Friday, September 29, 2006

Finally, a good movie

After a glance at the poster I knew I would enjoy this film. Flyboys is the story of the Lafayette Escadrille - the first Americans to fight in World War I. The Lafayette Escadrille was comprised of a few dozen young men who became fighter pilots to serve in the French army.

The incredible thing about Flyboys is its historical accuracy, even down to the nitty gritty details. To describe this film as pro-American would not do it justice. Rather than making these men look like pathetic victims, or killers of civilians, they are here portrayed as war-heroes ... as those who should be honored.

Many have described the movie as having the feel of an WW2 film made in the 50's. I would agree with that assessment.

The director also manages to include a convincing romance (more reason for all the ladies to see this movie =)).

It's clean. Good action. CGI effects are spectacular. I loved it. Four out of five stars.

and verily, much w00tage did thus fill the land (an oldie but a goodie)


Emails to a Mormon (somewhat borrowed title) - Part 6


So, wait. If our argument is based on how many gods are actually in existence... It's a stailmate. I have already admitted in believing in more than one being//personage in a state of godhood. So, assuming that you aren't going to give up you're belief in only one god namely God himself; and I'm not going to give mine up of believing that humans can and have reached a state of godhood in the afterlife, then this conversation is pointless. Haha!

But, notice one thing you said, and had corrected me upon doing so myself:

"I believe that 1 John 3:2 is talking about the Christian's hope in the resurrection when Christ returns to earth."

"I believe" in this context is not exegesis. This is stating an opinion about the scripture. But, let's not turn this into an English Literature discussion.

So, I hope to hear what you have to say about this first paragraph. If you agree? If you do, I would be more than happy to continue on in our "doctrinal jousting", if you will. It's very interesting to hear what you have to say! I appreciate it! Well, hope to hear soon!



My response:


A simple statement "I believe" followed by reasons for my interpretation is not eisegesis. You have yet to provide any interaction with the three texts of Scripture we have gone over. Our conversation cannot move forward until you have done so. You need to prove that Isaiah 43:10, John 10:34 and 1 John 3:2 support your belief that more than one true god exists. I have already offered my exegesis. Your turn =)

Casey Ryan

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Way to go 7-Eleven!

"A week after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called George W. Bush "the devil," convenience store chain 7-Eleven Inc. said Wednesday it will stop selling gasoline from Venezuelan-controlled Citgo Petroleum Corp."

""Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concerns over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made" by Chavez, 7-Eleven said in a statement.",2933,216079,00.html

I think I'll be filling up my tank at 7-Eleven in the upcoming months. Finally, someone who's not willing to take crap from evil dictators.

Btw, did anyone see the HP5 pics I linked to lasterday???

Yay for blogspotting yourself!

"Good morning! Nice of you guys to drop by!",

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Once we blur the line there is no line

Same-sex marriage advocates have denied that the legalization of same-sex marriage would open up the door to polygamy.

But more than that, once you blur the line, and once you stop discriminating against what marriage is and is not, then marriage can be anything you want it to be. Marriage could be between a woman and a dolphin (which happened in the Middle East a year or two ago). Marriage can be between a man and his dog. Marriage could be between 20 men and 20 women, their favorite animals, and their big screen TV! Think I'm joking?

Listen to this polygamist advocate's arguments:

"The [Supreme Court] found no compelling state interest in criminalizing homosexual sodomy based on a long history of states and/or a majority of society finding the practice immoral. Similarly, the state of Utah can offer no compelling justification for criminalizing polygamy" (,2933,215812,00.html).

Iiiiinteresting. Did you catch his argument? "See! They couldn't find any real reason to make sodomy illegal. And they can't find any real reason to condemn plural marriage! You're imposing on my freedom of religious expression, which encourages plural marriage. That might not be your religious belief, but it's mine. So there! *sticks tongue out*"

I'll give it 10 years. 10 years until polygamy is legalized. If we can't discriminate against anything, anything goes.

Discrimination is not always a bad thing folks. We discriminate all the time. We discriminate against murder. We discriminate against public indecency. All we are doing is setting a boundary.

I am proud to discriminate against any form of marriage that is not between one man and one woman.

The Case


Friday, September 22, 2006

Emails to a Mormon (somewhat borrowed title) - Part 5

That's a good point. But, as we read in St, John 10:34, "Jesus answered them, Is it not writtenin your law, I said, Ye are gods?" Jesus is telling us we are gods. And again, in the First Epistle of John 3:2, "Beloved, now we are sons of God, and it doth notyet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear , we shall be like him; fo we shall see him as he is."Two very clear accounts telling us that we are entitled to godhood. Which means there are gods. My church believes there are gods. We do not worship more than one, as it were. One quick question: How is it that churches that believe in the trinity, (as I believe you do, I cannot quite recollect, though), call themselves Christians. They do not believe in Christ. They believe in one being that has a role as God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. If they were Christian, would they not believe in Christ, not someone who takes his name, along with two other names? For one to believe in Christ, and call themselves true Christians, would one not have to believe that there is an individual being Christ?I look forward to your response! -Danny


My response:

Hey Danny,

You said, "That's a good point."

So you agree that Isaiah 43:10 cannot teach both that there is only one true god (monotheism) and many true gods (polytheism)? If so, does the text defend monotheism or polytheism?

You then raised John 10:34 and John 3:2 as examples of passages that you believe teach us there are many true gods - specifically that men can become gods. What purpose did you have in citing these texts? ... are you trying to prove that Scripture is at odds with itself, as though Scripture would contradict itself by defending monotheism in one place and polytheism in another place?

I believe that since the Holy Ghost inspired the text of Scripture, the message is consistent with itself. God will not contradict Himself. So then John 10:34 and John 3:2 must agree with Isaiah 43:10.

Regarding John 10:34 you said, "But, as we read in St, John 10:34, "Jesus answered them, Is it not writtenin your law, I said, Ye are gods?" Jesus is telling us we are gods."

First off, notice the context of this passage, verses 22-42. Jesus asserts a number of things about his role in salvation.

"24The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." 25Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. 26"But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. 27"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30"I and the Father are one."" (John 10:24-30).

Quick recap: The Jews ask Jesus to tell them plainly if he is the Christ. But Jesus has already plainly told them that he is. The works that Jesus does in His Father's name testify of him. The Jews do not believe because they are not Jesus' sheep. His sheep hear his voice; he knows them and they follow him. He gives eternal life to them, and they will never perish. In fact, no one will snatch them out of his hand. The Father gave them to Christ, and no one is able to snatch them out of his Father's hand. Jesus and the Father are one with regards to the work of salvation.

At this statement, the Jews pick up stones to stone Christ (vs 31). Jesus asks for the work they are choosing to stone him for (vs 32). Pay close attention to the Jews' reply: "The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."" The Jews were stoning Christ for claiming to be God! (by the way, I will provide a lengthy explanation of the Trinity and what I believe about God at the end of this email =) ).

It is at this point that Christ cites Psalm 82:6 and applies it to the Jews. Why did Jesus apply Psalm 82:6 to the Jews? Well let's look at the preceding five verses of the Psalm: "A Psalm of Asaph. God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. 2 How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. 3 Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken."

Psalm 82 describes unjust judges who were ruling in Israel. These judges were partial to the wicked. They did not defend the weak and fatherless. They did injustice to the afflicted and the destitute. They do not know or understand, and walk in darkness. THEN we get to the verse Jesus cited: "6 I said, "You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High."" God is mocking these unjust judges by calling them gods! Did you catch that the present tense is used to describe these unjust judges? God calls them gods in the present tense, not in a future tense! Obviously God was not calling them true gods, but was mocking them. In fact, look at verse 7: "7 "Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes."" These "gods" will die like men, and will fall like one of the princes.

So when Christ cited this verse he was accusing the Jews of unjustly judging. In no way was Jesus declaring the Jews to be true gods. He was certainly mocking these unjust Jews who were falsely accusing Christ of blasphemy!

You said, "And again, in the First Epistle of John 3:2, "Beloved, now we are sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.""

So you understand "we shall be like him" to mean: "we shall become eternal gods just as Jesus Christ is an eternal god"? If so, what in the text leads you to this conclusion?

I believe that 1 John 3:2 is talking about the Christian's hope in the resurrection when Christ returns to earth. 1 John 2:18, 28 provide a discussion about Christ's coming before we even get to 3:2, and clearly has this in mind.

I understand that you believe that you worship one god. But if you believe in the existence of other true gods - gods before God; gods after God - then you cannot believe in the god that I worship, because my god is the only true god that has or ever will exist. This is why our discussion is of such great importance =).

To adequately answer your question about what I believe about God and the Trinity, here is a lengthy, but clear answer. Please read the whole thing as it will greatly benefit our discussion.


The historic definition of the Trinity can be summed up with one sentence: Within the one Being that is God, there eternally exists three coequal and coeternal persons; namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

There is obviously a lot of information packed into this summary statement. At its core is the belief in monotheism - that there is only one true God. In Isaiah 43:10 we read: "10 "You are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me." Yahweh ("LORD") declares that there were no Gods before Him, and there will be none after Him. Indeed, as Isaiah 44:6 tells us, Yahweh is the first and the last, apart from Yahweh there is no God. This is Biblical monotheism: Yahweh, the only true God.

Before I continue, I need to define two terms that are crucial when talking about the Trinity. The terms are "being" and "person." Let me use an example to help with my explanation ... Here I have in my hand my cell phone. My cell phone has being. This is to say that my cell phone exists. But my cell phone has no personality. I can talk to my cell phone all day long and it will never once understand what I am saying. It cannot think. It does not have the ability to speak of itself as "I" or "Me."

I, on the other hand, also have being. I exist. Though unlike my cell phone, I have personality. I have personhood. I can communicate, think, and reason. I can use personal pronouns of myself. Obviously then, being can exist without personality (like the cell phone), or being can exist with personality (as is the case with human beings).

Unfortunately, the term "person" many times carries with it a lot of baggage. This is because in our experience as human beings, each human being has one personality within his/her being.

Now we are ready for the next part of our definition ...

There are three divine persons within the one being of God. These three persons are coequal, as to their divine nature. Though the persons have differing roles, this in no way makes one person greater than another as to their nature. Another way of saying this is that difference in function does not mean inferiority in nature.

The three persons are also coeternal. This simply means that each of the persons have eternally existed. There was never a time when the Father was not, the Son was not, or the Holy Spirit was not. They have eternally had fellowship, and a loving relationship towards each other. One was not before the other. Each of the persons is eternal. By "eternal" I do not mean the LDS understanding of "eternal" matter. Since God is spirit (John 4:24), He is not physical, and therefore has existed before the creation of matter and the universe.

Yahweh's being is undivided and indivisible. This means that God's being cannot be "divided up." Obviously then, the Trinity does not teach that God's being is "split" into thirds: the Father making up one third, the Son another third, and the Holy Spirit the remaining third. Rather, each of the divine persons fully share God's being as they are each fully God. For the sake of this discussion I will also add that each of the persons shares the being of Yahweh. Therefore, the Father is Yahweh, the Son is Yahweh, and the Holy Spirit is Yahweh. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit fully share Yahweh's being. (Repetitive, I know. But I want to be clear).

As a side note, it would be innapropriate to say that the Trinity teaches "Three Beings are one Being," or "Three Persons are one Person." Rather, the Trinity teaches that there are three persons within the one being of God. Again, the difference between "being" and "person" must be distinguished in our discussion.

One last side note, Trinitarians do not believe that the Father is the Son, or that the Son is the Holy Spirit, or that the Father is the Holy Spirit ... or any way you want to put it =). We recognize the distinction between the three persons. Yet these three divine persons share the one being of God.

I believe in the doctrine of the Trinity because the Bible teaches it. I do not believe the Trinity because of church councils, creeds or confessions. I believe the Bible teaches the triunity of God. In fact, I believe the gospel is Trinitarian - in that each of the persons is involved in the salvation of God's elect people.

There are three "foundations" to the doctrine of the Trinity: (1) Monotheism – the belief that there is only one true God; (2) there are three divine persons within the one Being of God; (3) the three persons are coequal and coeternal.

There you have it - a brief summation of the doctrine of the Trinity. Many fine works have been written on the subject, but this should suffice for our discussion.

Whew =).

Danny, at this point we have now discussed three passages in the Bible: Isaiah 43:10, John 10:34 and 1 John 3:2. I have demonstrated how each of these passages teaches absolute monotheism - the belief in only one true god. Therefore there cannot be a plurality of gods - polytheism. I hope to hear your exegesis and interaction with these texts. I would also like to hear your response to my exegesis and interaction with these texts. Before we move on to other topics, please only interact with these three texts.

I look forward to your response =)

Casey Ryan

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Emails to a Mormon (somewhat borrowed title) - Part 4


I surely do understand your point. But, for those of us that read the bible, I'm sure there can be different meaning to different people behind what Isaiah said. For me, it's telling us that there will be no gods worshipped besides me. And, I believe that Joseph Smith is saying that we do believe in their godhood, forgive me for any mistake on the Holy Spirit and his godhood, but I'm still learning. But, we do not worship any other god besides "Yahweh", if you will. We only worship one god; follow the teachings of God and the Son, Jesus; and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Again, I do appreciate you bringing up that point. It put me into thought! Haha! Hope to here soon from you! -Danny


My reply:

Hello again Danny,

Thanks again for the quick reply.

You said, "I surely do understand your point. But, for those of us that read the bible, I'm sure there can be different meaning to different people behind what Isaiah said. For me, it's telling us that there will be no gods worshipped besides me."

When the Holy Ghost inspired Isaiah's writings (as well as all of Scripture) He did so guiding the words of Isaiah. The Holy Ghost used men to communicate to men, and yet the Scriptures say exactly what God wanted them to say - for the Holy Ghost carried men along as they wrote (2 Peter 1:19-21). So when you said that the Scriptures can have different meanings for each individual, do you believe that Isaiah 43:10 has more than one meaning? Or just the interpretation that you offered?

And if you argue that Isaiah 43:10 teaches that you only worship three gods, though one in purpose, could Isaiah have also meant that there is only one true god? Wouldn't it be a contradiction for this text to mean that there is only one true god (as I believe) AND many gods (as you believe)?

I believe that to properly understand the Scriptures one must apply sound rules of exegesis - "exegesis" being the rules used when reading literature. Exegesis involves grammar, syntax, the context of a passage, it considers the author's purpose in writing, even the original languages a text was written in (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek for the Bible).

The purpose of exegesis is to draw the meaning from the text.

I have provided a brief exegesis in my previous email. I believe that the Bible is consistent with itself, especially that there is only one true god.

So when Isaiah 43:10 declares that there were no gods formed before Yahweh, and no gods formed after him, what else could that mean? Notice what the text does not say: "no gods were formed before me [that you are to worship], and no gods were formed after me [that you are to worship]." The text just doesn't say that. You are reading your interpretation into the text. That is not exegesis =)

I look forward to your response.

Casey Ryan

Friday, September 15, 2006

It's the Pope's Fault

“ISTANBUL, Turkey — Pakistan's legislature unanimously condemned Pope Benedict XVI. Lebanon's top Shiite cleric demanded an apology. And in Turkey, the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades.” (,2933,213930,00.html)

Okkkaaay. What new reason are Muslims around the world condemning the Pope? …

“By citing an obscure Medieval text that characterizes some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman," Benedict inflamed Muslim passions and aggravated fears of a new outbreak of anti-Western protests.” (,2933,213930,00.html)

Let’s take a stroll down Memory Lane. Islam’s founder, Mohammed, converts using the sword. Once Mohammed dies, Muslims start killing each other because they can’t agree how their new religion should proceed. Muslims continue killing non-Muslims and forcing conversions. They conquer nations and become a threat to Western Civilization. So yea, I’d say that some of Islam’s teachings are evil and inhuman.

Let me again cite an important statement: “And in Turkey, the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades.”

The ruling party in Turkey is comparing the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church to Hitler and Mussolini? Give me a break. Now, maybe the Popes responsible for burning countless numbers at the stake during the Middle Ages could in some ways be compared to the vile dictators during WWII. But not Pope Benedict XVI (though ironically, he used to be part of Rome’s Inquisition).

What I also find disgraceful is the accusation that the Pope has a Crusading mentality? I’d like to know what implications are behind this accusation. I’m willing to bet they’re based on a false understanding of the Crusades themselves. Most Muslims living in the world today believe that the Crusades were a Western offensive, when in reality they were defensive in nature. The Crusades were necessary against Islamic aggression. In fact, were it not for the Crusades, Western Civilization would not exist. We’d all be speaking some form of Arabic.

Finally, if the Pope’s latest comments incite violence by Muslims in the Middle East, I will scoff at such ridiculous behavior. They get all up in arms over silly cartoons. Now comments by the Pope. Yet every single day in Muslim newspapers there is a call for the killing of Westerner’s children. There is a call for the death of Jews and Christians.

Western Civilization and Islam continue to clash. The sooner we recognize Islam for what it is, the better.


It’s days like these I’m thankful that the Triune God is Lord of all the earth, and He does right. We have no need to fear.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Let the Good Times Roll

Golly gee it has been a while since I’ve updated my audience about the life of yours truly. Where I’m at, where I’m going, … my favorite Starbucks drink, etc.

My life in a nutshell: church, working full time, full time student, gym and some chill time with friends fits in there somewhere.

Church is going well. Our Deacon, Jim Broyles, has said on more than one occasion, “I cannot express how much I have been blessed because of you all at the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.” I wholeheartedly agree with Jim. Oh how refreshing it is to have fellowship with likeminded believers! Week after week they are there for me – I do my best to do the same. Pastor Fry’s sermons are as rich as ever, filled with the sound exposition of Scripture. I’m still taking the junior high class through the book of Romans, which means: the gospel. One of our favorite hymns (along with many Reformed Baptists) about the local church body is “How Sweet and Aweful is the Place” by Isaac Watts. Here is the first verse:

“How sweet and aweful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores!”

Good stuff =)

Between American Family and Starbucks I’m working around 45-50 hours a week. But it has been a very growing experience for me. In fact, I feel like a real man. It feels good to work hard. My schedule isn’t as predictable as it was pre-Starbucks. On top of working mid-afternoons for AmFam I now open and close during weekdays, and work weekends. This has forced me to learn to spend my free time wisely. And I am soo much more productive during that time.

Finally, I’m getting the hang of my job at Starbucks. Got all the drinks down. With Fall and Winter right around the corner, I’m diligently trying to increase my speed in making hot drinks. Steaming milk is the key =). Which brings me to my favorite Starbucks beverage: an iced single venti non-fat light ice tazo chai tea latte. It’s basically a chai latte with a shot of espresso. The official nickname for this modification is a “dirty chai,” or at my store: a “Casey.”

Skewl is insane, but doable. Homework doesn’t appear to be a struggle this semester. I’m just ready to be done =).

The gym – I’m having to work hard to maintain my body fat percentage while at the same time increasing muscle mass. It’s a challenge. But I handle these kinds of challenges well. John and I are still pumping some serious iron. I’m enjoying seeing results from a year’s hard work. It’s addicting folks, no two ways about it.

Life at the apartment is fantastic. We have our big screen TV, our sound system, much of our furniture – though we still have posters/pictures to hang up. I went and bought some movies last night: Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, The Princess Bride, and the original-as-seen-in-theaters version of Starwars: IV-VI. Scott and I are having a blast.

These days I’m chillaxin with the same ol’ crew (you know who you are), as well as some of the Bucks crew.

Reformation Day is just around the corner, and I am pleased to report that my costume is nearly ready to go! If anyone remembers from last year, I wanted to be Harry Potter in his Quidditch uniform, but couldn’t pull it off. The robes, the sweater and the pads had to be custom made. So yea, just wouldn’t’ve (“wouldn’t’ve” = “wound not have” … don’t you love how I just make up new contractions???) worked. This year I have my sweater, and the robe and pads being custom-made. w00t! I will be hosting a costume party, so let me know if you’d like to come =).

Anyone else excited for Christmas?! I’ve decided to go all-out in decorating.

I’m still studying the KJV Only Issue, Justification, the Trinity, and will be delving into Church History soon.

God has been very merciful to me.

Dba dba dba dba and that’s all folks!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Emails to a Mormon (somewhat borrowed title) - Part 3

Hi, sorry I haven't gotten back to you. And the answer to if we believe our Heavenly Father, His son, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are three gods is no. We acknowledge Heavenly Father as God, and His son, to have just as much power being in a state of godhood, but the holy spirit is different. We believe the Holy Ghost to be more of a messenger, he helps us discern right from wrong when occassion happens that we wouldn't know, or we're on the fence. He is referred to by our church as a "still small voice." And yes, we do recognize that there are other "gods" in existence, including Jesus Christ holding all the power of which his and our Father in Heaven holds. We also believe that if one lives his/her life in such a way that permits, at the judgement, Jesus and Heavenly Father will grant powers of godhood. Over-all, we believe in two supreme beings, a Heavenly Father, and His son, our eldest brother, Jesus Christ.


My reply:

Hello Danny

Thanks for getting back to me.

In Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph is recorded as saying:

“I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! We have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it?” (Pg. 370).

Joseph Smith declares that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three Persons and three Gods.

I am glad that we agree that the Latter-day Saint Church teaches that there are many other true gods in existence. To once again provide a contrast with my position, I hold to absolute monotheism - that there is only one true god in existence.

The reason I believe in absolute monotheism is because I believe the Bible teaches it. One passage that clearly teaches absolute monotheism is Isaiah 43:10, ""You are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me."

I will note that this is the LORD speaking. "LORD" is how our English translations render the Tetragrammaton (YHWH ... Yahweh) from the Hebrew text. The Tetragrammaton would be very familiar to Isaiah's audience because the Jews said the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4) every morning - the Shema includes the Tetragrammaton. But Isaiah continues quoting Yahweh as stating that there were no gods formed before Him, and there will be no gods formed after him.

Indeed, there have been no gods before Yahweh. And there will not be any gods formed after Yahweh. Yahweh is the only god, and He will always be the only god. Absolute monotheism.

I'm sure you understand my point, and I look forward to your response.

Casey Ryan,

Monday, September 11, 2006

Emails to a Mormon (somewhat borrowed title) - Part 2

I'm sorry that I had said these things to you. It was out of mere haste of words. I now understand. I'm sorry for the language I used. And, I believe in the God of Abraham, and in his son, Jesus Christ, and in a holy spirit. I believe in two "gods", a Heavenly Father (God Of Abraham) and His son, Jesus. I apologize.



My response:


Don't you believe that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three gods? Furthermore, don't you recognize that there are many other gods that exist? - gods that have existed before the Father, and gods that have been exalted to godhood after the Father?

I believe there is only one true god in existence. This is called Monotheism. Your view is called polytheism, the belief in more than one true god.

I look forward to hearing from you =)

Casey Ryan

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Emails to a Mormon (somewhat borrowed title) - Part 1

The following is a conversation I'm having with a Latter-day Saint via AOMin emails. We started out rough but has turned out to be a profitable conversation.

Hey, I just want to say that I'm sorry you and other "Apologetic" groups are so hard-hearted toward the LDS faith. In no manner have we bashed on your churches or other churches; yet, we put up with it all day, at work, school, in the news, and from you guys. We try to keep peace, and yet you guys bring upon so much contention among religions. We have nothing against other religions, we just know that ours is the true church. Isn't that what all Christian churches believe. So, here's a way you can walk the walk bestowed upon you by your name... Say you're sorry, and try acting "Apologetic" to the oh so many churches (being that I'm not only here in behalf of the LDS fgaith) that you have caused contention among. So, I hope that you have a turn of heart. So, damn it, get a move on! Danny


My response:

Hello Danny,

"Hey, I just want to say that I'm sorry you and other "Apologetic" groups are so hard-hearted toward the LDS faith."

If by “hard-hearted” you mean that we are not Latter-day Saints or do not believe in the teachings of the LDS faith, then you are correct. To be fair though, are you not also in the same position when it comes to our faith?

"In no manner have we bashed on your churches or other churches; yet, we put up with it all day, at work, school, in the news, and from you guys."

You seem to imply that we have “bashed on your church.” How have we done this? Or by “bash” do you mean that we openly disagree and seek to peaceably dialogue with the LDS people?

"We try to keep peace, and yet you guys bring upon so much contention among religions."

If by “contention” you mean that we seek to dialogue with others who hold different religious faiths, then yes we do. But then again, are not Latter-day Saints guilty of the same thing? Does not the Mormon Church send out thousands upon thousands of missionaries around the globe? Does this make the Mormon people contentious? Certainly not. But neither are we contentious for proclaiming what we believe.

"We have nothing against other religions, we just know that ours is the true church. Isn't that what all Christian churches believe."

The following is from Joseph Smith’s First Vision account: “18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.””

When you said: “We have nothing against other religions,” did you mean that you hold nothing against other religions except that they are wrong? Consider how the Father, Son and Holy Ghost answered Joseph’s inquiry about which church to join: he should join none of them because they are all wrong, their creeds are an abomination, those who profess these religions are corrupt, and lack true godliness. It seems to me that you should have something against other religions. You should believe that other religions are false – in fact, the First Vision says just that.

I am no different. I believe that the teachings of Mormonism are wrong. I believe that the gods of Mormonism are false gods and not the true god of the Bible. I believe that the gospel of Mormonism is false and cannot save sinners.

"So, here's a way you can walk the walk bestowed upon you by your name... Say you're sorry, and try acting "Apologetic" to the oh so many churches (being that I'm not only here in behalf of the LDS fgaith) that you have caused contention among."

You have completely misunderstood how we are using the term “apologetics.” “Apologetics” comes from the word we translate as “defense” in 1 Peter 3:15. Apologetics is concerned with the defense of Christianity. “Apologetics” has nothing to do with saying you’re sorry. We are not sorry for defending and positively proclaiming what we believe.

There are two reasons we are so passionate about proclaiming our beliefs to those of other religious faiths: (1) First and foremost, out of love for God. We believe that God is glorified in the preaching of His truth. (2) Secondly, we love those of other religions faiths, such as the Latter-day Saints, and want nothing more than Mormons to embrace the one true God of the Bible.

"So, I hope that you have a turn of heart."

I pray the same for you as well, Danny.

"So, damn it, get a move on!"

Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

I would be more than happy to continue dialogue with you, Danny. Might I suggest a topic: how many true gods exist? This is our most significant disagreement.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Casey Ryan

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Biblical Standards for Entertainment

Yesterday afternoon I went with two buddies to see a movie. Based on the recommendation of others, we went to see Crank. It starts off pretty cool. Some suweet visual shots. Great music (not sure about the lyrics though). The plot had the potential to be interesting. Then the bad language started comin. F-bombs and other choice words. Within seven minutes there was nudity. My flesh had temporary victory over me as I remember thinking to myself, "Well, HOPEFULLY that was the only nude scene. It should get better now..." Ten seconds later, MORE NUDITY! I whispered to each of my friends that I would be takin off. They joined me within a few moments.

Don't think that I always walk out of bad movies. I don't. But I should. I know I should.

Anyways, I traded my ticket in for a ticket to Invincible. Great flic! Very wholesome, and encouraging, and moral, and it had make-your-eyes-water-moments. I was amazed at the vast difference between these two films.

All of this has really caused me to pause and think about Biblical standards for entertainment. Let's consider movies. How many curse words are too many? What curse words are too bad? Just the F-Bomb? Two F-Bombs?! Dare I say ... THREE F-BOMBS?!?! Do we really want to expose ourselves to violence? How much nakedness is crossing the line? Partial nudity?

The worst question by far, is this: would you feel comfortable watching such and such movie with the Lord Jesus?

If you're like me, you are more than likely thinking along these lines: "So we shouldn't watch any movies then? No TV? Listen to nothing but Christian music? You sound like you're afraid of the world, Case. Don't be so legalistic. Don't be such a kill-joy. Christian liiiiiiiiiberty! I have Christian liiiberty! And that means that just because explitives, nudity, and violence offend you, doesn't mean it offends all of us. You're obviously the weaker brother. So please don't apply your subjective standards onto me."

I just want to say right now that I am not about to stop watching all movies. I still plan on watching TV. I will still listen to non-Christian radio. What I do want to do is "up" the standards I use to filter what I'm entertained by.

John said something that I completely agree with: "Our goal shouldn't be to see how close we can get to the line without crossing it. Our goal should be to flee from immorality." Amen! We are to be a holy people, set apart for good deeds. I understand that we have liberty in Christ. But we better make sure not to cover up our sins under the guise of "Christian liberty."

I need to get better at allowing Scripture to define what is acceptable entertainment for me. So what Scripture says is offensive - I need to be offended by that. What Scripture says is good - I need to enjoy that.

"...but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil." (Romans 16:9) <--- kudos to John for bringing this up.

Just some thoughts folks. Just some thoughts.

In Christ,