Which Revelation is True?:Is Religious Experience a Test For Truth?

For the follower of Jesus, there is the call to “make disciples of the nations” (Matt.28:19). Any attempt to reach out to a lost and needy world will result in several encounters with people from a variety of spiritual backgrounds. Many Christians can be surprised to find out that many people from non-Christian backgrounds are incredibly sincere about their faith. Unfortunately, sincerity is not a test for truth. Many people have been sincerely wrong about many things. What about the question, “How do you know your faith is true?” In other words, if a Mormon and a Christian ask each other this question, they both may assert that the test for the truthfulness of their faith is a religious experience. In this case, the confirmation of the Mormon faith happens through the heart confirming through what is already true in the mind. In other words, the Mormon appeal to a religious experience sounds a bit like the Christian appeal to the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. Religious experience should not be taken lightly. After all, biblical faith is not simply about adhering to a set of objective, historical, propositions. Biblical faith involves a commitment of the whole person.

However, the issue of religious experience brings up an interesting point in apologetic dialogue. Which revelation is true? What god is the individual encountering? Mormonism claims to be founded on divine revelation. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, claimed to have received personal revelation from God on the basis of two visions, (the first allegedly given to him in 1820, the second one in 1823). The Bible asserts that Jesus is that He is uncreated (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17) while the Mormon claim is that Jesus is a created being. The apostle Paul uses the Greek word “plerophoria” which means “complete confidence, full assurance,” to indicate that the believer has obtained the knowledge of the truth as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work (2 Cor. 2:2; 1Thess. 1; Rom. 4:21; 14;5, Col. 4:12). (1) But what epistemological rights does the Christian have in saying their faith is true? While we do not want to discount the internal witness of the Holy Spirit, critics object that several other religions that are not compatible with Christianity lay claim to a self-authenticating witness of God’s Spirit. Do not all existential experiences need an external test for truth? In appealing to the Book of Mormon the Mormon says:

” And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (2)

And so we see with the Mormon, all that is required for truth is the subjective testimony of the Holy Spirit. How does the Christian explain the Mormon’s confidence that the burning in their bosom is really not an authentic experience with the Holy Spirit? Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, claimed an angel appeared to him and directed him to what are called the golden plates. Smith then showed them to eleven others. Smith is supposed to be responsible for translating these plates into The Book of Mormon. Like the apostles of Jesus, Smith suffered and died for his beliefs. However, there is a major difference between the eleven witnesses to the gold plates and the apostles of Jesus. (3) While six of the eleven witnesses left the Mormon Church, we have no record of the apostles of Jesus (Paul, James and John, others) even leaving the early Christian movement. (4)

Continue reading: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/08/19/which-revelation-is-trueis-religious-experience-a-test-for-truth/

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We meet with God when we meet with one another

https://www.kevinhalloran.net/we-meet-with-god-when-we-meet-with-one-another/

12 things Atheists should thank Christians for

https://fullyaliveblog.net/2019/08/06/j-john-12-things-atheists-should-thank-christians-for/

Old Testament Stories Are NOT Morality Stories

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/250346-old-testament-stories-not-morality-stories.html

Prone To Wonder

One of my favorite classic hymns is “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” which was written in 1757 by 22-year-old Robert Robinson.

Robert Robinson had a rough beginning. His father died when he was young, and his mother, unable to control him, sent him to London to learn barbering. What he learned instead was drinking and gang-life.

When he was 17, he and his friends reportedly visited a fortune-teller. Relaxed by alcohol, they laughed as she tried to tell their futures. But something about that encounter bothered Robert, and that evening he suggested to his buddies they attend the evangelistic meeting being held by George Whitefield.

Whitefield was one of history’s greatest preachers, with a voice that was part foghorn and part violin. That night he preached from Matthew 3:7:

“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, ‘ Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’”

There is more: https://jonathanhayashi.com/prone-to-wonder/

Creation Care

https://musingsonscience.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/creation-care-2/

The Incarnation Is For The Whole Of Creation

God entered creation and became a part of it as a human man in order to save the rest of humanity. For many, this is all they understand about the incarnation. While it is true, it is not the whole of the truth. In reality, the incarnation is about the establishment of God’s deifying grace to the whole of creation, to elevate creation so that the whole of creation, and not just humanity, can participate in and experience the kingdom of God. Because of sin, God had to free all that has been tainted by sin from its corrupting influence, but that is not the goal of the incarnation: it is only a point along the way towards deification, the participatory union of all creation with God in and through the mediatorship of Jesus Christ.

Due to the nature of the incarnation, many Christians have erroneously thought that all that God was only concerned with the salvation of humanity. While it is true that there is something special about humanity (as there is with the Jews), this special nature is misunderstood when it is used to suggest God neglects or is not interested in the rest of creation. The fact that Jesus took on human nature in the incarnation should not make us think what God accomplished in Jesus was only for humanity. Just as we do not assume the Jewishness of Jesus means that the incarnation is only for the Jews, so the fact that Jesus assumed human nature does not mean the incarnation is only for humanity. Salvation is from the Jews (cf. Jn. 4:22), but it is not limited to the Jews. Salvation is from humanity, but it is not limited to humanity. Likewise, then, deification comes about from the incarnation, through Jesus as a Jew, but the deifying grace is spread throughout the whole of creation.

Though Scripture clearly suggests humanity is special, it also does so by pointing out God’s interest in the rest of creation.  “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  (Matt. 6:26 RSV).   “What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?  Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath” (Matt. 12:11b-12 RSV). In both of these texts, Jesus tells us that God truly has concern for animals; in the first, God is said to have some providential care for the birds, the second, God is willing to acknowledge the need for humans to take care of their animals if they are in need on the Sabbath. In both instances, Jesus did not deny the special status of humanity, but on the other hand, both statements are based upon the postulate that God takes care of and is concerned with animals and not just humanity. Take away God’s providential care for animals, and the consequences Jesus implied by Jesus’ words will be lost. Jesus presumes care and concern for animals is proof that God cares for humanity.

Continue at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/henrykarlson/2019/07/the-incarnation-is-for-the-whole-of-creation/