Miscellaneous Thoughts on Religion

The following are comments made by others that I thought were thought provoking.  In addition to these thoughts, no one is provoked enough without visiting the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research and the FARMS sites.  


Hippolytus:

For thou hast become God; for whatever suffereings thou didst undergo while being a man, these he gave to thee, because thou wast of mortal mould, but whatever it is consisten with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality" (The Refutation of All Heresies 10:30)

If, therefore, man has become immortal he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the HS after the regeneration of the laver, he isfound to be also a joint-heir with Christ after the resureection from the dead" (Discourse on the Holy Theophany, 8)

Methodius

"For the word suffered that he might bring man.....to his supreme and godlike majesty, restoring him to that divine life from which he had become alienated" (Third Fragment from theHomily on the Cross and Passion of Christ II)


<<At any rate...using the earliest MS available for Paul's letters...it shows a *much* gentler, equivocating Paul. Not the arrogant, holier than thou version we have been force-fed. And without QUESTION...he repudiated the "once saved always saved" stuff we hear so much about now. The only ones who DID believe that kind of stuff in the first centuries were the Sethian gnostics. I continue to see Paul as the most interesting, wonderful biblical character we have....a true hero with a true heart. And, YES...a champion of women.>>


 As for our acquaintance with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we know, no man or set of men can be more thoroughly acquainted with its rise, its organization, and its history, than we have every reason to believe we are.  We all verily believe, and many of us know of a surety, that the religion of the Latter Day Saints, as originally taught by Joseph Smith, which is contained in the Old and New Testaments, Book of Covenants, and the Book of Mormon, is verily true;  and that the pure principles set forth in those books, are the immutable and eternal principles of Heaven, and speaks a language which, when spoken in truth and virtue, sinks deep into the heart of every honest man. -- Its precepts are invigorating, and in every sense of the word, tend to dignify and ennoble man's conceptions of God and his atributes (sic).  It speaks a language which is heard amidst the roar of Artillery, as well as in the silence of midnight:  it speaks a language understood by the incarcerated spirit, as well as he who is unfettered and free;  yet to those who will not see, it is dark, mysterious, and secret as the grave.


Back to the subject of Paul's three glories of the sun, moon and star in comparison to the resurrection (I Cor. 15: 41-42) I just ran across this while reading through Methodius...he exegetes this passage as:

And the Lord does not profess to give the same honours to all; but to some He promises that they shall be numbered in the kingdom of heaven, to others the inheritance of the earth, and to others to see the Father." (The Banquet of the Ten Virgins, Chap. III)

This gives at least two sterling witnesses to this interpretation....Papias as reported by Irenaeus...and Methodius (A.D. 260-312) a highly regarded Bishop who was martyred in the last great persecution.


The decision of Western NT canon was conducted by great Christian men who by their own judgment and biases accepted the now "standard" Christian NT. However, this excluded the Christians in Egypt, Ethiopia, and on Malabar Coast (India), who have the Book of Enoch and Gospel of Thomas in their canon.


Subject: Ethiopian Church
Date: Sat, Apr 25, 1998 23:20 EDT
From: Esperanto3
Message-id: <1998042603204400.XAA11615@ladder01.news.aol.com>

This was posted on Know the Mormons folder.

Friends:

The Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Church, once the official religion, in Ethiopia, has circa 20,000,000 adhering believers. They are part of the Christian whole. Yet their Bible is a wonderful text, which stands outside the Nicene canon which was established 325 A.D. by the main branches of Christianity, which excluding many other views and works. For instance, the theologian Arius (250 - 336 A.D.) whose ideas and works were banned. The Coptic Church in Egypt and Nubia were not included, nor was the Ethiopian Church, or the Malabar Church in India (established St. Thomas).

These Christian churches have canonical texts which WE in the West lack, e.g. "Gospel of Thomas," "The Book of Enoch," etc. The Nicene Council was a good attempt to standardize the various texts used by the Christian Church, but it was still an exclusive "ol' boyz club". All views not conforming to a preset aggendum were no invitated or were shunned. Even at this time there were followers of Arius. This council was not due to Marcion, because his followers were few and remained so until its extinction circa 6th century. Nor was it a response to the Manichaean religion whose believers posed no real threat to Christianity and was confined mainly to the East.

"The General Epistle of Jude" was included in the canon although he mentions a work known and belived by the early Church Fathers, i.e. The Book of Enoch. However, there have been attempts to remove this piece (Jude) of scripture from time to time. Even the famous reformer Martin Luther desired "James" removed from the canon. Later in the Reformation, the reformers deemed it fit to remove the Apocraphy since it was included in the Greek language version of the Bible, "Septuagint," even though most quotes in the NT are drawn from it. This was religio-political move against the Catholic Church.

This was a council working on concensus basis to create a "Standard," on the whole the work is a great achievement, but he it was done by individuals with their own aggenda. Excluded were many works which early Church Fathers had seen as genuine canonical works, e.g. writings of Clement, Ignatius, and Barnabas (wonderful texts, good reading!!).

So Ethiopian Church by default was excluded and proceeded to put together their canon. Is their canon better or worse than ours? I do not know, but I do know that it is different. Are they less Christian because their Bible is different than our Western version? I don't think anyone on this folder would venture to hold such a view.

Mormon canon: Yes, it is very different since it includes works which are not considered canonical by any other Christian church. These writings, e.g., BOM, doesn't teach anything which doesn't fit within the parameters of Old World Christianity. The text (BOM) stresses the need for a savior, ethical living, brotherhood of man, compassion of for the destitute, and that Jesus Christ didn't confine His presence to one continent. Why would he?  Since he send his apostles to such distant areas as Ethiopia and India.

Ulf


"Historic Christianity" is so loosely defined as to be devoid of ANY commonly accepted definition within Christendom. The Catholics believe that THEY are the only true "Historic Christians". So do the Orthodox Catholics. And so do the Protestants and Evangelicals, even though most of their core doctrines weren't developed fully until the 16th century. When I went through TOS training, I never heard ANYTHING about this new definition of what constitutes a "prohibited" URL.

In fact, when *I* have approached YOU about not allowing URL's on the Theology board that specifically ATTACK specific denominations, you have told me that forbidding those kinds of URL's was NOT permitted, and that I was wrong to do that unless the URL met the TOS requirements.. which are that they attempt to sell products or services. I'm curious as to why the sudden turn-around and reversal of policy.

As for Mormons not being "Christian", this is simply stupid. Mormons consider themselves Christian, as do such notables as the National Council of Christians and Jews, the World Council of Churches, and numerous other ecumenical councils. Neither you, nor anyone else on AOL, has the authority to say, "No, you're not"... ESPECIALLY from a doctrinal perspective.. unless, of course, you wish to exclude Christ Himself and the entire Early Church inasmuch as they were not privy to the doctrines invented during councils HUNDREDS of years after the Ascension.

Mormons contend that they adhere to the beliefs espoused by the Early Christian Church, which beliefs were lost throughout the centuries following the Ascension of Christ. They are certainly not alone in recognizing that NONE of the denominations on earth adhere to "Historic Christianity". You might recognize the statement of Roger Williams, pastor of the oldest BAPTIST Church in America at Providence, Rhode Island, who REFUSED to continue as pastor on the grounds that, "There is no regularly-constituted church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any Church ordinance: nor can there be, until new apostles are sent by the great Head of the Church, for whose coming I am seeking." (Picturesque America, or the Land We Live In, ed. William Cullen Bryant, New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1872, vol. 1, p. 502.)

Williams also said, "The apostasy.. hath so far corrupted all, that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy until Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew." (Underhill, Edward, "Struggles and Triumphs of Religious Liberty", cited in William F. Anderson, "Apostasy or Succession, Which?", pp. 238-39)

So please don't give me that "we all know that historically, Mormons have not been accepted as Christians". Who CARES whether Mormons have been ACCEPTED as Christians? Whether they are "accepted" or not is not germane to this discussion, to the policies of the R&B area OR CO OR AOL, and speaks more to the Biblical ignorance and spiritual immaturity of the individual making that statement than any valid pronouncement. We shouldn't be too quick to forget that Christ wasn't "accepted" by the religious leaders of His day either.

Mormons undeniably believe in Jesus Christ, as taught in the King James version of the Bible. They believe that he suffered, died, and rose again the third day to atone for the sins of mankind. They believe that they are saved by the Grace of Jesus Christ through no act of their own. They believe the Trinitarian theology taught in the very same NT that you use. They strongly insist that they are Christians. They simply reject many of the post-apostolic creeds as MANY denominations do, which do NOT define who is, or is not, a "Christian".. only how far Christianity has strayed from the teachings of Christ and the Early Church Fathers, as Roger Williams.. one of your OWN.. so eloquently pointed out.


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