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Public Execution Theory – Another Way to Think About the Atonement

I wanted to piggy-back on a post by Jeff G. over at the New Cool Thang blog. What I thought was both novel and unique was the idea of thinking of the atonement as a type of public execution. At first glance, thinking of the atonement that way seems repulsive. I think this is largely because we assume that anyone who would publicly execute someone must be arrogant, vain, and evil. But this is not necessarily the case. The idea of Christ’s atonement being a type of voluntary public execution interests me quite a bit, and I do think it explains a lot of things like animal sacrifice, the law of Moses, Abraham and Issac, ‘not my will but thine’, repentance as returning to God, etc.

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Review of ‘Lehi In Arabia’ DVD

I was very pleased to review a new DVD called, ‘Lehi In Arabia‘.  It is a feature length documentary about recent research into key specific sites in the Middle East that add plausibility to the Book of Mormon being an authentic historical record.

The two sites involved include the place that was called ‘Nahom’ which was a specific spot in the Book of Mormon where Ishmael died, and the land called Bountiful which is where Nephi built the ship.  The researchers believe that they have found these two important sites, and this DVD documents their efforts and findings.  If you have heard something about the place ‘NHM’ or of Khor Kharfot as a potential Bountiful location and would like to know more, this is the DVD for you.

This film is both devotional and scientific, which I feel members of the church will appreciate.  I particularly liked the objectivity of dismissing site after potential site for not meeting the scriptural descriptions of Bountiful until a unique and plausible site was found.  I also liked the fact that they utilized scripture for the scope of their efforts.

I feel that serious archaeological research regarding the Book of Mormon is just scratching the surface (if even that), but this effort is the deepest scratch.  I recommend this DVD for anyone interested in Book of Mormon Studies.

An Analogy of the Gospel and Chess

There have been other analogies between the Gospel and chess, but I think I have had some unique insights to add that I hope you can enjoy and relate to.

In this analogy God is playing a game of chess against Satan that has some unique twists.  In this analogy the pieces are human beings who are children of God, who do not necessarily do what either player wants them to do.  I know this is unusual to the point of saying that this is no longer chess, but I hope you can hear this out.

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Why are You a Member of the Church in the First Place?

I have read with some sadness a few post on LDS blogs that have explored the idea of what sort of line would the church have to cross that would cause you to leave the church.  I left a comment on one that seemed pretty profound to me, but seemed ignored by everyone else (which may actually be a good sign).  The comment was a song lyric that goes, “The way out is the way in.”  What I mean by that is that some event that would cause you to leave the church would (or maybe better should) be similar to what moved you into the church in the first place.

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Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: The Policy and the Wheat and Tares (Matt. 13)

Matthew 13 is a long chapter with several parables taught by Jesus.  For the purpose of this topic, the parable of the wheat and the tares really stands out.  Up to this point, the gospel of Matthew has largely been a gospel of repentance, with nothing resembling an ‘Anything Goes’ gospel.  But the parable of the wheat and the tares provides an example of significant tolerance for those who are characterized as the children of the wicked one.

In this parable, a man sows good seed in the ground, and at night an enemy sowed tares among the wheat.  When the seeds grew, the servants noticed that there were tares among the wheat.  They asked the man if they should gather the tares out from the wheat.  The man said that they should not, lest they should root up some wheat along with the tares.  The servants were to wait until the time of the harvest.  At that time the tares would be gathered and burned, while the wheat would be gathered into the barn.

If one wants to make a case for absolute tolerance, this would likely be the go to parable.  Here the Lord is saying to leave the tares alone, even though they are clearly tares.  The reason for this is to avoid destroying some of the wheat by hastily weeding out the tares.  In the wake of the recent controversial policy, this parable may be just as applicable to current events as my recent post involving the destroying leaven from 1 Cor. 5.  Should the servants of God be ridding themselves of a destroying leaven as Paul suggests?  Or should the rather leave the tares alone as Christ suggests?  Both instructions seem to apply, as do the examples.

Other than by revelation from God, I do not think one can know for sure what course of action should be taken.  Do circumstances warrant purging a destroying leaven (to protect the saints), or do they warrant leaving the tares alone until the harvest (to protect the saints)?

The parable of the wheat and the tares present an impressive amount of tolerance, and while this tolerance is not necessarily absolute (the tares are tares, and they will be burned at the harvest), it does seem to border on it, suggesting that sometimes we should leave the purging to God.



Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Sabbath Day (Matt. 12)

For any of those who have followed this series, you may wonder if I will ever see any hint of an ‘Anything Goes’ gospel.  Well, this chapter may bring a little balance.  The relevant part to this study involves Christ and His disciples violating some of the culture of Sabbath Day observance of the time.

Continue reading ‘Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Sabbath Day (Matt. 12)’

Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: The Policy and Leaven (1 Cor. 5)

Worlds seem to be colliding for myself and others at this critical time.  I have been focusing some study on what the Bible does and does not say regarding unconditional love and tolerance, while at the same time the church puts out a controversial policy regarding same-sex marriage and children in such families.  The timing is either really good, or really bad, depending on your point of view.  In my prayerful study over this issue I felt lead to 1 Cor. 5 which seems to me to have direct parallels to current events.

In this short chapter, Paul speaks of the evil of fornication (a sexual sin), and how the people were ‘puffed up’ and ‘glorified’ in this behavior (tolerant).  Paul’s warning is that these accepting attitudes will become a destroying leaven that will infect the entire lump.  His instruction is to end the fellowship (church discipline) with these unrepentant sinners for a time, in the hopes that they will see the erroneous sinfulness of their actions and return to Christ in the end.

To me the parallels are striking with our current circumstances.  Are the rapidly changing attitudes regarding serious sexual sins becoming a destroying leaven for the church today, and it’s leaders recommending a similar course of action as Paul made?


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