Refutation of Mormons objection the the Trinity


#135

The following would be an example.


#136

Mormons cannot prove that the early Church every believed that God was once a man as claimed by Joseph Smith.


#137

Stephen168,
You claimed I misquoted Newman, I did not. That is clear. You can admit it or spin as you wish.
I assume your point is not that Tertullian is heterodox on the doctrine of the divinity of the Son AND also heterodox on the eternal generation of the Son, making me wrong for only properly quoting one place in Newman’s essay where Tertullian is called heterodox. Whatever Newman’s purpose for sharing Dr. Burton’s assessment, it could not be to remove Newman’s own previous assessment that Tertullian was heterodox on the doctrine of the divinity of the Son. That is not your point is it?

Here is post #133 for clarity.

No, he said he was orthodox on the doctrine of the Trinity and heterodox on his eternal generation.

Another bad evolution of an author.
Stephen,
The full quote from Newman is:

Tertullian is heterodox on the doctrine of our Lord’s divinity and, indeed, ultimately fell altogether into heresy or schism.

This quote is in paragraph 11 of the introduction in the online Newman Reader copy:
newmanreader.org/works/development/introduction.html

You have of course mistaken my quote for another quote from Newman:

For instance, as to the second head of the positive evidence noted by Dr. Burton, Tertullian is the most formal and elaborate of these Fathers in his statements of the Catholic doctrine. “It would hardly be possible,” says Dr. Burton, after quoting a passage, “for Athanasius himself, or the compiler of the Athanasian Creed, to have delivered the doctrine of the Trinity in stronger terms than these.” Yet Tertullian must be considered heterodox on the doctrine of our Lord’s eternal generation

This quote is in paragraph 14 of the introduction in the online Newman Reader copy.

Stephen, in your zeal to find a reason to ignore LDS evidence when quotes about subordination are quite clear, you have conflated two different Newman quotes. One where Newman was quoting Dr. Burton (yours) and one where Newman was expressing his thoughts.

I am certain I have made mistakes, but you are wrong to suggest that anything a LDS says can be dismissed.

Charity, TOm
[/quote]

I do expect to get a little more give/take, but I am not sure I give/take so perhaps I should not expect such.
I do however think the scholarly consensus is demonstrated concerning pre-Nicene orthodoxy. There will be those who believe that “there is nothing to see here,” but maybe not everyone will be so blinded.

I do not know what more I can say.

Charity, TOm


#138

The Mormon Church claims the Catholic Church changed the belief on the nature of God, which is just another sign that the Catholic Church lost apostolic authority.

[/quote]

[quote=Joseph Smith]God himself. was Once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man;…
[/quote]

[quote=Lorenzo Snow]As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be.
[/quote]

When investigating the beliefs of the early church, Cardinal John Henry Newman points out in his book:
1 All the early church fathers (ECF) were not orthodox on every Catholic belief at every moment of Christian history. But looking at the group in total they were Catholic.
2 Anti-Catholics liked to quote the ECF to try and ‘prove’ the early church was not Catholic but that is not a good idea because while you could question Catholic teaching, you will never find unique non-Catholic teachings using the same standard.
3 Sometimes while quoting the ECF you are not quoting what they believe, but you are quoting them describing what the heretic, they are defending orthodoxy from, believes.
After his investigation, the Anglican priest, John Newman became Catholic, not Mormon.

When investigating apostolic authority Father Sullivan believes it was never lost. His book is a controversial walk through history to show where is was, but it was never lost.

TomNossor likes to invoke Cardinal Newman and Father Sullivan in the way Cardinal Newman described in point 2; as anti-Catholic poking the Catholic Church, but they would never support the Mormon claims.

God was never a human and the Mormon Church does not have apostolic authority. As the OP suggested, the Mormon Church can never provide any proof of their claims.

Richard Lyman Bushman, a Mormon historian, said, a Mormon’s “testimony” is their empirical evidence.
Basically Mormons just believe without proof.

Prove the Mormon claims. Give some quotes from the ECF to show they believed God was once a man.


Are Mormons and Unitarians Christians?
#139

I think it is problematic to argue against such views from the silence of the Bible, given that the aim of the text is not to provide a systematic treatment on God’s attributes, and that the Bible is just one perennial source that shaped early Christianity. Furthermore, because the Bible is a collection of books, one book’s description of God might be radically different from another. There are several verses in both the Old and New Testament wherein God declares that He does not change, rather generally or in his core attributes, such as love or intellect. Once again, divine immutability’s incorporation into the Christian faith isn’t the grafting of a foreign concept onto the Christian tree, but using Greek philosophical terminology to describe ideas and views that had already been familiar to Jews for at least half a millennium.

Do you not believe that this concept and a handful of others have much stronger Greek philosophical roots than Biblical roots?

No, and I think the “Greek philosophy vs. Bible” dichotomy is misleading and unhelpful due to both the genres in the Bible not being intended for philosophical exposition and the fact that there was a diversity of Greek philosophies that could be claimed to influence just about every view of God. Almost any philosophical worldview can be considered “Greek” or Greek-influenced because such ideas were present in ancient Hellenic culture. Greece had nihilists, nominalists, Platonists, materialists and so on. Some Greeks had anthropomorphic views of God, and some didn’t. One interesting thing to note is that the Jews had accepted and promoted an immaterial view of God long before the First Council of Nicea, and it is that same view that they still hold today.

The key question isn’t whether or not early Christian and Jewish theology had elements similar to Greek philosophical concepts; of course they did, as do most worldviews. The question is whether or not these concepts adequately explain God, as far as He can be known by humans.


#140

Stephen168,
I cannot give quotes from the ECF to show they believed God {the FATHER} was once a man. I know of no such quotes.
How was that for a very direct answer? Perhaps you might like trying that.
Charity, TOm


Answering Mormon Objections
Are Mormons and Unitarians Christians?
Answering Mormon Objections
Answering Mormon Objections
Are Mormons and Unitarians Christians?
Answering Mormon Objections
#141

I think it is problematic to argue against such views from the silence of the Bible, given that the aim of the text is not to provide a systematic treatment on God’s attributes, and that the Bible is just one perennial source that shaped early Christianity. Furthermore, because the Bible is a collection of books, one book’s description of God might be radically different from another. There are several verses in both the Old and New Testament wherein God declares that He does not change, rather generally or in his core attributes, such as love or intellect. Once again, divine immutability’s incorporation into the Christian faith isn’t the grafting of a foreign concept onto the Christian tree, but using Greek philosophical terminology to describe ideas and views that had already been familiar to Jews for at least half a millennium.
[/quote]

No, and I think the “Greek philosophy vs. Bible” dichotomy is misleading and unhelpful due to both the genres in the Bible not being intended for philosophical exposition and the fact that there was a diversity of Greek philosophies that could be claimed to influence just about every view of God. Almost any philosophical worldview can be considered “Greek” or Greek-influenced because such ideas were present in ancient Hellenic culture. Greece had nihilists, nominalists, Platonists, materialists and so on. Some Greeks had anthropomorphic views of God, and some didn’t. One interesting thing to note is that the Jews had accepted and promoted an immaterial view of God long before the First Council of Nicea, and it is that same view that they still hold today.

The key question isn’t whether or not early Christian and Jewish theology had elements similar to Greek philosophical concepts; of course they did, as do most worldviews. The question is whether or not these concepts adequately explain God, as far as He can be known by humans.
[/quote]

Truthseeker32,
Thanks for your response again.
I actually agree that the Bible is not a theological treatise and is certainly not philosophically precise.

There are also places in the Bible where changes in God are described.
I would suggest that the “lack of change” in God was covenantal faithfulness, not immutability, but I do not need to pursue this line of thought here.

I am also certainly no expert on the spectrum of Greek philosophical thoughts.
I would agree that the Bible is a collection of books many of which if they were not part of the single Bible would present very different concepts.
I also do not believe Jewish thought was stagnant. I had developed too.
I have not read Hatch. I think there are some things I would find compelling and some things I would reject.

Do the philosophical concepts employed by the Fathers at the first four/seven councils explain God?
I think there is strength in the idea that St. Irenaeus is a heck of a lot closer to the authors of the Bible and their thoughts than I am. This means there is a reason to point to Tradition when interpreting the Bible.
I think it unlikely that the doctrine of the Trinity (as embraced by Catholic and Orthodox) is a valid development if the philosophical concepts that Athanasius and Arius agreed upon are not true, but that is probably a topic for another day.

Anyway, thank you for your responses!
Charity, TOm


#142

In 1830, Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon which contained Trinitarian language.

[quote=Book of Mormon page 25, now 1 Nephi 3]And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh. … And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!
[/quote]

Clearly God and Christ are one.

In the 1832, version of the first vision, Joseph Smith said he was 16 and saw the Lord [Jesus Christ].
In 1834, the Mormon leadership, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams wrote Lectures on Faith which were included in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants (Mormon scripture).

[quote=Lectures on Faith-1834]There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space—They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, … And he being the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fulness of the glory of the Father—possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things: …
[/quote]

Clearly the Father is a spirit, and the Father and Son and maybe the Holy Spirit are one.

In 1834, Mormonism taught that there was one God which consisted of the Father and the Son and maybe the Holy Spirit. The authority of the Mormon Church was led by the First Presidency and there were no Mormon Apostles.

In the 1835 accounts of the first vision, Joseph Smith said he was 14 and saw two personages. It seems the break from orthodoxy is becoming more strained. Also, Joseph Smith invented the Mormon Apostles as the traveling missionary leadership under the Standing Council and First Presidency.

The 1837 Book of Mormon added the phrase “the son of” as in "the Mother of the son of God,” to the Book of Mormon

In the 1838, version of the first vision, Joseph Smith said he was 15 and saw two Personages, one introduced the other as his Son (The Father and Son by implication).
It is clear that Joseph Smith no longer believed that the Father and the Son are one, but two separate Gods.

In 1843, Joseph Smith had a ‘revelation’ to say, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”

In 1844, Joseph Smith claimed God was once a man.

Mormonism had now apostatized against Christianity. They no longer worship one God of spirit. They worship a God of flesh and bone who was once a man, while also believing in many gods; the Son, the Holy Spirit, and individual Mormons who can become god. The Divine Nature is gone, so the words ‘begotten’ and ‘son of God’ now have a different meaning in Mormonism.

In 1844, after Joseph Smith’s death, Brigham Young used his position as the senior Apostle to take control of the Mormon Church. More detail can be found here.

In 1920, the Lectures on Faith were removed from Mormon scripture.


#143

Just adding, a chronological list of Joseph Smith’s changing doctrine of deity, based on Joseph Smith’s claimed revelations. In this it can be seen that there is no coherence of “revelation” from God, about Himself:

2000 B.C.,Book of Abraham 4:3-7,Plurality of Gods
1400 B.C.,Book of Moses 1:6;2:3-7, Monotheism
600 B.C. to A.D. 400,Book of Mormon Alma 11:26-29, Modalistic Monotheism
A.D. 1830 Early (April 1830), Doctrine & Covenants 20:17,19, 28,Monotheism
A.D. 1830 Joseph Smith Translation,Modalistic Monotheism
A.D. 1834-1835, Lectures on Faith 5th Lecture,Binatarian Monotheism, or Bitheism
A.D. 1839 Later (March 1839) Doctrine & Covenants 121:26, 28, 32 ,Possibility of Plurality of gods
A.D. 1839-1843 Doctrine & Covenants 131:17-18;132:20, 37,Plurality of gods (but unlike in the Book of Abraham)
A.D. 1844,King Follet Discourse,Plurality of Gods

note: The King Follet Discourse is not LDS scripture. The Lectures on Faith were canonized as LDS scripture but later removed.

(ref:Joseph Smith’s Changing Doctrine of Deity By Luke P. Wilson)

ETA: When you put the chronology of the 19th century against your list, it can be seen that Smith’s vision accounts changed accordingly.


#144

I forgot about the Books of Abraham and Moses. When I put them in the timeline by the year they were “translated” they also fit with Joseph Smith’s changing doctrine.


#145

Lutheran satire had something to say about this. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’ll let you look up the video yourself


#146

And Jesus claimed He was the Son of Man.

Matthew 12:40 Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.


#147

:confused:


#148

The list of changes in Mormonism which preceded that conclusion is evidence that the Mormon Church has even apostatized from itself! More than once. :sad_yes::whacky:


#149

[quote=LDS.org]When individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel, they are in a state of apostasy. One example is the Great Apostasy, which occurred after the Savior established His Church. After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth. This apostasy lasted until Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 and initiated the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.
[/quote]

Joseph Smith “restored” one God and religion then changed god and thereby the religion.
Joseph Smith claimed authority was in the First Presidency and Brigham Young changed it to the Apostles.
Yes, it does seem like the Mormon Church apostatized against itself.

Also, reason would dictate that the unique teachings of Mormonism would be found in the early church, but there is nothing.

Tom had been using the ‘Canon of St. Vincent’ for over 10 years on CAF, but never realized what John Henry Newman actual meant when he invoked it. Tom had been doing what Cardinal Newman said anti-Catholics had been doing with the canon.

As John Henry Newman suggested, where do we find the canon of St. Vincent in regard to barring blacks from the priesthood, exaltation, polygamy, Melchizedek Priesthood, excommunicating Apostles, God was a man, blood atonement, or water baptism on behalf of the dead. These unique Mormon doctrines were believed by the early church: nowhere, never, and not by anyone. By using the Vincentian Canon Tom opened “an assault upon” Mormonism. Clearly Mormonism practices inventions not restorations.

Even after this has been pointed out to Tom, he still uses this approach to question the Catholic Church, but as we see in post #140 for example, there is zero evidence of a Mormon Church before the 19th century. So I believe Tom’s attacks will continue while failing to defend Mormonism and its ever changing doctrine; apostasy after apostasy.


#150

When I think of the Mormon teaching that God was or is a man “but more glorified and exalted,” and that a man - can become Gods, I am reminded of a verse in the Bible which I believe was translated well enough to express what was intended.

“He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship. So he will seat himself in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

I do not believe Joseph Smith or Mormonism are the antichrist, of course, but it does seem that “man” of whatever description receives more honor and reverence from some people than does the one sole, unique, absolute, unchanging (He is not “acted upon”) and eternal “God.”


#151

Nah, the Mormon Church has got it covered no matter what. It goes like this for orthodoxy:

Change in the early Church is an indicator of apostasy.

The Church not changing for millennia is a sign that God has left the building, because new revelation requires change. Therefore this not changing is an indicator of apostasy.

These same rules do not apply to Mormonism. For Mormonism it goes like this:

Change is required for a church that claims direct, public, revelation from God.

Sometimes what was foisted on members in previous decades was opinion, and should now be ignored.

Therefore, only follow current teaching until current teaching changes, and becomes in the future, opinion. Which is expected for a church that claims direct, public, revelation from God.

Don’t worry about the past, unless discussing the Roman Catholic Church, then worry about it All The Freaking Time. Because change is a sign of apostasy, as is, not changing.


#152

RebeccaJ,
That has some good words in it, so let me offer some corrections.
Nah, the Mormon Church has got it covered (that is to say that it is God’s church and as we LDS come to understand it we recognize God has it all covered)
no matter what. It goes like this for orthodoxy:

Change in the early Church is an indicator the Catholic Church is apostate because the Catholic Church claims there will be no change. Development when it follows Newman’s 7 characteristics of a true development MIGHT be “soft change.” But Newman was originally seen by MANY as a perverter of Catholicism. And today there is evidence of CHANGE that does not meet Newman’s 7 characteristics anyway.

The Church not… receiving new revelation and starting in the 3rd century denying that new revelation could even come is an indicator of apostasy. After all, God delivered supernatural public revelation to His children through His chosen human mouth pieces during the Old Testament times and during the New Testament times. Peter received revelation and wrote scripture, yet the purported successor of Peter NEVER DOES.

These same rules do not apply to Mormonism. For Mormonism it goes like this:

Change is required correction “is likely” for a church that claims direct, public, revelation from God. (and does not claim to be infallible).

Sometimes what was foisted on members in previous decades was opinion, and should now be ignored. Therefore, only follow current teaching until current teaching changes, and becomes in the future, opinion. Which is expected for a church that claims direct, public, revelation from God. (I have no way to make this sound good to my ears farther more to Catholic ears. I might quibble with “foisted” or … but the truth is that I believe LDS leaders are human. They have good intentions, but are subject to the same defects of character I am. From all my personal encounters their defects are often minuscule when compared to mine, but they are neither impeccable nor infallible).

Don’t worry about the past, unless looking for your own personal understanding of the apostasy, or discussing the Roman Catholic Church, with anti-Mormon Catholics who have claimed you have no reason for believing in the apostasy then worry about it All The Freaking Time. Because change is a sign… that the Catholic Church is not what it claims to be.
And while a thorough exploration and explanation of the Catholic Church IF IT IS TRUE could ignore Mormonism completely (and only deal with why the Jews who rejected Christ were mistaken in their opinion), a thorough exploration and explanation of Mormonism begs for info on “the apostasy.” (to show reasons why God choose to restore Christianity through Joseph Smith in the 19th Century). That being said, there is something that seems to drive MANY Catholics here to continue discussing their former or never Mormonism. I wonder what they think of the advice of the Rabbi Gamaliel
I imagine you do not agree with my perspective, but your words lent themselves to an explaining, so I thought I would just clarify a little. It is easy to mock:

Change … Catholic … BAD!
Change … Mormon … GOOD!
But such is an anti-Mormon perversion of right thinking and should be corrected.

Charity, TOm


#153

RebeccaJ is right though. The way she laid it out is exactly how the LDS try to make their argument. For the LDS, change is good for the LDS but then when attempting to prove the Catholic Church isn’t the true Church Jesus Christ left to the world, they make the claim the Catholic Church has changed so therefore it can’t be true.

So which is it?


#154

I thought I explained it pretty well, but I will try again. There is one addition that might be of some value.

If the Catholic Church is without error as it claims and then it changes, then it was either in error before or after the change. This means that the Catholic Church is not what it thinks it is. If the Catholic Church is not what it thinks it is, it is unlikely that the Catholic Church is God’s church and certain that it believes errors. As an authority guy, I think the Catholic Church has one of the better claims to have God’s authority and thus I focus attention on the Catholic Church.
The CoJCoLDS does not claim to be without error. This means when “new revelation” corrects old errors, this does not mean the CoJCoLDS is not what it thought it was before or after.

It is clear to me from the response to the accusation of CHANGE by modern Catholic and the response to the accusation of DEVELOPMENT by Catholics in Newman’s day, that this is at the core of what it is to be inerrant.

Now, perhaps you are saying that I have made the argument that the apostasy was CAUSED by the numerous CHANGES I see in the historical records of the Catholic Church. This is not what I am saying at all. I am not sure if I have EVER said this, but I certainly have disavowed such a view for many years and do so now. God’s church on earth does not cease to be God’s church on earth if it changes or corrects previous errors. In fact, LDS revelation speaks of the “errors of men” as part of the church and to not be laid at the feet of God. Being a LDS is to not believe that men at the head of the church are infallible, but to look through them to the inerrant, infallible, impeccable, and perfect God.

I will suggest that REVELATION was a tool God used to correct His people. In the third century there were folks who purported to receive revelation and “the church” responded by saying that God does not give revelation. This has come to be a rejection of “public revelation” and an allowance of “private revelation.” But the absence of “public revelation” means that errant doctrines like Augustine’s “original sin” while understandable (especially in light of his poorly translated Bible passage) cannot be corrected by pure light from God. The CoJCoLDS early in its infancy had to deal with purported revelations too. God (in my opinion) guided the church to a concept of stewardship in the receipt of revelation. Everyone could and should receive revelation, but God’s order was such that we receive revelation for those within our stewardship.

So, I personally do not believe that the Pope is infallible and is at the head of a church devoid of errors. To the extent the changes I see in the history of the doctrine of the Catholic Church are really CHANGES, I find it very difficult to believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ and he only thinks he is infallible and at the head of an error free church.

If I tell you that it is untrue and obviously false that God would CHANGE the way He leads his people on Earth in 33AD, 100AD, 200AD, or ???; such that there would no longer be folks who could receive supernatural public revelation and instead there would only be a protecting of what had previously been reveled; I suspect you would disagree. You would in fact talk about the COMPLETION of public revelation with the coming of God the Son as the final and fullness of all revelation.
It is clearer to me that this protection of what has been previously revealed is so flawed that significant CHANGES have occurred, so instead I point to these.
If either of my positions is true, there is a need for a restoration.

And of course, LDS believe there was a restoration and that the restoration presupposes the apostasy. I personally see in the actions of the early LDS, the accounts of the witness, and the text of the BOM reason to believe that God was involved in the restoration. It is my intellectual searching that has led me to offer thoughts and ideas on the apostasy.

Does that make more sense?
Charity, TOm


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