Thursday, August 31, 2006
More on Jeffs, the FLDS, and the LDS
Well, the news media sure is going crazy over the arrest of Jeffs. But here are a few of the more noteworthy reports:

 
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Do Blogs Live Up to the Hype?
USA Today has a great op-ed piece on the blogosphere: "Lieberman, 'Snakes' and the seductive mythology of the blogosphere." (BTW, add Frank Page's election as president of the SBC as another inflated example.) I love Bruce Kluger's conclusion:

The whole thing reminds me of child-rearing. As the parent of any toddler can tell you, the younger the child, the louder the screams for attention — and quite often, the degree of the crisis is in reverse proportion to the decibels of the bellows.

To that end, it's important to remember that the blogosphere is still in its infancy, and like any kid, it needs to be watched very carefully.
 
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Tuesday, August 29, 2006
FLDS Polygamist Arrested
CNN has just released the AP story: "FBI: Fugitive polygamist arrested near Las Vegas." What an important development! Here is how the report begins:

The leader of a polygamist sect who was on the FBI's Most Wanted List has been arrested and faces sexual misconduct charges for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men, authorities said Tuesday.

Warren Steed Jeffs, 50, was taken into custody after he and two other people were pulled over late Monday by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 15 just north of Las Vegas, FBI spokesman David Staretz said.

The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was wanted in Utah and Arizona on suspicion of sexual misconduct for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men.
 
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The Sufficiency of Scripture

Yesterday, Joe Thorn posted a helpful examination on the sufficiency of Scripture: "Thoughts on Sufficiency." He begins by writing:

Scripture is God’s true, perfect, delightful, inspired and sufficient word to the world. While every Christian I know affirms all of this, in practice the sufficiency of Scripture seems to be getting far less attention, and I am convinced that it is the most important aspect of Scripture for the church in the 21st century to wrestle with. It is possible to affirm verbal, plenary inspiration and the inerrant and infallible nature of Scripture, and still miss the principle that it is enough; that the Scripture alone is our only rule in faith and practice. When we miss this truth, we may find ourselves falling into the errors of legalism, speculative theology, or ecclesiological invention that goes beyond and works against what God has revealed. If we really believe in both the authority and sufficiency of God’s word, then we will embrace both certainty and mystery when it comes to our faith and express that faith in confidence and humility.

While I believe that perspicuity is the most important issue regarding the Bible facing the church today, I also think that the sufficiency of Scripture is not far behind. May we trust and rest in the truth that God has revealed to us!
 
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Monday, August 28, 2006
Great New Emerging Church Material
Well, 9 Marks has done it again! Their latest material is on the emerging church, and boy is it good! Frankly, these contributions are some of the best introductory articles that I have read. Below is the monthly e-mail updated I received:
9Marks Email Banner

September 2006 Volume 3, Issue 7


THE EMERGING CHURCH

Justin TaylorAn Emerging Church Primer
What exactly is the emerging church? Is it the same thing as the emergent church? Is it just about style or something more? Justin Taylor answers some of the basic questions, and then looks at the good and the not-so-good aspects of the emerging church. He finally offers an alternative.
By Justin Taylor

forum tablePastor's and Theologian's Forum on the Emerging Church
We asked a roundtable of pastors and theologians one question:

"What do you hope will ultimately emerge from the emerging church conversation for evangelicals?"


Answers by D. A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, Michael Horton, Mike McKinley, Daniel Montgomery, Brent Thomas, Carl Trueman, and Jonathan Leeman.

chalk boardThe Emerging Consequences of Whose Ideas?
If ideas have consequences, it’s worth asking whose theology books are being read in the Emergent classroom.
Contributions from J. Ligon Duncan, Gregg Allison, Jim Hamilton, Stephen Wellum, and more.


Driscoll coversBook Reviews:
The Radical Reformission & Confessions of a Reformission Rev.
by Mark Driscoll

Reviewed by Mike McKinley


velvet elvis coverBook Review:
Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
by Rob Bell

Reviewed by Greg Gilbert





THE EMERGING CHURCH AND THE GOSPEL


greg gilbertGive Me Doctrine or Give Me Death
Is doctrine stretchable, negotiable, or even expendable? No, the doctrine of the gospel leads us to life.
By Greg Gilbert


jonathan leemanWhat’s Essential? Contextualizing the Gospel in an Egalitarian World
Scripture uses a variety of metaphors for the atonement. Can we pick and choose among them when explaining the gospel to best suit our audience? Or are their basic elements that must be included? What if we are speaking with an egalitarian?!
By Jonathan Leeman



MAINTAINING SPIRITUAL VITALITY


mike gilbart-smithThe Devotional Life of the Professional Christian
An Occasional 9News Column
By Mike Gilbart-Smith


owen strachanDoing Seminary Well
An Occasional 9News Column
By Owen Strachan





QUOTEABLE QUOTE

Mark Dever on how to preach the gospel:

"When we hold forth the good news in our preaching, we should particularly beware of presenting this gospel as an option to be exercised for the betterment of sinners’ lives. After all, what would a carnal person consider "better"? Leading questions like "are you scared of death?" "Do you want happiness?" "Wouldn’t you like to know the meaning of your life?" are all well-intentioned, and any of them may be used by God’s Spirit to convict someone, and to lead to their conversion. But such questions may also be answered by a simple "no." To use such questions as if they are the starting point for those considering the gospel is to make it sound all too optional.

I don’t care if my hearers are scared of death, wanting happiness or meaning in life, I know that they will die and stand before God to give an account of their lives. And I know that God will therefore rightly condemn them to an eternal Hell.

  • So I find verses like Mark 8:38 useful, where Jesus taught "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels."
  • Or again, Romans 3:19-20, "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."
  • Or Hebrews 9:27, "man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment . . ."

This demand—rather than a marketer’s appeal—is to be the basis of the evangelistic call in our sermons. Our gospel sermons are not to sound like the solicitations of a salesman, but the summons of a judge.

From "Evangelistic Expository Preaching," in Give Praise to God: A Vision for Reforming Worship, Philip Graham Ryken, Derek W. H. Thomas, and J. Ligon Duncan eds. (P&R, 2003), 134-135.



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Starting the Church of Now
Today's New York Times has a piece on a new documentary: "Seeking Entry-Level Prophet: Burning Bush and Tablets Not Required." Here is how the article begins:

The help-wanted ad had the whiff of a practical joke. “Documentary will pay you $5,000 to start your own religion,” it said. “No exp. necessary.”

“I laughed out loud,” said Joshua Boden, 35, a bald-headed bassist in an indie rock band, the Angelic Bombs, who stumbled across the ad in the Village Voice last spring.

But Mr. Boden, whose friends have long urged him to write down some of the bits of pop religion and philosophy that he has developed over the years, said his curiosity was piqued. He went to the corresponding Web site and dashed off an application.

As it turned out, the advertisement was seeking participants for a very real, albeit unusual, social experiment: take $5,000 to start your own religious movement, in exchange for allowing a film crew to follow you around as you try to get under way.

The project, while certainly amusing to some, is intended to examine a serious set of questions about how religious movements begin and take hold. “It’s not cynical or skeptical,” said Andy Deemer, 33, an independent filmmaker who hatched the idea. “Ultimately, I want the project to be interfaith and supporting different faiths.”

And while it may seem like a funny idea, embedded within this project lies a serious thought: every religion, from the ones with millions of believers to those with just a handful, started somewhere, with someone.

Sad, but true. As John Calvin said, "The human heart is a factory of idols.... Everyone of us is, from his mother’s womb, expert in inventing idols."
 
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Saturday, August 26, 2006
Weekender -- Jonathan Edwards on Sin
Jonathan Edwards:

Sin is naturally exceeding dear to us; to part with it is compared to plucking out our right eyes. Men may refrain from wonted ways of sin for a little while, and may deny their lusts in a partial degree, with less difficulty; but it is heart-rending work, finally to part with all sin, and to give our dearest lusts a bill of divorce, utterly to send them away. But this we must do, if we would follow those that are truly turning to God: yea, we must not only forsake sin, but must, in a sense, forsake all the world, Luke xiv.33 'Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.'
 
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Friday, August 25, 2006
More Good Audio
I recently ran across Radio Apologia and found a lot of good audio material on the site. They tend to be of a theonomic Presbyterian persuasion, but I still look forward to hearing some of their offerings.
 
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Thursday, August 24, 2006
New Blog on Mormonism
Mormonism Research Ministry, a ministry I have been serving with for several years now, has a new blog!

Mormon Coffee has been a helpful resource in the blogosphere, but imagine what it will be like now that us MRM boys are joining in the fray. It has become the official blog for MRM, so check it out! See Bill McKeever's announcement here: "Cultivating Mormon Coffee."
 
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Mormon Growth

(If you cannot see this video, please click here.)

Here is an amazing video showing the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide. Each time a new stake is added and a light brightens, my heart saddens. How do you respond?
 
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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Mormon Evangelism
Today's Deseret Morning News (a Mormon-owned newspaper) has an intersting article: "LDS urged to share gospel with all people." Here is how the news story begins:

The restored gospel of Jesus Christ must be shared with all people — regardless of culture, ethnicity, religious background or heritage — and Latter-day Saints have an obligation to share their faith without arrogance or self-righteousness.

Speaking during the keynote session of the 84th annual Education Week at Brigham Young University, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf told thousands gathered at the Marriott Center Tuesday that when Jesus Christ established his church anciently, he knew there would be a great apostasy to follow.

Elder Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, said Christ "established a divine pattern" for his church anciently, knowing that "future generations would recognize the same priesthood authority and structure" featuring apostles and a living prophet when the church was restored centuries later.

"Without the Prophet Joseph Smith (LDS Church founder), the world would still be in the same state of confusion and darkness" that existed during the Dark Ages with respect to religion, he said.
 
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Weird Al's New Single Video Premiere
Yesterday, I pointed out that "Weird Al" Yankovic released a song from his upcoming album on the internet. Last night, Yahoo! music video premieres debuted the video for his new single: "Don't Download This Song." If you liked listening to the song, wait until you see the video (which is a cartoon)!
 
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Talbot on the Emerging Church
Talbot School of Theology has now posted the audio of their conference "Conversations with the Emerging Church" in MP3 format. Here are the messages:

 
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Another Arrest Outside Mormon Pageant
Last week, I posted on a pastor that was arrested during a Mormon pageant. This week, a report comes in that another pastor has been arrested: "Minister arrested outside Mormon pageant." It was Chip Thompson from Tri-Grace Ministries (a pastor that I have ministered with before). Here is how the news article begins:

For the second week in a row, an evangelical Christian minister has been arrested outside a Mormon-themed pageant in northern Utah.

Daniel "Chip" Thompson, the 47-year-old director of Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, a campus ministry at Snow College in Ephraim, was arrested for investigation of criminal trespassing by the Cache County sheriff's office Friday night at the Clarkston Pageant. The pageant depicts the life of Martin Harris, an early follower of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thompson was with eight others handing out religious tracts that compare Mormonism with the beliefs of other forms of Christianity. He said the Clarkston City cemetery's amphitheater, where the pageant is performed, is public property, so he should not have been arrested.
 
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Weird Al's New Single, "Don't Download This Song"
Wow! "Weird Al" Yankovic has just released a song to his MySpace page from his upcoming CD: "Don't Download This Song" (in MP3).

I can't stop laughing! It's done in the style of '80s charity songs like "
We are the World." Here are the lyrics:

Once in a while maybe you will feel the urge
To break international copyright law
By downloading mp3s from file-sharing sites
Like Morpheus or Grokster or Limewire or KaZaA
But deep in your heart you know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
'Cause you start out stealing songs, and then you're robbing liquor stores
And selling crack and running over school kids with your car

So don't download this song
The record store's where you belong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don't download this song

Oh, you don't wanna mess with the RIAA
They'll sue you if you burn that CD-R
It doesn't matter if you're a grandma or a 7-year-old girl
They'll treat you like the evil, hard-bitten criminal scum you are

So don't download this song
Don't go pirating music all day long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don't download this song

Don't take away money from artists just like me
How else can I afford another solid gold Humvee?
And diamond-studded swimming pools, these things don't grow on trees
So all I ask is, everybody, please...

Don't download this song
Even Lars Ulrich knows it's wrong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don't download this song...
Don't download this song
Or you might wind up in jail like Tommy Chong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don't download this song...
Don't download this song
Or you'll burn in Hell before too long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don't download this song
 
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Monday, August 21, 2006
Starbucks Wisdom?
As some of you may know, Starbucks has been printing thought provoking quotes on the side of its coffee cups. Over the weekend, I came across an intriguing quote from Mike Doughty (The Way I See It #158):

It's tragic that extremists co-opt the notion of God, and that hipsters and artists reject spirituality out of hand. I don't have a fixed idea of God. But I feel that it's us -- the messed-up, the half-crazy, the burning, the questioning -- that need God, a lot more than the goody-two-shoes do.

After reading this quote, I sat in stunned silence. Isn't Doughty essentially quoting Jesus here?

And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" And Jesus answered them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:29-32)

It is "the messed-up, the half-crazy, the burning, the questioning," that Jesus came to save. And it is this same Jesus that gives us a fixed idea of God. Extremists may try to co-opt the notion of God, and people may speculate about who He is. But God has supremely revealed Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. "He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." (Hebrews 1:3a)

I pray that Mike Doughty comes to know this God and to be reconciled to Him. I also pray that Doughty's quote will be used by Christians as a discussion starter that will allow us to point others to God and what He has done for us.
 
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Saturday, August 19, 2006
Weekender -- Matthew Mead on Salvation
Puritan Matthew Mead:

True union makes a true Christian: many close with Christ, but it is upon their own terms; they take and own him, but not as God offers him. The terms upon which God in the gospel offers Christ, are, that we shall accept of a broken Christ with a broken heart, and yet a whole Christ with the whole heart. A broken Christ with a broken heart, as a witness of our humility; a whole Christ with a whole heart, as a witness of our sincerity. A broken Christ respects his suffering for sin; a broken heart respects our sense of sin; a whole Christ includes all his offices; a whole heart includes all our faculties. Christ as King, Priest, and Prophet, and as a Mediator. Without any one of these offices, the work of salvation could not have been completed.
 
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Thursday, August 17, 2006
Growing Up in The Family
Today's Daily Mail includes a fascinating article: "Bizzare lifestyle in the Children of God cult." It summarizes the experiences of the children of Jeremy Spencer, former guitarist for Fleetwood Mac. Since he left the popular band behind and joined The Family (also known as the Children of God), his children had a rather unique childhood. Here is an excerpt:

The Spencers increased their brood — which included Koa and Nat — to five and Fiona later went on to have three more daughters, including Tally, with a new partner.

All eight children grew up under the strict regime of the communes in which the Children of God — or The Family, as the cult now calls itself — live.

All have now left the sect, although their parents are still going strong: Jeremy lives in Ireland and phones sporadically ("Though I don't think he likes it much there," says one of his sons. "It's too wet. I think he'd like to go back to Brazil.") and Fiona is still in Italy.
 
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R.C. Sproul -- A Heretic?
Is R.C. Sproul a heretic? Jonathan Modene, pastor of Maumee Valley Bible Baptist Church, thinks so. He preached a sermon that has been making waves around the internet lately: "Strange Fire: The Faith of R.C. Sproul" (MP3 format).

James White has spent some time interacting with this "sermon" in his
August 10 and August 15 webcasts. I simply cannot believe the claims that Modene leveled against Sproul. You simply have to listen for yourself!
 
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Science and Christianity
Today's Los Angeles Times reports on Dr. Francis Collins: "Faithful to God, Science." It is an interesting look at how one scientist combines his commitment to science with his commitment to Christ:

The dying woman looked up at her physician. "What do you believe?"

The question unsettled Dr. Francis Collins. For days, he had watched the elderly woman serenely endure the pain of a failing heart, certain she was leaving this world for a better one. She talked to him often of her faith. He listened with bemusement.

He was a man of science; he had earned a PhD in physical chemistry at Yale and was completing his medical degree with bedside training at a North Carolina hospital. When his patients talked of God, he pitied them.

Yet confronted with the woman's earnest question, Collins felt not superior, but oddly ashamed. After 30 years, he still remembers how he flushed as he stammered: "I'm not really sure."

The patient died soon after. And Collins embarked on a journey of exploration that took him to the White House to discuss his landmark map of human DNA with President Clinton — and to a lonely mountain meadow, where he dropped to his knees one bright morning and surrendered himself to Jesus Christ.
 
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New Scholarly Papers on New Religious Movements and Cults
The Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) held its annual conference last month in San Diego. Now, they have posted their scholarly papers online. A couple of these papers deal with aspects of Mormonism:

While CESNUR presenters are generally not evangelicals and not coming from a biblical worldview, their research can still be useful.
 
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New Font
Some readers of this blog have pointed out that the quotes in my posts are too small, making them unreadable in blog aggregators and readers. Unfortunately, with the limitations of Blogger, I know of nothing I can do other than to change the font and its size. Hopefully, this will make my posts easier to read and more pleasing to your eyes. Be sure to let me know what you think!
 
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Cult Awareness Growing in Uganda
Earlier this year, The New Vision (a Ugandan web site) released an interesting report: "Born-again churches to probe cult reports." Here is the story:

Born-Again churches have set up a special committee to probe allegations of two pastors involved in false teachings and cultism.

The probe was prompted by reports from the public that there are two prominent pastors in the city engaged in false teachings.

The Rev. Geoffrey Byarugaba of the African Evangelistic Enterprise heads the committee which brings together Deliverance, Pentecostal and National Fellowship of Born Again churches.

Addressing a press conference at Pearl Restaurant, Nakasero on Monday, Byarugaba said if the allegations are found to be true, the churches and the pastors will be banned.

He said, “As churches remember the Kanungu Kibwetere Cult massacre this week, the committee has set up a strategy to decampaign and open war on false prophets and churches that indulge in cultism.

“The Kanungu saga ought to have awakened the country. Tough laws are needed to control cult churches.”

Byarugaba said the week would create awareness among churches and pastors about the need to heed to Bible teachings about false teaching.

Church of Uganda assistant bishop Kampala Diocese the Rt. Rev. David Zac Niringye, said, “the issue is not the number of mushrooming churches but false teaching. In fact we need more churches. The point is, are these churches leading the flock to a life that is honourable and abundant?”

They said false teachings included openly dishonouring the word of God.
 
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Great Upcoming Bible Resource
I admit it: I love using a reverse interlinear Bible. I first got hooked while preparing a sermon, but the version I used was from the NIV (not one of my favorite translations).

Now I see that Crossway is about to release a reverse interlinear Bible of its popular ESV translation according to their ESV Blog. To learn more, check out the post: "Preface to the Reverse Interlinear New Testament." It includes the following headings:

 
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The Necessity of Discomfort
Jay Gress has an enlightening piece over at National Review Online: "Warm-Wipe Parenting: Bad habits start at the baby megastore." As a father, I could only nod my head in agreement as I read his thoughts from shopping for baby products. Here is an excerpt:

One product, however, proved to be just too much for me. Though my wife insisted on its necessity, I could not seem to justify the immediate expense or the lasting consequences of owning what is known as a “wipe warmer.” This silly apparatus claims to “take the jolt out” of wiping a baby’s undercarriage by warming the moist “baby wipes” to a more balmy temperature. As if “room temperature” is somehow abusively cold. This is one of those shame products that you’re supposed to buy so that you don’t raise the ire of visitors to your baby nursery. (“Did you hear? The Gresses are not warming their baby wipes! Unconscionable! Don’t they know that their baby could get Sudden Sphincter Frostnip?”)

Before moving to Washington, D.C., I worked as a mountain guide in the Rocky and Cascade mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest, leading winter mountaineering and backcountry skiing excursions. On extended trips, toilet paper often consisted of carefully shaped snowballs — so I’m not at all sympathetic to the idea that my kids cannot stand a mildly cool wipe of the bum that lasts about two thirds of a second.

What most concerns me about the wipe warmer is the attitude it could engender, and that I’ll one day wake up to realize that I have raised exceedingly effete and spoiled children who cower from any “jolt” or discomfort. I fear that they will recoil from worthy pursuits that involve suffering, like studying and work, and worry how they will react to the compulsory sufferings of life. I do not know whether our kids will take up pursuits such as mountaineering like their father, or marathon running like their mother — two pursuits which can stockpile suffering, but can also develop degrees of character and confidence not found in, say, videogames. But I’d at least like them to be comfortable with austerity and quiet in the face of adversity. In short, the wipe warmer represents an affront to everything that I want my kids to be.
 
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News on the Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Today's New York Times has an interesting piece: "Archaeologists Challenge Link Between Dead Sea Scrolls and Ancient Sect." Here is how the article begins:

New archaeological evidence is raising more questions about the conventional interpretation linking the desolate ruins of an ancient settlement known as Qumran with the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found in nearby caves in one of the sensational discoveries of the last century.

After early excavations at the site, on a promontory above the western shore of the Dead Sea, scholars concluded that members of a strict Jewish sect, the Essenes, had lived there in a monastery and presumably wrote the scrolls in the first centuries B.C. and A.D.

Many of the texts describe religious practices and doctrine in ancient Israel.

But two Israeli archaeologists who have excavated the site on and off for more than 10 years now assert that Qumran had nothing to do with the Essenes or a monastery or the scrolls. It had been a pottery factory.

 
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Monday, August 14, 2006
A New Mormon View of the Atonement?
A recent issue of the Dialogue journal (an unofficial and controversial publication by Mormons) included the article "The Divine-Infusion Theory: Rethinking the Atonement" by Jacob Morgan (Vol. 39 No. 1, Spring 2006, not available online).

Last week, a Mormon over at
Joel's Monastery summarized and interacted with Morgan's theory. Here is an excerpt:

Morgan begins by discussing other theories on the atonement and the weaknesses in these theories. He notes that the early and most current Church Authorities have adopted the penal-substitution theory. In a nutshell, this theory is that we must accept Jesus' atonement and repent, or we will pay for our own sins. He gives some good reasons why this theory is not truly sound, such as: if Jesus has already paid for our sins, why must he then insist on us repaying him? How is it that Justice demands not only payment, but also that we stay fully obedient to Christ? It also is contradicted by certain scriptural events: when Alma falls into an angel-induced coma and has a near-death experience, he starts out suffering for his own sins, but upon calling on Jesus' name for deliverance, he is immediately delivered from his sufferings. Why did God not require Alma to suffer for his sins until they were paid for first, and then free him, if the penal substitution theory was in force? The penal-substitution theory requires payment to Justice prior to forgiveness, but Alma seemed to receive it immediately - clearly there are holes in this theory.

Using D&C 93 and 88 as his primary scriptures, Morgan explains that the universe is filled with the Light of Christ. This light infuses all things with existence, and the more light an individual receives the more like God one becomes. Essentially, in the Divine Infusion theory, Christ's atonement lifts the universe out of total spiritual (and possibly also physical) darkness, allowing us to be able to become celestial.

Morgan writes, "The atonement was not a matter of satisfying justice's relentless thirst for suffering. Instead, it was a matter of pulling the universe far enough out of the darkness to make repentance and growth possible. The atonement 'bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance" (Alma 34:15). Thus, the atonement satisfies the demands of justice by making it possible for us to become celestial. A dual emphasis on grace and works follows naturally. Our works make us who we are and determine our final destiny, but every good work we do is enabled and influenced by the light of Christ in us."

What do we make of this? With this view not being taught or endorsed by any LDS church authorities, it could be dismissed as scholarly speculation. At the same time, these church leaders rarely address doctrinal questions anymore, leaving Mormon scholars to pick up the slack. In any case, the "Divine-Infusion" theory is a far cry from the true and biblical teaching of Christ's redemptive work.
 
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Pastor Arrested During Mormon Pageant
Yesterday's Deseret Morning News reports: "Minister arrested after taping part of LDS pageant." While I don't know about the legalities surrounding what Pastor Joel Kramer (from Living Hope Ministries) was trying to do, I am saddened by what transpired. Here are some details:

An evangelical Christian minister claims he was unlawfully arrested after taping part of a performance of a Mormon-themed pageant in the Clarkston Cemetery near Logan Friday night.

Joel Kramer, 39, was arrested and booked for investigation of disorderly conduct after he told a Cache County sheriff's deputy he was not violating any laws by videotaping the pageant. The pageant depicts the life of Martin Harris, an early disciple of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"These are free pageants, so there's no copyright violation, and I'm within my rights to be on public land," Kramer said. "I feel like it was the LDS Church influence. That's the reason I was arrested."

Kramer, who claims the entire incident was recorded on video and audio tape, said he was told by a sheriff's deputy the LDS Church had requested Kramer turn off his cameras.

Jail records and an online incident report for the Cache County Sheriff's Office confirm Kramer's arrest and booking. He posted $280 bail and was released.
 
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Friday, August 11, 2006
I'm Home
Hello everyone!

Well, I've finally returned this week from my mission trip to Belize. I thank God for my opportunity to minister there. I may write more about my trip in the future, but I plan on returning to my regular blog postings next week.
 
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About Me

Name:
John

I am a former Mormon who has been saved by Jesus Christ. Now I am a missionary involved with the Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR). I seek to live in light of Paul's words: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

My Complete Profile


About My Blog
  • Why I am the Reformed Baptist Thinker

  • Recent Posts
  • Rest in Peace RBT, Long Live ACFAR!

  • Come and Read With Me!

  • Africa Center for Apologetics Research Celebration...

  • Mormonism, Blomberg, and Me

  • Michael W. Smith, "It's a Wonderful Christmas"

  • Spread the Vision!

  • Yesterday's Narrow Mind

  • Monday's Iron Sharpens Iron

  • Gaining Exposure and Raising Awareness

  • Book Review: Announcing the Kingdom


  • Reformed Links
  • The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith
  • The Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America
  • Discerning Reader
  • Founders Ministries
  • The Gospel Coalition
  • Monergism
  • Nicene Council
  • The Reformed Baptist Theological Review
  • Reformation 21
  • The Spurgeon Archive
  • Third Millennium Ministries
  • Together for the Gospel
  • John Frame and Vern Poythress
  • Sam Waldron

  • Apologetics Links
  • Mormonism Research Ministry
  • Truth in Love Ministry
  • Centers for Apologetics Research
  • LifeWay Apologetics
  • Alpha and Omega Ministries

  • Blogroll
  • The A-Team Blog
  • Illumination
  • Mormon Coffee
  • Pros Apologian
  • Pulpit Magazine
  • Pyromaniacs
  • Reformation 21 Blog
  • Reformed Baptist Fellowship
  • Said at Southern
  • Together for the Gospel Blog
  • Tom Ascol
  • Les Bollinger
  • Denny Burk
  • Tim Challies
  • Steve Cowan
  • Jeff Downs
  • Bob Kauflin
  • Kevin Larson
  • Albert Mohler Commentary
  • Albert Mohler Blog
  • Russell Moore
  • Jonathan Moorhead
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  • Joe Thorn
  • Paul Tripp
  • Keith Walker

  • Labels
  • ACFAR
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  • Christianity and Culture
  • Emerging Church and Postmodernism
  • Missions
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  • "Weird Al" Yankovic
  • Personal Life
  • Personal Ministry
  • Other Resources

  • Miscellaneous


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