Recently, I’ve been trying to understand other Christian religions. When trying to find differences in their beliefs on the Godhead, I found little difference between us and them. Catholics, for example, also believe that God or the Godhead consists of three distinct persons as do we. Here is a quote from a catholic website: “Catholics believe there is one God consisting of three distinct and equal divine Persons–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–because on numerous occasions God has described Himself thus. The Old Testament gives intimations that there are more than one Person in God. In Genesis 1:26, God says, “Let us make man to our image and likeness.” In Isaiah 9:6-7, God the Father revealed the imminent coming into the world of God the Son. In Psalms 2:7, we read, “The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.” And in the New Testament, God reveals this doctrine even more clearly. For example, at the baptism of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father was heard: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17). In Matthew 28:19, God the Son commanded the Apostles to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” And in 1 Cor. 12:4-6, the Bible refers to God with three names: Spirit, Lord, and God corresponding to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Does this mean that the position of other churches are aligning themselves to what we believe or has there been a misunderstanding on both sides?
You say that you find little difference between the beliefs of Mormons and other Christians in the concept of Deity. The other Christians would take issue with you. Because of the specific Mormon concept of Jesus Christ, the Mormon Church is not admitted into the Christian Council of Churches, and members of the council proclaim that the Mormon Church is not a Christian church. As an application of this attitude of the sectarian religions, the Presbyterian Church, for instance, believing in the necessity of baptism for salvation, accepts as valid the baptisms of all other Christian churches except the Mormon Church. When anyone converts from another Christian church to the Presbyterian Church, and has been baptized in the other church, he need not be rebaptized in order to be accepted into full fellowship in the Presbyterian Church. However, if a Mormon converts to Presbyterianism, he must be rebaptized by the presbyterian clergy in order to be accepted as a member of the Presbyterian Church.
The official concept of Deity defined by the Catholic Church originated in the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. There have been problems of interpretation of the Nicean Creed since that time. The various catholic factions continue to this day with different interpretations of the original creed. Following is a citation of the difficult history of the interpretation of this creed by the various Catholic factions—
“Seemingly minor difference in the wording of this simple text had a profound impact on European history. The Nicene Creed, or Symbol of Faith, was written by the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in 325 C.E., with additions (the 3rd paragraph and following) by the first Council of Constantinople (381). There is an unresolved controversy over the words ‘and the Son’ (in Latin filioque). This language was added in 587 by the local council of Toledo, Spain, in an attempt to combat the Arian heresy. Pope Leo III (795-816) forbade the use of the filioque version and had it engraved without ‘and the Son’ on the walls of St. Peter’s Basillica. After a failed attempt to unite by marriage Charlemagne’s Frankish holdings with that of the Byzantine Empress, Charlemagne challenged Byzantinium’s claim of universal jurisdiction as the successor to Rome by claiming in 792 that among other things, that the Byzantines had omitted the filioque from the original text. The filioque was finally accepted by the Romans in the year 1014, and the revision has been part of Catholic doctrine ever since. The “filioque,” the significance of Roman primacy, and geo-political conflict led to the Great Schism of 1053. To this day, the Eastern Orthodox Churches do not accept the filioque and raise this as one of many reasons that prevent re-unification with the Roman Catholic Church.
So the other Christian churches are not aligning themselves with the Mormon belief in any sense. The Mormon concept of Deity comes from direct revelation from God, accompanied by various eye witness accounts of the nature of the Father and the Son. All the other churches derive their dogma from interpretation of biblical accounts of Deity. And there are significant differences in the concept of Deity by the various Christian churches.
The Mormon interpretation of the biblical accounts of Deity may be summarized as follows: Eloheim is the name given to God the Father. His Son, Jesus Christ, was the God of the Old Testament, and was known by the name, Jehovah. When born into mortality, He was given the Aramaic name of Jeshua, which in the Hebrew is Joshua and in the Greek is Jesus. So Jesus Christ and Jehovah are the same person–a concept that is almost uniquely Mormon.
Are other churches aligning their concept of Deity to the Mormon view, or has there been a misunderstanding on both sides?
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