Friday, September 5, 2014

Review of a Heavily Misapplied Hermeneutic

So many poor doctrines come from the oversimplification of and broad and indiscriminate application of an otherwise noble and sound hermeneutic, when the writers of the New Testament (the Spirit of God, really) did not adhere to the rule themselves. This is the hermeneutical rule that says that we should interpret a passage the way the original audience would have. This is particularly jeopardous when we are interpreting the OT passages and think, "Well, how would the Jews have understood it?" I am not here talking about cultural contexts where the meaning of a word or phrase was specific to that era. I am speaking of things that were specific to the Jews who were in a covenant with God and would interpret his word according to their experiences with Jehovah. What is wrong with their understanding? Why should we doubt it?
Several reasons. For one, we see new Testament usage of OT passages that are clearly alien to any OT Jewish understanding of the passage from when it was first received.  What Jew would have thought that the "seed" of Abraham was referring, not to himself and his brethren, but to the Messiah?
Secondly, the Jews, like us all were limited by the flesh; sin's effect on our ability to think. They were also spoken of in terms that describe an obstinate mind--they are stiff -necked with heard hearts.
Thirdly, Jesus purposely hid the true meaning of his words from those who were not his true disciples. (See Matt 13) Romans 11:7-10 says of the OT Jews, "What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:

“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that could not see
    and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”
 And David says:

“May their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever."
Which sets up the question, how many OT Jews were believers? The Bible does not give any indication that there were many or, necessarily more than a handful. Is this the description of people that we want interpreting God's declarations?
Given that Jesus hid the meaning of his own words from them and "God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes that could not see
    and ears that could not hear,
to this very day", why should we not think that the meaning of OT passages has been hidden from them, as well? I think it is safe to assume that they were hidden but many were revealed in later canonical writings (the NT) to those who believe in Jesus.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Once Saved Always Saved, Eternal Security, Perseverance of the Saints, and the Devil

There are innumerable questions that are posed in the minds of Christians daily. As a believer grows in maturity these questions usually grow in  depth. More mature Christians can often get caught up trying to answer these technical, deep, and enigmatic questions and forget that there are people struggling with a lot of the more basic questions. A question after all, no matter how 'small' (a relative idea), still needs answered. So, in an attempt to answer these questions I will be starting a series of answers to basic questions here on this blog.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Sprout Saved

A Sprout Saved



Cassidy was wandering through the fields and meadows. She was looking here and there. Yet she did not know what she was looking for. She saw many beautiful flowers and grasses. After not too long she happened into an area that was starting to become sparse with vegetation; a patch of grass here and a splotch of field flowers there. This made Cassidy decide she might now want to go home. But as she was about to take her last step and pivot she stopped with her lead foot in mid air. Because under her foot was a teeny tiny green little sprout.

After rushing home to tell her uncle the news she realized the house was empty except for the pet parakeet which Cassidy and her uncle Jim had hatched with an incubator they bought from the internet. She wasn't worried; the house was often found this way. It was just her, uncle Jim and Softie, the bird, that lived there. However, she wasn't alone long. "Well, I'll tell you why they will win this season without an ounce of doubt!" Jim spoke as he ascended the front porch. "I wouldn't be so sure", said a man with a hat standing just below Cassidy's uncle. Jim welcomed the debate, "Well why don't you two come inside and we can hash this out over a drink or two?" Cassidy would have to wait to get her secret out.

Uncle Jim and his two friends, Gary and George, argued for hours. They debated about the same subject until, finally, Cassidy, because she didn't think they would ever end or because she just couldn't listen to one more word, interrupted. "Guess what I found!" she blurted. As, all three men shut up and turned slowly to see what she was about, she tucked her imaginary tail between her legs and stared back with puppy dog eyes. "Well," said Jim, "what is it?" "Ummm... a sprout", she replied. "A sprout of what?" asked George. "Nobody knows", said Cassidy. The men chuckled. "How many people did you interview?" asked Gary. "Let's go take a look", said Jim.

Cassidy led the way. As she went she warned the men not to step on the wild flowers. She was afraid that they would die. Gary mumbled, "It's not like they're roses." You must understand that in their city it was illegal to kill a rose--punishable by death! The reason for this was because it had been, for a long, long time, believed that roses were the ancestors of the people of that town; by means of evolution, of course. "Well, just don't step on my sprout", she retorted. "I bet it's a rose, uncle Jim", said Cassidy. But, he just replied, "I doubt it."

Just then they happened upon the patchy area where she had spotted the sprout. "We're here!" she shouted. "Be careful where you walk now, gentlemen. Let's be careful not to crush the poor thing", said Gary. "Oh, don't be so sensitive, Gary. It's just a plant", spoke George. Jim reminded them saying, "Let's not forget the consequences of smashing a rose." "Well we don't know what it is or if it even exists, so let's not worry about it", replied George. "There it is!" exclaimed Cassidy.

The three men and the one little girl all began to get down onto their hands and their knees to get a better look at the little sprout. After they had stared at it for quite some time, one man spoke: "Well, whatever it is, it certainly can't be a rose."

"And why not?" asked another man.
"Because it is clearly only a sprout, as we can all plainly see."
"Yes, a sprout, but what will the sprout become? That is how you know what kind of sprout it is."
"Well, it really does not matter. I mean, I could squash it flat right now and nobody in their right mind would say that I had done something wrong."
"But, if it is a rose then you would have clearly done wrong."
"And, since it is only a sprout, therefore it cannot be shown that it is a rose."

At that point in the debate another person of that city happened upon the group. The stranger overheard the conversation and interjected, "There is always science you know." In fact, the man was a scientist himself. "I have a very definitive way of determining whether a plant is a rose or not: a rodometer. And, it just so happens that I have one in my work case." All the men agreed it should be tested, though some said that it would not mean anything. So, the man opened up his case and put on his lab coat and his seeing glasses. Then he took a sampling cloth and gently rubbed the sprout. After putting the sample on a petri dish and placing the dish in his rodometer he pushed the button on the top right of the machine--the red one marked "Test".

All four men and one little girl stood there while the tester tested the sprout sample. "I so hope it is a rose", said Cassidy.  However, the men were all too busy arguing to hear her. Jim didn't want Cassidy to be sad if the sprout was a rose because it would likely die. George was the only one there who did not have any children or nieces or nephews. So, by the law of the city he would have to adopt the sprout, if it was a rose. He did not want to spend all of his time and money taking care of a rose. Gary was good man who thought deeply and cared about all life. He just knew that if they weren't 100% sure it was a rose that they ought to still err on the side of caution.

"Ding!" That meant that the test was done. The scientist leaned over the machine to analyze the data. There it is. This sprout has, 100%, the DNA of a rose. "Wait, what is DNA?", asked Cassidy. Jim replied, "That's the genes--the stuff that makes our bodies into what they are." "That means it's a rose. Yipee!", she said with glee. " Gary commented, "Yep. It's conclusive proof." "Not so fast, you two," said George, "that's just one test. ...and that's just the DNA for what it will become." "You see," he continued, "a rose, like a human, is more than just its blueprint, that is what DNA is after all, a building plan. And a blueprint is not a  building. It's just a plan for a building. A rose is a flower and a flower has petals and, as you can plainly see, this... thing does not have. Secondly, a rose has a sweet perfume; this grouping of plant cells has no odor at all. Thirdly,  a rose is colorful; this new growth is just green like every other seedling." He paused to be sure everyone was understanding his argument. Then he continued, "As you can plainly see, the rose must have these three things in order to be a rose. This sprout has none of these things, therefore it is not a rose. It only is able to become a rose. And, because I don't have the ability to take care of a rose, we should kill it now, before it grows up into one, so that it does not wither away by malnutrition." "Nooooo!", shrieked Cassidy "You can't kill my rose." "Now, dear, stay out of these grown up matters. You are too
young to understand something so complex. I must do what is right and honorable", George said with pride.

George then raised his foot and placed it above the sprout to squash it to death. But, before he lowered it, there was a voice that cried out loud, "Stop!" "What do you think you are doing in my garden?", said the voice. It was a woman's voice. Then, all four men and the one little girl looked behind them and saw a lady walking toward them from her porch. "Don't kill my rose", she said. "I'm sorry ma'am, but what makes you think this is a rose? As I've just got done teaching these folks, this little piece of vegetation does not have any of the attributes which make a plant a rose. So, what makes you think you can actually call it a rose when it is obviously just a bit of chlorophyll coming up out of the ground?" "Well, that is simple", she said, "I went to the store and bought rose seeds and I planted one in a whole in a mound directly under your foot. I know it is a rose because I planted a rose there. And if you all will excuse me, I have some rose food that I bought to feed that little rose bush and I have about a hundred more in the back garden."

Cassidy shrieked again, but this time with delight. She was so happy that the little sprout was a rose for that meant that she would get to see it grow up. "Ma'am," she said, "would you teach me to take care of roses?" "I would enjoy that very much... If that is okay with your father", replied the woman. "Oh, I don't have any parents. I live with my uncle, Jim", said Cassidy. "Yes, ma'am. That would be very nice of you.", said Jim. "We are very sorry", he continued, "we didn't realize you had started a garden here." Then all four men left to go to their homes, but the one little girl stayed. And the two ladies sat and talked all about how to care for very young rose sprouts.

The End

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Heaven Is A Future Reality For All Believers For Real

Burpo claims that "heaven is for real." I have to disagree with wee Burpo. Heaven is not for real. Rather, heaven is a future reality for all believers. I know it sounds like we are saying the same thing. The problem, as I see it, is that if I agree with his conclusion and use his language I am implicitly agreeing with the context of his statement, which includes all of the premises of his argument.

What does this mean? Well, for starters, I would have to agree that he actually saw a relative of his in heaven. I cannot say whether he did or not, but I cannot just have faith in a child's anecdote. This is a foolhardy idea every other day of the week. Why not now? Another implicit agreement I would be making is that of the kind of heaven. The kind of heaven that Burpo says "is for real" is not the same as that which is described in God's revelation (scripture).

So, for at least two reasons, I don't think it is a good idea to support or agree with Burpo or join with him in saying, "heaven is for real."
1) We have a far more reliable witness than a young child. Scripture speaks reliably about the reality and surety of the physical resurrection of Jesus and therefore the resurrection of those who remain in him and he in them. Hundreds of people saw Jesus walking, talking, eating and drinking after a three day stay in the grave. We need no witness of a little boy. 2) Heaven is not yet as it will be after the resurrection of the dead. Does heaven exist now? Yes! That is where the Almighty reigns on his throne. After the resurrection of the saints there will be a new heaven and a new earth--a physical heaven. This is not what the young lad saw. The heaven the boy saw is not for real.

The fact that the  movie is coming out so close to Easter should be rather concerning. Easter is a day celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul says that, as Christians, our hope is to be found in the historical fact of that resurrection. If we are putting our hope in the reliability of a boy then we are relegating scripture to the same (or lower) level of authority as a child's story. For these reasons I do not think we should support this movie. Stay at home and study the reliability of the historical account of the resurrection and why our hope lies within.

Monday, March 31, 2014

John 1:1c--A Contextual Argument

1. John is monotheistic and believed the Shemah.
2. The three clauses in John 1:1 are to be taken as a whole sentence/thought.
3. Theos has a semantic range of possible definitions (e.g., divinely (1), God (1267), god (6), God's (27), God-fearing (1), godly (2), godly* (1), gods (8), Lord (1). in the NASB).
4. Theos with the article is normally, commonly, and usually to be taken as God--the Father.
5. Ho theos (ὁ θεος) in John 1:1b is the Father.
6. Because 1:1c is to be taken in the same sentence/thought as John 1:1a and b that narrows the semantic range of the θεος of clause c. It is predicating that the word was what the θεος of 1:1b was (the Word was God).
7. Since, 1:1b states that the Word and God were together (face to face) and because θεος lacks the article in 1:1c, then 1:1c cannot be saying that ὁ θεος and the Word are identical but are of the same substance, being, quality, or nature.
8. Therefore, The Word is God, but since John believed in the Shemah the Word was not God the Father. One God; two persons. John was at least a binitarian.

Friday, February 7, 2014

What Is The Perfect Law of Liberty? (James 1:25)

James 1:18-27
New English Translation (NET)
"18 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. 20 For human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. 21 So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves. 23 For if someone merely listens to the message and does not live it out, he is like someone who gazes at his own face in a mirror. 24 For he gazes at himself and then goes out and immediately forgets what sort of person he was. 25 But the one who peers into the perfect law of liberty and fixes his attention there, and does not become a forgetful listener but one who lives it out—he will be blessed in what he does. 26 If someone thinks he is religious yet does not bridle his tongue, and so deceives his heart, his religion is futile. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world."
 James uses three different words to refer to the same thing in this passage. We will look at each usage separately and then all together to discover what it is that James means by "the perfect law of liberty". The three usages are the message of Christ, the perfect law of liberty, and pure and undefiled religion.

Let's first look at the message of Christ. In verse 18 James says that the message (some translations the word) is how were given birth. For James, the half-brother of Jesus, birth here would be referring to re-birth--born again. Then, in v. 21 he calls it that message "implanted within you" and "which is able to save your souls." The message that births you, then, is also the one that saves your soul. Not only that, but it is also implanted in you. This message both saves and regenerates and after that it indwells you. This must mean nothing less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, it also means more than that. We see in Jeremiah that the law of the new covenant will be written on the hearts of those belonging to that covenant.

Now, we will look at the law of liberty.

Lastly, we have pure religion.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Living by Grace Apart From the Law… Practically



In what way are we free from the "law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2); the law of Moses? Positionally only? Or is it also practically? One way to tell is to look at its relation to grace. If we are "under grace" in position only then we are "not under law" in position only. However, if we are "under grace" practically then we are also "not under law" practically. We must look at how grace and law are used in specific passages which contrast the two.

Going through the epistle to the Romans we first need to look at Chapter 3. Here it seems that what is contrasted is the works of the law and justification by grace (vv. 19-31 and 4:13-16). Then we get to Chapter 5. There really isn't much of a contrast here. Grace is first mentioned in verse 2 and is described as the grace that we have been standing in but is not contrasted with the law. However, when we finally get to v. 13 law is there introduced. In vv. 12-20 we see a definite contrast between sin and grace which is introduced and concluded by a brief talk of law. Paul speaks of a time before law (v. 13) and a time in which law came. He says that the law came in order to increase trespasses grace might reign more than death (v. 20). The only contrast of law and grace is that law produces sin and sin reigns in death while grace reigns through righteousness and those who receive grace reign in life (v. 17; 21). This seems to be a usage of law and grace for daily living. If we continue under the law then sin will increase but there is nothing to worry about for grace aboundeth.

Then there is the artificial chapter break of 6:1 where we are asked rhetorically whether we should then continue in sin. Paul answers emphatically, “May it never be!” He then asks another often overlooked (maybe overshadowed) rhetorical question, “How can we still live in sin since we died to it?” Paul continues on in Romans 6:12 compelling us to not let sin reign or to obey its passions. In verses 6-7 we are told the answer to the question “How can we still live in sin?” The answer is we can’t. He tells us that our old body was killed so that we would not be a slave of sin; but set free. Verse 14 tells us that the reason that we must not let sin reign is because sin does not rule us if we are under grace and not under law. So, the answer to the rhetorical question is again that we can’t. Here is a clear contrast where law and grace are both referring to daily living. Understanding that we are not under law but under grace compels us to live lives free from sin. We see the same thing in vv. 15-23. We are not going to continue in sin because we are under grace and not under the law, but this in no way makes us act lawlessly. Instead it makes us act righteously for we are now slaves to God and his righteousness (vv. 15-19).

Moving right along we come to the 7th chapter of Romans. Paul assures us here in v. 7 that we ought not equate the law with sin. Quickly, though, he moves to tell us that the law is the vehicle which sin uses to produce sin and death in us (vv. 8-11). In verse 13 Paul reassures us that the law did not bring death and that it is good in itself, but that sin again uses the law to become even more sinful (sinful beyond measure ESV) and the reason for this is because the law is spiritual but we are of flesh (v. 14). While Paul desires to keep the law and do good—which shows the law is good—he does not keep the law—which shows that it is his flesh or his indwelling sin which wants to break the law. So, again we see that the sinful nature of man works together with the law to produce lawless behavior (18-23).

However, if we continue on to chapter 8 we find the solution to the sin law problem. It is not being without law—lawlessness—but without a certain law. In v. 2 we are shown that we have been set free from the law of sin and death which creates this vicious circle of sin-law-flesh-sin-death-sin by a better law—the law of the Spirit which is about life. Further, in vv. 3-4 we are told that God finally ended this circle—which the law could not do—by condemning sin in that flesh, which so weakened the law, in order that we could fulfill all the righteousness that the law demanded. This is done by walking according to the Spirit and living under the law of the Spirit.  Verses 7-8 assure us that the fleshly minded person, who does not walk and live by the Spirit does not and cannot submit to God’s law and cannot please God. This chapter makes it clear that Paul is speaking about daily living.

It seems in light of these passages that we really are to consider ourselves free from law practically and positionally. In only one of the above passages is Paul referring to only positional justification. The idea he puts forth is that the law causes us to sin—albeit not because of itself but because of our flesh, but the law is part of the equation. Since we are free from the law we are commended to live by the Spirit and by grace.

This in no way makes us lawless. Paul corrects that idea. In chapter 8 we saw that we are to live by another law: the law of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2 Paul uses the term Law of Christ.  Both the Spirit and Christ are key landmarks (signs) of the New Covenant. When Paul speaks of the law of Christ or of the Spirit he is speaking of the law of a new covenant. In Hebrews we read that since we have a better covenant and a better high priest we need a new law. “For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.” (Hebrews 7:12)






Friday, January 24, 2014

Frozen: Disney in a Post-Christian World

Disney's latest animation Frozen is a great example of how post-Christian America really is.







Parents build fear into the girl. Love drives out fear for a believer. Legalistic parents often drive their children to rebel. Rebellion has dire consequences. Rebellion is sin. The wages of sin is death--to self, soul, casualties and in the end the cosmos.

Hans Christian Andersen


Four Loves

Goodwyn: Without giving too much away, what does the movie say about love?

Henn: Well, it says a lot of things about love. It's hard to boil it down to one particular sentence, because you see different types and different levels of love that are culturally prevalent throughout. You've got the very shallow instant gratification kind of love that Anna feels. You've got the element of sacrifice. You've got the innocent childlike love that Olaf brings to the film. So it really paints a very broad picture of different aspects of love and maybe what's true love versus what's really kind of a pretend or a false love. It appeals on a lot of different levels. https://www.cbn.com/entertainment/screen/frozen-disney-mark-henn-interview-goodwyn.aspx

Goodwyn: The evolution of female characters in Disney animated features from Cinderella up until now is clear. What does Frozen say to young girls?

Henn: Part of the big evolution in terms of the role of our leading ladies and our princesses, for lack of a better term, have "undergone" is that early on a lot of times the girls tended to be more reactionary to things that would happen to them. They needed somebody to come alongside and save the day, so to speak. And that may have been true years ago, but nowadays, the stories are a little more complicated. The characters are more proactive. It's not things necessarily happening to them alone, but it's their decisions, their wants and dreams and desires that propel them forward, that propel the story. They make decisions and there are consequences good and bad that move the story along. That's been a big jump in the way we've told our stories and the types of stories that we've told, starting with The Little Mermaid, which was kind of the prototype of that new type of story, or new type or heroine where she's making decisions. The world isn't just happening to her and she's just like, "Oh, help! Somebody help me!" She's saying, "I'm not happy with this and I'm going to do something about it." Then she's going to deal with the consequences good and bad of those decisions. That's probably been the biggest swing that I've seen over the course of our films.

Mulan is another great example of that. Her story is she's making a decision because she loves her family. She loves her father so much, but she makes this decision to essentially defy him to protect him. So, those are very deep dilemmas, and very real for some people. We all, boys and girls, men and women, we all have to face those kind of decisions. So I think that kind of storytelling, it's just enriching the films that we're doing these days.

For young girls today, I hope that they look at them as the same way little girls and little boys looked at the characters from the past, as good, positive role models with decisions. There may be consequences good and bad, but that there's a strength there. There's a desire to follow your dreams and follow your heart. Again, you may have to suffer consequences good and bad depending on what those decisions are, but those are very applicable types of role models for kids today, and particularly young girls.


Goodwyn: What in Frozen do you think will appeal to Christians?

Henn: Oh, well, there are a lot of things. It's not always very obvious in the stories, but I think whether it's obvious or not, I think one of the aspects is the whole notion of the different types of love that are demonstrated, are portrayed in the film. You have a variety of types of love shown from Olaf, very naïve, childlike love and affection, to Anna's very reactionary, very seemingly true love, but it's a bit shallow when she meets Hans.

Christian families can use [Frozen] to talk to their kids ultimately [about] honest, sacrificial love. We all understand that. The love of Christ is sacrificing His life because He loved us so much. God so loved the world through Christ. That's sacrificial love. Those are elements that, while not so blatantly, "here's a Christian message", but they're there. For Christian families in particular, they can just peel back the layers a little bit and then be willing to, as parents, talk to their kids and just have conversations about that.

Those things are always prevalent in our films, more in some and less in others. But certainly love is a big part of that, and trust, and the risks involved with love, and within a family structure, and all those things can be talked about.

Pagan Temples and You

We hear a lot about the Bible and its relevance to people today. This is understandable given the huge contrast inherent in the relation between the first and twenty-first centuries. Historical context is sometimes hard to relate to. However, sometimes we are presented with opportunities to see a Biblical historical context in a present-day context, in order to better understand Biblical concepts. In Arizona we have such and opportunity.

In 1 Corinthians 8 we read about something quite odd that we would never expect to see in  twenty-first century America. All of chapter 8 is written "with regard to food sacrificed to idols" (v. 1). Unless you are an American (this applies to those in almost all Westernized countries) who has traveled to India you have likely never seen a food that has been sacrificed to... anything. In this chapter Paul goes on to give instructions about "eating food sacrificed to idols" (v. 4). Further, if you read the entire chapter you will see that Paul is also making a point about how our interaction with food sacrificed to idols could be a 'stumbling block; to the 'weak' and we might cause them to be 'destroyed'.

So, what is going on here? The best way  to understand these kinds of imperatives that Paul gives to the local churches and to see if and how they apply to us today is to put ourselves into their shoes. Sometimes this is an easy task. However, when we are dealing with commands about antiquated--seemingly barbaric practices-- such as eating the meat of animals that have been ceremonially slaughtered to a God of... let's say harvest, while seated in a temple of that God, we will quickly find ourselves clueless as to how we could possibly relate to these first century believers. If only we had a pagan temple with food sacrificed to idols.

Where have all the pagans gone? Well, you may not have to look too far if you live in Arizona. While we may not have any pagans as the word is used in the Bible; and while we may not have any temples where we might eat food sacrificed to idols, on Sunday, March 2nd you will have the 'opportunity' (you will be able to decide after reading this if it really is an opportunity) to experience something very close. On that day the general public who are not members of the LDS organization will be allowed to enter something that looks very much like a 'pagan temple'. The LDS org. has built something that is visually impressive and in my opinion is an abomination (spiritually and architecturally!): the Gilbert Arizona LDS Temple.

You may be wondering how on earth this is relevant to 1 Corinthians 8. Well, I will now tell you.

Dedication
The Gilbert Arizona Temple will be dedicated in three sessions at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Sessions will be broadcast to all stakes and districts in Arizona, and Sunday block meetings will be cancelled for those units. Members ages 8 and older who have been issued a recommend may view the broadcast. Specific instructions for attendance will be made available through local priesthood leaders.

Angel Moroni Raising
On May 15, 2012, hundreds of spectators gathered to the Gilbert Arizona Temple to witness the raising of the gold-leafed angel Moroni statue atop the single central spire. Numerous students, who attend a grade school across the street from the temple, gathered in the school parking lot that day with their families. As Moroni began his flight, a large group of middle school students created a spiritually poignant moment as they broke into song, singing the Primary favorite I Love to See the Temple.

The Gila Valley LDS Temple quote:

"There is a difference in just attending the temple and having a rich spiritual experience. The real blessings of the temple come as we enhance our temple experience. To do so, we must feel a spirit of reverence for the temple and a spirit of worship."
—L. Lionel Kendrick
Acts 19:21-41 Zeal for the Temple of Artemis


About sixteen stories tall.
 About 915,000 sq ft. property



About one hundred feet tall.
About 68,000 sq ft. building.


Monday, January 13, 2014

23 ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι, διὰ τῆς παραβάσεως τοῦ νόμου τὸν θεὸν ἀτιμάζεις; 24 τὸ γὰρ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ δι’ ὑμᾶς βλασφημεῖται ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, καθὼς γέγραπται.
25 Περιτομὴ μὲν γὰρ ὠφελεῖ ἐὰν νόμον πράσσῃς· ἐὰν δὲ παραβάτης νόμου ᾖς, ἡ περιτομή σου ἀκροβυστία γέγονεν.26 ἐὰν οὖν ἡ ἀκροβυστία τὰ δικαιώματα τοῦ νόμου φυλάσσῃ,οὐχ ἡ ἀκροβυστία αὐτοῦ εἰς περιτομὴν λογισθήσεται; 27 καὶ κρινεῖ ἡ ἐκ φύσεως ἀκροβυστία τὸν νόμον τελοῦσα σὲ τὸν διὰ γράμματος καὶ περιτομῆς παραβάτην νόμου. 28 οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν, οὐδὲ ἡ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ἐν σαρκὶ περιτομή· 29 ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος, καὶ περιτομὴ καρδίας ἐν πνεύματι οὐ γράμματι, οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ.

 ηὐχόμην γὰρ ἀνάθεμα εἶναι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ ἀπὸ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν συγγενῶν μου κατὰ σάρκα, οἵτινές εἰσιν Ἰσραηλῖται, ὧν ἡ υἱοθεσία καὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ αἱ διαθῆκαι καὶ ἡ νομοθεσία καὶ ἡ λατρεία καὶ αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι, ὧν οἱ πατέρες, καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα, ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων, θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας· ἀμήν.
Οὐχ οἷον δὲ ὅτι ἐκπέπτωκεν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ. οὐ γὰρ πάντες οἱ ἐξ Ἰσραήλ, οὗτοι Ἰσραήλ· οὐδ’ ὅτι εἰσὶν σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ, πάντες τέκνα, ἀλλ’· Ἐν Ἰσαὰκ κληθήσεταί σοι σπέρμα. τοῦτ’ ἔστιν, οὐ τὰ τέκνα τῆς σαρκὸς ταῦτα τέκνα τοῦ θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ τὰ τέκνα τῆς ἐπαγγελίας λογίζεται εἰς σπέρμα· ἐπαγγελίας γὰρ ὁ λόγος οὗτος· Κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν τοῦτον ἐλεύσομαι καὶ ἔσται τῇ Σάρρᾳ υἱός. 10 οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ Ῥεβέκκα ἐξ ἑνὸς κοίτην ἔχουσα, Ἰσαὰκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν· 11 μήπω γὰρ γεννηθέντων μηδὲ πραξάντων τι ἀγαθὸν ἢ φαῦλον, ἵνα ἡ κατ’ ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις τοῦ θεοῦ μένῃ, 12 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος, ἐρρέθη αὐτῇ ὅτι Ὁ μείζων δουλεύσει τῷ ἐλάσσονι· 13 καθὼς γέγραπται· Τὸν Ἰακὼβ ἠγάπησα, τὸν δὲ Ἠσαῦ ἐμίσησα.