Posted by: Jay | April 27, 2007

Why are there so many Christian religions?

If you have ever heard of Mormons and what they teach you know that the Mormon Church claims to be a restoration of Christ’s church which was lost after the apostles all died. One of the “proofs” (besides scriptures pointing to an apostasy) presented to investigators is the fact that there are so many Christian religions. Most of the major Christian religions all claim to be the true church. Almost all of them have broken away from the Catholic Church for one reason or another. Why do you believe there are so many Christian Churches? What do you believe will happen to those that don’t subscribe to the same version of Christianity as you?

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Responses

  1. Well, first off, I’d say there aren’t a lot of Christian religions. There is only one Christian religion and it’s called Christianity. Though, there ARE many Christian denominations. In fact there are many many many denominations. The reasons there are so many include:

    1) differences in style and taste in worship
    2) differences in doctrine which are not fully explained in the Bible
    3) different stances on the role of tradition
    4) at one time politically separated by national conflicts (Southern Baptist for example)
    5) sin that causes disunity

    I’m actually quite glad for most of the denominational differences. They provide a place for people of all different stripes. It’s not one box that everyone has to fit into. The emphasis (or over emphasis) of one thing in one church challenges other churches to contend with whatever they might be championing, so there is a certain level of accountability among the denominations. Luther found that he had to split from the Catholic church. By doing so he actually caused the Catholic church to reform in many ways because his new denomination posed a real and credible threat to the status quo of the Catholic church. These changes likely wouldn’t have happened but for Lutherans leaving the church in droves.

    Despite all of the seeming disparity between all of the denominations there actually is a great deal of unity. Whether it be Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant, Christian churches all agree on these 5 things (which are at the core of the Christian message)
    1. The Bible is the true written message of God. [Psalm 19:7-11, 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:8; 2 Peter 1:20-21]

    2. There is one God, who exists forever in perfect community as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. [Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:8]

    3. Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God. He is the perfect reflection of God’s character and glory. He lived a sinless life and offered himself as the only perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. All who believe in Him are declared righteous on the basis of His death. He rose physically from the dead and will return again to earth to reign forever with those who are His. [Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:14, 8:40,58, 11:33; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 5:8-10; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:8]

    4. Humans are created in the image of God, but each one has fallen short of God’s perfect standard and is in need of salvation. [Genesis 1:26; Romans 3, 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:18-19]

    5. Salvation from our sinful condition is a free gift from God to us. It is not something we earn or deserve. It is offered in grace and received by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and call on His name are made right with God and given eternal life. [John 3:16, 14:6; Romans 3:28, 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-27,36-39; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:5-6]

    All the other stuff is incidental. There is actually a great movement to recognize what we have in common rather than highlight all of our differences. There is One True Church, and it includes all of us, serving under the Lordship of Christ.

  2. Dando,
    Thanks again for a good explanation of how other Christians view this. I have always looked at it from a Mormon perspective (which is quite different). I guess it has been reinforced by my experience of asking what church people belong to. They always answer Lutheran Church, Baptist Church, Methodist Church, etc. They never say, “I belong to the Christian Church”. Even though your explanation is a good one, it still seems that each denomination wants to be recognized as a separate church within Christianity. I don’t believe Christ would be the author of so much divisiveness.

    This is just for my own education but it has always been my impression that Martin Luther did not split from the Catholic Church starting his own denomination because he understood you had to have the priesthood to do that. Isn’t the Lutheran Church just a church built on his 95 theses by others that came after him? He didn’t actually start it. In fact, he would have been opposed to it even though he thought the Catholic Church had gone astray.

    I’m also curious as to why, if the Catholic Church is the one that Christ started, do people continue to start their own denominations. Shouldn’t we all be getting back with the Catholic Church? Don’t they claim Christ is directing the church through the Pope. Do other Christian Churches consider him a spokes person for God?

    I guess the issue of the priesthood still really bothers me. It seems like most churches require some kind of degree in theology to become a preacher. When they get their degree they start new Church (denomination). This is probably my Mormon upbringing talking, but I just feel like you have to have more than just a desire to serve God and a degree, you have to have priesthood authority give directly from God. Catholics claim this and Mormons do to. Other denominations simple “feel” as though God has called them to begin a ministry, denomination, or church. I believe you have a church that you preside over and I don’t mean this to be offensive, as always I’m just trying to articulate the way I’ve made since of things. Please give me your thoughts.

  3. No, I appreciate your questions and the opportunity to explain the Protestant side of things. Don’t at all apologize for wanting to understand.

    Luther did not have the desire to leave the Catholic church. He wanted to reform it and stay within it. Eventually he came to understand that he could not do so and did in fact leave Catholicism. His 95 Thesis inspired the Protestant movement and he eventually joined it.

    Protestants do believe in the priesthood. But we believe all believers have the priesthood, with Christ being our High Priest. (read the Book of Hebrews in one sitting if possible and I Peter 2). We believe that Jesus started a universal and spiritual church which the gates of Hell will not prevail against. There is one true church, this church is made up of all true believers regardless of what kind of pew they sit in.

    Catholics will disagree with me, and I will disagree with them, that I need to be under the authority of the Pope. I believe there is room within Christianity for this difference of opinion. (and the difference in opinion on a great many things) The Catholic church recognizes Protestant and Orthodox baptisms and I too recognize that there are many fine people in both of those other branches that love and serve Christ as their Lord and Savior.

    I agree that Christ is not the author of divisiveness or disunity. I think there has been a great deal of sin among Christians in how we deal with other denominations. I think Jesus has grieved a great deal about this, since he said that people would know that we are his by our love for one another. I think there is a great deal of movement to reconcile with one another and overcome our petty differences. They pale in comparison to the glory of Christ.

    Living in the South you will probably encounter Protestants who are not quite so charitable to true believing Catholics. I’m sorry if you have that experience. I believe they are in sin to hold such an attitude.

  4. Dando,
    (I’m about to pepper you with questions)

    So Martin Luther didn’t actually start the Lutheran Church, he just joined the protestant movement later on before he died, is that right? What denomination did he join?

    How do all believers have the priesthood? How do they exercise it? Do women also have the priesthood?

    Your take on why there are so many Christian denominations (sin is the underlining cause) is plausible and very interesting. Thank you for sharing that insight with me.

    I appreciate your answers. I haven’t always agreed with them, but I do take them seriously and I am enjoying the dialog I am having with you because it is helping me to see things from a totally different view. Thank you.

  5. My historical knowledge on Luther is a little shaky, but this is what I can discern: He wrote his 95 Thesis in 1917. Many Protestant churches grew out of this act. He was excommunicated in 1920. Within 2 years he was translating the New Testament into common German. Within 5 years he was writing new catechisms. Both acts seem to communicate that he no longer was acting with the idea that the Catholic church had authority over him or that he felt he could only worship Christ as a Catholic. He died some 25 years after his excommunication. I don’t know if he specifically founded the organization known as the Lutheran church, but it grew out of his continuing work.

    All believers are given the priesthood by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 3 declares there to be no male nor female in Christ. So yes, women are part of the royal priesthood. There is diverse opinion among Protestants concerning women’s role as spiritual leaders in the congregation. This ranges from women as head pastors to women not being permitted to speak in church.

    As 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 says we exercise the priesthood as God’s agents of reconciliation to the world. We all are part of the same ministry and we are all capable of receiving the same gifts from the Holy Spirit. Because the priesthood is universal to all believers, Protestants don’t talk much about it. Your average Protestant probably wouldn’t know that they are considered a priest. But occasionally you will hear the phrase “the priesthood of all believers” which is typically followed with the admonition that we all are in ministry whether we are paid clergy or not.

    Many LDS have strong feelings about the priesthood because that is where the authority of the Church comes from. And for that reason it’s no surprise that many ex-Mormons who decide to remain Christian, join the Catholic church. Protestants find authority in many different places (the inerrancy of the Bible being a key one), but we all agree that ultimately Christ is our final authority.

    I do indeed think that sin is a contributing influence on the creation of many denominations. (There was serious corruption present when the Reformation began) But I think God works miraculously through those divisions to strengthen his church with a rich diversity.

    I’d be interested to hear what your objections are. I agree that a dialog like this is enjoyable and of great benefit.

  6. I’d also like to throw in that I attend a non-denominational church. We are our own entity and don’t report to a larger formal organization. We have a team of Elders that govern the church and insure that the church remains doctrinally sound and financially responsible. We were intentionally birthed out of another non-denominational church to fill a need in an under-churched area.

  7. […] Saturday, April 28th, 2007 in Mormon, Evangelicalism, lds, Mormonism, Protestantism, History, Evangelical, Joseph Smith, Christianity by Dando Joseph Smith said that there are so many denominations because of the Great Apostasy and a lack of authority in the church. I disagree. Jay and I are having an interesting conversation about it over on his blog, Mormons Talk. Check it out. https://mormonstalk.wordpress.com/2007/04/27/why-are-there-so-many-christian-religions/ […]

  8. Jay,

    Please see my posts at tsard concerning my ‘Journey from Grrr to There of the Spiritual sort’ and my ‘Why Mormonism’ http://tsard.wordpress.com/2007/05/03/why-mormonism/ post and you will see it is not just your ‘Mormon’ upbringing. I’ve studied evangelical and other Christian religions for 20 years prior to my conversion to the LDS Church and only became more and more confused with every wind of doctrine and every new church I attended when I would move. To hear the Scriptures taught so many different ways eventually told me that all were false. There is one truth and there is a way to know it.

    Don’t let the doctrines and interpretations of men bother you or cause you to question what you KNOW.

    You are right on the money to question why there are so many splits… because they all think they are right and the others are wrong. I know this, because I attended those churches and heard the arguments for the Rapture, against the Rapture… and if there is a Rapture is it pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib? Speaking in tongues or not speaking in tongues (which when they supposedly laid hands on me to ‘impart’ the Holy Spirit they then promted me and tried to -teach- me to speak in tongues) I never once witnessed anyone speak in any tongue understandable to anyone else. LOL Or ever in the way it happened in the book of Acts.

    None of the churches is set up the way Jesus set the Church up with Prophets and Apostles and teaches, etc.

    In many churches people writhed in the aisles like they were having epileptic fits… I always figured Jesus would HEAL that, not CAUSEE it. The Baptists contend with the Presbeterians and the Lutherans with the Methodists and on and on and on it goes. Not to mention the Seventh Day Adventists, Assembly of God and all the rest, 59 different stripes of Evangelical… 42 different Pentacostal, etc. etc. (yes I’m being a bit sarcastic, but to make a point) I’ve been there… for 20 years.

    If you want total confusion and disillusionment to set in, study all those churches. Peace will flee and confusion will reign. They can ALL PROVE with Scripture that THEIR take is the correct one…

    So what is a person to do who only wants truth? Just what Joseph Smith did and you did and I did and millions of others like us… pray and ask God. He would not have given you a scorpion in answer to sincere prayer… The fruits of this Church are there, in spite of the frailty and humanity of its leaders. This is how Jesus set up the Church in the early times…

    Luke 24:32 speaks of the burning of the bosom when Jesus expounded the Scriptures to the disciples. That is a feeling… no way around it.

    And there are too many truths that only the LDS Church teaches. You know it’s eternal families because of that truth spoken to you by the Holy Spirit… again, please read my posts and ponder them. I’m not perfect and I’m not the ultimate know-it-all but I know my testimony is true. There is not a scintilla of doubt in my mind. The Bible makes sense now like it never did in the other churches. The canon is not closed and God still speaks to us!! How wonderful is that?? And the Book of Mormon is precious and I am sooooo grateful for it. I have grown so much closer to my heavenly Father and to Christ through its teachings. We should not have to hold doctorates in theology to know God or know Christ.

    I hope this helps in some way. Please forgive any spelling or punctuation errors… I am only human.

  9. okay, i don’t have time to read all the comments this morning (usually i do), so please forgive me if i am repeating someone else’s points ::

    1. be fair. mainstream christianity has had 2000 years to play the amoeba game (split, divide, split, divide)

    2. it is my understanding that LDS has split once already. so that’s at least one splinter group in less than 200 years, no?

    give it time, my friend, give it time.

  10. ***What do yo believe will happen to those that don’t subscribe to the same version of Christianity as you?***

    ah, and here you touch on my beef with all elitist religions, all *one-true-whateverisms*

    i believe i am going to bump into a lot of former catholics, baptists, mormons, etc in heaven.

    i believe a lot of catholics, baptists, mormons, etc will be bumping into each other in hell, should hell turn out to be the eternal place everyone keeps telling me it is.

    i think the idea of a *one true faith* is more a matter of human pride than divine edict.

    case in point. god’s chosen people held as slaves in the land of egypt…and jethro, moses father in law, priest of the land of midian.

    second case point. abraham, god’s chosen man…and melchizedek, king of salem.

    job, not a jew, not any flavor of christian, etc, probablly a contemporary of abraham if he was a real person, yet still a man of god

    in the revelation saints will be called out of the tribes of israel and out of a massive multitude (presumably gentiles?)

    at this point we are almost to the apostasy, which i believe in but which i also believe has not yet happened, so i’ll beg off for now because that conversation could go on for years and i need a shower and off to work.

    be blessed and bless.

  11. Jayleen,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I guess I just get frustrated learning how complex LDS Chruch history is (It used to be so simple to me). Although I have had many challenges to my faith this past year, I am still holding on to what I have. I guess I’m just more skeptical now and I want to know what others think about the same issues I’m wrestling with (that’s why I started this blog). I enjoy getting other LDS members’ and non-LDS members views. Almost all of the views that have been posted by non-LDS have been respectful and interesting. I like hearing how other religions interpret the scriptures. It has given me new understanding. I still love the LDS Church. I’ll be sure to check out your blog!

    Brahnamin,
    I can see what you are saying. The LDS Church actually has many break offs if you want to call them that. However, many of them are either so small no one hears about them or they have died out. The two most promenent ones are the RLDS (now Community of Christ) and the FLDS. I don’t think the LDS Church is immune to this phenomenon, but my question is why? Shouldn’t there be just one true chruch and shouldn’t that church have authority from God directly? Otherwise you just get confusion and that leads you no where. There can be only one correct interpretation of scripture and that’s God’s. If everyone interpret it differently something is wrong. I personally think the LDS Church has a lot of things right, but I listen to other views because they help me understand others and why they choose to follow Christ in the way they do. Sometimes I agree with what they say.

  12. There were heresies and divisions sprouting up in the church in the very beginning, even while the LDS church claims that the apostles and the Priesthood were alive and had authority. The presence of schisms doesn’t mean that everything has fallen away. If that were so, then we could easily claim that Mormonism has fallen into Apostasy. It just hasn’t had the 2,000 years of history or the membership numbers to produce thousands of sects. But it has produced probably over 100 sects.

    I would no longer hold the LDS church responsible if a false teacher started making up stories about new revelation and drawing members away than I think the Classic Christian church should be held responsible for it happening to them. It just doesn’t follow.

    I absolutely take offense at the accusation that non-LDS Christians don’t pray and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance on matters of doctrine. I spend considerable time praying and meditating over scripture. I just don’t think that’s the only method that should be used. Academic study into ancient languages and cultures tells us a great deal about the meaning of scripture. Jesus tells us to worship God with our minds as well as our spirits. Take the letter to Laodecia for example. The exaltation to be either hot or cold water makes much more sense when you discover that Laodecia was known for both it’s hot (medicinal) and cold (refreshing) springs of water.

    Yes, there are many differing opinions about a great many things (I’m finding this to be more and more true in the LDS church as well). But no matter how vigorously people might defend their own opinion, they ALWAYS agree on the essentials. Joy, I can guarantee that none of those various Protestant churches that you attended claim to be THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH to the exclusion of others over any of the issues you mentioned.

  13. Dando,
    If all the denomiations don’t claim to be the Christ’s one true chruch then why would someone want to belong to them? It doesn’t seem logical that Christ would have so many different versions of his teachings (But maybe I’m just being too simplistic). As a non-denominationalist do you think Christians should be coming together, sheding the different beliefs that separate and make them unique?

    I didn’t know it was over 100 sects that came from Mormonism. That is really interesting. Also, I personally don’t doubt that non-LDS Christians don’t pray and ponder (by the way thanks for implying that Mormons are Christians, even if we are unorthodox). I think they also feel the guidance of Holy Spirit. It is very important to study and think, but most people have to struggle to find time, so it is slow going. That’s part of the reason I started this blog. Others (both non-LDS and LDS), help point things out to me that I hadn’t thought of before.

  14. Ah, no denomination claims to be the ONE true church, but they all claim to be part of THE one church (under Christ). So the reason to join any of them I hope is nothing more than the desire to worship Jesus as God. And I would counter that there aren’t so many different versions of his teachings, Christians are all in agreement about Christ’s teachings, it’s Paul, Peter, James, and John’s teachings that we differ on and each of those differences are centered around non-essentials.

    Yes, I think Christians of all branches and denominations should be coming together and unifying under our core principles. But do I think that all the churches should merge into one big church? No, not at all. I think the differences make room for people to worship Christ in many different ways and in a style that agrees with them. My church plays loud rock music, it’s not for everyone nor do I think it should be for everyone. There are some people who prefer quiet, meditative, liturgical services. I’m thrilled that there is a place for each of us. I think a number of those differences are quiet beautiful. It’s our attitude in how we deal with those that are different than us that is the problem, not the differences themselves.

    “In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

  15. I have to say I do like the idea of having different ways to worship. It could make things more interesting.

  16. Dando – I wasn’t aware that you were Catholic. My guess is, the Catholic Church doesn’t have you on their records.

    But since any schism cropping away from the LDS Church in your mind still makes them LDS, I guess you think that all Protestants are Catholics.

    Point being, once a sect or schism breaks away, they are no longer a part of the original so what does it say about the original? Nothing… And again, no… the churches you speak of are NOT united in Christ’s teaching and just differing in the teachings of the other writers such as Peter, James and John. What do you say to the EVANGELICAL sects who don’t believe in the Trinity? I attended a couple of those too. And this is the first I’ve heard that the teachings of Peter, James and John aren’t in line with Christ’s… are you saying the Bible is fallible?

    I must admit you sure do paint a pretty picture of all the chaos. But if it were the pretty picture you paint of it, I wouldn’t have been driven to take Greek and eventually throw my hands in the air not knowing who to believe once my Greek teacher (who taught Greek and Hebrew by the way at the Theological college level) told me none of the scholars agreed as to translation because they all had their own agendas… as did he by the way.

    Jay – The problem with having other ways to worship at services is that it leads to all the schisms to begin with. It is the idea of pleasing self rather than the Lord that leads people to form their new ‘whatever’ religion.

    I like Rock and Roll so *I’m* going to the Church of Rock and Roll… Someone else thinks we should worship on Saturday instead of Sunday and poof, new sect. We don’t eat meat, poof, new sect. Jesus ate only honey and butter, new sect!

    That is one reason among a zillion I love this Church. They do things the way the Lord says to and don’t deviate unless and until the Lord specifies to change it. Polygamy being one thing like that. The Lord commanded it for a time as He did in the Old Testament for His own purpose, and then when it was no longer expedient for His people, He commanded it to stop just like in the New Testament. It is US who need to conform, not try to make a Church conform to us. It is US who need to become like Christ, not make Christ to be like us.

    Another difference between Christ’s True Church and other churches is we don’t condemn people who go to those other churches to hell. We know and our Doctrine and Covenants (Revelations from Jesus Himself) tell us that almost all people will be saved to one level of glory or another. Except those that outright choose to follow Satan. We know that there will be many who will be deceived in the latter-days and that doesn’t make them deserve hell. No loving Father would set things up like that! Especially in this time when it IS so confusing to know which to follow. And let’s not even talk about the poor little Chinaman who never hears the Gospel, but according to evangelicals it’s all written on his heart so he goes to, you guessed it, HELL… Yet, how does he hear about Jesus by name with no preacher? Many of them completely deny what Peter says about preaching to the dead and of course, baptism for the dead.

    And I don’t think it is any small matter that people believe Jesus allows people to be consigned to hell because they’re confused!! Or because they didn’t get baptized or, decides because they can’t wrap their heads around the necessity of baptism and the Chinaman who goes to hell because he’s not baptized, that therefore baptism is a non-essential!! Jesus, the only perfect human to walk this earth said it was necessary to be baptized and was baptized himself… so how is it now non-essential??

    But the Lord in His divine mercy allows us to baptize by proxy for those who weren’t able to receive the ordination here or didn’t have the chance to actually hear the Gospel but were decent people who knew there was some sort of God but had no one to preach to them to know His name.

    Dando makes it sound like all the sects and schisms are just one big happy church and I can tell you for a fact, that just isn’t so. I heard church after church after church condemn other churches and contend against each other and say if you don’t ‘speak in tongues’ you are going to hell… if you don’t believe in the Rapture you aren’t going to go up in it and then you just have to grit your teeth through the tribulation or you’re going to hell, and since you don’t believe in the Rapture to begin with you’re probably going to hell anyway! I heard every reason in the book for why everyone else was going to hell! Good, decent people just trying their best are going to hell because they don’t accept the Protestant concept of Jesus/Father/Spirit as all one homogeneous invisible everywhere and nowhere mass and couldn’t figure out if we are made in His image how we aren’t everywhere and nowhere homogeneous masses. One church I went to admitted Jesus has an eternal body, but that it was part of the PUNISHMENT for our sins that He is forever STUCK with it… LOL

    Ever since the Restoration of the Church other churches have been condemning LDS people to hell. Most of them still do. Fortunately for them, Christ isn’t going to consign THEM to hell for being so hard-hearted and just plain mean. LOL

  17. My friend Joy. I really do appreciate your perspective.

    Just for clarity on a few things; if you attended a church that didn’t believe in the Trinity, then that church has fallen into heresy the same way I would say the LDS church has. If you were to say “look at all of the differences in Christianity . . . Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Moonies, Branch Davidians, Oneness Pentecostals, International Church of Christ, they all teach different things” it really wouldn’t be an appropriate statement because ALL of those churches are outside of classical Christian orthodoxy. Theologically it’s no longer appropriate to call them “Christian” with the classic understanding of that word. So I understand better now why you found so much confusion if you were being taught heresy.

    I by no means am under the delusion that there are not deep divided and contentious differences between denominations. I think many people are sinning in the way they deal with other denominations. Yes, people yell and condemn. They should not. If someone were to go so far as to say that someone is going to hell because they do not speak in tongues or believe in the rapture, they are in heresy. They are no longer teaching Christianity on that point. Christianity teaches that salvation comes by grace, not by tongues nor eschatological thought.

    I really saw the beauty of open worship while I was in Kenya last summer. We went to church there and the congregation was singing the same type of praise songs that you would hear in an average American church. It was kind of boring to be honest. Then they switched over to African praise songs and sang in Swahili. The roof got blown off the place. They’re cultural style of praising the name of Jesus was SO much more exciting than ours. I was so glad that there was FREEDOM in Christ so that they could praise him in their own way.

    I can see nothing in scripture that demands everyone worship the same way 19th Century Methodist did (which is all a LDS ward meeting is). We shouldn’t impose restrictions on people where scripture does not call for any.

  18. Also, I don’t think that Jesus sends people to hell because they are confused either. I too believe that only people who willfully choose to follow Satan are going to hell. I just think that number of people is much bigger than you do.

    I am still dying to know which Greek words your professor told you are unknown that everyone disagrees about. That is not my understanding of ancient Greek at all. Can you give me an example? (aside from Raca and Hallelujah)

  19. My questions for you Dando,

    Where do confused people go when they die according to your evangelicalism or Christian Orthodoxy?

    What did Peter mean when he said Jesus preached the Gospel to the dead?

    Do you think I am following Satan?

    All 5,456,837 translations of the Bible tell you none of the scholars agree on the meaning of the words. If they agreed there’d only be one version. Sheesh…

  20. And don’t think I didn’t take not that all religions and sects that don’t agree with what YOU believe are the ones in heresy… lol

    Give me a living Prophet any day…

  21. Great questions Joy. My pleasure to answer sincere, respectful and honest questions.

    Where do confused people go when they die according to your evangelicalism or Christian Orthodoxy?
    One thing I am sure of, no one gets to the Father except through the Son. Does this mean that you can only get to Heaven by saying the magic words “I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour”? No. It’s all based on the condition of someone’s heart. I believe that Jesus is a righteous judge and he won’t condemn anyone who is honestly seeking him and recognizes that they need a remedy for their own sin. If I have a limited and flawed idea of justice and I think it’s unfair to send people to Hell who have never heard the name of Jesus; I can only imagine that Jesus thinks it’s unfair for them to. I believe that people are accountable for what they know. In the United States the ability to come to knowledge of Jesus is much easier than someone in Afghanistan so there is a much greater level of accountability on us.

    What did Peter mean when he said Jesus preached the Gospel to the dead?
    The Atonement had not been accomplished for all of those who died before Jesus came. Those who had already been justified by faith in the coming Messiah (see Hebrews) where those who were preached to. Noticed the past tense of the word “preached”. Peter didn’t say “he is currently preaching”. As I’ve mentioned on my own blog, if you believe the dead need to be baptized, I don’t really have a beef with that. Go for it! As for me, I’m going to let the dead bury the dead.

    Do you think I am following Satan? Ha! Of course not. But I do unfortunately think that sometimes the way you present yourself is less than Christlike. (as I’m sure is true of myself as well)

    All 5,456,837 translations of the Bible tell you none of the scholars agree on the meaning of the words. If they agreed there’d only be one version. Sheesh…
    I wasn’t aware that there were over 5 million translations. But there is a excellent reason for this. Not everyone speaks English. If there were only one translation, it would likely still be the Latin version. So you should be glad that Protestant reformers opened up the book (so to speak).

    Other reasons for multiple translations include:
    1) The changing nature of English
    2) Different strategies in translation, for example, the NASB translates word for word, the NIV translates clause to clause, The Message paraphrases thought to thought and the Amplified version gives you every meaning of a word. Because we are not reading in the original language it’s a good idea to use several translations at once when we are in deep study.
    3) We are still finding older and more accurate manuscripts, than the ones that were used for the KJV. There are in fact transliteration errors in the KJV (they don’t substantially change anything). What’s interesting is that those same errors show up in the Book of Mormon, suggesting that Joseph wasn’t getting a strict, fresh translation from the plates, but was just copying straight from the KJV.

    You can read more about why I think “KJV only” is a silly debate, see my blog posts:
    http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2007/04/12/kjv-only/ and http://ldstalk.wordpress.com/2007/04/23/nogaps/

    And don’t think that all religions and sects that don’t agree with what YOU believe are the ones in heresy… lol

    Give me a living Prophet any day…
    That’s great with me. I’m not the one making the rules of orthodoxy. I profess what Christians have consistently professed for over 2,000 years. So if someone wants to say that we’ve ALL had it wrong, the burden of proof is on them to show us why we were ALL wrong.

    I’d love to have a living prophet too. Why should I accept Joseph Smith as a prophet? Why not Rev. Moon? Why not David Koresh? Why not Rael? They all claim to be prophets too.

  22. Jay, would you mind bolding Joy’s comments in my response? Sorry I messed it up.

  23. Ahhhhh, to King James or not to King James… (yet ANOTHER Evangelical/Christian Orthodoxy disagreement) lol

    And I’ll just let the fact that you think for 2000 years ALL Christians have been UNITED on ANYTHING speak for itself too.

    I can be perfectly honest with you and have been, whether it is Christlike or not, I’ll let Christ Himself decide. I take issue with you and your purpose. I take issue with wolves in sheep’s clothing which is what I think you are. If you had started your blog to sing out the praises of He whom you claim to serve, or to sing out the praises of what you claim to believe… I would have no issue with you. But when you start a blog to insult, demean, twist, warp, misquote, take out of context and TEACH a religion that you do not believe… and therefore DO NOT KNOW… I’ll call it like I see it.

    I will not be returning to your site to read anything you have to say. I stopped reading after my last post there since I got tired of the above mentioned.

    And maybe next time you think about how some of those churches I attended taught heresy, you might want to consider what you present as LDS theology is heresy as well, but it certainly doesn’t stop you from presenting it to cast a negative light on the Lord’s Church itself. And you’ve been told that over and over by FAITHFUL LDS. And yet you choose to continue to post in that manner and listen to the Un-faithful. I wonder why that is? The difference is I lived Evangelicalism for 20 years and studied more than most do in college. Which is how I know what you say is pure bunk. I know there are a lot of people who attend those churches who love the Lord as best they can currently understand Him and have many friends that attend a variety of different Christiean churches. And my friends and I have very respectful conversations and friendships. But none of them would do as you have with your site. Less than Christlike? Indeed.

  24. jayleen,
    I don’t think dando is attacking the church. He’s just sharing what he believes. Compared to many other people I’ve talked to, he is very respectful of LDS beliefs. I can’t say I always agree with him, but it is interesting to hear his perspective as a non-LDS Christian. And it is helping me to better understand how others view us.

  25. Thanks for that endorsement Jay. I’m definitely not asking everyone to see it my way, just seeking to be understood. And if I am distorting or twisting LDS doctrine in any way, I absolutely want to be corrected.

  26. I appreciate your take Jay. But I respectfully disagree. I don’t think he has any intention to ‘understand’ LDS beliefs. He knows full well he is distorting and twisting LDS doctrine and has been told that in almost every post he’s made. It certainly doesn’t stop him from continuing.

    He’s just smoother than most antis…

    I’ve been around them for a long time and was one of them so I have no further need to know how they view us… but knowing you grew up in the Church I can understand your wanting to know that. I wish you the best and hope and pray you find the answers to the questions that trouble you.

  27. Jayleen,
    I hope your last post was not a goodbye. I have enjoyed your posts. They have actually helped me. Thank you.

  28. Jayleen,

    At first I took your attacks on me personal, but now I see that you attack anyone that disagrees with you.

    Why can’t we all just offer our oppinions without the name calling? It is one thing to have a negative tone towards a topic or doctrine, but your tone is negative towards the commentors.

    As Brahnamin stated in a different thread, it would appear that you protest too much.

  29. I think a more interesting follow up question to this thread would not be why is there so many Christian denominations, but why is there so many Mormon denominations?

    Each differing Mormon denomination claims to be the absolute true church of God himself, with no room for interpretation. I think this is an interesting thought that many active Mormons have ignored.

    The story of Joseph Smith includes the story of a street corner in Palmyra called “confusion corner”. This is a street corner which has a different church on each corner of the street. This apparently confused Joseph and led him to his quest to find out which church was correct.

    Well, fast forward to today… In Independece, MO we find the infamous Temple Lot. There at the Temple Lot any visitor can see that there are several factions of mormonism which have a presence there, all claiming to be the true church of God.

    After Joseph Smith’s death, there apparently was confusion and disagreement as to who was God’s next appointed prophet. To this day, there is no agreement on this matter.

    This confusion created several factions which include:
    1. COJCOLDS (Brigham Young)
    2. The Church of Jesus Christ (William Bickerton)
    3. Rigdonites (Sidney Rigdon)
    4. The Church of Christ (Temple Lot) (Granville Hedrick)
    5. The Community of Christ (RLDS) (Joseph Smith III)
    6. COJCOLDS (James Strange)
    7. Then the offshoot from the BY COJCOLDS, FLDS – made famous by Warren Jeffs.

    My question to all LDS believers is this – If you have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and “know” that the church you currently attend is true, shouldn’t the real question be if Brigham Young is a true prophet of God? or Warren Jeffs? Or Joseph Smith III, or Sidney Rigdon? Or Granville Hendrick?

    How do you know that your denomination of Mormon faith is the correct one?

    For me, the only constant in this entire conversation is the Bible. It has proven to be a consitant voice in an inconsistant, ever-changing world of circling debate. Only the Bible has more difinitive corroborative resources than any other book on Earth.

    I choose to believe in the Bible. I choose to believe in Jesus. I believe that he rose from the grave and validated his life and testimony as described in the New Testament. I believe that He was who he said He was.

    Until any other resource (LDS or other) should provide the validity, believablity, and proof that the life of Jesus or the Bible has, I will only believe in the Bible – denominations aside.

  30. Good point! Maybe I will address that in a future post. There are many reasons why most LDS members followed Brigham Young, but there were other smaller sects that broke off from the main group just like with the Catholic Church. And it continues today with the many FLDS offshoots. I think an LDS member would tell you that the Spirit will guide you to the truth.

  31. The only problem with “the spirit will guide you…” is that those that did not follow BY were also “guided” by the spirit.

    As misguided as BY turned out to be, with his false doctrines, teachings and practices, that are not accepted by current LDS followers, this is a very good question indeed.

  32. First off didn’t Martin Luther live in the 1500’s not the 1900’s? Also Jesus said the he WOULD cause division (not his teachings, but as a result of them:

    “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two, and two against three. They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter- in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)

    But yes i believe that most Christians that truly believe in Christ will go to heaven, im not so sure about Mormons though. I mean NO offense in saying this. I probably just do not understand enough about it. But Mormons believe that YHVH used to be a man on another planet and was raised to God status by being a Good Mormon, how does this work with an eternal God??? Just asking, btw, I might not have all the facts straight about that, thats just what I previsouly know.

  33. Danny,

    I don’t blame you for thinking that. However, you have to be aware that not every Mormon believes that, but most importantly it is not required for any of them to believe that, which means it is not Mormon Doctrine.

    I don’t think the scripture you quoted has anything to do with Christian denominations (Is that what you meant?). If it did, it would go against Christ statement that a house divided against itself would fall.

    As for Mormons, I suppose I’m biased, but I think they have just as good a shot at heaven as anyone else.


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