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-Mormons Aren’t Mormons Anymore?

by Dr. D ~ September 11th, 2018

220px-Salt_Lake_Temple,_Utah_-_Sept_2004-2

A couple of weeks ago the leader of the Mormon Church declared that we should stop calling them ‘Mormons’ and instructed his members and the press to refer to his church by the official name only: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the New York Times:

The word “Mormon” is out, says the president of the Utah-based church. But the proper term for what to call the faith and its followers is a mouthful.

… President Russell M. Nelson insisted that Mormons and non-Mormons alike stick to the term “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Mr. Nelson, 93, said that the policy change came to him in a revelation from God and that members of the church must work to adjust their vernacular. …

The church’s updated style guide specifies that “Mormon Church,” “Mormons” and “Mormonism” are no longer acceptable. And no, you should not use the abbreviation “L.D.S.,” either.

<Read the whole article>,

Response: Every group or organization has the right to name themselves. However, the chances that this religious group will no longer be called ‘Mormons’ is somewhere between slim and none and far closer to no way.

I perceive that even members of this church will have some difficulty not using the nickname, L.D.S or Latter-day Saint, which was also outlawed by their leader. I can’t even begin to count all of the cars I have followed over the years with a ‘LDS’ bumper sticker or in the back window. Also I have noticed that among the Mormon acquaintances I do have, most have referred to other members of their church as LDS. I can’t imagine them saying- oh, he’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also. A real mouthful to say the least.

On the other hand, if members of this church revert to calling themselves members of ‘The Church’ instead of ‘LDS’ or ‘Mormons’ it could potentially be offensive to others on the outside. Historically Mormons have claimed to be ‘The’ Church of Jesus Christ and all others false in some way which was the reason given for its organization in the first place.

A little bit of history is in order. The original name of the Mormon church when it was organized in 1830 was- ‘Church of Christ.’ A few years later they became known as the Church of Jesus Christ and then the ‘Church of Latter Day Saints.’ Finally, in 1838 the official name became ‘the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ which it still is today.

Meanwhile those outside of the church began to call them ‘Mormons’ after the Book of Mormon which is part of the scriptural canon of the LDS and differentiates them from the majority of religious groups in America which accepts only the Bible. The term was descriptive and sometime used in pejorative way. Nevertheless, its usage became  dominant in reference to this religious group. So much so that even members of the LDS church finally became comfortable enough with it to use it themselves: Mormon Trail, Mormon History, and in the “I’m a Mormon” series.

Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic and Episcopalian- all nick names used in America for different religious groups instead of the official church names along with more general terms like Evangelical, Charismatic, and Pentecostal. After 188 years the name ‘Mormon’ and ‘Mormon Church’ has become part of the American language, culture, and history and it will continue to be used far more than the official name regardless of the recent declaration.                *Top

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-Evil and Suffering Equal No God? No, On the Contrary!

by Dr. D ~ August 18th, 2018

Here’s a great video by Greg Koukl that answers the old argument- ‘evil and suffering proves there is no God’ –and turns it on its ear submitting it as a proof of God’s existence instead.

*Top

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-Independence Day 2018: Freedom Comes from God

by Dr. D ~ July 4th, 2018

United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

Happy Independence Day 2018.

The following is our traditional message for the 4th of July:

Flags are flying, parades are moving, drinks are flowing, and politicians are speaking today in America.

242 years ago a message was confirmed by representatives of 13 colonies proclaiming their freedom, a freedom that was considered to be derived from God:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Much has been made of the variety of beliefs held by the founders of this country but their words and convictions remain not only on paper but also in the hearts of the people.

Declaration of Independence: The Emphasis Upon God

When it comes to the Declaration of Independence, the words- “by their Creator” were a major part of the message, the subject, and the emphasis.

Many secularists and atheists today want to de-emphasize the role of faith in the founding of this country to the point that many are attempting to actually rewrite history itself. For them, God could have easily been left out of the document with little or no effect.

But in the context of 1776, those words were the whole linchpin of the document and appealed to as the ultimate authority and source for the rights of the Americans to rebel against the King of England.

In the context of the 18th century the Europeans believed that their Kings reigned and ruled ‘by Divine right’ under the authority of God and were His direct representatives. In fact, the King of England was also the head of the church and was supposed to defend the Christian faith against heresy and all enemies. In that cultural context, to rebel against the King was tantamount to rebelling against God the Creator himself.

In the Declaration the founders made it clear that they were not rebelling against God but that the Creator was actually the ultimate authority they were appealing to saying that their ‘rights’ were derived directly from the Creator and not given to them by the King of England or some parchment or Parliament.

It was a radical document at the time and changed the whole course of human history and ‘the Creator’ was part and parcel of the Declaration of Independence and the ultimate authority appealed to in the whole process.            *Top

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-Pope Francis: “They Call Me a Heretic”

by Dr. D ~ May 29th, 2018

Pope Francis

Recently Pope Francis has been criticized by conservatives in his own church for saying that there was no Hell and for blaming God for homosexuality. Earlier this year he actually admitted to a group of Jesuits that some in the church were calling him a heretic. From Politico:

ROME — “They call me a heretic.”

Not the words you’d expect to hear from the head of the Roman Catholic Church. But that’s what Pope Francis told a group of fellow Jesuits in Chile earlier this year, acknowledging the fierce pushback from arch-conservatives in the Vatican.

Celebrated by progressives around the world for his push to update and liberalize aspects of church doctrine, Francis is facing fierce blowback from traditionalists…Opposition has become so heated that some advisers are warning him to tread carefully to avoid a “schism” in the church.

Father Thomas Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. bishops’ committee on doctrine, has accused Francis of causing “theological anarchy.” …Last fall, more than 200 scholars and priests signed a letter accusing Francis of spreading heresy.  …

And last week, in his most explicit acceptance of homosexuality yet, he told a gay Catholic that God had made him that way and that his sexuality “does not matter.”

<Read the whole article>

Response: None of this is surprising since Francis came from the ‘Liberation Theology’ wing of the South American Catholic church. I wonder what former Pope Benedict, a Catholic conservative, now thinks about his decision to ‘retire’ which ended up paving  the way for the reign of Pope Francis?

This is what happens when church leaders depart from ‘the faith once delivered to the saints’ given to us in the Bible and substitute it for human philosophy along with scientific and political theory and ‘cultural relevance.’

The most telling statement of where this Pope really stands was the official ‘ENCYCLICAL LETTER’ issued by Francis naming ‘climate change’ as the most important and pressing issue facing humanity.  In light of that, some have also been critical of this pope’s lack of emphasis on spreading the ‘Gospel’ of Jesus Christ and his validation of other religions like Islam.

He did early on (2013) issue his ‘EVANGELII GAUDIUM’ ON THE PROCLAMATION OF THE GOSPEL IN TODAY’S WORLD and it did call for taking the good news and joy of Jesus Christ to the whole world. However the vast majority of the 51,000 word document was spent on church administration and the calling for a change in the world economy and in particular a condemnation of capitalism (which one would expect coming from a proponent of Marxist Liberation Theology).

Even more problematic for me is this Pope’s accommodation of Muslim leaders in the midst of the greatest persecution against Christians since the first century and the campaigns of the Muslim conqueror Muhammad.

On one hand I really do personally like the man and his loving approach to all people, but so much of his personal belief system seems to be rooted in popular philosophy rather than the Bible. Those calling him a ‘heretic’ do have a point and ‘last days’ prophetic folks are having a field day with his departures from the scriptures and looking for parallels with the end-time world religion represented in the Book of Revelation.

Meanwhile, don’t look for him to get into any kind of ‘official’ trouble with his church. The Vatican officials continue to cover for this pope by claiming that he was misquoted or speaking as an individual and not ‘officially’ as the leader of one billion Christians. Pope Francis will continue to be an interesting world religious figure regardless.               *Top

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-National Day of Prayer 2018

by Dr. D ~ May 3rd, 2018

Today is the National Day of Prayer. Every day is a good time to pray for our nation particularly today. Join thousands across America in prayer for our nation and people, Unity is the theme for this year. Something we really need right now. Here’s a link to the National Day of Prayer website.

2018 NATIONAL PRAYER FOR AMERICA:

Our Dear Heavenly Father, while we come to You in complete humility, we also come to You with boldness in the authoritative name of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, who is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. In Jesus’ name, fill us now with Your Holy Spirit and lead us as we pray in Jesus’ name for America.

Oh God, we are burdened for our nation today. We turn from the sins that we have committed against your Word and your Name. We turn away from our contentious words and ways toward one another that has led us to division and polarization. We turn away from our disrespect and lack of dignity toward each other, and we turn away from our continual devaluation of all human life from the womb until death in this world. We also turn away from and refuse to participate in skepticism, criticism, and cynicism in our nation. We turn away from anything that divides us, and we run toward the gospel of Jesus Christ that is the only thing that has the power to unite us together.

Lord, in this critical hour in our nation, we pray for unity in America. Only You can bring unity, harmony, and oneness in America. As your Word calls us in Ephesians 4:3, “Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”, we ask You to empower us to make every effort to live in unity, to call for unity, and to forward unity in America continually.

We pray for the churches in America to unify in Jesus Christ and to pray as one unified spiritual family for America. May Your Church pray for America passionately, perpetually, privately, and publicly.

We pray for God’s power to unify families, workplaces, communities, and cities in America. By Your Spirit, lead us to forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, and unity.

We pray for people of all ethnicities and races in America to come together as one, living in peace and unity together. Oh Lord, because each of us is created in Your image, please give us the courage to stand against all racial and ethnic division, denouncing it as evil and sinful, while simultaneously coming together in unity with all persons knowing this is God’s will for us.

We pray in unity for the security of our nation. We ask You to preserve the United States of America from the forces of evil that are threatening our lives and our future. God, please guard all persons in public and private settings from anyone or anything that desires to harm us or take our lives. Our future is in Your hands.

We agree clearly, unite visibly, and pray extraordinarily for the next Great Spiritual Awakening in America. Oh Lord, wake up Your church spiritually and convict Your people to agree clearly, unite visibly, and pray extraordinarily until the next Great Spiritual Awakening occurs in our generation.

Oh God, we stand together upon Your words in Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony.” Through Jesus’ name and by the Holy Spirit’s power, we pray for all Americans to unify and to live together in unity.

In the mighty and majestic name of Jesus Christ who is the Only Savior and the Only Hope in this world, we pray. Amen.

Dr. Ronnie Floyd

President, National Day of Prayer Task Force
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

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