Christian And Mormon Academic Dialogue: Has it Led To Better Understanding Or Exposed A Serious Lack Of Discernment?

I got home yesterday from the EMNR conference in Denver. With the exception of one, all of the workshops were audio recorded, but not video recorded. The only workshop to be video recorded was Bill McKeever’s, “Christian And Mormon Academic Dialogue: Has it Led To Better Understanding Or Exposed A Serious Lack Of Discernment?” Eric Johnson of Mormonism Research Ministry (MRM) was there and videoed the workshop. It is similar to one of the workshops I taught which was titled, “Clearing Up Richard Mouw’s ‘Misconceptions about Mormon Theology.'”

I plan on taking the audio of my workshop and combining with the slides from my PowerPoint and posting it on YouTube some time this week. Until then, enjoy Bill’s take on whether the Christian and Mormon dialogues are helping or not. Feel free to make comments here or on the YouTube video itself. I will inform the guys at MRM that I am posting Bill’s presentation on The Edge, so one of them may respond to your comments. Just please watch the video before you comment.

 

18 thoughts on “Christian And Mormon Academic Dialogue: Has it Led To Better Understanding Or Exposed A Serious Lack Of Discernment?”

    1. Keith,

      I finally got the link to work.
      From my point of view, you are better than McKeever because you have not banned me from your blog because I tell people to question what you say and encourage them to study past what you teach.

      fred

      1. Fred,
        I’ll be sure to tell Bill that I am better than him. I am sure he will be devastated. 😉 As for the video, what did you think of his presentation?

  1. Keith, thanks for all you do to reach the Mormon people for Jesus . I appreciate all your
    effort to help equip us to minister to them .I hope your family is doing well . Keep up the
    good work .

  2. (. . . what did you think of his presentation?)

    I find it average for different groups of the Traditional Christian Church to disagree on what and how to teach to LDS folks. After all, ya’ll cannot agree what God was teaching in the Bible, so why should ya’ll think you can agree on what to teach us.

    As far as Bill McKeever’s presentation, he used up over an hour trying to convince the world that his way was the best way.

    I found it interesting that he said, “We teach people to ask questions” and, “If something sounds fishy, ask a clarifying question.”

    My experience has been that if someone keeps asking a clarifying question that he does not want to answer, he, or one of his lieutenants, censors your comments and/or remove your ability to ask questions on his open blog.

    fred

    Ps. Are you going to find a way for Mormons to answer your questions in your “Quick Questions for Mormons”? If you don’t want answers, I would suggest that you advertise it as something other then an open question blog.

    1. Fred,
      If you want to answer my “Quick Questions For Mormons” series, do so on YouTube. I’ve already explained to you numerous times about the limitations of my old blog and the new web site. Hopefully it will be sorted out some time this year. Even then, the only way I will provide for responses is through YouTube.

  3. Hi fred,

    I’ve noticed that you and some others keep mentioning how some Christian groups can’t agree with Biblical teaching, etc. Doesn’t the same thing apply to Mormons, with “sects” or “splinter groups” from the largest Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to the RLDS, Community of Christ, Church of Christ, Cutlerites, Strangites….goodness, I’m running out of room! I can’t type all of these names, but you get the idea.

    So in parallel, how is the entire “Mormon church” different in that respect from the entire “Christian church”? There are indeed Christian denominations that disagree with their interpretations of the Bible to varying degrees. There is no one Christian church that has a lock on salvation. The body of Christ is not limited to one church or denomination. In the end, Christ will judge us individually by our faith, which causes is to do good works. Our works themselves earn us nothing.

    In another thread I quoted Colossians 3:15-16
    15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

  4. (Doesn’t the same thing apply to Mormons, with “sects” or “splinter groups” from the largest Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to the RLDS, Community of Christ, Church of Christ, Cutlerites, Strangites….goodness, I’m running out of room!)

    (. . .how is the entire “Mormon church” different in that respect from the entire “Christian church”?)

    (There is no one Christian church that has a lock on salvation. The body of Christ is not limited to one church or denomination.)

    Steve,
    The LDS Church does not say, like you are saying, that you can believe many different, and at times conflicting, things and still be under what you call the body of Christ. There are many denominations because men cannot agree on what God said in the Bible.

    How much can someone disagree with you and still be a Christian, and where did you come by your standard for deciding if a person is a Christian or not?

    fred

  5. Hi fred,

    “The LDS Church does not say, like you are saying, that you can believe many different, and at times conflicting, things and still be under what you call the body of Christ…”

    It sounds like you are evading my point, maybe I misunderstand. The largest Mormon church is based in Salt Lake City. It has some differences with other Mormon sects that I mentioned, such as polygamy for example. The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS in Utah says that they are the only true church (feel free to correct me if wrong). Another Mormon sect believes that they are the only true church. When Paul talked about Christ’s body, or church, he is talking to believers. What does it take to be part of the Body of Christ? Belief that Christ fully paid for our sins. Nothing else.
    I Corinthians 12:12-27,
    Ephesians 5:25-32

    There are all kinds of Christians. Strong, weak, new, old, local, remote. Christ’s parable about the seeds that fell on different types of ground explains this.
    Luke 8:4-15

    My point was that each denomination of organized Christian churches believes they are interpreting the Bible correctly. No Christian church that I know of says that other denominational members are going to hell just because of church membership. Of course, you could substitute a lower level of heaven for “hell”, since I don’t think the Mormon church believes in “hell”.

    This seems to be a stumbling block for you, and a big reason for you to reject Christianity. God will judge us in the end. Of course the LDS church doesn’t say that you can believe many different things and still be under what I call the body of Christ. That’s because the LDS church has a “doctrine” and canonical “scriptures” of it’s own. Any serious questioning of that doctrine would make you an apostate, wouldn’t it?

    ” where did you come by your standard for deciding if a person is a Christian or not?”

    I got it from one of your canonical scriptures. The Bible.
    Acts 16:29-32

    blessings,
    -Steve

  6. (It sounds like you are evading my point, maybe I misunderstand.)

    Let me restate it.

    God has only one Church at this time here on earth that He has given the authority to speak for Him. That said, you do not have to be a member of His Church to follow Jesus and be a Christian.

    ++++
    (Luke 8:4-15)
    (My point was that each denomination of organized Christian churches believes they are interpreting the Bible correctly.)

    Steve,
    Are you saying that the hands and feet and head and eye of the Body of Christ are The Anglican Communion, The Continuing Anglican churches, The Southern Baptist Convention, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran Church, The United Methodist Church, The Free Methodist Church, The Christian Reformed Church, The Reformed Church in America, The Roman Catholic Church, and the many more denominations I have not listed?

    I always thought that at least part of the differences that Christ was teaching about were the different jobs He has given us to do while here on earth. That is, some of the things we will be judged on before Jesus assigns us our mansion in heaven and the job that goes with it. Things like prophet, pastor teacher, husband, wife, etc. One of the scriptures you gave even talks about the responsibilities Jesus gave us as husbands and wives.

    ++++

    (” where did you come by your standard for deciding if a person is a Christian or not?”
    I got it from one of your canonical scriptures. The Bible. Acts 16:29-32)

    Steve,
    The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are Christian by the standard set forth in the Bible. I dare say you have accepted what other men have added to the Bible and that is the reason why you have concluded that Mormons are not Christians.

    In the Lord,
    fred

  7. fred,

    “God has only one Church at this time here on earth that He has given the authority to speak for Him. That said, you do not have to be a member of His Church to follow Jesus and be a Christian”

    One doesn’t have to attend any organized church to be a Christian. I attend church to support fellow believers, people who believe basically the same thing I believe. We support each other through fellowship and study of the Bible, and grow in our faith. But church attendance is not a prerequisite for Christianity, or salvation.

    “Are you saying that the hands and feet and head and eye of the Body of Christ are The Anglican Communion, The Continuing Anglican churches…”

    Of course not. Not sure how you got that impression. I keep bringing up individual beliefs that may or may not be tied to an organized church body. I tried to make it clear that there is a difference between organized church bodies, and Christ’s “body” here on earth. The two types of bodies don’t necessarily equate to each other.

    If an organized church body is Bible-based, and believes that Jesus is their personal savior, and that faith leads to salvation, I would consider that organized church body to be part of Christ’s body. I can say that but again, salvation is specific to an individual’s beliefs.

    I have studied the Mormon church, and can’t call it a Christian church. Why not? Because, to name a few reasons, it is a works-based mode of “salvation”, and has many false, man-made practices such as temple marriage, forced tithing, and was founded by one man, a false prophet. Did you read Deuteronomy 18:22? JS made many false prophesies, as I’m sure you are aware.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “what other men have added to the Bible”. I think you mean the Trinitarian doctrine for one, which I have already tried to explain in comments to the “Prophets Who Do Not Prophesy” post. Pretty sure you saw that, since your comments are all over that page.

    Mormons like to talk about the “Restored” gospel, but “restored” doesn’t mean changed. The Mormon gospel is like nothing that existed before JS wrote the BOM.

    I’m ranting. I pray that the Holy Spirit touches your heart and mind, and lifts the veil that is Mormonism.

    -Steve

  8. (Did you read Deuteronomy 18:22? JS made many false prophesies, as I’m sure you are aware.)

    Steve,
    I am not aware of any such thing, there are too many good articles that take the so called false prophesies one by one and show why what you have accepted at truth is in reality false.

    ++++++
    (I tried to make it clear that there is a difference between organized church bodies, and Christ’s “body” here on earth. The two types of bodies don’t necessarily equate to each other.)

    We would agree on that, but I believe that the reasons you have are very different from ours.

    +++
    That being said, back to my question about what you think is a requirement to make someone a Christian.

    Which canon of the Bible makes a Bible based church a true Christian church, and why was the group of men who decided on that version of the canon more correct then the men who created the different versions of the canons of the Bible?

    May the Lord bless,
    fred

  9. fred,

    “too many good articles that take the so called false prophesies one by one”…really? I don’t need an article to tell me that a temple has not been built YET in “… western boundaries of the State of Missouri…” as predicted by JS, “…which temple shall be reared in this generation”. You or someone else can re-define “generation” all you want, but it’s still a false prophecy. If you pay more than lip service to the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:22) you would see that.

    You focus so much on the canon of the Bible. But there was no Bible during Christ’s time, or for many years after Christ died, was resurrected, and ascended into heaven. There were Christians before there was a Bible. They believed that Christ was their savior, and were saved upon their death. The “malefactor” on the cross who saw Christ that day in Paradise (and I know you will question what paradise means ) did nothing more than believe. The same goes for the jailer and his family as described by Paul in Acts 16:25-33.

    It’s been a great conversation fred. Try to look at your first modern prophet objectively. That must be hard to do if you were born/raised in a Mormon family. I’ll continue to pray for you.

    -Steve

  10. (“too many good articles that take the so called false prophesies one by one”…really? I don’t need an article to tell me that a temple has not been built YET in “… western boundaries of the State of Missouri…” as predicted by JS, “…which temple shall be reared in this generation”.)

    Steve,
    The answer is very easy to find in FAIR, but since Keith does not like them, you will have to dig the truth out of an Official Church site.

    Start with the scripture itself and go from there, the answer can be found in the links. Remember, I said links, and not link.
    http://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/84.2-5?lang=eng#

    +-+-+-+
    (You focus so much on the canon of the Bible. But there was no Bible during Christ’s time, or for many years after Christ died, was resurrected, and ascended into heaven.)
    My focus is on Heavenly Father through His Son Jesus the Christ.
    The reason I ask about how you got your canon of the Bible is because I want to know if what you are teaching is of God, or something that has been watered down by man. What do you accept as true teachings, and why do you accept them.

    In other words, what am I to do if I follow your advice and leave this Church?

    +-+-+-+
    (Old Testament | Deuteronomy 18:22)
    22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

    How do you handle the failed prophecies in the Bible? You do not seem to be testing the Bible with the same standards you test Latter-Day Scriptures.

    fred

    Ps. I am a convert and have checked out the first prophet of this dispensation. I keep checking, but you folks have not brought up anything that has not already been answered.

  11. Hi fred,

    I followed your first D&C link, which is where the “prophecy” is recorded. I knew that, because I own a copy of the D&C. Then, taking your advice, I did a search and went to fairmormon.org and see that the word “generation” is redefined to mean some inexplicable number of years, comparing this “generation” to God’s time. The problem I have with this is that Joseph Smith was a man, not God. JS was speaking first-person, and it failed. re: “this generation” used in Matthew 24:34, in the context of the verse, Our Lord Jesus was prophesying about His 2nd coming. “this generation” in that context meant that there will always be a generation that will reject Him, demand signs, and dismisses the coming judgement. This is not comparable to the JS prophesy. Did JS actually mean that the temple would never be built? I don’t think so.

    I am unaware of failed prophesies in the Bible, can you point a few of them out to me?

    I will answer your question about what I accept as canon and why- but family commitments call. I hope to clarify later tonight or tomorrow.

    Blessings,
    -Steve

  12. fred,

    “I want to know if what you are teaching is of God, or something that has been watered down by man. What do you accept as true teachings, and why do you accept them.”

    I’m still not sure what you mean by “watered down by man”. But I accept the 39 books of the OT and 27 books of the NT as the inspired Word of God. These same books are in the King James Version that is part of the LDS canon, although personally, I prefer the New International Version.

    Decisions about which books were part of the canon were not made by a single group of people at a single point in time. There were certain criteria that had to be met for text to be “canonized”. I have no theological degree but this is my understanding:

    1. The New Testament texts were authored by and based upon the teaching of the first-generation apostles or their close companions.
    2. Acknowledged by all major Christian communities in the ancient world by the end of the 4th century as well as accepted canon by Jewish authorities (for the Old Testament).
    3. Read publicly as part of the liturgy when early Christian communities gathered for their worship services, including the Lord’s Supper.
    4.They had to express a consistent message with the rest of scripture.
    5. They had to be historically accurate
    6. They were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek (for the NT).

    Actually, my church is currently offering a class on writings that are NOT considered canonical by most Christian churches, the Apocrypha. We are comparing the Apocryphal writings with the Bible, and discussing why they were not included. Martin Luther said about the Apocrypha, “…books which are not considered equal to the Holy Scriptures, but are useful and good to read.” So why were these apocryphal books not canonized? The might express useful teachings from the time between the testaments, but didn’t meet the criteria above.

    2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” What is meant by “Scripture”? The OT writings. The OT scriptures support the NT, for example. The NT scriptures meet the criteria above.

    If someone is looking to become a member of any particular (organized) church, I recommend studying the background and current teachings of that church. Why was that church formed? Is the church based on the writings of one man, or the writings of many men that agree with each other, with prophesies that came true? What writings or scriptures does that church consider canon, and why?

    We are all sinners, but by the grace of God that fully pays for all of our sins, we can be assured salvation.

    Blessings,
    -Steve

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