the nations of the world."

As I have stated several times now, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint show the original version of that text. It originally finished, "he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the sons of God, and Yhwh's portion was his people, jacob was his allotted share." You can see discussion of the original shape of the text here.

First there wasn't any verse that says, "Israelites would worship those deities not allotted to them, but allotted to other nations." Please quote it for me, thanks.

I already quoted both scriptures for you. Deut 29:26 says Israel would go worship gods that God had not allotted to them. Deut 4:19, 32:8-9, and 17:3 makes absolutely clear that god allotted the gods of the nations to the nations.

And as for Deut. 17:3:

Deut. 17:2, "If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, 3 and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, 4 and this has been brought to your attention..."

Notice that this isn't an instruction on how real those gods are, but rather an instruction about what to do with said people who do these things. In other words, just because someone worships the sun, moon, or stars, it doesn't follow that those sun, moon, or stars are deities or are divine, or can even receive worship. The Bible does this a lot. It's written in the culture of that time, and accepts that people worship things that don't actually have any power at all, that aren't a deity at all. This is one of those passages.

You're begging the question. Deut 17:3 does not say "other non-deities that the nations consider gods," it says "other gods." There are portions of Deuteronomy that call them "no-gods," but those portions also call other countries "no-nations," and states that people who make idols are "nothing, and less than nothing," and that the nations are "nothing." You're twisting the rhetoric of Deuteronomy to fit your presuppositions without bothering to check and see if the rhetoric allows itself to be twisted that way. In this instance it does not. The Bible calls them gods and very clearly does not say they are not gods. According to Deut 32:8-9 they are the sons of God, which are elsewhere very clearly shown to be considered actual divine beings.

In Deut. 4:28 God explains that these gods aren't real at all, by saying - "There you will worship man-made gods of wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or eat or smell." Not God allotted, but man-made, or "made up by man" if you will.

I've already addressed this text, and I've not yet seen you respond to my comments. Please don't ignore my arguments and reassert the very things to which my argument responds.

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