Dustin Phelps, a Mormon writer on the “Happiness Seekers” website, has written a blog article on “The Alarming Truth about Anti-Mormonism.” Within a few days it had over 30,000 “shares” on social media. In his article, Phelps claims “to expose what anti-Mormonism is and what its objectives really are.” The objective is to make Mormons become atheists:
Anti-Mormonism isn’t just about getting people to lose faith in our Church, it’s about getting people to lose faith in God, in Christ, in revelation, in religion. Once you’ve tasted the sweetest and most perfect form of Christianity, where else will you go when you leave?
Phelps arrives at this conclusion by the following reasoning:
- “Basically every reason to doubt Mormonism is a good reason to doubt Christianity.”
- Thus, arguments against Mormonism are really arguments against Christianity.
- Once people lose faith in Christianity, they become atheists.
- Therefore, presenting arguments against Mormonism turns Mormons into atheists.
He also restates his argument as follows:
- Any arguments against Joseph Smith being a prophet also apply to the biblical prophets.
- Thus, once one accepts arguments against Joseph Smith being a prophet, one has no sources of revelation about Christ and God that one can accept.
- Therefore, any arguments against Joseph Smith as a prophet lead people to abandon belief in Christ and God.
Let’s look at these arguments, both of which turn on their first premises. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: atheism, atheists, Bible, Book of Mormon, Dustin Phelps, Joseph Smith, polygamy
On November 2, 2014, I sent an email to Christian Post regarding Anna Diehl, who is one of its bloggers. Since I have heard nothing in response, I am now making my concerns public.
Christian Post (hereafter CP) is a major online media organization based in Washington, DC, that describes itself as “the nation’s most comprehensive Christian news website.” It is a member organization of the Evangelical Press Association as well as the National Association of Evangelicals, and has a statement of faith that is generically, solidly evangelical. As I noted in my email to CP, “We share the same orthodox, evangelical beliefs as your organization, as reflected in your excellent Statement of Faith.”
It was recently brought to my attention that one of the blogs featured prominently on CP’s website exists to promote heretical teachings that are clearly at variance with CP’s avowedly evangelical doctrinal position. I refer to the blog called “The Pursuit of God,” the author of which is Anna Diehl. Ms. Diehl denies the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity; her version of the doctrine explicitly contradicts CP’s statement of faith. In a recent article on Jesus and the Holy Spirit (Oct. 31, 2014) on her Christian Post blog, Diehl wrote:
When giving that famous Great Commission, Jesus told His disciples to baptize people in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught that there were three Gods—three Beings who met Yahweh’s definition of praiseworthy…. There are three Gods. Jesus and the Holy Spirit have no beginning. They were not created. They are Almighty Gods who are separate from Yahweh, yet equal to Him in every way.
Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: Anna Diehl, Bible, Christian Post, inerrancy, tritheism
I’d like to share a brief thought on an issue that comes up with surprising frequency. Very often, when discussing the Bible’s teachings with others, I am told that I am going about it the wrong way by trying to understand what the Bible says using my reasoning. There are many variations on this theme:
- You can’t understand the Bible with your intellect because the Bible is spiritual.
- You can’t understand the Bible using reason because God is beyond reason.
- You can’t understand the Bible on your own because you need ______________ (our church, our bishops, the magisterium, a living prophet, additional scripture, the priesthood, a burning in the bosom, revelation from the Holy Spirit, our organization, our literature, etc.).
You get the idea. Suffice it to say, I’m doing it all wrong. Or so I’m told. We’re talking about the Bible, I make some point about what it’s saying in context or some such thing, and all of a sudden a penalty flag is on the field. The ref announces “Offside!” and the ball is taken by the other team. (I almost never use football analogies, so that one’s for my friends in Alabama.) Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: 2 Peter 1:20-21, Bible, hermeneutics, Holy Spirit, interpretation, James 1:5, mind, Proverbs 3:5
Scalia, Antonin, and Bryan A. Garner. Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts. St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West, 2012.
Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by Ronald Reagan in 1986, making him currently the longest-serving of the nine Justices. Theologically, Scalia is a devout Roman Catholic who prefers the ultra-traditionalist Tridentine Latin Mass to the mainstream post-Vatican II liturgy. Politically, he is conservative in his judicial philosophy and in his viewpoints on specific contentious issues in American law; for example, he considers Roe v. Wade unconstitutional. Opinions about Scalia are generally polarized, with American liberals often scathing in their criticisms of his views.
Scalia’s most recent book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, is well worth reading simply within its own intended context of defending Scalia’s approach to interpreting legal texts, called textualism or originalism. He and his co-author Bryan Gardner, law professor at Southern Methodist University, explain textualism as follows: “We look for meaning in the governing text, ascribe to that text the meaning that it has borne from its inception, and reject judicial speculation about both the drafters’ extratextually derived purposes and the desirability of the fair reading’s anticipated consequences” (xxvii). The book is also worth reading for those who are interested in the interpretation of other texts, including the texts of the Bible. Read the rest of this entry »
Tags: Antonin Scalia, Bible, hermeneutics, Reading Law, Richard Posner, textualism