Saturday, August 01, 2009

McCraney vs. Ed: Artistic score 8, technical score 1

I was just asked about a caller to Shawn McCraney's "Heart of the Matter" show this past week. The caller's name was Ed, and he took about 10 minutes to drill McCraney about the hypocrisy of his positions against the LDS Church.

McCraney really got upset when Ed pointed out he had been excommunicated for sexual transgression. Normally, because he was married at the time, we would call that adultery. McCraney responded "Yes", and then said he had also been excommunicated for apostasy and excessive pharmaceutical use. In his book, McCraney "asked" to be excommunicated, saying he had always considered himself "an egregious sinner". He also noted he wanted excommunication and deserved it, and would accept no other response, even though he had people around him saying he should ask for leniency.

Well, first of all, as a high priest, former bishopric member and former high council member, there was NO CHANCE he was NOT go to be excommunicated. None. So his positioning of himself as taking responsibility and demanding excommunication is pure sophistry in my opinion.

Next, his response to Ed shows how little he seems to have learned. Funny thing about Shawn and sin: He never met a sin he seems to regret. He seems totally oblivious to Paul's teaching on how grace works:

"Shall we continue in sin that grace shall abound? God Forbid." (Romans 6:1-2).

Paul specifically notes that sorrow brings about salvation ONLY through repentance, which is the complete change of mind, including hating the action you previously did:
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Cor 7:10)

We see how Shawn wants to show that of course everyone continues to sin after this fashion, because he then asks Ed if he ever lusts after women, which is to commit adultery in his heart as the scripture says. Ed says no, a position McCraney finds unbelievable.

I don't.

I thought a lot about McCraney's assertions. I don't personally lust after anyone except my wife, and I cannot recall a time when I did. I feel sorry for people who commit such sins, and their families for the impact it has on them. Ed is a good man. I often think of these statements:
nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. 1 Kgs 15:14
9 Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. Gen 6:9
¶ THERE was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. Job 1:1
6 And [Zacharias and Elizabeth] were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. Luke 1:6

The problem, of course, is Evangelicals put so much incorrect emphasis on a single passage quoted by Paul in Romans, they can't understand the role people are capable of in this life when assisted by the Spirit:
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Rom 3:10-12

I want to point out that Paul then spends 6 more chapters walking us through why any sin makes us unable to save ourselves, but that now all mankind has been saved (Romans 5:18), but they retain that salvation ONLY upon obedience to the commandments of God (Romans 6:16-23)(BTW, sorry for all you Evangelicals who don't like to actually read all of Romans to cite such a long quotation showing Paul is all about personal obedience. It makes reading this blog much more difficult for some.).

Paul essentially harmonizes the idea that there is none righteous because a single sin disqualifies us from saving ourselves, BUT, if we exercise faith, as all of those examples demonstrate, then we too can be "perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:48)

So now, we come to conclusion time: Who should be believe? The guy who entertains us each week with his self-deprecating false doctrine, or the scriptures and Latter-day prophets who sustain the most basic teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Believe, repent and baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16)

Either Shawn does not feel he needs to repent, or he does not feel he can repent. Either way, his attack on Ed was badly placed. Ed was merely restating New Testament scripture of the qualifications of a pastor:
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1Tim 3:2-7)
Isn't it funny how just quoting scripture to someone can get them so upset.

Let me know what you think.

BTW, I have heard some rumor about the age of the woman with whom Shawn committed adultery. I think there may have been a pretty substantial age difference, which then makes his comments about polygamy all the more telling, since for him, it apparently was all about the sex and not the pricipal. More to the point, if Shawn does not believe committing adultery is something which is to be repented of, i.e., hated and never done again, even in one's heart, how can he even remotely blame Joseph Smith for at least having the pretense of marriage?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your thoughts on this one, now if you'll humor me lets get back to good ol' ex nihilo

Seeing as you assume that I am not very good at my homework (sometimes that is a just charge) allow me to give you some references of my own. Please forgive my lack of LDS material, but I think that because Christians have been studying the matter for 1800 years more than Mormons, I don't think that it is that great a crime.

First up is Practical Christian Theology by Floyd H. Barackman. He states "The first step was God's initial creative work. This was creating the universe without using preexistent material, of which there was none (Gen 1:1, Ps 148:2-5, Heb 11:3)"

Second up is Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson. His writing is a little more verbose, but his premise is that with the use of the Hebrew word bara' which indicates in non poetic texts the uniqueness of God's work compared with human fashioning and the Greek word ktizo would indicate God creating out of nothing. I was considering typing out all the verses he gives to back up his point but there is a lot of them which would take up a lot of space and I am concerned you might default to the LDS stance of the Bible is good so long as it is translated correctly. Let me know if you'd like to see them

Third up is Christian Theology: An Introduction by Alister E. McGrath. His take on the issue is as follows "In part, the idea of creation from pre-existent matter was discredited by its Gnostic associations; in part, it was called into question by an increasingly sophisticated reading of the Old Testament creation narratives. Writers such as Theophilus of Antioch insisted upon the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, which may be regarded as gaining the ascendancy from the end of the second century onward. From that point, it became the received doctrine within the church."

Fourth and finally is Dr. Hugh Ross (an astrophysicist). I'm sorry to say that I don't have any specific site to give you, but you can probably hunt it down at He is definitely worth checking out on a lot of scientific material.

Hopefully this helps. I doubt this will rock your world or anything but to me it seems worth a try. I hope to hear back from you, because to be honest this is fun. Talking theology is never a bad pastime.

Barely literate anonymous

Tony said...

One can not create without first having materials.
Such is plain to see. Bara can mean to organize.

If our spirits could be created and come into being out of nothing, then reason would tell us that they could be destroyed and cease to exist as well.
Scripture, and that includes biblical scripture as well, tells us otherwise.

Creation ex- nihilo was first put forth by the Gnostics, considered a heretical sect of Christianity.

Clement of Alexandria and Justin Martyr, among the earliest of Christians, held to the concept of pre-existent matter.

Anonymous said...

People can't create out of nothing. God on the other hand, is more than capable of doing more than what we can see or do or even imagine.

Reason only tells you that spirits being created ex nihilo can be destroyed because that is using the parameters you have set. If you want to go down that road then you could say that what is created from pre-existing material can be destroyed, because it is plain to see that that is what is happening all around us.

Gnostics did not particularly care for the concept of creation ex nihilo as you will see if you check the reference from the previous comment. However, if that is how you want to play it then fine. Mormons call Joseph Smith a prophet, and so do those blood atonement polygamists. Does that mean that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, because some people with really bad theology believe the same thing as mainline Mormons?

It's true, Clement and Justin were in favor of creation out of pre-existent material. Just because some notable people hold to a certain doctrine doesn't make it true. Or biblical.

Anonymous said...

Please list all the lies and incorrect things Shawn says about the LDS church on Heart of the Matter.

When I look up what he says it is correct. I have been a faithful member for 46 years so I know what is actually taught and have seen it morph over the years.

A list of his lies would go a long way to show he is not correct.

BTW Guys like ED and Don who call into Heart of the Matter are an embarrassment to the church and make us look like stupid Utah Hillbillies.

BK Packer claims the "Truth is not always useful"

That statement alone means we are being mislead.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"Please list all the lies and incorrect things Shawn says about the LDS church on Heart of the Matter."

Your making this too easy. I'll give you one example, the "Kinderhook plates". You'll have to look at sites beyond UTLM to find the truth. Dig deep and you'll find out what Shawn claims to be the truth is only half true, the other half is anti-Mormon BS.

Make no mistake: in Shawn's heart of hearts he would like nothing more than to see the LDS church fall and I'm sure he'll spend the rest of his life trying.