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April 12, 2021 9:34 pm
Answering questions by Bill McKeever Gary Johnson deals with 36 commonly asked questions by your LDS friends and neighbors. It's a great resource for Christians want to share their faith with friends and loved ones. Be sure to pick up your copy today at your favorite Christian bookstore viewpoint on Mormonism program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint.
One more minute 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.
So glad you could be with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue looking at the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement, a book that came out in 2020.
It evaluates the 13 gospel topics essays that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints hosted incrementally between 2013 and 2015. The first chapter was written by Dr. Craig Blomberg, and we should mention that Dr. Blomberg is an evangelical who teaches at Denver seminary. He did the first chapter are Mormons Christian bill if people would like to go and read about this first chapter of the book we have a review called are Mormons Christian. A review of chapter 1 in the LDS gospel topics series. You can see that by going to our website MRM.org/are Mormons Christian and hyphens between our Mormons Christian were looking at page 36. We want to complete a thought here, because on page 36. Dr. Blomberg makes the statement that several of the distinctive tenets of LDS faith do in fact find some precedent in certain early Christian teaching one things here. For example, of the deification of the believer or the corporeality of God. I have to take exception with that statement Eric because I don't think that the LDS church is really teaching the idea of deification as it's in an Eastern orthodoxy that is the doctrine of the oh since we've talked about this subject.
A number of times we have articles on this subject, and to say that somehow their view, the latter-day St. view is similar to Eastern orthodoxy would be absolutely incorrect because as we have shown even Eastern Orthodox scholars have said there's no connection between the two. So I think Dr. Blomberg's comparison here is flawed and and Bill. I think what's confusing for me is when he says that several of the distinctive tenets of LDS faith do in fact find some precedent in certain early Christian teaching and then to throw out deification of the believer.
If he's referring to Theo's. This way, as you say we have much on this from previous shows also on the website you have an article that is called godhood and PO sis if you go to MRM.org/exultation. I don't think that is anywhere close the deification of the believer.
According to Mormonism is close to what the Eastern Orthodox of taught will in the footnote after that statement he citing Dr. Stephen E. Robinson's book are Mormons Christian and Robinson did talk about deification, or Theo, sis, and he does the very same thing. I've seen other Mormon scholars.
Do we take statements from the early church fathers and he tries to connect it with Mormonism. But again, when you have Eastern Orthodox scholars bonking those connections. I don't think it's honest to keep using them and I'm shocked that Dr. Blomberg allows Robinson to get away with this now also in Dr. Robinson's book he deals with the corporeality of God or this idea that God the father has a body of flesh and bones, but listen to what Dr. Robinson says in his book are Mormons Christians and you tell me. Is he really making a good case for God the father having a body of flesh and bones. This is found on page 81. God also has a tangible body.
This doctrine of the incarnation is common to Mormons and non-Mormons alike after his resurrection, Jesus assured the apostles that he was not merely a spirit quote behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself handle me and see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have."
And that's from Luke 2439. The logic is not difficult.
Jesus is God. Jesus has a body of flesh and bones. Therefore God in the person of the resurrected son has a body of flesh and bones, since both LDS Christians and Orthodox Christians affirm the doctrines of the incarnation and bodily resurrection of God the son, then in the person of the son God must be understood to have a tangible body since God or the Godhead consists of three persons for Latter Day Saints and trinitarianism like it does not seem to me anymore outrageous or unchristian to think of the father as corporeal as the sun is corporeal then to think of him as a personage of spirit, like the Holy Ghost. Now let's go back at what Dr. Robinson says on page 81. The logic is not difficult if the logic is not all that difficult. Why is it that we don't find Christians throughout our history teaching that God the father has a body of flesh and bones.
No one is arguing that the resurrected Christ has a body. Certainly, that's a part of Christianity. What we're talking about God the father, I think it's wrong for Robinson to make this leap and I call it a leap in logic to say well it Jesus is God and God the father's God and Jesus has a body then why wouldn't God the father have a body.
They are three separate persons. The father is not the son and the son is not the spirit.
All three are God, but that is what the doctrine of the Trinity teaches and you can't say, well, God must have a body referring to the father because Jesus has a body will I think it gets worse for the Mormons case though because they view the Godhead is having three gods within one Godhead and they separate very clearly God the father from God the son from the Holy Ghost. And so for Robinson to make this kind of a connection I think is faulty and it makes me wonder if Dr. Robinson was in Dr. Blomberg's class would Dr. Blomberg go along with that statement and think that that statement really sounds Orthodox. I would hope not but yet that's what he's trying to get across here that as he said several of the distinctive tenets of LDS faith do in fact find some precedent in certain early Christian teaching, but let's go back to the top of that page because we talked about yesterday where the essay is supposed to address some things regarding naturally what the LDS church believes and why it should be considered Christian. He says on page 35 but they note 3 recurring counterclaims in recent decades that the rest of the document proceeds to address go through those three points again. Eric first LDS do not accept the creeds and confessions of post-New Testament Christianity second, they do not descend from any one of the three lines of historical Christianity, Eastern orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism or Protestantism. Third Scripture for the LDS include not just the Bible that the book of Mormon, the doctrine and covenants and the Pearl of great price. Dr. Blomberg seems to almost want to aid the LDS church in convincing the public that they should be considered Christian so he suggests on page 40 that the church, the LDS church should someday perhaps even expand this essay are Mormons Christian was a say on page 40.
He writes one could hope that someday the LDS leadership might produce a revise expanded addition of, or a new document similar to our Mormons Christians to put forward five common concerns and then offer their replies to the three charges they have already addressed they could add something along the lines of number four Latter Day Saints are religion of works, not grace, and therefore no more successfully qualify as genuinely Christian then did most medieval Catholics and number five Latter Day Saints do not believe that Jesus provided a full and final atonement for the sins of humanity because they are constantly urging their people to do more and more good works and participate in temple rituals so that they can achieve the highest levels of heaven in the life to come. And he says these concerns can no doubt be worded more simply and clearly. But they address the important issues Nabel if he saying that these are things that the church would really put into a future essay. I think this is unrealistic.
There they would not touch these things, I'm sure. I think you're right Eric, because when it says, for instance, the charges, he puts it when he says that the Latter Day Saints are religion of works, not grace if they were to put that in an essay, they would have to explain what they really mean by grace. And when does grace become efficacious, that would be problematic because I would think that would clearly show a distinction between what Mormons believe regarding grace and what Christians have believed historically, it would be difficult for them to try to explain their view of grace and then deny that they are a religion of works, they most certainly are a religion of works, though I have had Latter Day Saints tell Leon know were not. We believe in grace. Even their scholars would say there is there's a syncretism that goes on in Mormonism that you have faith, but you gotta have works till you gotta have the both of their syncretistic but I don't think that they would really make their case in pushing the idea that they are closer to Christianity. If they were to address the subject of works in grace and when it comes to the full and final atonement for the sins of humanity. Well, they would have to address. Then, when does the full and final atonement as they understand it become efficacious in the life of a Latter Day Saints believer. Scholars have talked about this. They haven't hidden the fact and what's interesting is Dr. Blomberg seems to think that some of the very scholars that I'm thinking of right now would make the case. I think that's what he saying that they would make a case to show that Mormonism's views on these subjects are not that far off. Let me give you an example, if you go down that page and page 40 pieces in responding to .4 that would of course would be the one that addresses the topic of works in grace. Such a hypothetical revised document in my opinion, should refer to the kinds of teachings one finds in Robert Millet's grace works or in the 2015 LDS Gen. conference address by Dieter F Dorf second counselor in the first presidency of the church that he's not a second counselor.
Now he's now an apostle in the church but he goes on to say in this is not a quote so I'm assuming this is Blomberg kind of encapsulating what he thinks these men have written and said were Blomberg rights works are absolutely essential but as the outflow of one salvation by grace, not as a contributor to now I could find quotations for Mormon leaders that would deny that they would say that works are absolutely essential if a Mormon hopes to achieve exultation and they don't usually qualify it as merely being an outflow of grace in order to even get the grace you have to do certain things and that's the key bill because we use the same terminology Mormons and Christians will use the term grace and atonement and salvation. And I think one of the things we need to do when were talking to a Latter Day Saints does not assume what you think they are saying but rather asked them what do you mean when you say grace and when you understand what Mormonism's version of grace says you'll see how different it is from what the Bible teaches. Let me close by saying that in Dr. Millet's book grace works and I might mention the whole title of that book is after all we can do. Grace works so you can see it's going to have a lot to say about second Nephi 25, 23, and that's a subject that were going to talk about in tomorrow show. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding his research ministry.
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