Shawn McCraney is a Heretic and Needs Adult Supervision

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment (James 3:1, NASB).

[H]ow can he take care of God's church?... He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil (1 Timothy 3:5-6, NIV).

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23, KJV).

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24, NKJV).

 

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears (Acts 20:29-31, KJV).

 

Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god (Psalm 16:4, KJV).

 

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Tim. 4:16, NIV).

 

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us (1 John 2:19, NIV).

 

Introduction

 

In this article, I will describe why Shawn McCraney is a heretic. I will do this by specifically focusing on his doctrine of God and contrasting that with traditional Christianity. I will also defend the traditional Christian doctrine of God against Shawn’s recent attacks. I will conclude by explaining how his new title of “heretic” could have easily been avoided.

 

Who is Shawn McCraney?

Basically anyone seriously involved with ministry to Mormons knows who Shawn McCraney is. He is in charge of a ministry called “C-A-M-P-U-S,” which stands for “Christian Anarchists Meeting to Prayerfully Understand Scripture.” He has also hosted a TV show on Mormonism and Christianity from Salt Lake City since 2006. Shawn is a former Mormon, who converted to Christianity in 1997 and remained in the LDS Church for the next four years when he was excommunicated. As a result of this experience, Shawn claims “I Was a Born-Again Mormon”—the title of one of his books. He has been instrumental in leading many Mormons out of Mormonism (even if not out of the Mormon Church) and into a relationship with Jesus.

However, the beginning of last year, Shawn’s TV ministry took a different trajectory. While taking a brief break from his TV show late in 2012, he visited other Christian churches in Utah and became appalled at what he saw. As a result, he started going after the Christian Church, particularly “American evangelicalism.” As things progressed from styles of Christian worship, he started going theologically deeper by going after Calvinism with its doctrine of election and perseverance of the saints. He continued to upset even more Christians by revealing that he no longer held to the traditional Christian doctrine of hell, and instead started teaching a form of universalism. Then in November 2013, he claimed that he had problems with the Nicene Creed! What exactly those problems were has only been revealed in the last two weeks. Shawn is outright rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity, and advancing a form of Modalism.

What is Modalism?

Shawn’s creed states, “We worship one God who consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (“God”). Prima facie, this is a working definition of God. However, Shawn was quite clear that “before Jesus came to earth, God was only God; there was no Father or Son. He is a consuming fire” (41:10ff. of Episode 380). Here, Shawn quite clearly denies that God eternally existed as both a Father and a Son. Prior to this quote, Shawn calls the Trinity doctrine a “product of tradition and philosophies of man” (Ibid., 32:35) and “garbage” (Ibid., 33:00). So what exactly is his understanding of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

Shawn says that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but then says this is not the Trinity (25:18ff. of Episode 381). So what is it? Shawn goes on to talk about there simply being God, “a monotheist God,” who
 

has manifested Himself in a number of different ways. He has appeared as fire… He has spoken as a still small voice. He has spoken as thunder. He has appeared as clouds. He has appeared as mists, as wind, an assortment of other ways. Were they all God? Yes! Manifestations of one God… Did this God manifest Himself in Spirit? Well, that’s the first way He manifested Himself to this earth from what we can tell… This single monotheistic God also, listen, also manifested Himself in flesh. That’s all. Not a new second or third person of a singular God co-equal in three persons of equal authority and power and knowledge with other persons. It’s just another albeit fleshly manifestation of the single God… The only deal about God being the or a Father is in relationship to becoming a Son. He was not a Father until He manifested Himself as the Son, then He became the Father. There’s really no more complicated than this—God is one who manifests Himself in a bunch of different ways. If the manifestation is from God, then the manifestation is God, sent by the one God to teach us of Himself. That is a much clearer, easier, rational, biblical way to understand who we worship.  ...But this three persons that makes a single God, the three persons together then form that God, that is Trinitarian, and it's just not right; it's not so.  So where did all this stuff come about--three persons, co-equal, co-eternal, comprising from the one true God--where did it come from?  From men who want to create formulas, and love control and ownership" (Ibid., 25:44ff.).


Every theologian knows this is Modalism plain and simple. However, Shawn adamantly rejects that he is a Modalist or that he’s teaching Modalism at all (Ibid., 24:07ff.). This is simply because he denies a successive Modalism in which the Father becomes the Son and the Son becomes the Holy Spirit. But just because one denies a successive Modalism of this sort doesn’t entail that one is no longer a Modalist. He can call it whatever he wants, but he clearly articulated what everyone else knows as Modalism. Basically, God turns out to be simply one person with various ways of appearing. For example, Shawn is a father, but he’s also a son. It depends on how he’s looked at or referenced.

What’s the conclusion? Sure Shawn believes that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that’s not all God is. God is also Fire, Still Small Voice, Thunder, Clouds, Mists, Wind, etc., etc. There are potentially an infinite amount of ways God can manifest Himself and be named, but He’s still one person.

What is Trinitarianism?

Trinitarianism teaches that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three different or distinct persons who are inseparably and eternally united as one true God or Creator of literally everything else. So Trinitarianism agrees with Modalism that there is only one true God.  All other gods are false, since they are not God by nature. In contrast to Modalism, Trinitarianism teaches that God is more than one person, and in contrast to Mormonism, Trinitarianism teaches that God is not a team of three separate Gods simply united in their purpose and nature (for LDS, that nature is human). They are united eternally, so the Father was never without the Son, and the Son was never without the Spirit, and the Spirit was never without the Father. This is the very nature of God prior to there being any manifestations or any creation.

Shawn seems confused in claiming that manifestations are identified as the nature of God. Recall that for Shawn, God appeared as Spirit, fire, still small voice, etc. However, the manifestation of something is not the same thing as something’s nature. Take, for example, a straight stick. How does it appear or manifest itself when put in water? It appears bent. However, we all know through rational intuition that sticks don’t magically become bent when placed in water. Unfortunately when it comes to God, Shawn seems given over to his appearances instead of what the data of God’s word clearly states. This seems to be a Mormon cob web that Shawn’s having a hard time shaking. It’s this line of thinking that leads Mormons to assume God must be a man. But just because God chose to show up as a man doesn’t entail that God is a man. God showed up at the baptism of Jesus as a dove, but no one would claim God is a dove in His nature. Trinitarians affirm that the data of God’s word is clear—despite the manifestations, God has eternally been made up of three distinct, but inseparable Persons.

Of course God is so far beyond our comprehension, but that doesn’t entail that the doctrine of the Trinity is nonsense. Take any feature of God (e.g., omniscience). All features of God are beyond our comprehension, but God still tells us certain things about Himself that we are required to believe. The data of the Trinity is no different in this respect. So regardless of whether we can make sense of certain features of God (all of us are at different levels of comprehension), we are all required to believe what has been given to us… if one wants to be led by the Spirit of God.

Having acknowledged the incomprehensibility of God, there should not be a problem with understanding how He could be eternally made up of three persons. Why? Because we have all sorts of examples in nature of something being comprised of different things. If one is going to have a triangle, for example, one knows that there has to be at least two different and inseparable things—trilaterality (the sides of a triangle) and triangularity (the angles of a triangle). Fair enough. But what about something being made up of different centers of consciousness? We also have examples of that in nature (e.g., a three-headed turtle). So it shouldn’t be a big deal if it turns out that the Creator eternally and inseparably exists with different centers of consciousness.      

The Church (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) has always taught this Trinitarian doctrine. The only difference between Eastern and Western versions regards how the members of God are united. Eastern versions plead the Fifth, whereas Western versions are more decisive in claiming the members are united in one Being. For the latter, that is the only sensible way to rule out polytheism.

But wasn’t the doctrine of the Trinity developed by the theologians a few centuries after Christ? Yes and no. Yes, the systematic formulation in precise scholarly language came about then, but no, the scholars were simply agreeing in their own language with what they recognized was taught both in the Bible and in the Church that Christ established, handed down through the apostles and in turn, through the early fathers. As such, Church fathers condemned Modalism as heresy prior to any Trinitarian creedal formulations.

Heretics (those who deny the faith once for all delivered to the saints) point to all the pagan influences and similarities that went into those creedal formulations. Heretics also are quick to point out that the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible. But so what? The term “Bible” in terms of the way we use it today (i.e., the canonized books revealed by God) isn’t even in the Bible, but we still believe the Bible. Even if all this that the heretics claim is true, it has absolutely nothing to do with anything. It’s a red herring and one big genetic fallacy. It’s a red herring, since similarities with pagan teachings should not be a reason why we aren’t entitled to hold to the Trinity… unless of course one thinks absolutely nothing pagans believe is true (good luck with that!) or one merely assumes the Trinity was lifted from other ancient stories. It’s also a genetic fallacy, since just because one may have come to learn and believe the doctrine of the Trinity from the creeds is no reason to claim it cannot be true. That would be like claiming we aren’t entitled to believe 2 + 2 = 4 if we learned it from a witch or someone addicted to heroin. 

What Does the Bible Teach?

Regardless of how one came to learn the doctrine of the Trinity, the Bible teaches it. Again, both Trinitarians and Modalists agree that the Bible teaches monotheism (e.g., Isaiah 43:10, 44:6, 8, and 24, and John 17:3). Both teach that the Father is God (Philemon 3), the Son is God (Colossians 2:9), and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). However, only Trinitarians affirm what the Bible teaches about them being actual Persons who are different from one another. John 1:1-3 and 14 indicate that there were at least two from the beginning, prior to any creation. These two are both called “God,” and yet John is explicitly monotheistic (Jn. 17:3). 1 Corinthians 8:6 says that the Father is God who created all things and the Son is Lord who created all things. The Spirit is involved in creation in the first chapter of Genesis, and yet God says He did the work of creation “alone” or by Himself (Isa. 44:24). By definition, there can only be One who created literally all things. However there were actually three that were there from the beginning of creation. Therefore, the three must be the One.

Further, who was Jesus praying to? It seems natural to assume He was speaking to some Intelligence other than Himself rather than simply having a conversation with Himself.

Or what was going on at the baptism of Jesus? There you clearly have simultaneously one in heaven speaking, one on earth being baptized, and one descending from heaven.

Or what do we make of John 5:31-2 and 8:16-18? There Jesus plainly states that His testimony would be invalid according to the Old Testament law if it was just Him testifying. Jesus acknowledges that “Another” bears witness of Him (Jn. 5:32). He says He’s “not alone,” but the Father judges with Him (Jn. 8:16).

 

Or how about John 17:5 where Jesus prays, "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was"? There were obviously at least two persons (selves or egos) before the world came to be.  


Or finally, Jesus identified that He was a person who had a will which was different from the will of another person He was submitting to, viz., His Father (Luke 22:42). There are clearly two wills at play here, and this supports Trinitarianism over Modalism.

There are primarily three passages that Modalists use to justify their position. The first is Isaiah 9:6 where Jesus is identified as the “everlasting Father.” The problem here is that Modalists assume this description rules out there being a heavenly Father who is inseparably united to another—the heavenly Son. The descriptions in this passage are in the genitive case in the Hebrew: He is the God of might, the Prince of peace, and the Father of everlasting. So in other words, the Son is the creator of time itself. He is the Father of all duration. If that’s true, then there is no problem of this individual being inseparably united with another who is called the heavenly Father.

The other passage is Jn. 10:30: “I and my Father are one.” One Person? Modalists assume so. But why not one in unity (either purpose or being) while maintaining a distinction of persons? There are other options here besides the Modalistic one, so there is no good reason why it should be forced upon the passage. 

The final passage is Jn. 14:9 where Jesus tells Philip that “if you have seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” However this passage never states that Jesus is the Father. The subsequent verses plainly say that Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him, and that’s why it should be obvious who is at work in Him. It’s similar to saying that if you’ve seen me, then you’ve seen my earthly dad. He can be formed in my life in such a way that his influence clearly shows up. It is really him doing the works in my life given my “goodly heritage” (Ps. 16:6, KJV).

What Difference Does it Make?

A year or two ago, my pastor, Bryan Hurlbutt, pointed out to me this statement on Shawn’s site: “We believe that those who have different ontological views of Christ may be saved so long as they have come to know Him epistemologically” (“Jesus”). My pastor told me that this was heresy, since it expresses the sincerity of one’s belief is what matters over who Jesus really is. What did Jesus teach? He taught, “Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins” (Jn. 8:24). The sincerity of the Jews He addressed had nothing to do with it. One can be very sincere, but sincerely wrong. Perhaps Shawn means something else here by “epistemologically.” Nonetheless, having different ontological views of Christ other than that which He has revealed is damning, not saving.

This is why Shawn continues to regard those who hold the Trinity as brothers in Christ. In Shawn’s mind, we are all saved regardless of our ontological views of Christ. In fact, given his denial of the conscious everlastingness of hell, everyone will be eventually saved anyway. If this is the case, then why is Shawn so apparently bothered by making sure everyone knows God is not Triune? And why even bother trying to persuade Mormons that they are wrong? I mean, it will all pan out in the end regardless.

For the traditional Christian, though, knowing the right Christ really does matter. It is a matter of eternal life and eternal death in which we have only this life to get Him right (Lk. 16:19-31 and Heb. 9:27). The very first commandment was that we should have no other gods. Our Lord warned us of other Christs that would come in the last days (Mat. 24:24). He also taught that eternal life is knowing God and Jesus (Jn. 17:3). His apostle said that idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9). This is why the late Bible Answerman, founder of the Christian Research Institute, and author of the textbook classic Kingdom of the Cults, Walter Martin, liked to say, “You can be right in every area of doctrine, but if you’re wrong on who God is, you’re wrong enough to lose your soul for eternity.”

The Christ that Shawn is now promoting is different from the Christ he was promoting, and the former is certainly different from the Christ of the Christian Church. If one doesn’t see this, then one is looking at this matter superficially (much like some provincial white person saying that all Chinese look alike) and/or refuses to accept the judgment from 2,000 years of Christian history.

How Could a Heretic Have Been Avoided? 

In all likelihood, Shawn would have never reached the point of teaching another God if he had submitted himself to the means God gave us, viz., to elders who have certain qualifications. Hebrews 13:17 clearly says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (ESV). 1 Pet. 5:1-5 tells us that we are to submit to the elders or overseers that God has put in place to care for His flock as an act of humility.

However, being the Christian anarchist Shawn is, he claims he is only accountable to God. This, in effect, is what every cult leader claims. One doesn’t have to run things by an elder board or even listen to 2,000 years of Church history; one simply has to listen to God.

What exactly does it mean that one is only accountable to God? Besides not having to submit to a group of elders or seriously heed the council of Church history, Shawn thinks he doesn’t have to submit to anyone else, since he’s got this fundamentalist way of thinking: “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” However, the problem that is now under dispute is, “Has God really said it?” What makes Shawn so sure? The only answer seems to be his own burning in his bosom, and we should be well aware of all the problems associated with that! Even if Shawn directly heard from the Lord on these doctrinal matters, what makes him so sure he got it right? Dallas Willard reminded us that “[t]he infallibility of the messenger as well as the message does not guarantee the infallibility of our reception. Humility is always in order” (Hearing God, 53). Given our weakness, “iron sharpens iron” as the Proverbs say. That’s why we need each other. God has established His Church, among other things, to use us as safeguards, who will always steer us to our Bride.

When that is out of the picture, it is not at all surprising the path Shawn has continued to take. Our individualist American culture feeds this rebellious attitude. However, submission to authority is built, not only into our church, but in our government, schools, homes, sports teams, etc. In fact, this submission to authority is reflective of what goes on in the very nature of God (something that is outside Shawn’s Modalistic categories).

Conclusion

I love Shawn and continue to pray for him. He has fallen into grave error and needs a restoration from his Restorationist theology. As what typically happens when new cults spring up, a leader begins to value more of what makes sense rather than simply believing what God says. Shawn has put the cart before the horse, and this is where his pride has pushed the God of the Bible aside to make room for a god of his own making.

In addition to Shawn, others need to be warned. God may be using this for no other reason than to wake His Church up on what Modalism is and how it replaces the Triune God of the Bible.

 

Finally, we all need "adult supervision." The Church which our Lord established intended elders and submitting to authority as means to keeping us on the "straight and narrow." To reject that is to reject the gift Christ offers.

 

Updated October 6, 2015

 

On his show, Shawn finally admitted that he's "a committed modalist."  See Pastor Jason Wallace's video of Shawn's evolving doctrine.

Further Resources

Modalism, Oneness, and T. D. Jakes
The Ancient Paths - Response to Shawn McCraney's Teachings

The Ancient Paths - Response to Shawn McCraney Part 2

McCranky Update (Wily Coyote Above the Gorge)

Shawn McCraney is probably not a heretic

INQUISITION 2014 - The term "trinity"

Robert M. Bowman, Jr. on HOTM


R. M. Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
President’s Day 2014


Add Comment
Lori Vogt says... (Reply)
"Standing with you in prayer for Shawn McCraney. I support this call for confrontation in love and truth. Praying for you and Mr. McCraney. " (2/17/14)
Arthur Haglund says... (Reply)
"I think this is a good article. Thanks.
I, however, do not have such a hard time with modalists. Universalism, yes, but not to much modalism, because God did not leave us a message that said that one must fully come to certain understandings to be saved. I believe in the Jesus of thebible, no other. I believe in the Father son and Holy ghost (Spirit) in the bible. I believe all three are God, I believe in the Holy trinity, but I do not think that one's reading of scripture and coming away with modalism makes one unsaved. I see a mode where the son is definitely under authority of the Father etc...
I do not see Modalism, other than being a different view (YES, I agree that only one CAN be true, and BOTH could be wrong) of how that individual understands, at that moment, the totality of God
Since God is infinite and we are finite, we NEVER will have FULL understanding of God, and thus we WILL have error in our understanding of God.
I also HATE Calvinism with a passion. IT is a diabolical doctrine that makes God the ultimate author of sin.
I agree that This man has gone off the deep end and raised himself to draw people away after himself and like Satan's ministers often do, he ran parallel for a long time, then nearly parallel and then, once his train was far enough away from the real track, he takes a turn, and makes sure his passengers cannot see the true path, now.
I just do not consider the Modalism issue to be the MAIN issue.
I could be wrong, though.

" (2/18/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Well to avoid Shawn's error, I'd rather trust the judgment of 2,000 years of Church history on the matter of Modalism as to its importance. The Bible also seems clear enough to me on which God is true, and it's idolaters that end up in hell (1 Cor. 6:9)." (2/18/14)
Chip Thompson says... (Reply)
"Yea, good article and very good scriptural evidence for the Trinity. I have been working with former Mormons for over 20 years and Shawn has fallen into a trap that is very common for those who have left the TOTALLY AUTHORITARIAN LDS CHURCH. Even in leaving Mormonism, Satan has done his work well by convincing the one leaving that he should never allow himself to join another "organized religion". The problem here is that Jesus definitely created an "organized church" and when anyone who is trying to follow Jesus does not submit to and connect with a local body of believers they are destined to be led astray either by their own thinking or the thinking of some other "Lone Ranger Christian". Jesus set up His Church, founded upon the authority of the Lord's Apostles, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, to be overseen by spiritually mature elders, pastors, teachers, deacons, evangelists, etc. A "novice" in the faith is not to be placed into any of these positions, so that the church will be led in the sound teaching passed down to them by those who have gone before (yes, Church history is vitally important). I have been concerned for Shawn because he has always been proud of the fact that he is an "anarchist" for Christ - but Jesus never intended for his church to be a bunch of "Mavericks", instead the greatest desire of our Lord and Savior was that all of His followers would be united into one body for the glory of the Kingdom of God. By joining together, we have the opportunity to hold each other accountable and help each other in our many weaknesses. I hope Shawn will listen to those who gather to talk with him this week because He has GREAT potential and has already proven his ability to lead. My greatest fear if he will not listen is that he also has GREAT potential to do much harm to a multitude of people who are now following him. My prayer is that Shawn will be humble and teachable and allow himself to be steered by godly men in a direction that is pleasing to our Lord Jesus Christ." (2/18/14)
kelly says... (Reply)
"My concern is where we are told elders are to look over us. If that is a fact in Christianity....then mormons aren't wrong either because they believe the same thing." (2/18/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Well why think that nothing a Mormon believes is true? The Bible clearly teaches elders with certain qualifications. Mormons distort the Bible for most of it's teachings, but that doesn't entail certain things like elders can't be true. They have false elders just as they have false prophets, who promote a false Christ. But if something's false, then we'd properly assume that something is true." (2/18/14)
Jake says... (Reply)
"Rob, so if you can please explain God to us. You're saying that God is a person, Jesus is a person, the Holy Spirit is a person??? I thought God was a spirit and not finite but infinite. Are any of us equipped to understand an infinite God, creator of heaven and earth??? No offense, but to somehow equate persons or "personages" with an infinite spirit which is God seems absurd." (2/20/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Jake--When you say “God,” you mean the Father. But when I say God, I mean the F, S, and HS. He is an infinite spirit eternally made up of 3 distinct persons. I’ve already stated this above in the section on What is Trinitarianism? And I’ve already explained that even though God is infinitely above, we are still required to believe what He’s revealed to us—whether we understand it all or not. What seems absurd to you isn’t absurd to Christians for 2,000 years now. God has 3 centers of consciousness, 3 wills, 3 centers of emotion, each of whom relate to each other throughout eternity. Just because you have a hard time comprehending what God’s revealed about Himself doesn’t entail that it can’t be true." (2/20/14)
Laura Collings says... (Reply)
"Thank you so much for this article. .My husband and I were at the " inquisition". We had not heard any of Shawn's "new" ideas( all though they are not new, but heretical.....as you so eloquently stated last night) since we have not listened to him in the last year.The behavior of Shawn last night was just embarrassing. He was not handling it in a biblical manner and there was no actual statement of his defending his biblical views , but as you said... "a diatribe".....and actually it was more like a big baby just throwing a fit, claiming he doesnt care what men think about him when clearly he does . I was so frustrated all day thinking about it ....however ,after reading this article I am so pleased to hear all of my own thoughts and the Bible verses that Shawn needs to hear being used to sum up this whole disaster. This artical is spot on!!!!!Thank you for it and I can only pray that Shawn will repent , but more importantly I pray his followers will not be permanently damaged by him." (2/21/14)
Tim Irvin says... (Reply)
"Shawn is no more a heretic than you are. He is a brother in Christ, that simply believes differently in non-essentials than you. I agree with him on total reconciliation, but disagree with him on his view of the Trinity. That doesn't make him or I heretical. Usually the heretics are the ones calling everyone heretics. " (2/22/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Well if you say so Tim! You simply beg the question here and gainsay the point. If you would, please provide an argument for your position why the nature of God is a non-essential matter, and please give some Christian theologians who are not Modalists that would agree with your position. If you’d like to understand why I don’t agree with your opinion, then please read my article above. " (2/22/14)
Tim Irvin says... (Reply)
"I'm not a modalist, nor is McCraney. I'm a Trinitarian, like yourself. But, to say McCraney is a heretic because he disagrees with the Trinity is total [^%$&]. To say he isn't a brother in Christ, is crazy. I would suggest you read Romans 14. I watched your confrontation with McCraney, I was appaled to say the least. Who are you to judge anyone's faith.

Furthermore, you obviously don't understand the Christian concept of salvation. Did the thief on the cross accept the Trinity? How about every single Jew before Jesus or every single Christian until the second century when the concept of the Trinity originated? They sure didn't. They had no clue about a Trinity. God is a Trinity, but His name is YWHW.

Anyways, to say that to be a Christian is to accept the Trinity is pure heresy. It's a works based salvation to say the least. By our faith we are saved, not our correct theology. The apostles preached the good news, that Jesus, the Son, sent by the Father died on the cross for our sins, and resurrected. That He was God in the flesh, that He sent the Spirit. They didn't go around preaching the Trinity as the truth. I implore you to repent of your condemnation of a fellow brother in Christ.

Romans 10:9, where does it speak of the Trinity? Where is the Trinity in every single talk about salvation? " (2/24/14)
Arthur Adam Haglund says... (Reply)
"I have to say, watching Shawn's Inquisition 2014 video on youtube clearly shows an Arianism, that the Logos did not even exist until God spoke it forth.
Thus, while out of one side of his face, he pretends to affirm eternal existence of the Logos (which he wrongfully assigns to be 'it' not 'he' in the Gospel of John). In fact, by his definition, the logos could not exist, but came into being once God spoke 'it' forth.
This is his foundation of what, surely (barring repentance) will lead to more and more error, and those man followers that are defending him by NOT being Berean Students of the bible, will surely grow into another America cult." (2/24/14)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"@Tim Irvin
There are several problems with your reasoning Mr. Irvin, but first I would suggest that your arguments would stronger if you wouldn't mangle terms and got your facts straight: The correct English rendering of the Tetragrammaton is YHWH, YaHWeH, or Yahweh not "YWHW" (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton ). Further, the Trinity is all over the Old Testament, starting with Genesis 1:1 which reveals God the Father and the Holy Spirit ...

Genesis 1 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

... and Genesis 1:26 (ESV) which says:

"Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."

It's even in the key or core confession of Jewish monotheism, the Shema which says:

"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God — the LORD alone."
-- Deuteronomy 6:4

Or transliterated:

In English: "hear-you Israel Yahweh Elohim-of·us Yahweh one"

In Hebrew: "shmo ishral ieue alei·nu ieue achd"

And the last word "achd" (aka "echad") means "united one".

Further:
- The word Elohim is used thousands of times for “God”; Adonai is used hundreds of times for “Lord”; both of these words are plural nouns in Hebrew.

- A number of passages speak of the “faces” or “presences” or “persons” of God (Exodus 33:14; Deuteronomy 4:37; and Job 13:8).

- God refers to Himself as “Us,” “Our,” and “We” (Genesis 1:26, 2:18 (LXX), 3:22, 11:7; Isaiah 6:8, and 41:21-24),2 a phenomenon that is reflected in virtually every English translation.

- The OT says of God, “they caused me to wander” (Genesis 20:13), “they appeared” (Genesis 35:7), “they drew nigh” (Deuteronomy 4:7), “they went” (2 Samuel 7:23), and “they judge” (Psalm 58:11).

- The OT calls God our “Creators” (Ecclesiastes 12:1), “Makers” and “Husbands” (Job 35:10; Psalm 149:2; Isaiah 54:5).

- The OT says that God is “holy” (Joshua 24:19; Proverbs 9:10, 30:33), another plural.
(source http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/rogers/ot_trinity.html )

- continued - " (2/24/14)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continuing response to Tim Irvin)
These points are critical because you argue:
"How about every single Jew before Jesus or every single Christian until the second century when the concept of the Trinity originated? They sure didn't. They had no clue about a Trinity. God is a Trinity, but His name is YWHW."

Clearly, the Old Testament Jews didn't have the full, or complete revelation of the gospel but they had a foreshadowing of the full gospel and understanding of God's nature that was unveiled through Christ. It is THAT full revelation that we (both Jew and Gentile) are held accountable for by God not that foreshadowing as Paul clearly states in Acts 17:30&31 (ESV):

"The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

So ultimately your argument on that point fails when scrutinized against the pure testimony of scripture.

Thus, when you make the same fallacious argument that was made during Shawn McCraney's "Inquisition 2014" debacle: "Did the thief on the cross accept the Trinity?" the weak under girding of your logic is exposed.

For a start, you're not God, neither am I - neither of us know what the thief on the cross did or didn't belief. However, it's a fair bet that he believed in the foreshadowed triune God revealed in the Old Testament and at that moment he also confessed belief in the promised Messiah - the one that hung on the cross between he and the other thief. Christ, who was fully God and fully man, certainly knew what the thief believed and held in his heart in declaring the man's fate. Let's let Christ be Christ and not make Biblically unsupportable, highly speculative arguments shall we?

- continued - " (2/24/14)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continuing response to Tim Irvin)
"I'm not a modalist, nor is McCraney."

Mr. Irvin perhaps you're unfamiliar with this Shawn McCraney statement from the February 11th HOTM show:

"One God. Always only and forever only one God. A monotheist God. He has manifested Himself in all sorts of means and ways to man.

He has appeared as fire.

Spoken as a still small voice.

As clouds, and mist, and wind, and an assortment of other ways.

Were they all God? Yes. Manifestations of One God Were they manifestations of more than one God? No.

One monotheistic God.

Did this God manifest Himself in spirit?

Yes. The second verse in the first chapter of Genesis says:

“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Hey, listen up – this single monotheistic God also manifested Himself in . . . flesh. That’s all. Not a new second or third “person” of the singular God co equal with the other persons. Just another manifestation of the single God.

Jesus said it plainly to Philip":
“If you have seen me, you’ve seen the father.”

-- Shawn MacCraney
(Heart of the Matter episode 381 - God Part 2; http://hotm.tv/episode-381-god-part-2/)

Mr. Irvin, despite Mr. McCraney's denials and protests, this is pure modalism, nothing more. Please consider Mr. McCraney's words in light of this from a neutral source:

"In Christianity, Sabellianism (also known as modalism, moralistic monarchianism, or modal monarchism) is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one monadic God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons within the Godhead…

…Modalism teaches that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit identified by the Trinity Doctrine are different modes or aspects of the One God, as perceived bythe believer, rather than three coeternal persons within the Godhead."
(Wikipedia article on "Sabellianism"; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabellianism)

And if the the 2/11/2014 declaration of modalism wasn't enough Mr. Craney reiterated and affirmed it at "Inquisition 2014" in front the entire audience. And if you'll recall Rob looked him straight in the eye and said (to the best of my memory), "Shawn that's modalism! Can't you see that?"

Rob spoke for many of us at that moment Mr. Irvin.

- continued - " (2/24/14)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continuing response to Tim Irvin)
"I'm a Trinitarian, like yourself. But, to say McCraney is a heretic because he disagrees with the Trinity is total [^%$&]. To say he isn't a brother in Christ, is crazy. I would suggest you read Romans 14."

Mr. Irvin, Romans 14 is dealing with non-essentials of the faith (kosher laws, vegetarianism v. meat eating, etc.) where there's liberty as Augustine said well:

"In essentials, unity.
In non-essentials, liberty.
In all things, charity."

And since you seem to be unclear as to what the essential doctrines of the Christian faith are may I encourage you to consider this excellent primer: http://carm.org/essential-doctrines-of-christianity

Yes, the Bible is QUITE clear that there ARE essential doctrines - the nature of God being first and foremost. In fact a great deal of the New Testament (the epistles in particular) was written to address errors on the essentials of the faith that had entered the Christian Church. If you doubt this please consider passages like these:

2 Corinthians 11
English Standard Version (ESV)
"3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
...
12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds."

Galatians 1:8
English Standard Version (ESV)
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

Deuteronomy 13
English Standard Version (ESV)
1“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

So CLEARLY the nature of God, the gospel, and belief in and worship of the only true God are all essential doctrines that we can not compromise on aren't they? And as a Tritarian, I'm sure that you can appreciate just how vitally important that doctrine is can't you?
- continued -" (2/24/14)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continuing response to Tim Irvin)
"I watched your confrontation with McCraney, I was appaled to say the least. Who are you to judge anyone's faith."

Well I believe that he's a man with a Bible in his hand confronting error just as we were instructed to do by Christ and his Apostles:

Matthew 18
English Standard Version (ESV)
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

1 Corinthians 5
English Standard Version (ESV)
11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.

Galatians 6
English Standard Version (ESV)
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

And unless I'm mistaken, believing in, worshiping, and teaching a God other than the God of the Bible is a form of idolatry is it not? There isn't modalism a form of idolatry?

So Mr. Irvin, the begging question is this, "Why are you 'appalled' at someone who's obeying the Bible?
- continued - " (2/24/14)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continuing response to Tim Irvin)
"Anyways, to say that to be a Christian is to accept the Trinity is pure heresy. It's a works based salvation to say the least. By our faith we are saved, not our correct theology. The apostles preached the good news, that Jesus, the Son, sent by the Father died on the cross for our sins, and resurrected. That He was God in the flesh, that He sent the Spirit. They didn't go around preaching the Trinity as the truth. I implore you to repent of your condemnation of a fellow brother in Christ."

Really Mr. Irvin? For nearly 2,000 modalism has been a heresy in the Christian Church because - and here's the biting irony here - it's rooted in paganism and not at all reflective of what the Bible says. Why does Shawn McCrawney get a "pass" when other modalists over the years haven't?

And Mr. Irvin, apparently you don't know your Christian Church History, REJECTING the Trinity - or more specifically the concepts taught in the doctrine of the Trinity - has been heresy throughout Church History. Your statement is simply ridiculous! (see http://www.churchhistory101.com/century3-p6.php )

And this statement is equally patently absurd, "It's a works based salvation to say the least." Really, Mr. Irvin? Are you really suggesting that holding to a stance that holding to what the Bible teaches is salvation by works? Really?

And ditto, if you're serious about this statement, "By our faith we are saved, not our correct theology" then I suppose we'd all better starting apologizing to the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and all the other cults out there! After all, they certainly have faith in Jesus Christ don't they - that is, THEIR version of Jesus Christ, of course. And Mr. Irvin, a modalist Jesus Christ IS "another Jesus" isn't it?

Simply put Mr. Irvin, your reasoning is horribly flawed. Respectfully, I don't really think that you've thought through what you're saying and considered it's full implications and logical conclusion.
- continued - " (2/24/14)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(concluding response to Tim Irvin)
"Romans 10:9, where does it speak of the Trinity? Where is the Trinity in every single talk about salvation?"

Mr. Irvin, Romans 10:9 taken in context shows just how flawed this argument is:

Romans 10
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

When taken in context, Romans 10:9 is talking about believing and confessing the true BIBLICAL Jesus - one can't confess and believe in ANY Jesus and be saved Mr. Irvin. Sorry.

And you have just made the same mistake that we have seen Shawn and his supporters make again, again, and again throughout this controversy: Selectively picking and choosing Bible passages (often out of context) to make a flawed, unBiblical point. One must take the scripture in total when interpreting it or you're sure to miss something and come to a wrong conclusion.

For example, if the Trinity ISN'T a vitally important issue in regard to salvation then how do you explain THESE passages:

Matthew 28
English Standard Version (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

John 17
English Standard Version (ESV)
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

Thank you for your time Mr. Irvin and I hope that you will prayerfully consider these things in light of the current situation.
- END - " (2/24/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"You confuse the means that God chooses to make one born-again (faith in what He’s revealed to one) with the criteria He gives us as the Church to test to see if one really knows Him. So just like LDS claim to hold to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being one God, we still have to get beyond this statement and understand what it really means. Once that’s accomplished, we see that LDS are idolaters, and according to 1 Cor. 6:9, they end up in hell if they don’t repent.

This is really where Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglicans (Protestants) look at certain Protestants as missing the communal aspect of our salvation. Individualism found in an extremist Protestant view has no concept of how our salvation is tied to the community that Christ is saving. That community, according to the New Testament, is charged to look after the welfare of each other—both in life and doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16). " (2/24/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Tim, as Glenn Hendrickson already told you: "my logic does not end in a works-salvation. God is sovereign in salvation from beginning to end, but he does not save people to be ignorant of who he is. He reveals himself to them, primarily through Scripture, but also through experience. Scripture interprets our experience, never the opposite. If God (sovereignly, monergistically) saves someone, they will not reject his self-revelation in Scripture as (1) the only God who exists (2) in three co-equal, co-eternal persons, (3) who are distinct from one another.

But Shawn isn't, evidently, ok with God's self revelation. He is openly rebelling against it."" (2/24/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Art--Shawn isn't an Arian as he clearly stated at 1:54:00 in the surprise debate. The Father, Word, and Spirit are all co-eternal for Shawn." (2/25/14)
Arthur Adam Haglund says... (Reply)
"Rob, I just watched the whole video again and stopped at several points and watched them up to 5 times to make sure I was hearing what Shawn says and did my best to understand what he isw trying to communicate when he says those things.
Yes, Arianism. HE says God was eternal and that God spoke the word, and breathed the spirit. Making them creations of God. This comes in the minutes following 1:53 on the video.
Shawn also said that whatever comes from God IS God.
Well, that is not Arianism, but more of the far eastern and Indian mysticism that God is all things, because All things come from God.
All things come from God, but all things are not God. While this may not BE his meaning, it IS what he stated.

In the end, Shawn has proclaimed lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, having questions and living with a continued influence of his former Mormonism.

With these things stated by him, with his shown misunderstanding of Basic Christianity, Basic inability to rightly divide the word of truth and his basic inability to deal, correctly with linguistics, he needs to humble himself and remove himself from ANY position of teaching.
Since he has shown the willfulness of a spoiled little child, those who are able to remove him should remove him. The problem is those who may have some power over him are under him and thus, do nothing, even IF they were so inclined." (2/26/14)
Arthur Adam Haglund says... (Reply)
"Rob, I am pretty darn sure that Shawn made an openly false accusation against you in claiming that your motivation (my paraphrase) was to steal his followers and get them to follow you. Please respond to his accusation and clarify anything you may have posted on his site. This is important that you clear up any lingering accusations, or the lack of response just might be viewed as the fact that you are speechless because of being exposed." (2/27/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Already working on my thoughts of the "Inquisition," and that will certainly be addressed. I see how you could see S as Arian, but I think his clear statements as to them being "co-eternal" should guide how we see the Word and Spirit acting in the world. More later! " (2/27/14)
Mary says... (Reply)
"I found the confrontation, quite intersting. Jason Wallace was excellent, he showed a true Christ like spirit, about him. You however came off as brash and arrogant. I am appalled that no-one has taken Mr Mcraney to see a psyciatrist, the man is clearly mentally ill, he needs help urgently.

I find it quite amusing as several years ago, I received an appeal to support your ministry. I asked you what you believed, it turned out that you are ecumenical, and think the RC is another denomination. Quite frankly you need to go and read Foxes Book of Martyrs, and read up on Catholic theology. The Catholic Church is nothing but a satanic counterfeit.
I do not support Mr Mcraney is anyway, I believe he has errored, however I believe once he sorts himself out medically, he will probably be fine." (3/8/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"I have read Foxes Book of Martyrs and Catholic theology. In case you didn’t realize, the Catholic Church isn’t burning Protestants at the stake anymore. I’m still Protestant and think the Catholic Church has lots of problems, but so do a lot of Protestant denominations. At least we still have the same Triune God of the Bible, who is quite different from what Shawn, the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. teach.

As for my apparent brashness and arrogance, it’s no worse than yours. May God give us both grace to be accurate judges of who we are." (3/8/14)
Mary says... (Reply)
"Rob come over to Ireland, and see how the Catholic Church is still persecuting Non Catholics. Non Catholic's are still being burnt out of their homes. By the way, I come from an RC family, so I don't hate Catholic's. The Catholic Church worship a wafer God. We do not worship the same God. The Catholic Church teaches another gospel of works. RC Church is totally at odds with Biblical Christianity. I do not belong to any denomination. Again someone should get Shawn Mcraney help asap. He is behaving the same way my aunt and Mother did, both suffered from bi-polar disorder, I do not support Shawn, I believe he has strayed, but he needs our prayers." (3/8/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Well if you come over here, I can show you some racist Protestants. Yes, there are always fringe elements. What’s going on in Ireland is hardly representative of the RCC.

Speaking of the elements, of course I don’t buy transubstantiation, but RCs hold that manifestation of the body of Christ, and that Person, along with the Father and the Spirit created all that is, including the material universe, and that includes the body of Christ. There’s no Bible verse that says if you think Jesus showed up somewhere, then you’re going to hell.

I agree many Catholics are confused on works, but they still have room for a grace that justifies apart from works. It’s just that the works are necessary for one’s sanctification and eventual glorification. They, like many Protestants, think that one may lose their salvation, so in order to get it back, they default to a legalism. Bad theology? Yes. But enough to keep them out of heaven? I and many other Protestant theologians don’t think so. We go by what the early Church in their creeds has declared to be of the Christian Faith.

If you don’t belong to any denomination, then does that mean you don’t go to any church with elders who can look after you and make sure you don’t go Shawn? " (3/8/14)
Mary says... (Reply)
"I will end this conversation. I am not a protestant, I am an evangelical. As for attending a Church. I used to be a Mormon I got saved, left LDS Church. I lost twelve babies, the last three born premature all died. I used to spend hours cleaning the Church, doing outreach etc. When my last baby died, not one person, came to see me, sent a card or anything. Infact one person said she wasn't a proper baby, as she wasn't full term. Go to a Church no thanks, I'm not being hurt like that again. Elders look after me, I wis!. I know it's a cult, I would never rejoin but the Mormon Church would have been there for me.
I suppose we will have to agree to disagree, The RC Church is a false religion. Sadly my Sister is RC and is working her way to heaven, as are my aunts etc. I do door to door, and I speak regularly with Catholic's, all have said that the Church dispenses the grace that will get them to heaven. They are not trusting in Christ alone to get to heaven, that is another gospel!" (3/8/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Well I’m a Protestant Evangelical, and I follow the Bible’s instructions to submit myself under elders. I’m sorry for your experience. I really am. But just like I’d tell other ex-Mormons, you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I love my pastor and my elders. They are good guys who have my back, and I have submitted to them to give me a good kick when I need it. If you’re missing out on that, then you’re missing out on what God has for us as part of the Body of Christ.

I also am trusting Christ alone for my salvation. That’s a metaphysical truth. However, if we are speaking of epistemological truth, then if you ask me how I know I am saved and have the Son, then I’ll tell you to look at my works. In some sense, that’s what I have to fall back on… especially since false conversions happen all the time and I think S is an example of that. " (3/8/14)
Shane says... (Reply)
"Spot on Rob! I stopped watching HOTM when Shawn adopted his heretical view on Hell. I'm grieved to hear he's moved farther into heresy. I agreed with much of his critique of evangelical Christianity and the Calvinism/Arminianism issue is an in-house debate in my opinion. The Christian Eschaton (Heaven or Hell), the Triunity of God, etc., are not negotiable." (4/4/14)
SGMan says... (Reply)
"Shawn's right. If anyone is a Christian, Shawn surely is." (6/9/14)
Dennis Espinoza says... (Reply)
"We all need to enter into accountable relationships. But what is assumed as "Christian Auhority" is for the most part assumed authority under a man made and not Biblical approach to the worldly method of the selection of managment, too often void of real leadership. Calling became a career choice." (7/15/14)
BK says... (Reply)
"How can Shawn be committing damnable heresy if he is already Justified by faith in the sight of God? So he is unclear in non essential doctrines. There is room and grace in the body for mistakes after we have been born again. If the author of this blog does not agree, he then is the one in danger of heresy because he denies the biblical doctrine of Justification by faith ALONE...APART FROM...ANYTHING...WE...CAN...DO," (7/31/14)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"I already addressed this justification by faith argument on the other blog "The “Inquisition” of Shawn McCraney—What the Heck Was That?" I'll just add that this same argument makes it to where we can't say that Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses who have grown up with their religions need to repent of their Christ. Why? Well they simply accepted their version of Jesus when they were little kids too. But they grow up and it becomes obvious that they aren't led by the Spirit when they start teaching the things about Jesus they do. " (8/1/14)
Chris says... (Reply)
"Recently he started saying Jesus has already returned, or something along those lines.." (11/10/14)
Drew says... (Reply)
"I'm always impressed by people willing to acknowledge that the Trinity came from man. I agree that man was on his own on this since there were no prophets or apostles to receive revelation from God on the matter. But by saying it originated from man, do you acknowledge that it could contain error, or do you accept it as infallible the way it stands? Leading up to the Nicene Creed, we read of many years of debates about whether the Father and Son were the same substance (homoousious), similar substance (homoioousious), or different substance (heteroousious). There were parties fighting for each position, along with many degrees in between. Finally homoousious (or consubstantial) won out, as stated in the Nicene Creed.

My question is, what if that whole debate was a waste of time, because God never told anyone to classify Him in terms of a substance/essence (ousia) in the first place? Most consider Origen to be the first to have classified God this way, though not in the Trinity sense because he believed the Son was of a lesser divinity than the Father. But did God commission Origen to classify divinity this way, or did Origen do it because of his background in Greek Philosophy, which originated this idea of classifying things by their "ousia" (see Aristotle's "Metaphysics", for example)? We know others of Origen's beliefs stemmed from philosophy, for example he believed Christ's resurrection was spiritual not physical, because his Platonic background made him cringe at the thought of deity having a physical body. Is it wise to rely on a classification of divinity that came from somebody so steeped in Greek philosophy?" (1/6/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Claiming the Trinity came from Nicea and the creeds is true in one sense. In another sense it's not true. The doctrine is found in the Bible: there's only 1 Creator of all things (e.g., Isa. 44:24) and the Father (1 Cor. 8:6), the Son (1 Cor. 8:6), and the Spirit (Gen. 1:2) were all involved in creation. The former sense is true in that the precise language of the philosophers and theologians came about after the Bible. But so what? What they fallibly agreed upon is in fact what scripture teaches. This issue is as silly to me as saying that the Spanish language for the Trinity wasn't found in the Bible, but came about by fallible men much later than the Bible. Don't get sidetracked by the way other language groups speak. The debate needs to be focused on what the Bible teaches. If the Bible ever taught that the Son wasn't the true God, but a false God, or that there's more than 1 true God, then I'd give up on Christian orthodoxy. " (1/6/15)
Drew says... (Reply)
"I just don't think Christians should ever have to settle for so much uncertainty about the nature of God, as all truth is absolute. Just because the Bible teaches of the "only true God" doesn't mean it's OK to adopt the Greek metaphysical ousia version of God. Even if it provides a semantic path to ontological oneness, it's still a huge leap to say that such an obvious product of human speculation just happened to hit upon the absolute truth about God. A close reading of the NT shows the church embraced Christ as separate from the "only true God", but one in purpose -- for example in Jhn 17 Christ said, " the only true God, AND Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (see also 1 cor 8:6, 1 Tim 2:5, Eph 4:5-6, Jude 1:4). Granted, the NT also affirms Christ's divinity, but because Christians prayed only to the "Most High" (our Heavenly Father), they didn't consider themselves polytheists. When the Bible spoke out against polytheism it was clearly targeting false gods and idols, not the separateness of the Godhead -- but over the years Christians got mired in semantics.

Mormons are absolutists in that we believe that when the foundation of prophets/apostles (Eph 2) crumbled due to overwhelming persecution, the church began to be "carried away by every wind of doctrine (Eph 4). In turn, the only way to sift out this error and fully restore the truth was for God to again rebuild that foundation -- i.e. His age old pattern of establishing truth through prophets. When I studied the revelations restored to Joseph Smith, I was simply astounded by how he had almost unwittingly managed to wipe the slate clean of all the Greek metaphysical elements that had been added in the 1st few centuries. The Mormon concept of God that is so maligned by today's Christians is simply a restoration of the Judeo Christian God of the Bible, free from immateriality, incorporeality, divine simplicity, creation "ex nihilo", transcendence beyond nature, and all the other concepts that have no Biblical support, but align perfectly with Hellenistic philosophy, which we know had a huge influence on many Fathers. Well unless Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, etc. were prophets, we shouldn't trust a single word they wrote about God--they were clearly speculating since they had no way of observing God firsthand.

The Reformers acknowledged that error had infiltrated the church, but they focused on obvious errors like indulgences. Things like the "ousia" classification of divinity no longer seemed an ostensible threat, however early Christians definitely did see it as a radical change -- for example, read the Creed of Constantinople (359) to see the strong Christian opposition to classifying God this way. Of course time has a way of hallowing things, which is why Mormons have a huge uphill battle to show why a restoration was needed.

Trinity doctrine aside, an even more damaging result of the ousia classification of God is that it set humans apart as a separate "substance" from God, meaning it no longer made sense to say we were spirit offspring of God (Acts 17:29, Heb 12:9), and thus the title "Father" became purely allegorical. Also this meant it no longer made sense to say we could progress to become like our Father, which caused the strong early Christian emphasis on divinization/theosis to slowly fade away.

When God restored the principle that His glory is His intelligence (not a metaphysical substance), suddenly everything made sense. It was clear that Christ and the Holy Spirit could also be divine simply because they shared in the Father's comprehension of all things. The Bible certainly supports omniscience as a definition of divinity, but again it does not support "ousia". This revelation also explained that the path for God's children to become like Him was simply a path of learning. This, in turn, brought clarity to a much earlier revelation to Smith that the Fall of Adam was a blessing. Knowing now that we were here on Earth to learn and develop the" (1/8/15)
Drew says... (Reply)
"(continued) godly attributes that Christ and the Apostles so emphasized, we understood that it was the opposition of mortality that allows us to "taste the bitter, that we may know to prize the good".

Sorry for going on so long, I just feel like Protestants condemned Smith without even giving him a chance, which to me is no different from the age old pattern of humans rejecting and persecuting prophets because they don't want to change. Your hasty rejection of Smith is also spurred on by the traditional Protestant distrust of human leaders (which your article mentioned). But while your history may justify your distrust of church leaders and organization, it is incredibly unBiblical since we know God has ALWAYS worked through prophets. It's the only way, since humans have incontrovertibly proven unable to agree on how to interpret the Bible. Paul toiled day and night to plead with church members to be unified in their beliefs (the purpose of a church organization), and it was a failure to heed his counsel, couple with persecution from without, that caused the church to fall away (grievous wolves entered in, not sparing the flock). The ironic part is that by accepting all the Hellenistic innovations and other changes introduced after the Apostles were gone, you are very much trusting in man, not God -- since by their own admission, Origen, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and the other post apostolic developers of doctrine were not prophets." (1/8/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"You confuse metaphysics with epistemology when you say that truth is absolute and thus our knowledge must be. Just because the metaphysical truth of God’s existence and properties are absolute doesn’t entail that our knowledge of this will be. Humility is always in order. However, Mormonism has more reason to be unsure from the simply fact that the Bible never teaches there’s more than 1 true God. The entire Church (Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox) has never concluded from the fact that the Son is different from the Father entails that the former is *separate* from the latter. That’s why the Christian Church isn’t polytheistic as Mormonism is. The LDS mind isn’t good with metaphysics, and that’s why they can’t make sense of the distinction between differentness and separateness. The sides of a triangle, for example, are obviously different from the angles of a triangle, but you’re never going to find one without the other. In other words, they’re inseparable.

You also assume that the most high is simply the Father and that the early Church prayed only to Him. But that’s just false. Stephen prayed to Jesus. Jesus advocated also praying to Himself in Jn. 14:14 (Greek) and that’s why He’s “equal” to God in Jn. 5:18-23. Paul also advocated praying to Jesus in 1 Cor. 1:2.

Further, your heavenly Father isn’t really the most high, since He has a God before Him. At best, your God is only as great as His Father or all the other Gods before them. And that directly goes against Ps. 135:5.

Smith didn’t wipe clean the slate of Greek metaphysics. He just picked what he liked from them to condemn the metaphysics the Christian Church agreed with. Smith bought into Greek materialism, polytheism, and pre-existence just to name a few. The Christian Church didn’t want to devalue God as much as Smith did, since the latter made Him into a dependent creature and not the Creator of all things outside His own Being.

That’s why Acts 17:29 has always been understood as figurative language. God of course is still the father of our spirits as Heb. 12:9 say, because He created us, but it’s blasphemous to think in such literal physical terms as Mormons do.

Deification or divinization is still taught in the Christian Church today. I hold to it myself. The problem is that LDS misunderstand it just like they do the Bible. Just because other “gods” are held to doesn’t entail that they are or become the exact nature of the Creator of all things, which would be a contradiction of terms. There’s only 1 true God (Jn. 17:3) who is God by nature (Gal. 4:8), and all other gods are dependent and false gods (Ps. 96:4-5). They *become* gods by obtainment. Thus, monotheism and ex nihilo creation are still held to by those who hold to Christian deification. Mormon deification is a blasphemous distortion, since all the gods are all equal in terms of their human nature and they’re all equal in terms of their power as D&C 76 teaches. Again, totally contrary to Ps. 135:5 and many other passages.

It’s not just Protestantism that rejects Mormonism as heretical. It’s the entire historic Christian Church, since Mormonism rejects the early creeds of the Church, which all Christian denominations support.

Again, I’ll be a Mormon right now if you can show me where the Bible clearly states (outside of your induction) that there’s more than 1 true God. Pointing to the distinction of the Father, Son, and Spirit isn’t enough to prove they’re *separate* Gods only unified in purpose and sharing a dependent human nature. Until you do that, I’ll continue to hold to what I and the entire Christian Church has held to for 2,000 years now on the basis of what the Bible clearly affirms (Isa. 43:10, 44:6, 8, 24 with 1 Cor. 8:6, Ps. 135:5, 96:4-5, Jn. 17:3, and 1 Tim. 2:5)." (1/8/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Clearly you have the advantage of 1900 years on your side, which makes it easy to reject Mormonism based its variation from concepts that have become hallowed over time. But is that valid logic? We know Christ and the Apostles fought the exact same battle, as the Jews rejected them because they didn’t align perfectly with their deeply entrenched beliefs and traditions. Did being different mean Jesus was wrong? No, He was restoring truth that had been lost due to apostasy, as well as fulfilling the law of Moses. Was it correct for the Jews to react by immediately deeming Christ an agent of Satan, and conspiring in myriad ways to discredit Him and lead others away from Him? Obviously not -- well how is the Mainstream reaction to Smith any different? Prophets have been rejected from the start because they are always about change, and humans are stubbornly resistant to change. Instead of giving Smith an unbiased chance (as Christ exhorted us give prophets when He said “by their fruits ye shall know them”), Christians jump immediately to hyper-defamation of Smith’s character, and claim he is false based on doctrinal differences. Well unless they can prove to me that no Christian doctrine was corrupted during those ~1700 years without a prophet, then this approach is about as valid as leveling a picture on the wall while sitting on a seesaw.

All you have to do is look at the rampant disagreement in Christianity to prove that corruption has occurred. Everyone says they are right, but how could humans ever know what doctrines are right unless God called a prophet to clear things up? Really, what other solution could there be? Resorting to the Bible doesn’t help since everyone can find proof texts that appear to back them up—it was human misinterpretation of the Bible that caused much of the division in the first place. For example you supported your position by sharing passages of the “only true God”, while I shared 5 verses where the “and” conjunction affirmed that Christ was considered separate from the “one God”. I could share Christ’s words in Mark 16:16 and John 3:5, the combo of which clearly points to water baptism being an essential step for salvation, but if you adhere to “sola fe”, you would share verses to try to prove that it’s not. Bible bashing doesn’t work, which is exactly why establishing truth through prophets has been God’s pattern and method since the beginning.

You mentioned the LDS aren’t good with metaphysics, well that is because metaphysics and the gospel of Christ were never supposed to merge. Consider Paul's tireless work to keep out all false doctrine, i.e. the philosophies and wisdom of man (Col 2:8; 1 Cor 1:19-24; 1 Cor 2:5,13). Notice that Paul specifically singled out the Greeks, knowing the dangers their philosophies posed to gospel truth. Contrast this with Justin Martyr's post-apostolic “First Apology”, where instead of continuing the fight to keep out human philosophy, he embraces it by postulating that Christ is the incarnation of the Greek "Logos". Not only was this pure speculation, but it helped open the door for the further merging of philosophy with Christianity, including the classification of divinity as an immaterial, formless, ousia, etc. The whole idea of categorizing things in terms of their ousia, as explored in Aristotle’s work “Metaphysics”, was a fallible human attempt at understanding reality. Also the idea that God is immaterial, and exists in an immaterial realm beyond nature, is straight out of Plato’s and others’ speculations on God. Where does the Bible say there’s an immaterial realm beyond nature? It doesn’t, but Greek philosophical writings sure do. This caused many Church Fathers to even reject the idea of a physical resurrection, as well as a material New Heaven and New Earth, though it is certainly scriptural. As for God’s nature, almost every Biblical reference to God’s physical nature is anthropomorphic—which like many verses, gets conveniently tossed into the “" (1/9/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"(cont) “figurative” zone, even when the context doesn’t fit (another reason why Bible interpretation doesn’t work).

Our version of God doesn’t devalue Him at all, we regard Him as truly glorious beyond all description, immortal, omniscient, and omnipotent. We just don’t subscribe to an artificial metaphysical version of God that has much more in common with Greek philosophy than it does with scripture. Regarding creation, ancient Jewish and other writings much more clearly support the concept of creation as organizing order out of existing materials. Ex nihilo came from speculative musings on how matter could emanate from an immaterial being that was the “absolute causality and creative source of all that exists” (a quote from Plotinus’ Enneads)…what other option did they have than to chalk it up to metaphysical magic? If God is omniscient he doesn’t need metaphysical magic! You call us too literal simply because we believe God when He says He is our Father, while you again throw the abundant Bible references to He being our Father and we being His children to the figurative zone, without clear backing to support that move. It’s not a coincidence that Christ quoted from Psalms “ye are gods, and children of the most high God”, when He was accused of making Himself God. It’s only because we are His children that we can become like Him – if He were a separate “ousia” then it would require some metaphysical mumbo jumbo transformation for divinization to occur. The Mormon concept that divinization is through learning not only makes perfect sense, but also explains why it’s worth it to slosh through the opposition of mortality. Do you believe that opposition has helped you to grow? Do you think you could have developed real faith without that separation from God? Well that’s not just an afterthought of a Fall that wasn’t supposed to happen. Giving us a chance to learn to distinguish between good and evil, and to choose the good, was God’s plan from the start.

The only reason why Greek philosophy merged with the gospel was because of bad timing—i.e. when the foundation of prophets and apostles (Eph 2) crumbled due to persecution, it happened to be during the era of heavy Hellenistic influence. I see two ways that this exacerbated the disagreement and corruption of doctrine, which Paul said was only kept at bay by church organization (Eph 4:11-14). First, we know many post-apostolic Fathers didn't have the humble attitude of trying to preserve doctrine as the Apostles had left it -- instead they had the philosopher's attitude of using rational argument and speculation to delve deeper into every mystery of God. Second, they actually adopted some of the philosophers' theories and postulations. These two factors made for a toxic combination. You accused Smith of getting ideas like preexistence from Greek philosophy, but there’s no evidence that he had any access to ancient Greek literature?! On the contrary, the Fathers certainly did (many were educated in it), and peppered it all throughout their writings. And there’s plenty of Bible evidence pointing to our premortal existence as spirit children of God, but it was stifled not just by the ousia classification of God, but also by purely speculative theories like traducianism. My point is just to say that your approach to Smith is backwards. He is unique in that he claimed to be a prophet called to restore both the authority and a fullness of doctrine of Christ’s church. Instead of discounting him from the get go, you should recognize this as God’s Biblical pattern and thus give the doctrines restored by him an unbiased chance (by their fruits ye shall know them) – which requires that you first remove your Mainstream goggles in order to see clearly, just like the Jews who accepted Christ in the original church had to first remove their Jewish goggles. I learned for myself that there’s no other way to find out if he really was a prophet—isn’t it worth the effort?" (1/9/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Well I didn’t simply argue on the basis of time-tested authority of the majority in Western society, but even if I did, LDS certainly have the burden of proof. Atheists make the same claim. Well in the absence of any evidence, there’s literally no good reason to take the claims of dissidents seriously. They should be written-off as nothing more than conspiracy theorists, who don’t like submitting to authority. Talk about Protestants having a “distrust of human leaders.”

So again, Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox have all agreed that there’s only been One responsible for everything outside Himself. They have held that on the basis of what we know from not only the Bible passages I gave, but also on the basis of the reasons we have from philosophy and science for a First Cause, Unmoved Mover, Big Banger, or whatever else you’d like to refer to Him as. All you’d have to do to get us to take Mormonism a little more seriously is simply point to one verse that indicates there’s more than 1 true God without resting on LDS assumptions regarding the differentness of the Persons of the Godhead entailing the separateness of those Persons.

How can anyone know what doctrines to believe unless God called a prophet? Well we agree that God has called prophets. We disagree about the status of LDS prophets. Obviously, traditional Christianity condemns them as being false because 1) they teach a different God/Jesus/gospel than that which has already been given (cf. Deut. 13:1-5 and Gal. 1:6-9), and 2) the LDS prophets have made false prophecies (cf. Deut. 18:20-22 with http://www.mormoninfo.org/false-prophecies-32). Simply claiming there are prophets and Smith was one is simply begging the question. Jesus warned of false Christs and prophets who would come in the last days. We test them by their fruits as Mat. 7 says, and we judge Smith to have bad fruit. Simple as that. If you don’t have a heart for God’s word and want to defend it, then you are not in keeping with the way Christ and His apostles operated and what they commanded (e.g., Acts 17, 1 Pet. 3:15, and Jude 3). You don’t have a heart for God’s word, but are more concerned about something else. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them” (Jn. 10:27). You obviously aren’t known by Jesus. You’re an addict to the good feeling you get from LDS prophets who go contrary to the entire history of Western civilization without a descent argument. That’s the vain philosophy of man Paul was warning about!

You’ll never be a God of your own world some day to have spirit kids who will bow down and worship you to the exclusion of the God of this world. You’ll never be worthy enough, since there’s only One who is worthy of that. That rightly assaults your pride. LDS on the other hand want to limit God by “postulating” according to their vain philosophy that God isn’t the Creator of all things outside Himself. That by definition is a weaker God than the God of traditional Christianity (regardless of whether He really exists or not). So the latter gives that reverence to Him when they read verses like Gen. 1:1, Isa. 44:24, Jn. 1:1-3, 14, Rom. 9:5, 11:33-6, 1 Cor. 8:6, and Col. 1:13-8.

That is why physical references to God are allegorical… whether in human terms, bird terms (Ps. 91:4), etc. The Bible clearly tells us that God’s nature is such that He’s God by nature, not obtainment (Gal. 6:8), and that He’s not human in His nature (Num. 23:19 and Hosea 11:9). This is also why the immediate context of us being the “offspring of God” in Acts 17:29 speaks of us having our existence in God (28), who isn’t physical and thus doesn’t live inside a house (cf. 1 Kings 8:27). There’s only One who is literally begotten of God (Jn. 3:16), and that from all eternity. That’s why Jesus alone is in the very nature of God as Phil. 2:5-10 and Heb. 1-2 say. In Mormonism, we don’t have our existence in God, since we’ve all existed from eternity as intelligences, who w" (1/9/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"who were sired by an exalted human getting it on with another exalted human. That’s perverted Greek materialist metaphysics. Mormonism is simply a sci-fi pagan fertility cult. So stop with the broad brush of us imbibing Greek metaphysics. Again, Mormonism has imbibed it too, just not the part traditional Christians have.

You can’t help yourself in hypocritically throwing out Bible verses to support your position even though you said they don’t work. Well they have in fact worked for numerous people who become humbly convinced that they had bad arguments they were super-imposing on the word of God. Jn. 10:34 is a good case in point: http://www.mormoninfo.org/faqs-31/Doesnt-Jesus-teach-that-we-can-become-gods-in-John-1034-3719. Bad assumptions.

Smith “is unique in that he claimed to be a prophet called to restore both the authority and a fullness of doctrine of Christ's church”? Really? You need to get out of the LDS box more. Jim Jones, Mary Baker Eddy, Charles Russell, David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, Rev. Moon, etc., etc. Smith was your typical cult leader with a bad case of PMS—power, money, sex.

So I’ll ask you one more time. Instead of giving me one big genetic fallacy, please show me just one Bible verse that clearly demonstrates that there’s more than 1 true God. Don’t point to idols (1 Cor. 8), corrupt judges (Ps. 82), or the *distinction* among the members of the Trinity. Just one verse that says there’s more than 1 true God. Until you do that, it’s really a waste of time to continue. " (1/9/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"@Drew. Thank you for taking the time to engage us in conversation. I appreciate it.

However, I'm seeing you argue AGAINST the Trinity but I've yet to see you offer a viable alternative. Therefore, I would like to see your response to Theologian Rob Bowman's "Anti-Trinitarian Challenge". It goes like this:

If you do not believe the doctrine of the Trinity, and favor another view yourself, I am going to give you some free advice. I am going to tell you exactly what you need to do in order to defend your non-Trinitarian position as a superior alternative to the Trinitarian view. I know, this is very generous of me, but in the interests of full disclosure I think it only fair to make this information available to the opponents of the doctrine of the Trinity.

1. Refute one or more of the essential propositions of the doctrine of the Trinity.
In my outline study of the biblical basis of the doctrine of the Trinity, I explain that the doctrine is simply a systematization of six core propositions that are all based directly on the teaching of the Bible:

1. There is one God (i.e., one proper object of religious devotion).
2. This one God is a single divine being, called Jehovah or Yahweh in the Old Testament (the LORD).
3. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is God, the LORD.
4. The Son, Jesus Christ, is God, the LORD.
5. The Holy Spirit is God, the LORD.
6. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each someone distinct from the other two.

In order to defend an alternative position, you must refute at least one of these premises, or, you must show that all six of these propositions are consistent with another theological position besides the Trinity. I do not think the latter is possible, and in fact I do not know of any non-Trinitarian theology that affirms all six propositions (at least, not without some heavy equivocation). So, for all practical purposes, if you’re going to defend another view in place of the Trinity, you’ll have to refute one of the above premises.

2. Present a clear alternative.
Constantly carping at things about the Trinity that you don’t like, can’t understand, and won’t accept is not enough. You must tell us what we should believe instead. Your position must be specific and cover the same basic issues that are addressed in the doctrine of the Trinity.

3. Identify the religion associated with that alternative.
It’s no good telling us that you believe X, Y, and Z instead of the Trinity, if this “alternative” is your own private confection of beliefs. I say this because the true doctrine of God will be held by a community of believers in Jesus Christ—by the church. Theologies do not exist in a vacuum, or in isolation. You are either part of a church that teaches the theology you espouse, or you are picking and choosing what you will believe from others and not committing yourself to a way of life that puts a set of teachings into practice. Jesus Christ said that he would be with his people until the end of the age as they engaged in the work of making disciples, baptizing and teaching them (Matt. 28:19-20). So, what people today are Christ’s people?

- continued - " (1/9/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continued from last post)

4. Show that your alternative theology does not suffer from the defects you claim to find in Trinitarianism.For example:

a. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for developing in the fourth century, identify the religious tradition or movement that predated the fourth century that you think had—and has—the truth.
b. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for its use of extrabiblical language, show that your theology consistently avoids the use of all extrabiblical words. This is much harder than just about all anti-Trinitarians think.
c. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for being influenced by non-Christian philosophy or religion, show that your theology is completely free of such influences. Again, this is easier said than done.
d. If you criticize the doctrine of the Trinity for being difficult to understand, show that your theology is free of anything incoherent, confusing, paradoxical, or mysterious.

5. Demonstrate that your theology explains the full range of biblical information better than the doctrine of the Trinity.

This means showing that your view accounts for a wider range of biblical material, based on sound exegesis of the texts, with a minimum of ad hoc reasoning. In other words, it is not enough to argue that certain texts might be translated so as to avoid the Trinity, or that other texts need not be interpreted in a Trinitarian fashion. Rather, you must show that your non-Trinitarian view is the best reading of more biblical texts than can be claimed on the Trinitarian side.

Of course, everyone is likely to run into a text or two that is more difficult to cohere with their position, but the right view will have fewer of these difficulties.

Note: All such argumentation will have to contrast the anti-Trinitarian alternative with the doctrine of the Trinity as it is actually taught in serious works of theology, not your own oversimplistic or fractured impression of what the doctrine means.

Good luck!

(source http://www.religiousresearcher.org/2008/11/06/faq-about-the-trinity-4-what-about-this-other-view-how-to-defend-an-anti-trinitarian-theology ) " (1/9/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Rob -- thanks for your reply…quite a bit to respond to so I’ll do it in parts. Please know I'm not just looking for a fight, when I read comments against Mormonism I sometimes just feel compelled to reply because we’re so grossly misunderstood—largely due to anti-Mormon propaganda, which is generally very one-sided and misleading, perpetuating accusations for which we have long had viable explanations, and misrepresenting our beliefs. You call it “ministering to Mormons” – but due to the damage it does I tend to look at it more like a toxic cancer…!

I’ll start with your request for just one verse that says there’s more than one true God. Well I can’t provide that, nor do I want to because I believe there is only one true God (capital G). I provided five verses that I think any unbiased 3rd party would read and conclude that the “only true God” or “one God” very clearly referred to the Father, as He is our only Father and beside Him there is no other. They would also read the “and” in all those verses and undoubtedly conclude that Jesus Christ was considered separate from the “one true God”. In this sense, Mormons perfectly align with Christians of the Bible (including Christ Himself). But this belief doesn’t come from a Bible interpretation (which humans always fail at) – Smith received it through revelation, which is the way God always establishes truth. I turn to the Bible simply to show that what was revealed to Smith is very well supported by many Bible passages, which you have to twist and reconfigure to fit into your version of things.

You said 1 Cor 8 alludes to false gods. It’s true that verse 4 does, but in the next verse Paul is clearly no longer talking about false gods. Basically he’s clarifying that though there are other divine beings either in heaven or earth (as the Bible often confirms), we only have “one God, the Father, AND one Lord Jesus Christ”. So in two ways Paul aligns here perfectly with Mormonism—first in his belief that there are other divine beings (always lower case “gods”), and second in his use of “and” to indicate that the “one God” (the Father) is separate from the “one Lord” Christ.

You said Psalms 82 refers to corrupt judges. I would ask you to set aside your ousia version of divinity just for a sec, and take this chapter at face value. It starts by saying God “judgeth among the gods”. The word “among” means “surrounded by, or in the company of”, meaning it likely refers to other heavenly divine beings in God’s company. After that the Psalmist chastises those wrongdoers who judge unjustly, accept wicked people, don’t help the poor, etc. Then he says that in the past he has called them gods; and children of the most High,” but due to their current behavior they were no longer living up to their divine potential. As such, he then puts them in their place by reminding them of their mortality (“men” referring to our mortal state), and that their bad behavior can lead to their downfall as it did to Satan. This verse nicely supports the Mormon belief that we are all God’s literal children (not a separate ousia), which is the ONLY reason why we have divine potential in the first place. The context of Christ’s quoting of “ye are gods” in John 10 very strongly supports this reading, since He was defending the accusation that he a man, was making himself God. It’s interesting that Christ clarified that those called gods are the ones who received the word of God—indicating that He’s not just talking about judges, but ALL those who receive the word of God. In Psalms 82, their rejection of the word of God meant they no longer deserved to be called gods, or even His children (in a sense He disavows them, as in: “depart from me, I never knew you”). (cont)" (1/14/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"(cont) The plural references to divinity start right in the first chapters of Genesis (let us make man in our image, he has become like one of us, etc.), which some claim refer to the different members of the Trinity, but don’t words like “us” and “our” infer separate beings? If it was referencing the "one true God" of the Trinity it should have used "me" and "my". You could turn to metaphysics to argue the difference between being and person, but that once again requires us to rely on philosophers like Aristotle, rather than on prophets – which is shaky ground. Many Muslims and Jews consider all mainline Christians polytheistic because they worship three equally divine persons—for them, whether they share the same substance or not is immaterial (pun intended). The Mormon view is truly monotheistic because we believe in one single capital G God. But as the Bible clearly teaches, this doesn’t preclude the existence of other lesser divine beings. Christ Himself taught that the Father was greater than he (John 14:28, etc), which is obvious since the “one true God” is also Christ’s Father and God (John 20:17 – “I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God”). Incidentally, this last verse also proves that for Christ to be able to ascend to a certain location, God must occupy a point in space, meaning God is not an immaterial substance that fills the universe and beyond (but paradoxically doesn't really fill anything because only matter can fill space).

It's this whole unBiblical doctrine of defining divinity in terms of a substance that causes all the confusion. Thinking hypothetically -- what if Aristotle, Plato and the other metaphysical philosophers, lived in Australia, and thus had zero influence over the post-apostolic Christians? If that were the case, I guarantee you that metaphysics would have never entered the Christian mind, and God would have never been turned into an ousia!" (1/14/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"I have already provided other verses that refer to the Son and the Spirit as God. If there’s only 1 true God and that’s the Father, then by definition, if the Son and Spirit are separate as you claim, then they would be separate *false* Gods. Each of them had to become exalted and become a God. That entails there’s more than 1 true God in Mormonism. That’s why you’re a polytheist. You don’t find this in the Bible. You impose it from Smith’s Johnny-come-lately metaphysics.

I’ve already dealt with all your proof-texts and none of them support the Mormon idea stated above.

1 Cor. 8: http://www.mormoninfo.org/faqs-31/Doesnt-1-Corinthians-85-teach-that-there-are-other-gods-3710.

Ps. 82 and John 10: http://www.mormoninfo.org/faqs-31/Doesnt-Jesus-teach-that-we-can-become-gods-in-John-1034-3719.

Again, you can call anything a god, but it’s not the only true God, who alone is God by nature (Gal. 6:8). These gods are obviously corrupt, false, idols, dependent, etc. That’s the Mormon God. He’s simply a dependent man who became exalted. For all we know, your God could have been a sinner. He could have been a child-molester, who repented and worked His way to Godhood. That’s how devalued the LDS God is. Mormons have to devalue Him, so they can pride themselves on having a shot at getting exclusive worship someday. Totally unbiblical!

Are you trying to support the position that there are true, but lesser Gods from these passages? If so, then you contradict yourself in your opening paragraph.

Gen. 1:26: http://www.mormoninfo.org/faqs-31/Doesnt-the-us-of-Genesis-126-refer-to-other-Gods-3725.

Jn. 14:28: http://www.musliminfo.org/faq-20/John-1428-53401.

Jn. 20:17: http://www.mormoninfo.org/faqs-31/Doesnt-John-2017-prove-that-the-Father-is-a-separate-god-from-the-Son-or-that-the-Son-is-not-God-3715.

Again, any lesser god is by biblical standards a false god (Ps. 96:4-5). Neither Jesus, nor the Spirit, are lesser “gods.” The Bible simply doesn’t teach that. You impose Mormon metaphysics into these passages and again fail to understand that things can be distinct without being separate.

God says there was no God formed before Him, nor shall there be after Him (Isa. 43:10). That’s because before anything was ever created, He’s been God from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 90:2). He says He knows of no other God (Isa. 44:6-8). He says He laid out the heavens and earth alone, by Himself in Isa. 44:24, and this is directly contrary to the PGP account in Abraham 4-5. The Bible never says “Gods” did it. The Bible always affirms “God” did it, and that’s the Father (1 Cor. 8:6), Son (1 Cor. 8:6), and the Spirit (Gen. 1:2). Again, you’ll never be this kind of God. You, at best, may be a false god… one “called” a god, but still an unworthy sinner.

May God have mercy on you to see this before it’s too late. You are blaspheming the only true God. " (1/14/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"BTW, early Mormonism in 1830 was right on when they held that there was only one "ousia" ("being") that is to be worshiped (D&C 20:19). Not only the Father, but the Son received that worship through both the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon. Therefore, the Son is just as much this Being as the Father is. Modern Mormonism (at least the Salt Lake City based variety) is in apostasy. " (1/15/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Well Rob I took the bait and went to your mormoninfo website. As expected, they only succeed in confusing things more by jumping to biased conclusions, manipulating scripture to match their views, ignoring conflicting scriptures, and throwing out proof texts of their own--all to support the ousia version of God which again has no backing in scripture, but aligns perfectly with the Greek metaphysical notion of divinity, which had undeniable influence on the early theologians. Speaking of ignoring scripture, you continue to skirt my point about the use of "and" in those five verses. I assume you have no answer, which I hope helps you realize how far the Bible is from providing smoking gun proof of your version of beliefs.

The Bible is a wonderful book of scripture, which I use every day--but it’s a compilation of histories, prophecies, sermons, epistles, etc., not a perfectly laid out how-to manual on every aspect of the gospel. Even if it was, humans would still manage to misinterpret it, because we're human! God has always established doctrine through prophets because that's how He ensures it comes directly from Him, instead of from the mind of man. The irony of sola scriptura is that its adherents are often the worst about manipulating the Bible, which only serves to prove that sola scriptura doesn’t work. For example, to support sola fe they must spin an elaborate web of interpretation around pristine verses like Mark 16:16, John 3:5, and many others, instead of just taking them at face value. These are Christ's words, why drag them through the mud? Well they have no choice but to try to retrofit the Bible to meet their version of Christianity, which consists of truth mixed with an amalgamation of interpretations by Origen, Augustine, Luther, and the rest.

In this sense, I would say it's you that has the burden of proof. Looking at the history of God's Biblical pattern, prophets are called to clear up error and restore truth. Again there is no question that error was introduced into Christianity after the Apostles. The reformers and others tried to surgically remove some errors, which was a step in the right direction. But Christianity was clearly in need of a sort of reboot, kind of like my Windows laptop sometimes needs in order to load a clean version of software into RAM. This would require someone like Smith. You called him a "dissident", and I fully agree with this, as prophets almost always must challenge the established norm, in order to restore a fullness of truth. Christ was most definitely considered a dissident, as He challenged the Jewish norm. In Acts 6-7, Steven was stoned to death "for changing the customs that Moses gave us". Before dying, he pointed out the grand irony that the ancestors of his accusers rejected that same Moses to whom they were now so attached. Again, it's all about resistance to change. For this reason, humans have always been much more accepting of ancient prophets rather than contemporary ones. Most Christians today inexplicably deny God the right to call another prophet if or when it’s His will, using weak Bible support to say He’s done calling prophets. This is nothing but human pride (asserting your will over God’s). Smith aside -- if God hypothetically called a true prophet tomorrow (because He does His will not man’s), it’s my bet that the moment he taught something that didn’t align with your specific version of doctrine, you would reject him as false and start to “minister” against his followers through mudslinging, and using his variations from your doctrine as proof that he is false." (1/15/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"(cont) When I said a prophet is the only solution, I was encouraged that you didn't disagree with me. Granted, it launched you into a tirade against Smith the man, but I understand why you would reject him, as you're a victim of the anti-Mormon indoctrination machine. As is typical with prophets, the moment Smith claimed to see a vision of God he started to be accused of every evil imaginable, even though they often contradicted each other. Of course he was very imperfect just like all of us, and just like all the prophets. God has no choice but to work through “imperfect vessels”, but he calls who He knows can get the job done. There’s no question that Smith’s persecutors would capitalize on both his real and invented faults, then twist and blow them out of proportion in every way imaginable to discredit him as a prophet. We've learned from political mudslinging, tabloids, communist anti-American propaganda, etc. that defamation is often spurred by ulterior motives. Smith’s accusers definitely had a huge ulterior motive, so their claims should be strongly held in suspicion. And if you read the Mormon explanation of these topics, you learn how far from an open and shut case all these twisted and one-sided these accusations are.

A good example is your failed prophesy accusation. Smith did a negligible amount of predicting, because his calling was not to prophesy about the future, but to restore a fullness of the gospel. What little he did do couldn’t even always be clearly labeled as prediction. Take the temple in Jackson accusation, which incidentally uses the same wording as Christ's end times prophecy: "this generation shall not pass away until...". We all agree that Christ couldn’t have been referring to a biological generation when he said this in Luke 21:32, but why aren't Smith's critics willing to apply the same liberty to his use of the word "generation"? The answer is because Smith was presumed a fake from the start (the age-old approach of the persecutors of prophets). But regardless, this temple “false prophesy” could just as easily have been intended as a promise conditional upon obedience, or even a command to start planning to build a temple, rather than a prediction. Similar logic can be used to debunk any of the false prophecy allegations, which sites like fairmormon.org does an excellent job of putting into context. And your Deut 18 “proof of a prophet” only works if you are sure how to interpret a prophecy, and if you know when God plans to fulfill it, and if you happen to be around when He does. Clearly not a feasible method to determine if a contemporary prophet is true or not. Yes, the restoration in its early days was extremely messy (as mortality is by definition). The huge paradigm change that it stirred up caused a ton of instability and opposition in the early church, and Satan was obviously motivated to attack it from both within and without (as he did in the original Christian church). But thankfully the restoration made it through by the skin of its teeth, and because it was directed by God, the continued revelation allowed things to settle to the relative stability we have today, kind of like agitated water finding its level. This instability resulted in some leaders speculating on things that they hadn’t received revelation on, which likely includes blacks and the priesthood, Mary’s conception by “natural means”(which never actually specifies sex), Adam-God theory, etc. Just because someone teaches a mistaken principle, doesn’t mean God will strike them dead on the spot. Rather He will correct it through revelation when He’s ready. That’s why scripture must be canonized through revelation, because it requires distinguishing the truth from the error. Skeptics call this cover-ups or whitewashing, yet in reality it’s a huge reason why revelation must be continued through prophetic succession, to ensure any extant errors are corrected. Just another reason why God continued to call prophets throu" (1/15/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"(cont) throughout the Bible, as well as in our day. And your PMS comment was a pretty cheap shot. By “sex” I assume you are referring to polygamy, which you know was practiced by many Bible prophets. The Book of Mormon is actually best at explaining it in Jacob 2:27-30, where Jacob chastises some who were practicing polygamy only because they read of the prophets of old doing it. Verse 30 says, “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.” In other words, it’s only OK if or when God commands it. Middle-eastern and other studies have shown that plural marriage really does increase birth rate, which really did help the fledgling Mormon settlements to get established. Then when the Mormon population was better established, God stopped it. This was a difficult change for some, as they had perhaps built polygamy up as something bigger or more significant than it was. And yes the government issues at the time may have sped up the decision, since they started to outweigh the practical benefits of polygamy. But starting or stopping polygamy doesn’t prove us false any more than it did the ancient Israelites.

It was also cheap to compare Smith to small cults that always seem to implode under the weight of their leaders (obviously bad fruits), especially in view of how Mormonism has miraculously flourished since its inception. And Russell never claimed to be a prophet—he correctly noticed that Christianity had been corrupted, but his solution of “letting the Bible speak for itself” was flawed, as his interpretations only served to further prove that God didn’t design the Bible for deriving a fullness of the gospel. It was the loss of Apostolic revelation that allowed error to infiltrate the church, so it would require revelation to restore the truth. Also Eddy didn’t claim to be a prophet, she was a mainline Trinity believer who came up with some health-related and other Bible interpretations that simply reveal a misunderstanding of the purpose of opposition in mortality (which Smith perfectly clarified through revelation). You didn’t mention Ellen G. White, who some label as a possible prophet since she claimed to see visions on a couple topics, but again nothing close to the wholesale restoration of doctrine and authority that was clearly needed. Warren Jeffs, the RLDS (aka Community of Christ), and all the other split-offs from the LDS church are inevitable, just like they were for the original Christian church. Having no foundation of revelation they either flounder in cult-like isolation, or like RLDS they gravitate to the mainstream. Joseph Smith absolutely stands alone in his claim, if you need to compare him to someone try Abraham or Moses!" (1/15/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Just noticed your little BTW about modern Mormons being apostate because they don't worship the "ousia" God. Not sure how you deduced from DC 20:19 that Mormons used to worship the Trinity as one being. It does say "being", but in the context that we only worship and pray to the Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. If you've heard us pray you know that's how we do it. Two verses later it says God gave His Only Begotten Son, meaning the being in verse 19 just refers to the Father. Granted, you will even hear modern Mormons speak of the oneness of God, and often when we say "God" we mean all three, as we believe them to be perfectly unified in every conceivable way EXCEPT for substance. The unity of substance part is a contribution of the wisdom of the Greeks, which Paul explicitly warned against. Did you read the Creed of Constantinople of AD 359? Below is an excerpt, which proves that early Christians opposed the classification of God in terms of "ousia", because (get ready for it) it's not in the Bible! This is just one of a few proofs that those pushing the Greek ousia version of God were considered the radical progressives trying to make Christianity into something accepted by the scholars, while the conservative Christians were trying to keep doctrine as the Apostles had left it. So to me, the real apostates are the ones who accepted the Greek ousia God, instead of sticking with what the Apostles taught.

Excerpt from "Creed of Constantinople (359):

"But since the term ousia [substance or essence], which was used by the fathers in a very simple and intelligible sense, but not being understood by the people, has been a cause of offense, we have thought proper to reject it, as it is not contained even in the sacred writings; and that no mention of it should be made in future, inasmuch as the holy Scriptures have nowhere mentioned the substance of the Father and of the Son. Nor ought the "subsistence" of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit to be even named. But we affirm that the Son is like the Father, in such a manner as the sacred Scriptures declare and teach. Let therefore all heresies which have been already condemned, or may have arisen of late, which are opposed to this exploitation of the faith, be anathema."" (1/15/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"@Drew, I'm STILL seeing you argue AGAINST the Trinity but I've yet to see you offer a viable alternative. When are you going to take up Rob Bowman's challenge and provide us with a viable alternative?

Thanks. " (1/15/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Fred: My viable alternative was to show that the Christians of the Bible attributed the title of "only true God", or "one God" exclusively to the Father, who (according to five verses I provided) was considered separate from the Son. Isn't five separate verses usually sufficient to prove a point? Really I'm perplexed, Rob conceded that the "unity of ousia" doctrine is an invention of humans. I just don't see how you go from that to "the Trinity is orthodox doctrine", especially when Paul warned against "the wisdom of the Greeks", which originated the idea of classifying God this way. The Mormon belief that divinity is defined by omniscience really clarifies a lot, and is Biblical... unlike the "divinity defined by ousia" notion.

I recently happened upon some verses that were new to me, that point to Christ as "the firstborn of every creature" Col 1:15, Heb 12:23), and firstbegotten (Heb 1:6). I was astounded at how perfectly they aligned with the Mormon belief that Christ is actually the first begotten spirit child of God (and thus our elder brother), which is why He inherited the birthright as both the creator and leader of this world, under the direction of the Father. It also supports our belief that "only begotten" refers to Christ being God's only begotten son in the flesh, since you can't be only begotten and first begotten for the same thing.

For the human-conceived ousia-sharing doctrine to work, only the Son could be begotten from the Father's ousia, which is how that Bible misinterpretation originated. Granted, the later Council of Constantinople (381) added that the Holy Spirit also proceeded from the Father, which cast doubt on their definition of "only begotten", since both the Son and the Holy Spirit technically proceeded from the Father's ousia. Of course the theologians' inability to ever agree on how whether the HG proceeded from the Father, or from the Father and the Son, is what led to the Great Schism between East and West. Really I don't see how anyone trusts a single conclusion these theologians voted on? The Bible says NOTHING about all this proceeding stuff! This just shows how far they had extrapolated themselves away from scripture. The whole process they followed was about as far as you could get from how God has always established doctrine, which is through prophets. The more I dig into this stuff, the more obvious it becomes that a prophet like Joseph Smith was needed. It's not a coincidence that the guy who claimed to be called to enact a full restoration through revelation is the guy who so comprehensively cleared up all of this. Which you would likely recognize if you actually gave him an unbiased chance." (1/15/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"No, I answered your use of “and” in those verses. You’re simply blind to the fact that all Christians hold to the distinction between the members of God; they just don’t buy the Mormon’s *assumption* that this entails they are separable like human *beings* are separable. That’s why you getting hung up on the term “ousia” is really beside the point for us Christians. I, as a Westerner, like the term and find it helpful. Easterners don’t like the term, since it’s non-biblical and prefer mystery. I find this a bit hypocritical, since the Bible never uses the term “gods” of glorified individuals, and Easterners like the use of that term here, but that’s besides the point as well.

The point is that both Easterners and Westerners of the Christian faith 1) all hold to monotheism, 2) never refer to the members of the Godhead as “Gods,” and 3) all hold that their relationship in the Godhead is an internal relationship (i.e., one cannot exist without the other), not an external one like all humans share. That all contradicts Mormon polytheism, which minimizes the God of the Bible.

So 2,000 years of this consistent message, and you guys with your sci-fi pagan fertility cult come along, not even 200 years ago, and then tell us we have the burden of proof. What a joke! This is as stupid as any conspiracy theory telling the majority of history that they’ve had it wrong this whole time, and they need to bend over backwards to prove their position to the minority. Until that so-called profit (pun intended) proves his or her position, we’ll rightly consider that profit damned, since that’s what God told us to do in Gal. 1:6-9. Smith has never proven from the Bible that 1) there’s more than 1 true God by nature, even if they are lesser Gods, 2) that any of these other Gods rightly receive exclusive worship from some other world, 3) that each of these Gods were exalted to becoming a God, 4) that God turns out to be human by nature, and 5) that matter is eternal and thus something that God didn’t create. That’s Mormonism, and if all that is spelled out clearly to Christians (Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox) who know what the Bible teaches, then they would immediately reject it as promoting a false god.

Given this, and given that Smith made false prophecies (you obviously must not have read what I had to say about the Jackson County temple prophecy: http://www.mormoninfo.org/false-prophecies-32/Why-wasnt-the-Missouri-temple-ever-built-in-Joseph-Smiths-generation-DC-841-5-3684), it explains why Smith was into PMS. (Btw, I’m glad to see that you acknowledge the exception in Jacob giving license to Smith having sex with 30 to 40 women, including 14 and 16-year-olds, and being a serial adulterer with 11 of those wives. It makes more sense to me to put Smith in the same category as Jeffs, Koresh, or even Muhammad, who married a 9-year-old. Most people confronted with these facts, who don’t have a dog in the fight, would readily acknowledge that it makes more sense to hold guys of this sort as frauds.)

I never said that Mormons used to worship the Trinity as one being. I’m agnostic about that. I do know that 5 years later, their scripture, the Doctrine part of the D&C, stated that there are only 2 persons in the Godhead, and the Holy Spirit is simply the mind that was shared by them (Lectures on Faith 5). My point was that 1) LDS are the ones committed to “ousia” (“being”—another term for “substance”) language in reference to their God, since it’s in their scripture (so latter day revelation agreed with Western Christianity’s use of the “unbiblical” term), and 2) if that one being turns out to be simply the Father, then how do you explain other scripture stating that Jesus accepted worship (http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-worshipped.html)? Keep in mind that Jesus clearly affirmed we are to only worship God (Mat. 4:10 and 6:24). So God must be a “being” who is worshiped, not a “team” of *separate* Gods completely unifie" (1/16/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"completely unified in their purpose, and that Being must be not simply the Father, but also the Son. " (1/16/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"NOTE: THIS COMMENT DIDN'T POST LAST NIGHT DUE TO A GLITCH ON THIS WEBSITE. WE RECEIVED IT VIA EMAIL AND THAT'S WHAT DREW WAS RESPONDING TO IN HIS LAST COMMENT TO ME:
@Drew, you referenced the Creed of Constantinople of 359 and make this statement: "So to me, the real apostates are the ones who accepted the Greek ousia God, instead of sticking with what the Apostles taught."

RESPONSE:
For Trinitarians this is really a non-issue - it was a gnat strain for 4th Century theologians, nothing more. As the Wikipedia article on "ousia" explains:

"In 325, the First Council of Nicaea condemned Arianism and formulated a creed, which stated that in the Godhead the Son was Homoousios (same in substance) of the Father. However, controversy did not stop and many Eastern clerics rejected the term because of its earlier condemnation in the usage of Paul of Samosata."
(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ousia)

However, the fact remains that this debate ultimately had NO effect on the Nicean Creed since it was reaffirmed by BOTH Eastern and Western Church Leaders in the First Council of Constantinople in 380 which resulted in the The Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed that is accepted by BOTH the Western and Eastern churches today:

"[Eastern] Orthodox Christians believe in the Trinity. The Holy Trinity is three, distinct, divine persons (hypostases), without overlap or modality among them, who share one divine essence ('ousia' in Greek)— uncreated, immaterial and eternal. These three persons are typically distinguished in by their relation to each other. The Father is eternal and not begotten and does not proceed from any, the Son is eternal and begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit is eternal and proceeds from the Father. Orthodox doctrine regarding the Holy Trinity is summarized in the Nicene Creed (Symbol of Faith)."
(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church#Trinity )

In short, due to what followed AFTER 359 your distinction between "the ones who accepted the Greek ousia God" and those who didn't is just silly. BOTH groups came together in unity in 381 making your point moot. The issue of "ousia" simply isn't a hill for any Trinitarian to die on. This is apparent in that BOTH the Western and Eastern churches were, are, and always have been Trinitarian. And BOTH churches denounce the Mormon godhead as polytheistic and heretical.

However, this IS a hill for YOU, as a Mormon, to die on since D&C 20:19 affirms "ousia" language since it says "being". Specifically, it says:

D&C 20
17 By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;

18 And that he created man, male and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them;

19 And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship.
(see https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/20.17-19?lang=eng#16 )

So Drew, when you said, "So to me, the real apostates are the ones who accepted the Greek ousia God, instead of sticking with what the Apostles taught" you were actually condeming yourself and every other Mormon who accepts D&C 20:19 as divinely inspired scripture.

(note I've cleaning this version up just a bit - I caught some typos and silly mistakes)



" (1/16/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"@Drew, you wrote: ""Fred: My viable alternative was to show that the Christians of the Bible attributed the title of "only true God", or "one God" exclusively to the Father, who (according to five verses I provided) was considered separate from the Son. Isn't five separate verses usually sufficient to prove a point?"

RESPONSE:
NO, five separate verses isn't sufficient when it comes to a subject as complex as God's revelation of Himself in the Bible. Candidly, it just shows that you're proof texting rather than considering the Bible in it's entirety. The doctrine of the Trinity is revealed over the entire Bible not just a handful of verses. For example, let's consider the Old Testament. This is from my friend, Theologian Matt Slick:

"The God of the Old Testament is the same triune, trinitarian God of the New Testament.

Gen. 1:26, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"

- Angels do not create.
- We are not made in the image of angels.
- There is no place in the OT where a leader refers to himself with the term "us."

Gen. 3:22, "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever--'"

Gen. 11:7, "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech."

Gen. 19:24, "Then the Lord [YHWH] rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord [YHWH] out of heaven."

Psalm 45:6-7, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee."

- This is quoted in Heb. 1:8, "But of the Son He [God] says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom."

- The Jehovah's Witness Bible has it translated as "God is thy Throne forever and ever . . . " But, God would not be a throne for anyone. A king sits upon a throne and God sits on His throne, not anyone else on God as a throne.

Isaiah 6:8, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I. Send me!'"

Isaiah 48:16, "Come near to Me [God], listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

Amos 4:10-11, “I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord [YHWH]. “I overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord."'
(source = http://carm.org/plurality-god-old-and-new-testaments )" (1/16/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continued from last post)
And in particular I would like to emphasize the "Shema" which is the foundational verse in the Bible in regard to monotheism.

"Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God — the LORD alone."
-- Deuteronomy 6:4

Or transliterated:

In English: "hear-you Israel Yahweh Elohim-of·us Yahweh one"

In Hebrew: "shmo ishral ieue alei·nu ieue achd"

And the last word "achd" (aka "echad") means "united one".

(see http://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/deu6.pdf )

The importance of this verse in both Judaism and Christianity can't be over emphasized as it is the most basic confession of monotheism for both religions - though more for Judaism than Christianity. As the Wikipedia article on the Shema states:

"Shema Yisrael (or Sh'ma Yisrael; "Hear, [O] Israel") are the first two words of a section of the Torah, and is the title (sometimes shortened to simply Shema) of a prayer that serves as a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. The first verse encapsulates the monotheistic essence of Judaism: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God, the LORD is one", found in Deuteronomy 6:4, sometime alternately translated as "The LORD is our God, the LORD alone." Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation as a mitzvah (religious commandment). It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words, and for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shema_Yisrael

Q: So even in the most important confessional prayer in Judaism what do you find?

A: The Trinity. One God united. " (1/16/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"(continued from last post)
Finally, and respectfully, no Drew, you haven't even begun to address Rob Bowman's challenge. Here's that link again:
http://www.religiousresearcher.org/2008/11/06/faq-about-the-trinity-4-what-about-this-other-view-how-to-defend-an-anti-trinitarian-theology

For example in section 1 Mr. Bowman lays down this criteria:

1. There is one God (i.e., one proper object of religious devotion).
2. This one God is a single divine being, called Jehovah or Yahweh in the Old Testament (the LORD).
3. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is God, the LORD.
4. The Son, Jesus Christ, is God, the LORD.
5. The Holy Spirit is God, the LORD.
6. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are each someone distinct from the other two.

For example, your assertion that, "My viable alternative was to show that the Christians of the Bible attributed the title of "only true God", or "one God" exclusively to the Father" eliminates the Son and the Holy Spirit as "God" or the "Yahweh" of the Old Testament.

Further, Jesus Christ very clearly stated that HE is "I am" in John 8:58 (Joseph Smith Translation):

"Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am."

And those who heard it certainly didn't mistake His meaning (John 8:59 JST):

"Then took they up stones to cast at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."

And this wasn't an isolated case - as Mr. Bowman explains:

"3. Jesus’ self-declarations—his “I am” sayings

a. Jesus’ “I am” (egô eimi) sayings with a predicate declare his divine functions: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48; cf. 6:41, 51), “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), “I am the gate” of the sheep (John 10:7, 9), “I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14), “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6), “I am the [true] vine” (John 15:1, 5). In these sayings Jesus essentially claims to be everything his people need for eternal life.

b. Jesus’ “I am” (egô eimi) sayings without a predicate declare his divine identity as the divine Son come to be the Messiah: “I am [he]; do not fear” (Matt. 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; cf. Is. 43:2, 5); “I am [he]” (Mark 14:62); “I am [he], the one speaking to you” (John 4:26, cf. Is. 52:6); “unless you believe that I am [he] you will die in your sins…then you will know that I am [he]” (John 8:24, 28, cf. Is. 43:10-11); “before Abraham came into being, I am” or “I am [he]” (John 8:58, note v. 59); “I know the ones I have chosen…you will believe that I am [he]” (John 13:18-19, cf. Is. 43:10); “I am [he]” (John 18:5, cf. vv. 6-8). Note the many parallels to the “I am” sayings of God in Isaiah, which virtually all biblical scholars agree are echoed by Jesus’ “I am” sayings in John. Some scholars also see at least an indirect connection to God’s declaration “I am who I am” in Ex. 3:14 (especially for John 8:58)."
(see http://irr.org/biblical-basis-of-doctrine-of-trinity-part-iv-son-jesus-christ-god )

And I can keep going. There's more for God the Son and we haven't even talked about the Holy Spirit - which is where most Anti-Trinitarism simply falls apart on the rails.

Suffice to say, until all six of these propositions are addressed you haven't even begun to start Mr. Bowman's challenge. And it's only the first criteria of five hurdles.

So please begin Drew. " (1/16/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"I need more time to read all the trinity stuff but for now I’ll just answer a couple other points. Rob I did read your article about the Temple in Jackson thing but not until after I wrote about it. Anyway I'm glad your article reminded me of section 124, since it supports my point that it wasn't a prediction but a commandment. You derided God’s retraction of this commandment as implying He was too weak to overtake their enemies. Well if He had taken that route, you could argue that due to their enemies’ persistence, it would have required some pretty violent action to get them to relent, which obviously would be a horrible idea for many reasons. Much more reasonable to just hold off on the Jackson temple and build one elsewhere. We know from the Bible that only in some cases has God helped to overtake the enemies of His followers, while in many (if not most) cases He just allowed the opposition of mortality to play itself out. For example He often allowed OT prophets to be killed (Matt 23:31-37, Luke 11:47-51, Acts 7:52, Romans 11:3, 1 Thes 2:15). Also God didn’t stop Paul and other Christians from being imprisoned and persecuted in myriad ways, and He allowed the Apostles to be martyred (except for John). In some cases this served a higher purpose, an obvious example being Christ's crucifixion. But in most cases I'm sure it was more about our purpose for being here--which is for everyone to have the chance to exercise their free agency in the face of opposition in order to learn to both appreciate and choose the good (as P of GP puts it, we “taste the bitter that we may learn to prize the good”). So in most cases He just lets people make their own choices, then deal with (and hopefully learn from) the consequences. God doesn’t compel people to make certain choices, because we don’t learn through compulsion.

The necessity of the Fall is one of those Mormon principles that once understood, there’s no going back. Christians criticize Mormons for believing that the Fall was essential to God’s plan, but then in their sermons and writings they often seem to agree that affliction and opposition help us grow, quoting verses like 2 Cor 4:17 as support. Though this seems paradoxical, they don’t know any better because all they have to go by is the Biblical narrative of God forbidding Adam and Eve to partake of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Again the Bible doesn’t offer a clear picture, but thanks to revelation we know that the Fall was meant to be—granted we don’t know exactly why it played out the way it did, maybe the process had to be started with a real transgression. As a result of Eve’s choice, women have been maligned for centuries—but Mormons praise and honor Eve for comprehending the deeper meaning, that there was no other way to reach our destiny. By choosing to partake of the fruit she kept the spirit of the law that allowed for the greater good, while Adam initially opted for the letter. And anyway if the Fall were really a tragedy I wouldn’t blame Eve--I would blame God, since it would be totally unjust for Him to rob us all of a wonderful paradise just for the “dumb” decision of two people. Christians lament that “man was perfect” before the Fall, but they were only perfect like an innocent child who doesn’t know any better. Don’t you think God wants us to grow, and to learn to choose the right? Don’t you feel like you’ve grown as you endure/overcome weakness, temptation, obstacles, disappointments, fears, trials, etc.? Do you feel like you could have developed real faith in God if that big separation from Him never occurred—or could you learn patience, hope, humility, longsuffering, endurance, love, charity, etc. without opposition? The Fall was meant to be! " (1/22/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"(cont) The real interesting thing is that Smith learned this principle very early on, while translating 2 Nephi 2 in the BoM—many years before he taught that we were literal spirit children of God, or that “the glory of God is intelligence” (as opposed to a divine substance). But it’s astounding how seamlessly these principles came together to give us the big picture. Knowing that our destiny as children of God was to become like Him through a process of learning, it only makes sense that we be given the chance to experience opposition firsthand so we could learn for ourselves to choose the good. This perfectly explains why the world is the way it is. You probably agree that books and lectures only teach us so much. By doing and experiencing, learning becomes more meaningful because it really sinks in and becomes a part of our character. It's like the driver who is told a million times not to tailgate, but the principle really doesn't sink in until they rear end another car. After that, they are finally converted to the principle, and they rarely forget. Not to say we have to experience everything evil in order to learn to choose the right. It's more about the specific weaknesses that each of us have--the temptations that we are prone to give in to--which when we do we suffer the consequences. This is why lifelong repentance is key, because that is how we confront our weaknesses head on, and work to address them, and become wiser and stronger in the process. The concept of "assurance of salvation" detracts from our purpose here because it detracts from the principle of repentance as a tool for growth. Repentance simply helps us concentrate all our lives on developing the godlike qualities that Christ pleaded with his followers to develop.

That is why the NT saints met often to partake of communion (the Holy Supper), since that was when they could "consider themselves" (as Paul put it), and remember Christ and His atonement, and renew their baptismal covenant to follow His example. This is exactly why Mormons take the sacrament weekly. Protestants often criticize it as "ritualistic" (which is ironic if they believe the NT), but it's not ritualistic at all when done the right way and for the right reasons--it's simply another growth tool that goes hand in hand with repentance, to help us work toward Christ's admonition to "be ye therefore perfect, as your Father which art in Heaven is perfect." And it's not about "earning our way to Heaven" as Christians often say of us. We know that only through Christ's atonement can we be washed clean in order to be worthy to enter into God's rest. It's simply that God sent us here to learn to become like Him, so that's what we work towards. Again it was the theologian's classification of divinity as a separate ousia from humanity that messed things up, because again it is only because we are children of God that we have the potential to become like Him. The theologians reduced us to something God decided one day to make, like a carpenter makes a birdhouse--which robbed us of our true identity as "children of the most high God." It was the loss of this knowledge that caused Christians to stop making the connection that we are here on earth to learn, even though it's blatantly obvious that we do learn and grow while we're here." (1/22/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Regarding polygamy, for starters we know that Smith initially struggled with this principle, and for a time failed to follow it. When he finally did, his own human weakness perhaps caused him to handle it badly, for example he wasn’t initially forthright about it. All I can say is that I wouldn’t have wanted to be in his shoes when he had to introduce polygamy as a commandment of God, then deal with all the fallout both from within and without the church. If he were a fraud just looking for sex, it would have been infinitely easier and more practical to just take the secret girlfriend route! Regarding the 14 year old wife, there is good evidence that this marriage was never consummated, for example we know she continued to live with her parents after the sealing—which, incidentally, was done at the request of her father. From her writings we know that her biggest complaint was that after the marriage her parents didn’t let her go to dances and parties. Regarding your polyandry accusation, scholars have found two reasons why records showed Smith married to women who were already married. First, one of his ways to conceal the practice was to use “front marriages”, i.e. showing a woman as legally married to someone else. And second, some of Smith’s marriages were for eternity only, meaning he wasn’t married to them for mortality, just for the afterlife (another bizarre thing to do if you’re only in it for sex!). There is no evidence that Smith ever consummated any of these “eternity only” marriages, as they weren’t for that purpose. Your website comment about Young saying only polygamists can be exalted is taking his words out of context. In the same paragraph he said “you will be polygamists at least in your faith”—his point being that there’s no requirement to practice polygamy, but you shouldn’t let a lack of faith cause you to reject the principle itself. Obviously many men were monogamists in the church, which certainly didn’t preclude them from exaltation--but a lack of faith in a principle restored by a prophet of God could. Regarding the larger number of wives that Smith and others had--even though the commandment may have been given for practical purposes (like increasing birthrate), I don’t rule out the possibility that some took it further than that. OT prophets like David may have been in this boat – i.e. David knew that polygamy was sanctioned by God, so he didn’t see it as a sin to take more wives (and concubines), in his case hundreds. In 2 Sam 12:7-8, while chastising David for his sin of causing Uriah’s death, God reminded him of all that He had blessed him with, including giving him his “master’s wives unto his bosom”—which indicates that God condoned the practice of polygamy. Whether or not David, Smith, or others took it too far, that’s between them and God. But again as God so highly prizes our free agency, He’s not going to strike Smith or David dead on the spot for taking a few more wives than expected. The key here is that Christians regard David (as well as other prophets whose mistakes we read of in the Bible, like Moses, Jonah, Peter, etc.) as a prophet regardless of what he did wrong. That being the case, it’s a double standard to drum up Smith’s real and invented shortcomings then use them as supposed proof that Smith wasn’t a prophet. All prophets make mistakes because they are human, for which they must repent and learn just like the rest of us. Not to say polygamy is a mistake if God commands it—and if you disagree, I would expect you to reject Abraham, Jacob, and others as false prophets, just like you do Smith.

You may wonder why I even try to defend Smith. Well once you really understand the big picture that was revealed through him, and how it so perfectly fits together to explain our true identity and purpose (which is supported by some uncanny Biblical evidence), it is like a Mount Everest of truth. Any little uncertainty about church history, or something someone did or said way back when" (1/28/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"(cont) , is like a tiny little ant hill in comparison. Like I think I said before, the restoration was messy because mortality is messy. But thanks to continued revelation, any incorrect principle that arose from speculation or misunderstanding in those unstable early days has been or will be corrected in the Lord’s time. The practice of “eternity only” marriages, which is no longer done, is a possible example. Sometimes leaders weren’t 100% clear on how to implement a newly revealed principle, until further clarification came later on. The important thing is that families can be forever! And your Matt 22 reference doesn’t teach the contrary—if you read His words correctly, He simply says that after the resurrection, no further marriage ceremonies are performed, which agrees with our belief that all sealings must be completed prior to the resurrection. It’s wonderful revelations like the principle of eternal families that overwhelms us with gratitude for the knowledge that has been restored, and it’s because of fruits like these that we know that Joseph Smith, though an “imperfect vessel” like the rest of the prophets, really was a prophet of God." (1/28/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Continuing my response…in your last posts you proposed a bunch of scriptures to try to very indirectly support your “shared ousia” position, but they all require us to depend on language and semantics—which can always fail us. And there are plenty of verses that point away from your claim, for example my five scriptures that you discount as “proof texts” that don’t represent the entire Bible. Well they do represent the entire NT, in that almost every NT reference to the “one God” specifies the Father, and mentions Christ separately. That is a significant pattern because it tells us how the Apostles (and Christ Himself) consistently viewed the divine Father/Son relationship. To discount this while emphasizing your own scriptures is to use the Bible the wrong way. The fact that the term “proof texts” even exists is a result of humans supporting vastly different positions by the same Bible, which is precisely why the Bible doesn’t work for deriving doctrine. There has to be a better way! Well there is, it’s called prophets—which has always been God’s method to establish truth. The Mormon position is that our doctrine came from God through a prophet, not from Bible interpretation. Not from assumptions, as you called them. Not from materialists like Democritus, whose atomic theories were nothing like our doctrine. BTW I believe the whole immaterial movement of Plato and others was at least in part a reaction against those earlier materialists. It’s great that Plato et al. believed in a power that transcended beyond the cold mechanics posed by the materialists, but they weren’t prophets so they could only speculate on this higher power. Based on the circumstances, it was natural for them to theorize that this higher power was immaterial—but that certainly didn’t make it true.

Speaking of which, it’s not that I reject the word ousia itself, for example the D&C 20 reference to God as a being is just fine. What I reject is classifying God in terms of an immaterial, utterly simple, indivisible ousia that is unique to deity, as if the substance itself were the essence of their divinity--what makes them divine. That entirely unbiblical classification is certainly a hallmark of metaphysical Greek philosophy, which robbed Christians of the priceless knowledge that God was our Father and that we were His children. Another big problem this caused was that it no longer made sense for Christ to be resurrected with a “human” body, because “divinity” and “humanity” had become two distinct substances (which is why Origen argued that Christ’s resurrection was spiritual). So like a child’s lie that requires more lies to keep the charade going, the Fathers had to invent the “hypostatic union” to explain why two separate natures would ever join together. Talk about making things more complex than they are! Christ resurrected simply because it was His destiny as a child of God to overcome death (the separation of body and spirit), never to die again for all eternity (Rom 6:9). Because we are literally His spirit siblings, it’s also our destiny to do the very same thing--to change our vile body to be fashioned like His glorious body (Phil 3:21). It’s crazy to think Christ would have to walk around through all eternity as a metaphysical amalgamation of two separate substances—why can’t Christ just be Christ? Once you shed the Platonic dualist emphasis on immaterial “good” and material “evil”, you can see the truth that spirit on its own is incomplete. Christ’s resurrection was a triumph because He overcame death and became complete. To say otherwise is to claim that Christ’s resurrection was a totally different thing from that of human resurrection, which is in direct contract to what the Bible teaches. It just doesn’t work, which is what happens when human reasoning mixes with doctrine. As you know, the Oriental Orthodox church disagreed with the details the Westerners had hammered out on this doctrine, which caused another major schism. (cont)" (2/5/15)
drew says... (Reply)
"Another interesting point is that Protestants accept the hypostatic union, but they reject venerating Mary as the “theotokos”, though both of those concepts were affirmed by the Council of Ephesus. You can’t just cherry pick what you want out of these councils—either those who formed the creeds were inspired of God to establish doctrine, or they weren’t.

And even if the Christian theologians eventually haggled themselves into agreement on other points related to the Trinity, etc., this certainly doesn’t make their theories true. They had clearly moved far away from Bible truth on many points. The reason is simple--when the foundation of prophets and apostles crumbled due to persecution, there was no longer a firm base to keep the church from being “carried about by every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:14). Once the rock of revelation was gone, doctrine shifted just as Christ described the fate of the house built on sand. You keep supporting your position based on the length of time these theories have been held orthodox, as if that carried any weight at all. It just so happens that the first few centuries was when theologians (scholars, not prophets) did their most damage. I’m sure God would have liked to clear things up sooner by calling a prophet before Smith, but when Christianity was embraced by the Roman empire, the oppressed became the oppressors, and the iron grip just got tighter and tighter. The reformation helped to loosen this grip, and led to the founding of a country that prized religious liberty, where the seed of the restoration was able to take root and grow (and even then it barely survived). Who knows, maybe God did call prophets during those 1700 years after the Apostles, but they likely would have been chewed up and spit out by the well-oiled anti-heresy machine. Let me just say that I'm not just defending Mormonism because it's my identity or whatever. I would leave it in a microsecond if I found a stronger indication of truth somewhere else (think what I'd save in tithing!). I simply want to be where the truth is, which is clearly not going to be in a belief system that has mixed Christian truth with human philosophy." (2/5/15)
tali a Tui says... (Reply)
"I can honestly say to you that I stand with you for Shawn whoever in prayers. But in the case of viewing your biblical understanding against (1) to Shawn's bible belief. (2) Born again Mormon. (3) Trinity belief (4) Labeling Shawn's in different names. (5) Calling Shawn's a Child. 70% of what you said about Shawn is not biblical defending Jesus the only Message. That means you are defending something else other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 30 % of your view contradicted the bible, as a "PLAIN MESSAGE" to defend Jesus Christ the Message. The reason I said this, because you went to far an cause a lot of Links to condemn a listener wanted to hear a Good News. The first proof. You label and condemn a man Claimed he's a Born Again Christian. I t." (3/16/15)
tali a Tui says... (Reply)
"In your organization, What are you trying to Defend ? And defend from Whom ? Who authorized you to do so ? What are the fruits of your mission ? Was that an Authorize mission from Jesus Christ ? Where inside the Bible ? The reason I asked you a lot of those question because. Your message condemned my heart already. My final question. What Church are you talking about in you conclusion with Shawn ? What scripture in the bible show us that church ? What elders are you talking about ? Do we need elders to protect us or look after us ? Please answer all my question in my email. All those questions arise up from your comments to Shawn and many more." (3/16/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"@tali a Tui
I would like to respond to your arguments but I can't make any sense out them. I'm thinking that perhaps English isn't your native tongue?

A little help please?

If anyone else can figure it out, please feel free to jump in - personally, I'm stumped as to what he's trying to say. " (3/16/15)
Trevor says... (Reply)
"You have WAY too much time on your hands.

Heretic? What year is this again?" (3/21/15)
Michael says... (Reply)
"I think he is teaching everyone will be saved in this new video. Your opinion please:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfV-2t3k7X0" (4/11/15)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Yes, Michael, much like Rob Bell, it's well known that Shawn denies unbelievers will be eternally barred from God's presence in heaven. " (5/5/15)
Matt says... (Reply)
"Sean is not crazy. He is very emotional but not crazy. People use this to say he is a loose cannon or something. Problem is those people are missing the point of his actions. He loves and so he gives the cold hard truth. Okay, I met the LDS Church via a religious psychopath.. A year later I came to the conclusion that Joseph Smith Jr. was also a psychopath and because of this the LDS Church has always used methods that psychopaths use on their victims. BITE Model manipulation. Behavioral Control, Information Control, Thought Control and Emotional Control. Psychopaths and psychopathic organizations use these methods to control people. Sean deals with the facts that expose Mr. Smith as a con man. By the way, psychopaths make the best con artists because they have no emotions. They can do anything they want! They have a fan club following them around and there are also people who see through them as fake that try to expose them to others. Watch out who you justify to be a prophet of God. Watch out when you put emotions and faith before facts. Smith probably seemed credible to many because he had no social anxiety. But, he is a complete fraud and no God would expect anyone to believe he was a prophet of God when you look at all the facts. Religion is the mask but behind the mask is the wolf. And his followers follow after fables since the Book of Abraham is a complete fraud and joke and frankly the book of Mormon was made up using the KJV as a guideline.. Mormons are under mind control and don't put the facts first. Smith was a racist and no prophet I know would be such. Instead, he'd be leading equality charges. Smith is a joke and McCraney unfortunately had years of his life wasted as part of a sick game Mr. Smith was playing since he was addicted to duping people during his lifetime. All McCraney is doing is trying to wake people up to what has really been going on. I'll say it too, wake up people." (9/12/15)
Fred W. Anson says... (Reply)
"@Matt. Matt you DO realize that you're waxing poetic and endorsing someone who's teaching heresy, right?

If you doubt this please consider this from Theologian Rob Bowman: http://beggarsbread.org/2015/05/17/shawn-mccraney-against-the-personhood-of-the-holy-spirit/

Or this Position and Policy statement on McCraneyism: http://beggarsbread.org/2015/06/28/beggars-bread-position-and-policy-statement-on-mccraneyism/

Thanks. " (9/17/15)
Arthur A Haglund says... (Reply)
"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nba24WPiLIQ
Shawn has declared himself a full preterist, proclaimed the Bible to be self contradicting and seems to be claiming universalism, as well as remaining anti/trinitarian." (12/26/16)