Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Brief comments on a Mormon website

One thing I will say right off the bat and I am going to be blunt. From a Biblical perspective, Mormonism is an unbiblical cult that perverts the Bible to it's own destruction.

I was sent a Link a while back by Limitbreak9001, now known as Yehuda Yisrael a link to a Mormon website, hr was arguing that the same apologetic is used by Mormons is also used by Christians, basically the Orthodox Jew looks at the NT and sees it as contrary to the TANAKH and likewise the Christians look at the Book of Mormon and see it as against the Bible.

Firstly, Lets look at some of the points made by the Mormon site:

"There really is not a single word that adequately captures LDS thought on the nature of God. Pertinent key technical terminology includes the following:
  • Monotheism (belief that there is only one God)
  • Tritheism (understanding the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as distinct Gods)
  • Polytheism (worship of, or belief in, more than one God)
  • Henotheism (worship of one God without denying the existence of other Gods; also called Monolatry)
  • Trinitarianism (belief that God consists of three Persons in one substance)
  • Social Trinitarianism (belief that the oneness of the three Persons is not one of substance but is social in nature [e.g., unity of thought, etc.])
  • Modalism (belief that there is only one God that does not exist as three separate Persons but rather manifests itself in three different "modes" [i.e., as Father, Son, or Holy Ghost])
Usually the very same people who are pressing the case that Mormons are polytheists are some stripe of Evangelical Christians who claim to be monotheists. But Trinitarians are not Monotheists by definition (just ask a Jew or Muslim).
The facts that the LDS do not believe the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one in substance, and believe in deification/theosis (that humans may eventually become deified and become partakers in the divine nature), has been used to paint Mormons as polytheists. When we examine the technical terminology above, though, it becomes clear that a key point of demarcation is worship versus acknowledgment of existence. If members of the Church worshiped an extensive pantheon like the Greeks or Romans, then the label would be appropriate. In the context of doctrinal differences over the relationship among the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, however, or the doctrine of deification (which is a profoundly Christian doctrine and not just a Mormon one), use of the word "polytheistic" as a pejorative is both inaccurate and inappropriate.
Instead of using a single-word label, one must actually articulate the belief (using fully-developed sentences or paragraphs). The single-word label that will adequately describe the full breadth of LDS thought on the nature of God has yet to be coined."

The funny thing is if this website were consistent, it would have to admit that Jews AND Muslims would also look at Mormonism and see it as polytheistic, If the site doesn't want to do that, then they should stop appealing to the Jews and Muslims as their authority to try and say Trinitarians are polytheists. There ARE NO OTHER GODS, even if the Mormon wants to contend that there. I could say:

"Usually the very Mormons who are pressing the case that Trinitarians are polytheists. But Mormons are not Monotheists by definition (just ask a Jew or Muslim)" Will that site be consistent in applying their own statement to themselves? I sincerely doubt that.

"Any discussion with Jews or Muslims will quickly demonstrate no Christian is, strictly speaking, a monotheist.
One of the chief objections by Jews and Muslims is Christians are polytheists. Most brands of Christians insist on the divinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In addition, the very word those who crafted the great ecumenical creeds used to describe the deity of Jesus, his Father and the Holy Spirit is "trinity," meaning three. Additionally, they insisted the three Persons should not be confounded, as such would be deemed modalism (one of the primary heresies that led to the formation of the ecumenical creeds and various confessions). Modalism often insists the one God merely appears to us in three different ways (i.e., as Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and this is exactly what the creeds deny."

Again I could say "Any discussion with Jews or Muslims will quickly demonstrate no Mormon is, strictly speaking, a monotheist.", there is a level of Inconsistency on the part of this website and a refusal to apply their own criteria as they apply it to Christians. The Jews and the Muslims would decry and mock Mormonism just as they mock Trinitarianism, EVEN IF you define your terms to them. I have tried explaining the Trinity to some individuals and even they would ignore what I say on the subject.

"The Bible contains language indicating human beings can put on the divine nature and be called "gods" (see John 10:33, 34; Ps. 82:6, Deut. 10:17, etc.). They are instructed to become one with Jesus just as he is one with his Father. The key point to realize is that any existence of other beings with godly attributes has no effect on who Latter-day Saints worship. According to Jeff Lindsay, a popular LDS online apologist:
We worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ - not glorious angels or Abraham or Moses or John the Baptist, no matter how great they may be in the kingdom of heaven as sons of God who have become "like Christ" (1 John 3:2). The only reasonable definition of polytheism requires that plural gods be worshiped - but the beings that Christ calls "gods" are not who we worship at all. In terms of worship, we are properly called monotheists.[1]
Additionally, there is abundant evidence of deification being taught by various commonly accepted Christians. If belief in theosis makes one a polytheist, many Christians would have to be so labeled - including such figures as C. S. Lewis and John Calvin. Clearly, this is not the way in which the term "polytheist" is normally used, but critics of the Church are often willing to be inconsistent if the Church can be made to look alien or "unchristian."
"Monotheism" is sufficiently broad to include the kind of oneness enjoyed by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as that promised to those who become one with them when fully sanctified."

Human beings are not called gods in a divine sense in John 10:33-34 or Psalm 82:6. The term Elohim in reference to a mere man refer to man being a representative of God, not being God or divine in nature. Also, the oneness that Jesus speaks of in texts such as John 17:11 is a oneness in purpose. Even if the Mormon doesn't worship or acknowledge other Gods, that doesn't change the fact THERE ARE NO GODS BESIDES YHWH, the triune God and man CANNOT become a god in the true sense. As for the point of the deity of Christ in John 10:30-39, I speak on that point here: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/response-to-tovia-singer-on-did-authors.html

I also would encourage looking at this article: http://answering-judaism.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/triad-of-texts-nature-of-jesus.html

Mormons to the best of my knowledge believe that God was a man from eternity and lived on another planet and BECAME A GOD!! That is rank heresy and a denial of the Bible itself.

YHWH makes it clear there is NO OTHER GOD BESIDES HIM.

Also, The Eastern Orthodox church who believes in the concept of theosis would regard what Mormonism teaches about Man becoming God as heretical.

Now even though I consider the Eastern Orthodox church to be heretical as Roman Catholicism due to other issues which I raise in these videos here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF7qgivEmRdezJ0xCjtII0zVHW5UNICPY, they still would denounce the ideas that Mormonism espouses.

Theosis or Deification refers to us becoming more like God in terms of becoming righteous, not becoming God himself. If this is the theosis that the Mormon website is referring to, Then the Mormon's objection is a red herring and thus the points against the Mormon stand.

Keith Thompson in his documentary on the Word of Faith movement provides information on this subject by Walter Martin, Robert Bowman and of course Michael Horton (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDuo6HCINcc (Watch from 1:04:00-1:06:08)).

If Mormonism isn't polytheistic, What is it then? Even if they were henotheists they would still be outside the realm of Biblical Christianity.

Both Jews and Christians are monotheists and as I have said in the past and as James White has also said when he and Michael Brown debated Joseph Goode and Anthony Buzzard "Monotheism does not prove Unitarianism".

One thing I will note here is if Yehuda Yisrael is willing to contend that "The apologetic style used here seems almost identical to the christian style of apologetics. You would probably tell me that the passages cited in order to defend "mormon monotheism" were taken out of context in order to represent a theological understanding of the godhead which is FOREIGN TO NT THEOLOGY", is he willing to use the same standard for say... the subject of the Oral Torah?

Both Catholicism and Rabbinic Judaism claim that their traditions go back to the founders. Rabbinic Judaism believes in an Oral Torah given to Moses at Sinai, Catholics believe that their traditions come from the apostles and often chastise Protestants for Bible study in private, claiming the ordinary man has no right to interpret. I could say the Method of apologetics used by Rabbinic Jews is the same as the Roman Catholics in the sense that we need a tradition in order to understand what the scriptures say. The late Dr Rabbi Immanuel Schochet went as far as saying that without an oral tradition, no command in the Torah makes any sense, the context can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWguJcAfJec.

Maybe there is a misunderstanding on my part regarding the Oral Torah but I wouldn't mind the feedback.

My point is, If a Rabbinic Jew wishes to uses Mormons as a theological bat to hit Christians over the head with, I could use the Catholics as an example to point out certain flaws in their reasoning of the Oral Torah.

I am not trying to sound harsh here I am simply making a point.

Feel free to judge my words

Answerng Judaism.

1 comment:

  1. I wanted to respond to an older post, so I will do so here as I surmise you probably would not notice a comment to what you posted last October. This is in reference to what you called a rabbinic dilemma regarding the genealogies in the NT. You wrote you did not see any evidence that would prevent Jesus inheriting the right to the Davidic throne via adoption thru Joseph. There are numerous problems with this position.

    First, although there are descriptions in the Torah which allude to an adoptive process, the institution of adoption was not legally defined in biblical times. I will refer to several instances to show that tribal lineage remained with the biological father.

    Second, there is no reference in the NT to indicate that Joseph "adopted" Jesus.

    Third, Although the institution of adoption, through its widespread use in Roman law was well known in talmudic times, the codifiers of Jewish law denied that Jewish law recognized an institution of "adoption." Rather, they created an institution which did not change the legal status of the parents of the person whose custody has changed.

    The Torah specifies that blood rights, such as tribal lineage, are transmitted exclusively from a father to his biological sons. Whenever the Israelites were selected to serve in the army, it was done "according to the house of their father":

    Quote:
    Numbers 1:17-18 - (17) Then Moses and Aaron took these men, who were indicated by [their] names, (18) and they assembled all the congregation on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees according to their families according to their fathers' houses; according to the number of names, a head count of every male from twenty years old and upward.
    Similarly, the Aaronic Priesthood can only be transmitted from a father to his biological sons (Exodus 40:15; Numbers 25:12-13).

    A Jew who was adopted into a family of a tribe other than his birth tribe does NOT take the tribe of the adopting family In Judaism an adopted child retains the tribe of his birth (if he had one). A girl retains her father's tribal status until such time as she marries outside of that tribe (and then she is a member of her husband's tribe).

    In Ketuvim (Writings) we are told that Esther is adopted by her cousin Mordechai (Book of Esther 2:7). Esther's full name is used twice in the story --- and both times it is tied to her birth father (Esther daughter of Avihayil). (Book of Esther 2:15 and 9:29) -- in other words, she is called by the name of her biological father, not her adoptive father.

    Other instances include the adoption of Moses by Pharoah's daughter who later married Mered who was of the tribe of Judah. Yet Moses is always considered a Levite as of course was his older brother Aaron.

    This ruling is found in the Torah and is the underlying principle or halacha still being practiced today more than 3000 years. Unlike the Western legal tradition,
    traditional halakhah contains
    no provision for the legal incorporation
    of an adopted child into her new
    family. While adoption is viewed as
    deeply admirable and to be encouraged,
    it is not transformative of lineage
    as it is in the Western legal system.
    An adopted child’s status follows
    that of his or her biological parents,
    not that of the adoptive parent(s).

    From your Trinitarian perspective, Jesus was "fathered" by the holy spirit- ie he has no tribal lineage. There is no firm evidence of adoption by Joseph and even if there was, tribal lineage cannot be passed on to the adopted child.

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