Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why Mormons Are Christians: LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland Explains The Mormon View Of The Trinity And Rebuts The Nicene Creed

While visiting the blog of A Well Behaved Mormon Woman, I discovered a video of a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Entitled "The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent", the address was delivered during the Saturday Afternoon General Session of the 177th Semiannual General Conference in October 2007. Elder Holland explained the Mormon view of the doctrine of the trinity, and effectively rebutted the Nicene Creed, which holds the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time.

This address becomes important once again because of the renewed public debate over whether Mormonism is Christian. At the very beginning of the address, Elder Holland acknowledges that this controversy tends to revolve around two doctrinal issues — our view of the Godhead, and our belief in the principle of continuing revelation leading to an open scriptural canon. You can read the full transcript of Elder Holland's address HERE.

In summary, we believe it is self-evident from the scriptures that while the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose, they are still three separate and divine beings, noting such unequivocal illustrations as the Savior’s great Intercessory Prayer, His baptism at the hands of John, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, and the martyrdom of Stephen — to name just four. Furthermore, if they were not separate beings, why is it that Jesus cried out to the Father during his moment of truth, saying “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”, and “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”? To acknowledge the scriptural evidence that otherwise perfectly united members of the Godhead are separate and distinct beings is not to be guilty of polytheism; instead, it is part of the great revelation Jesus came to deliver concerning the nature of divine beings.

I would also add that the Nicene Creed was rebutted at the very beginning of the Old Testament, in Genesis 1:26-27:

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

This is also replicated in the Pearl of Great Price in Moses 2:27.

We have two arms, two legs, a head, an abdomen, ears, etc. If we are created in the image of God, then common sense dictates that our Heavenly Father looks like us. Thus the Father cannot be part of some three-headed polymorphic blob that's three-in-one, one-in-three, everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Isn't it ironic that our view of the Trinity is much closer to the Bible than those of our Christian critics who hold to the Nicene Creed? And yet our Christian critics question whether we're Christian because we reject the Nicene Creed.

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