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Is a baby fully human? Is an fetus fully human? Is a zygote fully human? I am speaking in the ontological sense of what it is to be human. You seem to be engaging in the same sort of rhetorical argumentation that Judith Jarvis Thomson uses in her A Defense of Abortion when she compares a fetus to an acorn and a human to an oak tree. Of course an acorn isn't an oak tree however she makes the necessary categorical mistake when she inserts the word tree. All she is really saying is that a fetus isn't an adult human, because an acorn is an oak. This brings us back to our original question if a fetus or zygote is fully human, would not a god in embryo be fully God? That is at least in theory be from everlasting to everlasting God with none before them and none after them? (I am in no way suggesting that you agree with Dr. Thomson, in fact I would be willing to wager that you are very strictly opposed to abortion in any fashion.)
Furthermore simply being like something does not mean that you are that "thing" or even possess the necessary qualities to be that "thing." My dog is like me, she will never become me though, she could never become like me to that extent. However Mormon theology suggest that because we are like God in some ways we can be like him in all ways, in Logic this is called a non sequitur, literally "that does not follow." It seems you missed the point of my argument, were the pharisees literally sons of the devil? According to a Mormon understanding of the word son or father we must say yes. That being said being like God is in no way breaking the first commandment, it is how we are like God, in the Mormon sense that is blasphemy or to use your word a violation. Take Genesis 3:22, if we look at the whole verse we see the how we became like God. We knew good from evil. Take Galatians 4:7 and Romans 8:17 if we look at the context we see that we are heirs with Christ through our adoption not our birthright. In Acts 17 Paul is quoting pagan poets and showing how silly such a view is when we see that they are worshiping stone and bronze images in Athens. Furthermore just because someone or something bears the image of another does not mean that the image is a child of that which it represents? If that were the case your avatar icon would be your child.
However all these reason are not why we reject the LDS Doctrine, they are more of a red herring thrown up to obscure the true nature of the Christian rejection of Mormonism. In Historical Mormonism God (Elohim) himself had a father. That is where the breaking of the first commandment comes. It is not that we are children of God but that God is himself a child of a God and that some of us will someday be equal with him, being omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient Gods ourselves. In theory we could even surpass him if he were to stumble in his progression and we do not.
You say it is a false doctrine that we are not the literal physical children of God, If I am a child of God already why do I need to become a child of God? Further if we are using the term children to cover all of his creation then are lions horses dogs trees mushrooms dirt also his children? This brings me back once again to my original question, were the Pharisees really literal physical sons of the Devil (John 8:44) or does the term imply something different? You have not answered this question yet and it seems to be a simple one.
As for my interpretation of Matthew 16:19 ties directly into ones understanding of Matthew 16:18 however since Mormonism rejects the understanding that the Church would continue through out all generations and the Gates of Hell would never prevail against it, I will do my best to explain it apart from it's context. Peter is given the authority to admit entrance into the kingdom through preaching the gospel, an authority that is subsequently granted to all who are called to proclaim the gospel. We see this in Acts when Peter is the first to preach the Gospel to the Jews (Acts 2), Samaritans (Acts 8), and Gentiles (Acts 10). Peter also has authority to exercise discipline concerning right and wrong conduct for those in the kingdom, an authority that is not exclusive to Peter but is extended to the church as a whole in Matt. 18:18 (cf. John 20:23). Jesus delegates authority to human leaders in the church who are called to govern his church on earth, under his ultimate authority, through the application of his Word. Hope that helps at least a little bit.
As for the one baptism, it is the baptism by Christ which John the Baptist foretold (Mark 1:8). Where Christ baptized believers into one body by the Holy Spirit. Thus water baptism is simply an outward sign of the inward reality of the believer being in Christ as the result of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Thus there is spiritual unity of all genuine believers who are “in Christ,” founded on “one faith” in “one Lord,” irrespective of denominational differences. Unfortunately some who do not enter into this unity do not have the same Lord or Faith because they are not in the same Christ.
Hope that helps.
P.S. I wont let your bishop know :-p
Interesting post however I think you have created a few straw man arguments.
In Romans 8 we see that we are son's by adoption not birth, a difference between the Mormon Gospel and the Christian. Just because a Christian is a son of God it does not mean that they are a God anymore than the Pharisees being the sons of devils meant that they were in fact fallen angels. (John 8:44) However in Mormon Theology men are gods in embryo and thusly Gods themselves. Therefore the Christian's rejection of Mormonism on the grounds that they are breaking the first commandment is not hypocritical but cogent.
Secondly you set up a false dichotomy that because something is shown through a diagram the concept is not found in scripture, even Genesis. This is false.
Third though I was unable to find that quote in "God and the order of Creation" I did find the identical quote verbatim in his Summa Theologica:Article 3. Whether the angels were created before the corporeal world?
Objection 2. Further, the angelic nature stands midway between the Divine and the corporeal natures. But the Divine nature is from eternity; while corporeal nature is from time. Therefore the angelic nature was produced ere time was made, and after eternity.
Reply to Objection 2. God is not a part of, but far above, the whole universe, possessing within Himself the entire perfection of the universe in a more eminent way. But an angel is a part of the universe. Hence the comparison does not hold.
Summa Theologica 1.061.3
St. Thomas is not speaking as though God has a corporeal nature, he rejects the concept and submits something deeper.
Finally John 1:1 only proves the Pre-existence of the Logos, that is Jesus Christ, not every individual person. Also I don't know of any Christian who says that the Logos (Word in John's prologue 1:1-18) is the Bible. In fact anyone who held to the view that the Word of John 1:1-18 was the bible would be committing a Christological Heresy. However elsewhere in the bible the word of God is just that, the bible Such as 1 Peter 1:19-23. This is why the context of the passage is very important.
Very interesting definition of Sola Scriptura, including Sola Ecclesia (Tradition/Church Authority trumps scripture) as an essential portion of it since they seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Further I do not believe it is compelling Spirit of God is in conflict with the word of God. Sola Scriptura does not mean that one uses scripture to validate their point, since even believers in Sola Ecclesia seek to use scripture to validate their view. Much in the same way your church uses seeks to use scripture to validate the need for a succession of Prophets. However your church would not assume the stance of Sola Scriptura, at least as defined by Christianity.
Are you suggesting the the Elias mentioned in Matthew 17:11 is a different person from the Elias mentioned in Matthew 17:12?
Are you suggesting that the Corinthians were seeking to learn about God through the use of their bodies in rituals of some sort? Wouldn't it be much more plausible that the natural man is man in his natural state? That is a man with his mind set upon the flesh? A man whose mind is, as Paul put it, "hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
A second question on your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 2:14, are you suggesting with the comment that God fails to "compel [some of] mankind to remember Him"?
As for our views on the kingdom of God I agree that it is both physical and spiritual, and will even be political, however I see this as with most things in the New Testament as following a pattern of already and not yet. Allow me to explain: according to Paul, all who have been raised from spiritual death to life are already, in some sense seated with Christ in the Heavenly Places because our lives are hidden with Christ in God. (Ephesians 2:4-8, Colossians 3:1-4) Yet we can see those in Christ still walking around here, why is that? Because they have already been raised from spiritual death and will at the resurrection of the body be raised from physical death as well.
Just a few observations.
1) The Pharisees didn't believe in Sola Scriptura. - Mark 7:6-9
2) Concerning Matthew 17:11 (that is if we are willing to read it in context) Jesus asserts that this had already come to pass as it were, in the very next verse. "But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them."
A few questions as well:
Could you elaborate on how you can affirm 1 Corinthians 2:14 with the assumption that God does not cause men to believe in him since all men are born natural men?
Are you affirming that Christ's mission did not also include establishing His Church (on earth) and teach us "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints?"
Would you affirm that the Kingdom of God is a physical or political institution something Christ Himself rejected? (John 18:36 cf. Mark 12:13-17)
"Suggesting that Christ (whether you view Him as the Father or not) was 'unable' in the minds of LDS to prepare the way---you believe His abilities are incumbent upon the abilities or choices of men? Your faith in Christs' purpose on earth is also incumbent upon the world accepting Him and following Him?"
First no Christian believes The Son is the Father, to assume so shows a lack in understanding of Trinitarianism. Second no, I don't think that Christ is limited by the choices of me, but yes I do believe that Christ died to save sinners, who accept and follow him. However even if one takes a stance, as you do, on the libertarian free will of man, with God knowing all things, one cannot believe in a total apostasy, or even an apostasy to the point where the true Gospel was never preached even for a generation lest we make God to be a liar.
"Compared to mainstream Christians"
You simply seem to be saying that because there is division in what is called Christianity, which if we use broadly enough to encompass any self-professed Christians could technically include Hindu's, is not an argument, but an avoidance. It would be equivalent to me saying "the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes x, y, and z, therefore Mormonism is False. You're applying the characteristics of one particular self professed group or a handful of groups to the universal of Historical Christianity, when these groups have broken from Historical Christianity just as much as the Mormon Movement did, though in a different direction perhaps.
"Now, in the restoration--built on that rock promised in Matthew---is the restoration of BLESSINGS."
Ok, I think I might actually understand your particular position now. To you the Restoration wasn't so much a restoration as the initial building since Christ hadn't actually built his church rather he only promised to build it, is that a correct summation of your position?
You wrote, So every scripture you cite, or read...my heart just says, 'YES, YES!! EXACTLY!' I don't find much to quarrel with when scripture is involved. It is only your interpretation of that scripture where we differ. But even there, the differences are usually a misconception of what we actually teach.
I agree, we do have a difference of interpretation, However simply because your interpretation is different, that does not mean our interpretations are equally valid. When we engage the text we clearly start at different points. Yet it seems that one ought to deal with the text in it's original context then expand outward. Likewise if a New Testament text contains reference to an Old Testament text, we must first understand the Old in context before we can understand it in the New. The Priesthood and the Temple are two such things, (as well as turn the other cheek but a different time and place.) However it seems that if we believe in a New Covenant (Hebrews 8) we must likewise believe in a Priesthood that differs from the Old (Hebrews 7) and a New Temple (Hebrews 9:11-14) which is not earthly (23).
I think you misunderstood my statement, "I understand you, or your Husband rather, have a genealogy tracing back to Joseph Smith Jr." by this I meant a priestly genealogy, that is the laying of hands which is traceable back to Joseph Smith Jr., essentially that you [your husband] were grafted into Joseph Smith Jr.'s priestly line of succession. Sorry for the confusion.
You wrote, "The claim isn't that Christ failed---do you not remember that Christ was utterly alone in His sacrifice?" This is not answering the question, which was not one about the extent, effectiveness, or completeness of the atonement rather Christ's ability to keep His Church, something he was necessarily unable to do, and that a lesser son of God was necessarily able to do in order for your church to have any validity to its claims.
Again you mistake the question. The question is not about the validity of keys or even what they metaphorically are, though perhaps this is what I should have asked, the question was where in Scripture, Old or New Testaments were keys ever used to bestow a priesthood. Of course depending on your definition of what the "keys" actually are I could agree that they were needed to bestow a priesthood, though I would submit that it is the priesthood of all believers.
This whole "there is disunity within Christianity therefore it must be false" defense really lacks grounding. By the same standard one must find that Mormonism is also false taken at an extremely macro scale. There is disunity within Mormonism and even within the Mainstream Church, or are you willing to suggest that BYU and SLC are in 100% agreement at all times? As for my search for context, can one actually divorce a text from its time? Would it be fair to interpret Joseph Smith Jr., or Brigham Young outside of his historical and cultural setting?
Our differences don't come because I wish to undermined your concept of the temple or priesthood, actually in my last post I did not mention your concepts until the second to last line, they come from our foundations. Your foundation is in Joseph Smith Jr.'s and his restoration, which assumes that Christ failed to keep His promise in Matthew 16:18 (see also: Ephesians 3:20-1). This seems so out of character for God who even in the worst of times keeps a remnant for Himself. (1 Kings 19:18 cf Romans 11:4) Mine assumes that Christ actually kept that promise and continues to keep a remnant for Himself from all generations. That is our hermeneutical and even worldview difference and why we arrive at different interpretations when we do.
[Jesus] has been ordained by God the Father, and anointed with the Holy Spirit, to be our chief Prophet and Teacher, who has fully revealed to us the secret counsel and will of God concerning our redemption; our only High Priest, who by the one sacrifice of His body has redeemed us, and who continually intercedes for us before the Father; and our eternal King, who governs us by His Word and Spirit, and who defends and preserves us in the redemption obtained for us.  Ps. 45:7 (Heb. 1:9); Is. 61:1 (Luke 4:18; Luke 3:21, 22.  Deut. 18:15 (Acts 3:22).  John 1:18; 15:15.  Ps. 110:4 (Heb. 7:17).  Heb. 9:12; 10:11-14.  Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; I John 2:1.  Zach. 9:9 (Matt. 21:5); Luke 1:33.  Matt. 28:18-20; John 10:28; Rev. 12:10, 11.
[I am called Christian because] I am a member of Christ by faith and thus share in His anointing, so that I may as prophet confess His Name, as priest present myself a living sacrifice of thankfulness to Him, and as king fight with a free and good conscience against sin and the devil in this life, and hereafter reign with Him eternally over all creatures.  I Cor. 12:12-27.  Joel 2:28 (Acts 2:17); I John 2:27.  Matt. 10:32; Rom 10:9, 10; Heb. 13:15.  Rom. 12:1; I Pet. 2:5, 9.  Gal. 5:16, 17; Eph. 6:11; I Tim. 1:18, 19.  Matt. 25:34; II Tim. 2:12.
Grace and Peace
Please show me from scripture where "keys" are needed to ordain a priest, or where any priest is ordained by a priest of a different order.
Further your interpretation of verse 28 makes absolutely no sense in the context of Hebrews 7 or even the verse itself, perhaps this is because you were tired, but lets just look at it for a moment, for your sake I will use the KJV.
28For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
Here we see the profundity of the differences between the two priesthoods. The Aaronic was by law, the Melchizedek by an oath, the old weakness and death (infirmity) the new by perfection. The first portion "for the law maketh men high priest which have infirmity" shows the inefficiency of the Law to establish a priesthood that could attain the goal of God for his people. (See also v.11-19) The second half "but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore" shows that God swore an oath establishing a new priesthood which radically supersedes the Levitical or Arronic priesthood. (See also v. 20-22) Further another subtle but noticeable antithesis of the verse is the contrast of the many high priests with the one Son. Here the author is sharply contrasting the the mortality and continual changing of the old high priests with the eternality and finality of the New High Priest. (See also v.23-25) A final contrast the verse points to is that the Aaronic Priesthood appointed men who were subject to imperfection and sin (infirmity), where as the New High Priest did not have this limitation, He did not need to offer sacrifices first for himself then for His people, rather he offered himself once for all not needing a sin sacrifice to take away his own sins first because he was sinless. (See also v.26-27 cf 4:15)
Yes, I understand you, or your Husband rather, have a genealogy tracing back to Joseph Smith Jr. Unfortunately you did not understand the bulk of my nor the writer to the Hebrew's argument. It was the very fact that neither Melchizedek Nor Christ had a priestly genealogy that is of importance. You see, to the Jews unless you could prove your ancestry to be of the Priestly line or Aaron you could not be a Priest, however neither Melchizedek nor Christ had this, and thusly neither Melchizedek nor Christ could qualify to be a Levitical Priest. It was not a shot at LDS genealogy work, rather a statement that neither qualified to be a Levitical Priest, because neither had the correct genealogy, Melchizedek because he was born prior to Levi and Jesus because He was of Judah not Levi.
As for Melchizedek having no beginning nor end, perhaps you were reading quickly and did not catch the subtle wording I used, both the words literally and literarily. The former meaning in reality and the latter meaning in a written work. This may have been why you misunderstood the argument about genealogy also. So No, He is not greater than God.
As for the "dispensations" I have to ask if it is just this cycle of "restoration or truth following an apostasy" how do you know your church hasn't entered into the state of apostasy, if Christ failed to keep His church together, why on earth can we assume that a lesser son of God could do better than the perfect sinless one? Further if you suggest that the law done away with was the Law of Moses, wouldn't that mean that at least the Aaronic Priesthood was done away with since it is part of the Law of Moses?
Yes, in fact I have read the entire triad cover to cover, perhaps someday I will outline a few of the more interesting chapters and sections from it.
I agree the point of Hebrews 5:1 is to show that High Priests are called by God, However Aaron was not a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, but the High Priest of the order of Aaron. 5:5-6 are very interesting verses because through Chapter 1 they connect Christ to David's decedents, which the writer will later pick up on in Chapter 7. 6:20-2 - "the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,” 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually."
Now this is very interesting, especially when we look back at Genesis 14. It wasn't as though Melchizedek literally didn't have a father or a mother, or a beginning or end of days, because we know He was a man, however literarily he had no genealogy, or beginning or end of days something that all important figures do in the book of Genesis, and Abraham gave this guy a tithe so he was pretty important. Of course this is an argument from silence, and yet it is appealing because you would expect to hear a loud sound. This will be important later.
The writer to the Hebrews continues in his assertion that Melchizedek is greater than Aaron. Then in verse 11 begins to compare Him to Jesus, things about how changing the priesthood requires a changing of the law, because the Priesthood and the law are intrinsically connected. Don't believe me re-read Exodus 20-31 or Leviticus, or Deuteronomy, notice how the Law and the Priesthood are inseparable. Verses 14-16 are very interesting because they basically say that Jesus could not be a priest in the order of Aaron, why? Because he was from the Kingly tribe of Judah, not the Priestly tribe of Levi. Then he goes on to explain how Jesus is after the order of Melchizedek, that it because he is in the likeness of Melchizedek. How so, well remember verses 6:20-:7:3. Jesus is the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace, no genealogy (I'll explain) and no beginning or end of days (this too).
Now you are right to point to the genealogies in Matthew and Luke saying "see Jesus does have Genealogy." I agree however remember here we are speaking of the priesthood, Jesus had no priestly genealogy, rather he was of Judah so in effect he was without genealogy. Further Levitical priests only served their priestly office during their prime of life, though this was much longer than we would think of it today, perhaps from the time they were 20 to 50 or 60. However Melchizedek is given no beginning nor end to his priesthood and his sudden appearance and disappearance make the keen reader awaken to the notion of eternity. Further we see from verse 3 that Christ is not made like Melchizedek in that he remains forever, rather Melchizedek remains forever because he is made like the Son of God. This is a foreshadowing, or forerunner of Christ again because he has no Priestly genealogy nor a length of his priestly term.
I have more to say but that's a lot to chew on and tease out, so I'll let it at that for the moment.
I have been at a conference since Friday so I have been unable to respond, and even now am unable to respond as I like. I will respond in greater detail later however right now I am just curious as to why the discussion of the Melchizedk why Hebrews 7 wasn't mentioned, much less Genesis 14 and Psalm 110. It seems strange that the chapter with the most to say about him, and the two references to him in the Old Testament were not mentioned. I will explain why these seem very important to me when I return from Church sometime this afternoon. Again forgive my tardiness, and even not my failure to respond in full.