Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mormonism Obsessed with Christ

From Stephen H. Webb at First Things.

A taste:

After all, what gives Christianity its identity is its commitment to the divinity of Jesus Christ. And on that ground Mormons are more Christian than many mainstream Christians who do not take seriously the astounding claim that Jesus is the Son of God.

Mormonism is obsessed with Christ, and everything that it teaches is meant to awaken, encourage, and expand faith in him. It adds to the plural but coherent portrait of Jesus that emerges from the four gospels in a way, I am convinced, that does not significantly damage or deface that portrait.


Phil Johnson said...

S.H. Webb's article is a mind opener.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

An "eye opener"? Supernaturalism supreme?

The Trinity is the issue, isn't it? Whether Christ had "divine ways" of going beyond the physical realm of "life and death". The resurrection and "appearances" being supernaturalism. Not so with Judiasm, unless it is the mystical kind, nor with Greek Orthodoxy, where "the human" is the divine.

So, religious terms can always be evalutated in very different ways....there is no appeal, either to sway believers from "one to the other"....people look for confirmation to what they believe, and not for falsification.

So, how do you see the article as "eye opening", Phil?

jimmiraybob said...

I thought that it was somewhat eye opening too in so far as I have very little grasp of Mormonism or its relationship with more traditional Christianities.

If our next president is a Mormon, a possibility, then that will increase that LDS* Church's influence at all levels of Washington society and government as well as being a boost for the Church**. It's better to have some understanding of the faith than to be held hostage to negative propaganda (even if the next president isn't Mormon).

It also led me to thinking about how the Orthodox faiths would accommodate to that new reality. As an outsider it seems that there is some basis for doing so but then power sharing, or in the eyes of some, submission of power, isn't easy.

*Please forgive and correct me if I don't have this right.

**As in latter Rome, I suspect that more people in general will be drawn to the religion of leadership - which would be an interesting dynamic to follow.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Religion was of secondary power to the Roman Empire, unless you are talking about Constantine. This is where pacifists paint an 'ideal world". If only we had not "offended"....but HOW can we be sure? Are we willing to "take the chance" that religious ideology won't drive political policy makers? No, we in the West have not done policy based on religious claims for the most part. Isn't this what makes it so hard on politicians today? as the religiously zealous want "God" to be defended by their particular conviciton about "God's will"???

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Ideological zealots that support pacifism is no different than religious zealotry, IMO. The real world is made of conflict because people differ in how they understand things!!!

Phil Johnson said...

I know a few things about the ideas of the LDS church. As much as I have figured out, there is a strong concern for authentic members staying on the straight and narrow with each other. There appears to be a distinct concern for the welfare of each individual to do his or her best at whatever "gift" they have received. They are ready to give each other assistance as much as is possible. And, they seem to be as Christian--or more so--than any Fundamentalist Christians I have ever known. But, in contradistinction to Fundamentalist Christians, they pray for the dead believing all people will receive God's grace. That is part of their interest in your genealogy.
For my sense, they're a little too strict in their expectations. Other than that, one must give them great respect.

jimmiraybob said...

Angie - "Religion was of secondary power to the Roman Empire, unless you are talking about Constantine."

In a large way religion - pagan religion - was intimately entwined with the Roman Empire (and philosophy). The Romans were rather pious. Christianity, following Constantine gained ever greater influence in the later 4th century and begins its eventual dominance, at least among many/most of the elite, with the Edict of Thessalonica (380 AD). The Edict was issued/supported by the emperors Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II. These and subsequent edicts served the purpose of banning Paganism and establishing Catholic Christianity as the official state religion.

Often left out of Christian retelling is the persecution, often violent, of Pagans and non-Nicene Christians, offensive philosophies, and Jews that resulted in the eventual ascendancy to ruling Christian authority in state matters - after the "secular" imperial system dwindled to nothingness in roughly the 6th-7th centuries.

jimmiraybob said...

The Edict, from Freeman's A.D. 381 (2009):

"It is Our will that all peoples ruled by the administration of Our Clemency shall practice that religion which the divine Peter the Apostle transmitted to the Romans...this is the religion followed by the bishop Damascus of Rome and by Peter, bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostle sanctity: that is, according to the apostolic discipline of the evangelical doctrine, we shall believe in the single deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost under the concept of equal majesty and of the Holy trinity.

"We command that persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We judge demented and insane, shall carry the infamy of heretical dogmas. Their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by Divine vengeance, and secondly by the retribution of hostility which We shall assume in accordance with the Divine Judgement."

I especially like the "...whom We judge demented and insane..." part.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Thanks, jimmyraybob!!!
Power is what we project from our own self identifying factors, using "God" to defend our position. THAT is why religion is so abhorrent. It does not grant liberty to individuals to think beyond their box of "God" (theological opinion/conviction), thus limiting their coming to understand and own their own political opinions/convictions for themselves. AND it justifies a position in opposition to another's conviction or opinion about "God". And politiicans like to use religion for their own "profit" whether they truly hold to these beliefs or not! (but perhaps, this is the "state", or job description, of the politician)

Brad Hart said...

Good post, Jon. A couple of observations:

1.) Phil, Mormons DO NOT pray to the dead. Not in any way, shape or form. We do, however, practice baptisms for the dead in our temples. You are right that this is the primary motivation for genealogy work.

2.) Angie writes:

"Power is what we project from our own self identifying factors, using "God" to defend our position. THAT is why religion is so abhorrent. It does not grant liberty to individuals to think beyond their box of "God""

Aside from the fact that you have ONCE AGAIN completely derailed YET ANOTHER post, your bizarre assertion that religion doesn't grant liberty is completely unfounded. Religion is the most liberating force in humanity. Just ask Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, and millions of others.

Would you PLEASE do us all a favor and try really hard to stay on task? I cannot tell you how many emails I get asking me to "put Angie in check." For the most part, I have let things go. Live and let live I say. However, I have noticed that you take many threads here into strange and diverse paths that have NOTHING to do with the author's argument. Angie, don't give us your philosophical live perspective. We aren't interested. Stick to HISTORY!!!!!!!!!

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I have a hard time not responding to implications.

The post stated that Christians, and Mormons believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. This is a Trinitarian, supernaturalist stance. I was responding to what that signified, meant or implied.

There are other Christians, that weren't considered "orthodox" by the Western Churches. These were Greek Orthodox Churches. The issue WAS over the Trinity and whether Jesus divinity was innate or imparted. (Did the Holy Spirit birth Jesus, or did Jesus recieve the Holy Spirit? Does the Spirit come from the Father alone, or from God the Father and God, the Son?)

The atonement theories have to do with what and how Jesus death/life changed things. Otherwise, his atonement or death was an example of alturism or moral example.

Don't Mormons believe that Joseph Smith recieved a "divine message" about the divine nature of our country?

Phil Johnson said...

Brad. I NEVER wrote that Mormons "pray to the dead". NEVER

I wrote, that Mormons "pray FOR the dead.

Anonymous said...

sheer poppy cock. blasphemous. denying the virgin birth of Christ and they are obsessed with Christ? The spirit of anti-Christ is still alive and well and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is the very thing that the real Jesus HATES!