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Christian/Mormon Debate On What Authority We Should Believe


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18 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I only had the time to listen to a little more than half of it while I was on a walk today so far (I was listening at 1.5 playback speed, which made it a lot easier to digest), and I hope to be able to listen to more of it later on.  I agree with you.  But now I need to go back and watch part of it so that I can see the eye rolling and body language.  That will make it more entertaining. 

I didn't care for the caricature of Calvinism that was used and attacked by the two LDS guys when they started out (they could have handled that differently), but as it progressed I could see they were using that to establish the circular reasoning built in to their opponents position, and that really needed to be pointed out.  But they could have done that without spending so much time on Calvinism.  And the sola-scriptura point of view was clearly inconsistent and filled with circular reasoning (i.e. they accepted that true knowledge of the scriptures comes from the Spirit [a non-scriptural source], and they attempted to utilize non-scriptural references from the early Christian Fathers to establish a sola-scriptura point of view, and even that the canon of scripture can only be known by tradition).  

There were some other glaring problems in some of the things said by the pro sola-scriptura people that I hope will be addressed by the LDS guys when I listen to the rest of it (i.e. they kept referring to Jesus quoting scripture to establish the authority of scripture, but in the context of some of the passages they reference, Satan also quoted the scriptures and so did the scribes..... the difference is that Jesus "taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes", which of course is not sola-scriptura).  

But in the end, public debates are always unsatisfying.  Nobody can address all of the questions and problems in that format.  I much prefer written debates.

I thought the two LDS guys were much more genuine, except for the one round of questioning that centered on Calvinism, which wasn't even the focus of the debate. I am personally familiar with a tragic debate among the faculty and board of directors at one of the foremost reformed seminaries in the US. That whole debate was about Biblical interpretation and cost at least one faculty member his job. The two young Calvinists were very unprepared to discuss without parroting and rehearsed lines. I got tickled when on each side, one or the other of the young men tried to bail out the other - sometimes looking like they disagreed with each other as much as with the other side. Of course, that might very well be true!

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5 hours ago, Navidad said:

even then it is hard because many Fundamentalists prefer to be known as Evangelicals.

How would you address them if they told you they prefer to be known as Evangelical?

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4 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Of course, unless you argue there never was one.

Even as an active LDS person I would often wonder why God would send his son, establish His Church and priesthood and have then let it all crumble 50-150 years or so later. And then wait 1800 years to bring it back.  Honestly that never seemed to make sense or even ring probable.  Seemed like a poor plan to me.

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Just now, Teancum said:

Even as an active LDS person I would often wonder why God would send his son, establish His Church and priesthood and have then let it all crumble 50-150 years or so later. And then wait 1800 years to bring it back.  Honestly that never seemed to make sense or even ring probable.  Seemed like a poor plan to me.

I've thought about that to. It prompts me to recalibrate my belief on the purposes of the gospel for mankind. It was obviously never in the plan for seemingly countless people to hear the gospel as we know it. And yet, relatively speaking, a small percentage to hear of Christianity and an even smaller, infinitesimal percentage to hear of the LDS gospel. It also prompts me to wonder about hopes/expectations/ideal/stewardship for those who do accept our gospel. I suspect there will be much we learn about the meaning of life once beyond the veil.

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40 minutes ago, Calm said:

How would you address them if they told you they prefer to be known as Evangelical?

You are asking me, so I can only answer for me. I would and have taken them on for their attaching the Evangelical moniker to what is often their not-so-subtle-Fundamentalist-venom. I know in this day and age, the correct answer is to address someone by their preferred identity. I support that in some areas, but not in the religious sense. I think you know by now that it really fries my bacon when folks, based on their own religious preference other, mock, denigrate, generalize, normalize, and in general are mean to anyone who has a faith different than their own.  In my old age (I just turned 73 last week) I am becoming less tolerant with those who approach faith with certainty. As I said in an earlier post, I am much more comfortable with the concept of provisional certitude, which means I am content in my faith and its validity until someone can approach me with something better, more genuine, that makes more sense, and that I believe teaches me more about God. Then I must first receive it, then reflect, reason, and ponder on it, then ask a million questions, then accept or reject it as my new found truth. If I can't or won't do all of that, I am not a mature person, open to new insights. Best, Navidad.

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2 hours ago, Navidad said:

Let's make it clear. Martin Luther wasn't the impetus for the counter-reformation and the Council of Trent. It was the Anabaptists, who Luther basically despised! Now that I've straightened that out . . . . . . ! Ha!

Throw Yoder in the stove, eh?

In our defense, we could only take so much bathtub borscht! 

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19 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I am becoming less tolerant with those who approach faith with certainty

Off topic, so just a brief aside…this does not appear to me to be consistent with your certainty that those you see as Fundamentalists are not the Evangelicals they claim to be. I may have mentioned this before, it is something in your posts I have a hard time wrapping my head around.  I continue to struggle to see how you are not sticking someone in a box while denouncing boxes.  I can process most of what you post well enough, so this sticks out for me. I keep hoping you will say something that makes it click for me. :)

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

Throw Yoder in the stove, eh?

In our defense, we could only take so much bathtub borscht! 

No they threw over 5,000 Yoders in the rivers. Martyred them all!

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5 hours ago, Calm said:

Off topic, so just a brief aside…this does not appear to me to be consistent with your certainty that those you see as Fundamentalists are not the Evangelicals they claim to be. I may have mentioned this before, it is something in your posts I have a hard time wrapping my head around.  I continue to struggle to see how you are not sticking someone in a box while denouncing boxes.  I can process most of what you post well enough, so this sticks out for me. I keep hoping you will say something that makes it click for me. :)

Fair enough! I will ponder on this over night and be back in the morning. Good and fair question. I think I could answer it tonight, but I am tired and I don't want to err in what I say. Millions of folks around the world claim the moniker of Evangelicalism. I am sure most of them are sincere and correct. However, there is a Biblical concept that "by their fruits you will know them." I believe many LDS folks are genuine Christians because of their commitment to the atonement and because of their active demonstration of the fruits of the Spirit.

I came to that conclusion after living among them for some years now. Prior to that in my Fundamentalist youth, when I didn't know any LDS folks it was easy to categorize them in a certain way without giving it a second thought. Now I can't do that - I see the fruits of the spirit in many LDS folks and have learned via my journey to Evangelicalism to honor that. Ditto for Catholics, Orthodox, and other groups. I have learned to never say anything with certainty about anyone else's heart. I share my personal observation about Fundamentalists, yes. With certainty? Never. I cannot know anyone else's lived experience. I only believe that if one isolates oneself from relationships - real day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year relationships with those who are different in some way, it is easy to dismiss and denigrate them. That is what Fundamentalists tend to do. Of course the three categories of Christians that I understand (Fundamentalist, Evangelical, and Mainline) are separated by boundaries that are permeable - not hard and fast. The lines of demarcation are progressive, blended, and inconsistent. That is often how it is.

Folks are often on a journey, so they are not consistent. I have been on a journey in my understanding of my LDS friends - therefore I have often been inconsistent as many of you will testify about me. At least I journey. Most of my Fundamentalist friends are quite happy and comfortable right where they are. No need to explore, question, or journey. I would dare say the same about some of my LDS friends. Why would I ask questions when I already have the truth? Have I not heard that, even on this forum? I hope that makes sense.

There is however, a certain group of folks within Christianity, whether LDS, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, Orthodox, Lutherans, Anabaptists or whatever group who approach others as less than themselves in terms of orthodoxy, orthopraxy, enlightenment, faithfulness, separateness from the world, wisdom, insight, discipleship, etc. It is this sense of spiritual superiority that I believe characterizes the Fundamentalist of whatever faith. I grew up in it. I was one. I can sense it. That is what has drawn me to Evangelicalism since my mid-twenties.

My Fundamentalist friends are often intolerant of those of the LDS faith, perhaps as much as they are intolerant of Evangelicals. Many Evangelicals were at one time Fundamentalist and left that identification. So, they are objects of particular scorn. I think many of you can understand that. Anyway, there I go replying when I said I wouldn't. More tomorrow. I wish everyone a restful evening!

Edited by Navidad
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7 hours ago, Teancum said:

Even as an active LDS person I would often wonder why God would send his son, establish His Church and priesthood and have then let it all crumble 50-150 years or so later. And then wait 1800 years to bring it back.  Honestly that never seemed to make sense or even ring probable.  Seemed like a poor plan to me.

There was no damage to humanity for the wait- that is the spurious argument opponents of the idea of the apostasy make- those who lived during that time  have the opportunity- and will take it- to accept the truth in the afterlife  Mankind itself had to get over the .... in my opinion erroneous.... views of Greek paganism taught in the early church.  Culturally the world became tainted with the ideas of Pythagoras through Plato.  Frankly, long story short- I really don't want to get embroiled in a long discussion in complex philosophical issues that very few here will understand-- I feel that the church could not have been restored until the beginning of Romanticism as a philosophy, and after Cartesianism was shown to be unviable, and indeed that enought time passed to make it clear that there were central problems in the Christianity of its day, as finally demonstrated by Nietsche in his "God is Dead" views that certainly did not apply to any God but the false one found in Christianity at that time.

And it was- restored- exactly right on time

Edited by mfbukowski
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13 hours ago, Vanguard said:

I've thought about that to. It prompts me to recalibrate my belief on the purposes of the gospel for mankind. It was obviously never in the plan for seemingly countless people to hear the gospel as we know it. And yet, relatively speaking, a small percentage to hear of Christianity and an even smaller, infinitesimal percentage to hear of the LDS gospel. It also prompts me to wonder about hopes/expectations/ideal/stewardship for those who do accept our gospel. I suspect there will be much we learn about the meaning of life once beyond the veil.

Or maybe there was not any apostasy per say.  Christians started a church and it morphed into many versions. There is no one right way or one authority and its all man made.

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7 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

There was no damage to humanity for the wait- that is the spurious argument opponents of the idea of the apostasy make- those who lived during that time  have the opportunity- and will take it- to accept the truth in the afterlife  Mankind itself had to get over the .... in my opinion erroneous.... views of Greek paganism taught in the early church.  Culturally the world became tainted with the ideas of Pythagoras through Plato.  Frankly, long story short- I really don't want to get embroiled in a long discussion in complex philosophical issues that very few here will understand-- I feel that the church could not have been restored until the beginning of Romanticism as a philosophy, and after Cartesianism was shown to be unviable, and indeed that enought time passed to make it clear that there were central problems in the Christianity of its day, as finally demonstrated by Nietsche in his "God is Dead" views that certainly did not apply to any God but the false one found in Christianity at that time.

And it was- restored- exactly right on time

THen why did Jesus set up a church that was doomed?  Why not wait until 1830? Pretty sloppy.  And who are you to judge that there was no damage to humanity? Really this seems like mental gymnastics that need to be performed in order to make your own beliefs work.

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4 hours ago, Teancum said:

THen why did Jesus set up a church that was doomed?  Why not wait until 1830? Pretty sloppy.  And who are you to judge that there was no damage to humanity? Really this seems like mental gymnastics that need to be performed in order to make your own beliefs work.

1. Cultural Christianity was taken worldwide even if a bit "off". Some kind of apostasy was inevitable with the level of communication available. 

2. LDS Doctrine tells us about work for the dead, not me. No damage done. It is clear that a just God would have a mechanism to account for the errors of men in an age where communication was like the game of "telephone", spread verbally.

It probably IS mental gymnastics for non-believers. Good. They need the exercise.

Edited by mfbukowski
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54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

1. Cultural Christianity was taken worldwide even if a bit "off". Some kind of apostasy was inevitable with the level of communication available. 

So Jesus set up cultural Christianity? See you really are avoiding the issue. Why does God set up his church with all the apostles, offices, priesthood just to watch it crumble a few decades later. Seems pretty stupid to me.

 

54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

2. LDS Doctrine tells us about work for the dead, not me. No damage done. It is clear that a just God would have a mechanism to account for the errors of men in an age where communication was like the game of "telephone", spread verbally.

Yes for 1800 years humans missed out on the alleged joy the true gospel brings.  But that's ok. You will get it when you are dead. You need to step outside your world view and see how ridiculous you sound.

54 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

It probably IS mental gymnastics for non-believers. Good. They need the exercise.

No need for mental gymnastics on my part. I am not the one that needs to make my beliefs fit some silly idea.  As noted, even as a full TBM the idea of the great apostasy always seemed odd to me.

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2 hours ago, Teancum said:

So Jesus set up cultural Christianity? See you really are avoiding the issue. Why does God set up his church with all the apostles, offices, priesthood just to watch it crumble a few decades later. Seems pretty stupid to me.

 

Yes for 1800 years humans missed out on the alleged joy the true gospel brings.  But that's ok. You will get it when you are dead. You need to step outside your world view and see how ridiculous you sound.

No need for mental gymnastics on my part. I am not the one that needs to make my beliefs fit some silly idea.  As noted, even as a full TBM the idea of the great apostasy always seemed odd to me.

That's ok

What we take as current Doctrine was from Joseph.  I can't imagine teenagers blessing the Eucharist 2000 years ago.

I keep regretting responding at all to your tone, but I never learn.

It appears that all spiritual matters seem odd to you, despite the billions who would disagree

Best wishes yet again  :)

 

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On 3/14/2022 at 5:14 PM, Navidad said:

You are asking me, so I can only answer for me. I would and have taken them on for their attaching the Evangelical moniker to what is often their not-so-subtle-Fundamentalist-venom. I know in this day and age, the correct answer is to address someone by their preferred identity. I support that in some areas, but not in the religious sense. I think you know by now that it really fries my bacon when folks, based on their own religious preference other, mock, denigrate, generalize, normalize, and in general are mean to anyone who has a faith different than their own.  In my old age (I just turned 73 last week) I am becoming less tolerant with those who approach faith with certainty. As I said in an earlier post, I am much more comfortable with the concept of provisional certitude, which means I am content in my faith and its validity until someone can approach me with something better, more genuine, that makes more sense, and that I believe teaches me more about God. Then I must first receive it, then reflect, reason, and ponder on it, then ask a million questions, then accept or reject it as my new found truth. If I can't or won't do all of that, I am not a mature person, open to new insights. Best, Navidad.

There is this pastor that makes me want to run right back to the LDS church and cling to them. I wonder how many are like this idiot. 

 

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Just into the youtube for a few minutes and the LDS men nail it as far as the Bible being fallible because it comes through men. A big yes to that!

The world would be a better place with this idea that the Bible is fallible, because it could be translated wrong, or interpreted incorrectly. 

The Bible has caused so much wrong, how could it be totally the word of God. When what has been written in it, has caused so much pain.

The 8th article of faith by Joseph Smith:

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Amen, and amen!

 

Edited by Tacenda
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15 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

That's ok

What we take as current Doctrine was from Joseph.  I can't imagine teenagers blessing the Eucharist 2000 years ago.

I am not sure what this means other than you believe Joseph is a prophet.  That is fine. To take your approach, billions disagree.  And billions disagree that Jesus established a church just to have it disintegrate a few decades later.

15 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I keep regretting responding at all to your tone, but I never learn.

TOne?  I am just sharing thoughts. If the fact that that don't line up to yours means I have some sort of tone, whatever that means, I am not sure what to say. I do not think I am being strident.  But I get it. I wonder why I reply to many of your meandering post that don't seem to make much sense.  And you have "tone" as well.

15 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

It appears that all spiritual matters seem odd to you, despite the billions who would disagree

Best wishes yet again  :)

 

Odd it not the word I would use. Unconvincing would be better.  And again, billions disagree with you.  Does that make you wrong?  And I imagine at least a billion or so agree with me.  Does that make me right.  Billions can be wrong on either count.

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On 3/15/2022 at 12:05 AM, Navidad said:

No they threw over 5,000 Yoders in the rivers. Martyred them all!

I do know about that, and regret the entire circumstance. In my opinion, reform was needed in the Church. I wish the reformers would have stayed, and hope they'll come back in our day, but don't think that their objections were without merit.

I didn't mean to be glib, although a person can only handle so much borscht! I was trying to gesture to Martin Luther's bit about "throwing Jimmy in the stove," by which he disparaged the Epistle of James and brought the notions of sola scriptura and sola fide into focus.

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On 3/14/2022 at 9:38 PM, Navidad said:

I have learned to never say anything with certainty about anyone else's heart.

That's easy. Perhaps that is the problem.  One never has certainty of anything EXCEPT one's heart.  Of course no one has any WAY to judge anyone else's heart, so that is easy!  It's judging incomeasurables.

Certainty, I believe, is fear of ambiguity.  Face ambiguity and call it exactly what it is, and certainty emerges.  See ideas and things as relations and not mirrors of reality does the trick.

You can never walk into the "same" river twice, and life is just that- a river of consciousness constantly changing. Every floating leaf changes the whole. The only thing certain is uncertainty, and your own heart.

Of that I am absolutely certain.

Read some Heraclitus!

Edited by mfbukowski
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22 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Just into the youtube for a few minutes and the LDS men nail it as far as the Bible being fallible because it comes through men. A big yes to that!

The world would be a better place with this idea that the Bible is fallible, because it could be translated wrong, or interpreted incorrectly. 

The Bible has caused so much wrong, how could it be totally the word of God. When what has been written in it, has caused so much pain.

The 8th article of faith by Joseph Smith:

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Amen, and amen! 

 

Tacenda did you watch the follow up visual presentation I posted above ?.

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

That's easy. Perhaps that is the problem.  One never has certainty of anything EXCEPT one's heart.  Of course no one has any WAY to judge anyone else's heart, so that is easy!  It's judging incomeasurables.

The  heart pumps blood. That is all it does. Emotions that are attributed to the heart come from the brain. The brain runs on electrical impulses and secretes hormones that make us think our heart is telling us something.  Your metaphysical experiences are all from your brain.  Nowhere else.  Not from some supposed God or other supernatural force. 

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On 3/15/2022 at 6:32 AM, Anakin7 said:

Update on the original title and post. Response to James White and the apologia apologists by a non LDS Christian - 

I listened to the second hour of the debate yesterday during my walk (the first video posted).  The two guys from the Apologia group didn't stand a chance, not just because the two LDS guys did a good job (they handled it pretty well), but also because it's impossible to win a debate supporting sola scriptura.  I felt that the debate got off topic in too many ways.  But the closing statement by Jason Hansen (of the LDS side, starting at the 2:01:51 mark of the video) was powerful and inviting. 

I admire people who can think on their feet like they all did in the video, under the pressures of a debate like that.  The LDS guys did a great job of making their point.  But if I were to be the Monday morning quarterback with 20/20 hindsight, I have these two main observations: 

  • I didn't think they handled the question about the Joseph Smith translation of Genesis 50:24-26 well at all.  They were asked (I'm paraphrasing here):  Since there aren't any Hebrew manuscripts supporting Joseph Smith's inspired version of Genesis 50:24-26, why should we accept anything that Joseph Smith says as true at all?  I realize their response to the question was partly to keep consistent with the topic, but I think the question itself presumes something about the Joseph Smith translation that is inaccurate, and they should have pointed that out instead of just saying that Joseph Smith could have been wrong about it.
  • They could have used more scripture to support the position that the Bible does not teach sola scriptura.  Take 1 Thessalonians 1:5 for example. Maybe they used this verse somewhere else and I missed it, but it would have put the icing on the cake in the closing statement:  "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake."

There were several other things that I think could have been pointed out, but I know that's really easy for me to say from the comfort of my computer chair when I'm not in the hot seat of a debate.  

I also sampled segments of the second video you posted (the people who posted that video really don't like Calvinism or James White, do they).  It's quite long, and there's a lot of time used up in the video that could be edited out.  And even though he affirms that the "Mormons" won the debate without question, he brushes it off as the "Mormons" using "solid arguments... facts.. factual arguments... truthful statements, truthful arguments, but stolen by the Mormons in order to use them, dishonestly, deceitfully, to mislead people into following a false church, a false prophet, false God, false Christ, a false spirit" (2:41:59).  [Sarcasm mode on] Really nice compliment :) [Sarcasm mode off]. 

Edited by InCognitus
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