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Thursday, February 18, 2010 

And Today’s Angry Email Is From…

I get all sorts of angry email from folks taking me to task for everything from my insistence that hymnody solidly confess the faith and not sound like a love song to Jesus to my making crazy statements like we shouldn’t even try to separate the mission from the message so as to be more seeker sensitive to unchurched peoples.

When I get angry emails or comments I always try to be as nice as possible with folks and presume that some of the anger is from people who haven’t read POTF before and that maybe some of that anger is just confusion from walking into the middle of a much larger debate. I think I do a pretty fair job at engaging people who are critical of what I write in a respectful way.

I certainly don’t delete comments because I disagree with people. I can count on one hand the four people I’ve had to delete comments from. Each time the eighth commandment was involved and I just don’t tolerate character assassination (even if the charge is true) here at POTF. I’ve always allowed people to disagree with me either in the comments of a post or by an email address which has been public for as long as this blog has been up.

A bit ago I received the following in the inbox:

Hi Im Mike. As I sit here watching BSG and reading your rant I had a thought. Being an ex mormon and not the biggest supporter of much anything Christian Im surprised that I take a bit of offense to this rant. The Mormons are Christian. Any religion that believes in Christ is. And just as hypocritical as the rest of you. I know youll hate this but im going to suggest anyway. Listen to We~re From America by Marilyn Manson. Forget your judgements, as that is Gods job NOT YOURS. Just listen to what the man is saying. Then reflect on the country and world that corruption, the moral majority, and all forms of religion has built for us to live in. The word of God isnt the problem. The word in the hands of man is. I welcome your cmmnt at __________@yahoo.com

You know what I like about this comment? The author was man enough to sign his name! I don’t get that a lot from people that disagree with me. So, I sent Mike a short note which started out this way:

Hi Mike,

Thank you for leaving your recent comment at Putting Out The Fire. While I strongly disagree with you premise that anyone who believes in Jesus are Christian, I do applaud you for your willingness to engage me in a conversation. There are a goodly number of individuals who disagree with me who leave anonymous comments that make declarative statements and either fail to back up their argument with facts (verifiable or otherwise) or that are little more than hate filled diatribes.

I went on to ask Mike if he wouldn’t mind engaging me in a conversation and was hoping that he could provide insight as a former member of the Mormon church. I stated that the subject of the post would really center on who exactly is Christian, how can know who is Christian, and are there means to state that there are people who claim to be Christian but might not be.

Sadly, Mike never responded back. And that’s a darned shame.

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The Mormons are Christian. Any religion that believes in Christ is.

To some extent that's true; any religion that believes in Christ ought to be called Christian. But at some point you can mess up the confession so badly as to confess a different Christ.

The Reformed claim that in Christ, the finite (human nature) is not capable of the infinite (omnipresence). And though they're wrong, I'm comfortable saying we confess the same Christ. For example, the Reformed have no problem confessing what the Nicene Creed confesses about Christ.

But to confess the Christ who is the product of a physical union between the Father and Mary, who is not of one substance with the Father (consubstantialem Patri), who is one divine being among others, who progressed into divinity, and whose suffering and death merely enable salvation (as opposed to achieving it), is to confess an entirely different Christ -- one who never existed.

It is similar to saying that I am a scholar of the economic and political philosopher Karl Marx, the ardent individualist and capitalist, who taught that the market should be left unregulated and that individuals and corporations should own their own property and that personal freedom was the highest good. He never existed. Neither did the "Christ" of LDS teaching, and that's why you're right to say they're not Christian.

Herr Bettler, the title of my next post is "I agree with the Mormons". Really, not kidding.

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  • I'm Frank Gillespie
  • From The Haut South
  • Confessional Lutheran
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