Saturday, March 07, 2009

Shawn McCraney, Stefan Dennis, Adams Road and False Doctrine

People will fall for almost anything, I have found. I am not limiting that to religious truth, but since that is the point of my blog here, let's follow that road.

I wrote a few weeks ago about a young man and his wife who appeared on Shawn McCraney's weekly fantasy program, Heart of the ****** (This was for Robert V.'s benefit. No, it is not related to sex.) Heart of the Matter.

He commented this week, and you can see his remarks here. He invited anyone who cares to see his support on his facebook page, which I did. His assertion is that all the support needed to make the case that the Apostles did not continue doing ordinances in the Jerusalem temple after the death of Christ could be found there.

Not so much, really.

He wrote in an email to me:

"It is well known that you had to be a literal blood descendant of Aaron to hold the priesthood in Old Testament times. This is backed up by the OT and you may also ask any Jew or Jewish Scholor to confirm this."

Let me publish my response with just a few minor changes to improve readibility:

This is just flatly false. Sorry, but God had originally intended to have everyone hold the priesthood (Ex 19:6). We have multiple examples of non-Aaronic priests who are recognized as authentic. Moses' father-in-Law Jethro is everywhere called "Jethro, the priest of Median". And then there is Melchizedek, who even Abraham paid tithes to. His place in Hebrew history is limited in scripture, but huge in impact, and is cited as part of the reason Jesus' atonement was effective. Please read if you get a chance.

I just read through your notes on Facebook. My heart truly aches for your misunderstanding of both the Gospel, but especially issues such as the role of the priesthood. Likewise, your statement about the Holy Ghost being God, and quoting John 4:24 that "god is a spirit" is a little sad. You should have learned in your extensive research that not only is John 4:24 a mistranslation if rendered "god is a spirit", (as it should read "god is spirit"), but the very sense is describing a single attribute of God which is also ascribed to men, that is having a nature which is spiritual. John 4:24 in no way means God lacks a physical nature, since this contradicts the meaning of Gen 1:26-27; 3:8,10. Unless God walks without legs and has a voice without a throat and head.

A couple of easy questions:

How many real priesthoods are described in the Bible?

What priesthood do Christians hold (Rev 1:6, 5:10, 20:6; 1Peter 2:5, 9)?

Was the Aaronic priesthood ever the priesthood of Royalty?

What is the role of a priest?

Why do we need to be priests if we have direct communion with God and Christ?

What was the role of the Temple to Messianic theology? (Unfair, because this is actually a huge question.) What priesthood do Christian "kings and priests" hold(Rev 1:6; Rev 5:10)?

What lineage was required to be a Melchizedek priest, i.e., what is the position of royalty required, and through what line must it come, to hold the Melchizedek priesthood?

Melchizedek is called a priest to the Most High God. Was this an Aaronic priesthood office?

Is mankind now perfect? If not, then why has the non-LDS Christian world done away with the offices of Apostle and prophet? Why eliminate those offices, but keep pastors teachers and evangelists? (Eph. 4:11-14) If there were no more prophets after Christ, as is falsely interpreted from Hebrews 1:1-2, then why are there so many holders of the office of prophet in the New Testament, not just people who are experiencing the gift of prophecy?

As a convert, I truly know what it means to be born again. I guess I would give you the homework assignment to read Romans, especially chapters 5-10. And be prepared to explain how "grace only" fits with Hebrews 5:8-9 as to how one is not just saved (as according to Romans 5:18 everyone is saved, believer and non-believer alike), but how one "retains" salvation, according to the Bible. Because if you can "fall from grace" (Gal. 5:4), then there is something you must do to NOT fall from grace.

The problem I find with the attacks on LDS beliefs by folks like Shawn McCraney, Adam's Road band members and Stefan Dennis is they just are so limited and unfair in their perspective of Biblical doctrine.

I flatly reject the idea that a person can, as Lynn Wilder said of her husband, just read the New Testament and come away realizing Mormonism is false. I reject that because I am where I am largely because I had the opposite experience. I saw LDS doctrine everywhere. We see there are other real divine beings, gods, discussed and believed everywhere (John 1:1, Acts 7:55-56; John 10:35; Rev 3:21; Hebrews 1; nearly anyplace mankind is described as "sons of god"). I found exaltation everywhere in the NT. I realized there were apostles and prophets intended to stay in the Church until as long as the true Church was on the face of the Earth. Eph 4:11-14; 1 Cor 12-13. I find 1 Cor 12-13 particularly compelling because we have Paul teaching, without any confusing language, that having prophets in the Church is the way it is until perfection comes. The things which will remain are Faith, Hope and Charity, meaning the apostles and prophets WILL be done away, but not until that point in time.

Lastly, the idea of revelation is everywhere in the Bible. Not Just James 1:5, but literally dozens of times in the Bible we are told to seek out with our heart to find truth. In fact, Paul notes that the reason some folks don't know the truth is they have hardened their hearts until they are past feeling (Eph 4:18-18).

The Bible is demonstrably NOT perfect in the sense of no contradictions, weak translations or mis-translations. That is easily demonstrated. When you ask a Christian why do you believe the Bible is the word of God, as two BYU professors did to anti-Mormon James White, you initially get this illogical circular reasoning which says because it says it is. Just like the Koran or any of several other books, including the Book of Mormon. Then when they realize the illogic of their position, they will say that the Spirit testifies it is true. Just like the Book of Mormon.

I have used this example a lot as anti-Mormons attack the Book of Mormon on the basis of a lack of documented archeological finds supporting it. I pose this question: Is it better to have no proof contradicting your claims, but also nothing supporting your claims, or, from a logical point of view, is it better to have a book with some archeological support, but also explicit archeological proof contradicting it? I would think the first option is better, which of course is the case with the Book of Mormon. The second case is the Bible. While non-LDS Christians love to wave their "archeological proof" at Mormons like some kind of testament to the reality of the resurrection (which it is not), they generally are unaware that there is probably not a single Biblical archeologist who accepts the Biblical record without reservations, especially the content prior to the time of Jeremiah. As I have mentioned before, the scientific proof against the Biblical stories about Jericho and Ai (Joshua 6-7)is overwhelming. No archeologist I am aware of, believes the story of Jericho or Ai happened as outlined in the Bible, based on Carbon 14 proof found at the site and the archeological findings on site, with the exception of Bryant Wood, who literally has no support in the archeological community for his position.

So, is it better to be waiting for proof to support the reality of your position, OR, is it better to have scientists saying your book is documentably false even if it gets some geographic details correct? I don't think this is all that hard to figure out.

Adam's Road, Stefan Dennis and the Wilder's all leapt without an intellectual net. Their positions are about as supportable as sandcastles at the beach made at low tide. Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit's presence in the LDS Church to keep the vast majority of members from the confusion so evident in their positions.


Aaron said...

Read your article and liked what you had to say. I have been doing a historical critical analysis of the New Testament. One problem I have with Christian apologetics is they like to explain away the contradictions. Actually, if we look at the contradictions in light of the writer and whom it was written to, we completely understand these variances.
Also, saying the Bible has been proven is beyond ridiculous. With the historical evidence available for Christianity, I could easily prove a Gnostic or Apocrypha gospel as well as any of the four gospels. However, with historical analysis, I can't verify miracles actually occurred. I can believe in miracles, but I cannot prove a particular miraculous event. With that said, the same Spirit that testifies to Christ, can also testify of any scripture (Bible or Book of Mormon). As it stands, no Christian can convince me that secular studies proves the Bible (accept for a few historical events and people).

Anonymous said...

Wow I don't know what you do with the passage where Jesus is being baptized, and the Holy Spirit descends on Him like a dove, and God the Father says, this is my Beloved son in whom I am well pleased. That's the Trinity. And that was two witnesses to give credence to His message. A thing in the law was established by two or three witnesses. A great honor is given to the Holy Spirit as a part of the Trinity( Matthew 12:32) Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him,either in this age or in the age to come. The Holy Spirit is God. The word for God used in Genesis 1:1 is a word that for Deity that is plural, furthermore, three or more. God is three, yet He is one. As for the fact that history cannot prove the Bible, all the history is proven, why doubt the rest? Tell me one little bit of evidence for Mormonism that was revealed BEFORE Joseph Smith was Born. Jesus had writings about Himself before He as born, many prophecies that came true down to the time of His birth. Daniel chapter 9. Joseph Smith testifies that people in earlier times prophecy about him coming, but no one had access to these writings except him. Who is to say that he was not a liar, and making it all up? Also there is no history to back up Mormonism. You must take it by faith,even as I must take my Christianity by faith. " Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Without faith it is impossible to please Him.One more comment on your post, (sorry that this is so long! ) if you do not believe that the
Bible is translated correctly, even though you have a version changed by Joseph Smith, why do you even care about what it says? If it has one thing wrong with it, you should reject it. Period. Now don't reject it because someone told you to, but because you found it out yourself. Same with Mormon teaching. Oh, and about no evidence on Christianity, Look into the prophecy on Cyrus,where the Bible names him by name, a hundred years before He was born, and history recognizes His restoration of the Jews to Jerusalem to build the temple.