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Rob Bowman on the Trinity Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
January 26, 2021 8:42 pm

Rob Bowman on the Trinity Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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January 26, 2021 8:42 pm

Guest Robert Bowman discusses the Trinity in this week’s shows.

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.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.

And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host Bill McKeever Felder director Mormonism research ministry with that is my good friend Dr. Robert Bowman, Rob Bowman has written a number of articles on the subject of the Trinity is written a whole book on this topic. He did his doctoral studies in Christian apologetics at Westminster theological seminary, and he earned his PhD in biblical studies at the South African theological seminary.

Rob was for 10 years, the executive director of the Institute for religious research and I should give that website since you did mention Rob that you have some articles dealing with this topic@irr.org. I want to thank you for taking the time be with this rut because I think if there's anyone to have to discuss this topic. It would be you, because you certainly have gone out there on the front lines defending the doctrine of the Trinity, dealing with not only the Mormon perspective and what they think about it, but as well as what the watchtower Society, or the Jehovah's Witnesses have to say about what are some of the writings that you have done on this.

Maybe our listeners could look them up if they desired.

Well, I wrote about quite a number of years ago, now it's pretty close to 30 years ago called why you should believe in the Trinity in answer to Jehovah's Witnesses book is out of print, but like almost all other print books, you can still get copies of it. For example, in Amazon and that is a very brief overview of what the watchtower Society teaches about God in its rejection of the tocsin Trinity and a defense of the Christian doctrine there in that little book I written a book on the deity of Christ with my friend Ed, chefs gave the book is called putting Jesus in his place. The case for the deity of Christ in that entire book focuses like a laser on the subject of is Jesus really God. What does the New Testament actually teach on the subject that does include some discussion of Mormonism, but it also discusses Unitarians and Jehovah's Witnesses and in other positions of Islam that denied the deity of Christ or distorted because most of these groups will affirm some kind of divine status for Christ, but they redefine it in course that's what were talking about today is talking about redefining Christian doctrine in the case of Mormonism.

So those are some of the things that I've written on the subject before go back to Dr. Peterson's article that was in the desert news we should mention that you also contributed an essay to the book sharing the good news with Mormons.

Practical strategies for getting the conversation started. Your chapter is titled who is the real Jesus the Christ centered approach. Why, if you're if you're Christian listening to what you have to say right now. Why is that important when we are talking with our Latter Day Saints friends who is the real Jesus Mormons certainly and very sincerely believe that they are followers of Jesus Christ. They believe that they believe in him.

The problem is what they have been taught about Jesus is contrary to the Bible what they taught about who is what they've been taught about what he expects from them for their salvation. Basic things that they've been taught about Jesus Christ are contrary to the teachings of the Bible and so out of loyalty to Christ, not out of any kind of animosity toward Latter Day Saints whatsoever. I feel compelled to help people understand the Bible really says on the subjects and when we talk to people who are perhaps from a Mormon background who are no longer sure what to believe or maybe they they don't really believe Mormonism anymore. They also very often don't know what to think about Jesus Christ. So it's it's vital that we as Christians be prepared to talk with our Latter Day Saints friends and those who have perhaps come out or are coming out of the LDS church to talk with them about who Jesus Christ really is how they can know the truth about Christ without depending on the field of prophetic track record of Joseph Smith and his successors how they can know the truth about Christ fully and completely and be saved in the knowledge of Christ through the teachings of the Bible without having to explain away the problems with the book of Mormon and the book of Abraham, and Joseph's prophecies and all the rest of it.

The good news here is that there is true knowledge of Jesus Christ available and we desperately want everyone to know that truth including people in the LDS church people who have come out of it but don't know what to believe now and so I think being prepared to talk about who Jesus really is how we know that he rose from the dead, how we know that he did claim to be God incarnate. These are very basic things we need to be prepared to discuss very well said, and oftentimes went on talking with Latter Day Saints who are struggling.

I want to remind them listen. It may have been Joseph who betrayed you, but it certainly was not Jesus. Amen. Please do not get rid of any view or understanding of Jesus until you check out the claims regarding the person of Christ. Let's get back to what Dr. Peterson said as we been mentioning in this series Dr. Daniel Peterson is the professor of Islamic studies in Arabic at Brigham Young University. He is one of their go to apologists.

We've mentioned that he's written a number of articles defending the Mormon faith. And there was an article that was published in the desert news church news section on April 19, 2018.

It was titled defending the faith where the disagreement lies. And it has to do with the doctrine of the Trinity without Mormon leaders in the past have been very critical of the doctrine of the Trinity. At least the way it's been defined by Christians historically you have. For instance, Joseph Smith himself saying in this can be found in teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 372. Smith says many men say there is one God the father the son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that it is a strange God anyhow three and one and one and three. It is a curious organization. All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism it would make the biggest God in all the world he would be a wonderfully big God.

He would be a giant or a monster now you and I both Robert say there's a straw man argument being leveled here yet, but the fact is, Mormon leaders have been very critical of the doctrine of the Trinity. It's not that they haven't used the word. It's this that they have certainly defined it quite differently, give you another example.

You have QB Brown who was a member of the first presidency in a book that he wrote called the abundant life and peace. 312. He writes in our articles of faith we declare our belief in God the eternal father and in his son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost.

In other words, the Trinity, yes, yes, certainly I and I think that a lot of times the disagreement isn't clear even to the Mormon's were talking about it I find many Mormons think that trinitarianism teaches that the father the son and the Holy Spirit are one personage or one one person that there that Jesus is the father and Jesus is the Holy Spirit. And that's not the document Trinity at all and so very often they are rejecting a caricature, but the differences go even deeper than that is. I hope that will eventually make clear here. What caught my attention regarding this article by Dr. Peterson as he gives five points and we discussed these and pass programs in the series. He says traditional mainstream trinitarianism rests upon five propositions and I want to go through them very quickly just to bring everyone up to speed. The father is God the son is God the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit is God the father is not the son.

The son is not the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost is not the father number five there is one God and only one God, and Dr. Peterson says both mainstream Christians Latter Day Saints except all five statements.

But as you were mentioning. Basically there's five sentences but the statements and what they mean to certainly mean something different to many Latter Day Saints and would you agree that, even to Dr. Peterson.

Yes, definitely. The differences are monumental and radical and to say that we accept the same five statements. It is very misleading in this article Dr. Peterson says Latter Day Saints. Scripture declares there is one and only one God, but yet when I talk to Latter Day Saints on the streets or in emails. That's not what I'm hearing and and that certainly isn't what Mormon leaders have said so how would how would you rob understand that statement by Dr. Peterson where he says Latter Day Saints. Scripture declares there is one and only one God.

Well, first of all, that is factually correct. The LDS scripture known as the book of Mormon clearly does the firm one and only one call had as it does your regularly correct Mormonism and its theological development moved away from the theology of the book of Mormon to a different theology that Joseph articulated in the 1840s.

A decade after publishing the book of Mormon in which he flatly denied as you just quoted earlier flatly denied that there was only one God claim that the idea that the father son and Holy Ghost were one God was a monstrous idea of God and affirmed explicitly that they are in fact three gods now. Dan Peterson takes a very non-historical approach to these texts and Mormonism and flattens them out theologically so they all seem to be agreeing with one another, but they don't, and here's what most Mormons do, and I think Peterson himself does this in a way, but maybe not in the same verbiage.

What many Mormons do when you point out to them biblical statements or even statements in the book of Mormon that there is only one God. They translate that expression one God to mean one Godhead and then they, in their minds when they think of Godhead they think of the three personages as understood, Mormonism, which is very different than what we would think of when we think of the three persons. Even though they have the same names father son and Holy Spirit.

They they are understood in radically different ways in the Mormon theological system. So I think that's what's happening here.

I think in most cases these people are not being dishonest they are just translating in their minds the words that they have been confronted with to mean something other than what they actually mean. So this goes back to what you no doubt tell your readers and your listeners when you're speaking on the subject. I know it's something that I have often said when I'm speaking on this topic. It's absolutely essential to have the Latter Day Saints defined their terms with us or we will not be communicating right. I don't know if we could ever stress that enough and I find one of the biggest mistakes many Christians make when they're talking with her LDS friends and acquaintances is they do not have them define these terms. And that's where a lot of the confusion comes in because I'll tell you some Robin reading this piece, much of it I could I would say how in the world can a Latter Day Saints affirmed these things if I did not know how he's defining some of those terms. It sounds very orthodox to me, especially those five points that he raised earlier in his castle to continue talking about this and we are discussing this topic with Dr. Rob Bowman. Rob is written a number of articles on the subject of the Trinity, let me just say before closing out this program that if you want to read some other things that Rob has written go to Robert Bowman.net Bowman to spell POWMAN.net Robert Bowman.net tomorrow. We want to continue discussing this article defending the faith where the disagreement lies by Dr. Daniel Peterson from BYU. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website at www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is


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