Restoration and Mormonism

Showing that Mormonism is a genuine restoration of Primitive Christianity. �Mormonism is a genuine restoration of the Gospel as it was taught by disciples of the Primitive Church. This is important because through out the world Mormonism is labeled as a non-scriptural, non-Christian “cult”, which departs in alarming in alarming ways from the traditional concepts of the bible.�The claim that Mormonism is a “cult”, and not a Christian religion, is based on the fact that Mormonism accepts none of the traditional creeds of “orthodoxy”. The chief difficulty with this assessment is that so-called “orthodoxy” never existed before the fourth or fifth centuries, until the Church’s original teachings had been radically altered by Greek- informed metaphysical concepts, bearing little relationship to the thought of the earliest Christians!�The purpose of Mormonism is to restore Christianity’s original teachings, not to conform to the mutant “orthodoxy” which replaced them!�The early Church believed in the divine origin and the pre-existence of man, and in the church’s “espousal” to her bridegroom in a previous life. They believed in a Godhead of three distinct and separate Beings, who organized the worlds from pre-existing chaos. They accepted the necessity of good works, though none claimed to be able so “save himself”. And marriage was considered to be the highest of all mysteries, based on the image of God, and the very symbol chosen to represent eternal life.�” Orthodoxy” replaced this apocalyptic world-view with subtleties of Neo-Platonism and Aristotle, insisting that god is an indivisible Monad of Three, who made everything out of nothing, a force of pure spirit, whose mind is the quintessence of scholastic logic (Thomas Aquinas). This metaphysical abstraction bore little resemblance to Jesus’ Abba (“Daddy”), being the artificial “offspring of the Gospel Message and Greek philosophy” (von Harnack). Unfortunately, this “steady infiltration of Hellenism into original Christianity” (Jean Danielou) still exerts its baleful influence on the creeds of modern “orthodoxy”, which insist that God is “totally other” –eternally separated from humanity by an unbridgeable gulf.�But the evangelical Protestantism went even farther in rejecting the concepts of original Christianity.�The Reformation theology of “salvation-by-faith-only”, for example, dismantled the important relationship between faith and works expressed in the New Testament (“faith without works is dead”). The resulting distortion of the doctrine of “grace” condemns Mormonism for supposing that human works have an effect on salvation, while the Bible is said to teach that man is rewarded solely for his faith!�Mormons, of course, have never claimed to be able to “work their way” into heaven. Neither does the Bible teach that man is saved by passive belief. According to both Mormonism and the Bible, true faith is evidenced by obedience to God’s commandments. To be saved by “faith” is in fact equivalent to being saved by obedience, for one who has faith in God is willing to obey him. Indeed, “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (John 14. 21).�Christ in fact promised his disciples that “every man shall be recorded on his works” (Matt. 12 27). All serious students therefore the necessity of including good works in any balanced picture of New Testament salvation– as even Paul acknowledged on several occasions (Rom. 2 6 2 Cor. 5 10 etc.).�”Though justification is through faith, judgement is according to works” (Gerald Scragg). Paul thus retains the concept of a future judgment in which man is judged according to his works, as do Mathew and James. Their is no single Pauline understanding of the Christian life; justification by faith is only one aspect of it” (W. D. Davies).�Albert Schweitzer, discussing Paul’s “righteousness through faith”, likewise adds that Paul’s ethic, because it is eschatological, is dominated by the idea of judgement and reward. Again and again he exhorts the believer to continue steadfastly in the good, because eternal life and the coming of Christ are promised as a consequence.”�Only by making one-sided dogmas out of aphorisms (“Thy faith hath saved thee”) “Whosoever shall call on the name of the lord shall be saved”) can evangelicals systemmatically avoid the Saviors warning that only “He who endures to the end shall be saved”(Mk. 13 : 13). Latter Day Saints consequently need not be intimimidated by certain “intellectuals” who claim that Mormonism errs in demanding obedience as a condition for Gods rewards. After all. these represent only the Reformation view-point–which was once rejected by the entire Church, as it is rejected by non-dogmatic scholars today!�Modern scholarship further reveals that canonical Scripture was selectively manipulated from the start by victorious factions who had no greater claim to authority than their own worldly.�We now recognize, for example, how the evolving Old Testament was revised by triumphant Yahwists during the “Deuteronomic Reform” (ca. 620 – 400 B.C.), completely altering the theology of Israel’s ancestors and later, how nascent “orthodoxy” controlled the making of “Christianity” and the New Testament, selecting what agreed with its own Hellenizing attitudes, while suppressing the original legacy of semitic apocalyptic.�Judaism thus began by obliterating what it could of Israel’s Old Belief from the Canon. Such recollections of former worship as could not be entirely expunged were condemned as “importations” from idolatrous neighbors, while the new faith was described as the “original” and true religion. The present Old Testament is therefore the idealized memoryt of Ethical Monotheism, though the scholar can still detect everywhere the debris of an earlier culture.�The present Old Testament declares polemically, for example, that there is only one God (Deut. 6:4). Historical research, however, shows that there was no monotheism at all in Israel before the onset of the Yahwist Revolution! Early Israelites including the Patriarchs and at least two-thirds of the kings during the period of the First Temple–were avowed polytheists. Even the first “monotheism” was actually a kind of “monarchism” in which Israel’s God was simply superior to all other gods. The First Commandment presupposes such beings, though it prohibits their worship inside of Yahweh’s temple. In fact, “Deutero-Isaiah” was the first book to expressly declare that there is “no other God beside Yahweh”.�Indeed, scattered passages in the Canon recall the existance of two distinct and separate Gods: a shadowy Father-Figure, who ruled over the Divine Assembly, and a younger “executive” Deity, who controlled the processes of life and death. Comparative studies show that the attributes of these two Beings coalesced under pressure from Yahwist reformers to create the personality of monotheism’s “YHWH-Elohim” (KJV “LORD God”). At the same time, the ubiquitous semitic Mother-Goddess was expelled from Israelite theology and replaced by Israel herself as the “LORD God’s” allegorical “wife”, bequeathing to Judaism and Christianity the theology of the “Bridegroom”, which survived in the Temple till its destruction in 70 A.D.�Many features of Israel’s Old Belief returned for a time in Primitive Christianity. It is well-known that early Israel identified Yahweh with the Canaanite Baal, who was a dying-and-resurrecting god, a bestower of life on the dead through his own death and renewal. It is highly significant, then, that the first Christians identified Christ as the OT Yahweh, who (as recent evidence suggests) must have also been known as a dying-and-resurrecting God in early Israel! The return of this ancient theme in Christianity confirms that the Gospel was already old when it was restored at the Meridian of Time.

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