Sunday, August 26, 2007

Meeting with the Elders

Tonight I had my third meeting with the missionaries. At around 5:30am this morning I awoke to the oh-too-happy song by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus playing on my phone. I was receiving a phone call. After fumbling to answer my phone at such an ungodly hour, I managed to answer with a very tired, “hhhhello?” I asked. “Hey Casey! This is Elder Johnson!” LOL … not quite what I was expecting that early in the morning. Turns out he called because he wanted to answer the question I posed during our previous meeting: How do you reconcile LDS doctrine that there are many gods (D&C 132, among many references) with Isaiah 44:6-8 which teaches that there is only one true god in existence?

I should note that near the end of our second meeting the two elders told me that I “wasn’t worth their time because [they] are looking for people who’re ready to convert.” I kid you not, I was speechless for about 12 seconds after hearing this =). So when I spoke with Elder Johnson this morning I was fairly surprised that he wanted to meet at all.

They arrived with a list of verses that seemingly taught a plurality of gods, and that men can become gods. Among them we examined Psalm 82:6 and 1 Corinthians 8:5. After taking a closer look at them they ended up agreeing with my interpretations (they had obviously never read the entire chapter of the verses they were citing). I then reiterated my challenge to them: If Isaiah 44:6-8 teaches that there is only one true god, and since the Bible won’t contradict itself, doesn’t this mean that the teaching of the Bible is that there is only one true god? If so, how do you reconcile this with the LDS teaching of a plurality of gods?

What is exciting about all of this is that they had obviously given this challenge a great deal of thought. My prayer for them is that every time they think about the Law of Eternal Progression – their belief that “as man is God once was, and as God is man may become” – that they would be convicted by Isaiah 44:6-8. Might our God be pleased to be merciful to these men and free them from the slavery of their sin.

Evangelism Bucks-Style

I’ve got to share something very exciting that just happened. I was sitting at Starbucks, reading, when a guy sits down in the comfy chair next to me. Apparently he needed someone to talk to – [if anyone ever wants to talk about how American coffee shops are very much like the Salons in France during the Enlightenment, lemme know] – which I’ve come to expect over the years at Bucks. We went from talking about work, to Starbucks to where he attends church. Naturally, the conversation transitioned towards the gospel, which God allowed us to discuss for the next hour and a half! We went through Romans 1:1-5:1. When we finished, I challenged him to ask himself if he has peace with God … the peace that Romans 5 talks about. I’m so thankful for the gospel, and for opportunities to talk about the gospel. Isn’t our God merciful? Ron is the guy’s name; pray for him if have a minute =). Our God can save anybody.

Christian Contentment

The sermon Sunday morning was phenomenal. Elder James preached out of Colossians 3 about Christian contentment. This is probably the most practical sermon I have ever heard, and I can honestly say that the Holy Spirit, through the ministry of the Word, greatly affected me yesterday morning.

Here's the link Enjoy =)


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Clarification on Reformed Theology

***The following is an AOMin email asking for clarification about Reformed theology. If Christine asks anything more specific, that email will be quite a bit more lengthy =)***

Hello Christine,

I will do my best to offer some clarification.

You stated: “My concern is that a non believer/catholic friend stated she believed that "if God has not given a person the Gift of Faith that that person would not go to hell." It also seems you imply that having faith is only a gift from God and that only certain/some people will receive it. If that is the case, it seems that we as humans have no choice in the matter, we are either damned or saved. Can you clarify that for me?”

In short, we do believe that sinners naturally hate God (Romans 1:30) and suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). It is only because God regenerates dead sinners to spiritual life (Ephesians 2:1-6) that any turn to Him in faith. God grants faith (Philippians 1:29); indeed, all of salvation is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Unless God makes dead sinners alive and grants to them saving faith, they will not come to Christ (John 6:44).

To answer your question directly, you are correct that we believe that God extends His grace to some. All whom God draws to Himself come to Him (John 6:37, 44).

Does this mean that human beings do not have a choice? Well, human beings certainly have a will with the ability to make choices. But since all human beings are born sinful, they all choose to hate God. Sinners will continue in their unjust hatred of God and His truth unless God has mercy upon them.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please let me know.

In Christ,
Casey Ryan