Keith Smith said:
So it took 4 centuries of debate among the leaders to finaly come up with a "best guess" concerning The Father The Son and Holy Spirit. Those that still didn't believe that way were forced to do so in order not to be excomunicated.
Ok, so it seems that you are hung up on the fact that it took a few centuries for the Christian Church to solidify itself on the controversy of the Trinity and associated doctrines of the Person of Christ?
The current belief as it has been held since the 4th century, was formulated as a means of countering certain groups that had risen up denying Christ's humanity (Council of Nicea, AD 325), and Christ's Divinity (Council of Constantinople, AD 381).
The mistaken belief that you are adhering to is common to many people who misunderstand what is referred to as the Hypostatic union. Many people mistakenly think that it took almost 400 years to make up this doctrine. The truth is that Christians believed from the very beginning that Jesus was fully God, but that they did not know how to understand if he was fully human.
The Church decided when the controversy increased regarding his humanity to address the issue in 325 AD. When people started to lean the other direction and discount his Divinity, the Church later decided to address that issue in 381 AD.
So, having someone (Joseph Smith) fight against the Church and redevelop the idea of Christ being A God, versus THE God, is not necessarily surprising. Most cults throughout the centuries have done exactly that. It seems that attacking Christ's divinity is probably THE MOST COMMON doctrine to attack.
I agree entirely with what Mark has said. And, the person of Christ is where most divergent theology arises.
Concerning the "400 years" of deciding a guess, none of the early church fathers thought they were guessing; rather, they were intereseted in truth! Instead of considering the conversation that has already transpired, changing how to read the text, taking it out of context, and then expecting all do the same is rather dumb-founding. Context is everything. Any document may be made to say anything out of its context.
Much of the early years of Christian theology were affected by a lack of canon. It is no coincidence that the formation of canon also found a solidifying of theology. That, of course, has not prevented anyone, whether con artist or theologian, to invent what they prefer rather than what is in the Biblical context. Some have even written imaginary documents in ordert to defend their guessed theology.
If we were discussing how to understand the Bible or how to come to grips with the great creeds of the church, my tone would be different. There is nothing wrong with examination. But the attempt to defend a common criminal who created and invented a religion based upion his personal whims is absurd. The only way this can be done is to remove the Biblical context, use invented stories, and redefine the languages. This is bankrupt of any sort of integrity.
David Smith said:
Answer a question. Did God give you the right to choose?
Whew! That very simple question opens a gigantic can of worms, as I have recently been reminded.
I will be done with this post as well now because I doubt their will ever be one true church as long as we all stand divided in our continued practice of "MINE IS BETTER THAN YOURS" philosophy....
So says someone who says that HIS philosophy (of intolerance of those who have intolerance of those who have intolerance of them) is better than yours.
BTW, what ever happened to Stephen?