The “Law of Love”

April 27, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 7:14 pm   Category: Ethics,Ostler Reading,Theology

Good and evil can be defined solely in terms of the law of love… Good is whatever leads to greater love and unity in interpersonal relationships… A good act is one that leads to healing a broken relationship or growing in intimacy and meaning in existing relationships… In contrast an evil act is whatever injures or destroys a relationship; it is one that creates alienation. (Ostler, Exploring Mormon Thought Vol. 2, 111-112)

Chapter 3 in Blake’s new book is called “The Relationship of Moral Obligation and God in Mormon Thought”. In the chapter he gives overviews of several ethical theories including utilitarianism and Kant’s moral theories. In the end he concludes that a Mormon theory of ethics (which he calls an Agape Theory of Ethics) would overlap lots of other theories to create its own unique model that is made possible largely from the belief that humans are co-eternal with God. (more…)

Why Prayer Works

April 20, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 5:22 pm   Category: Ostler Reading,Personal Revelation,Theology

Chapter two in Blake Ostler’s new book is titled “Prayer and Providence”. Although it is a full 50 pages I’ll try to cover it all in this post (and using my own words). The chapter mostly explains why many theological assumptions accepted by creedal Christianity make effective petitionary prayer impossible and why Mormon doctrines do allow for effective petitionary prayer if we are willing to accept them. (more…)

A shout out to all y’all Mormon Pelagians

April 17, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 12:59 am   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,McMurrin Reading,Ostler Reading,Theology

Sterling McMurrin was on to something when he said:

Indeed, since Mormonism is essentially Pelagian in its theology, exhibiting, as already has been pointed out, a quite remarkable similarity to the Pelagian doctrines of the fourth and fifth centuries, it is subject to the same criticism an condemnation from orthodoxy that made Pelagianism the most celebrated heresy in Christian history. But Mormonism outdoes its fifth-century cousin by its denial of the orthodox doctrine of creation, and it thereby produces a basic problem for its own theology in its relation to Christian orthodoxy, the problem of why the doctrine of the salvation of man should involve the traditional pattern of atonement through Christ. (Theological Foundations, pg. 82)


Ostler’s “Compassion Theory of Atonement”

April 12, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:59 pm   Category: Atonement & Soteriology,Life,Ostler Reading,Theology

As part of this week’s whirlwind series on the atonement I skipped ahead in the reading of Blake Ostler’s Exploring Mormon Thought – The Problems of Theism and the Love of God to chapters six and seven which cover soteriology and the atonement. Blake proposes what he calls “The Compassion Theory of Atonement”. Here are the basic components (not necessarily in the right order): (more…)

Is God Your Bellhop, Santa Claus, or Friend? (Ostler reading part 2)

March 30, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:00 pm   Category: Ostler Reading,Personal Revelation,Theology

My home teaching companion, Bruce, shares lots of wisdom when we home teach together. This month he perceptively mentioned that most people treat God like he is either their Bellhop or Santa Claus. We hope to call on God to take care of undesirable tasks for us or to give us stuff. Sure we might be profusely grateful when he fills either of these roles but gratitude doesn’t change the basic Santa/bellhop role we tend to cast God in. In this, the second installment of my reading of the newly released Volume 2 in Blake Ostler’s Exploring Mormon Thought series I’ll cover Blake’s views on the type of relationship we should have with God (covering pages 15-22). (more…)

Exploring Mormon Thought – The Problems of Theism and the Love of God

March 21, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 11:58 pm   Category: Ostler Reading,Theology

One of the benefits of attending the SMPT conference last week was that I was able to pick up a copy of the second volume in Blake Ostler’s series on Mormon theology: Exploring Mormon Thought (Volume 2) – The Problems of Theism and the Love of God. It was supposed to come out about this time last year so it was a welcome sight sitting on the table in the lobby (even if mine came sans the dust jacket). This post will be in the first in my series covering the book. If I can stay focused I will post on the entire book over the next several weeks. (more…)

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