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What do you know about the basics of the LDS faith? (6)


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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2012 8:26:56 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 1, 2012 8:36:23 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
ArmyMan

You said: We are saved by those (grace and faith) alone, but that does not mean nothing accompanies them when we become believers. Please read my second sentence above.

Reply: The problem I have is the word "alone." The word should be "together". It is grace together with charity together with hope together with faith together with works together with LOVE together with humility together with gratitude together with obedience together with meekness together with virtue together with knowledge together with temperance together with kindness together with honesty together with patience together with long suffering together with temperance and endurance. All of which are important to our salvation. Lacking any of these things is less than godliness. The Bible states:
(New Testament | 2 Peter 1:3 - 11)

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and ""godliness"", through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be "partakers of the divine nature", having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience ""godliness;""
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But "he that lacketh these things is blind," and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 10:46:48 PM PDT
Army

What then is the specific threshold for being a Christian in your mind?

I would have thought the belief that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world would have satisfied you. Where are you drawing the line. At the Nicene Creed?

Posted on Jun 3, 2012 12:33:54 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
(New Testament | James 4:17)

17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

(New Testament | Matthew 21:28 - 31)

28 ¶ But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, ""go work to day in my vineyard.""
29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 1:21:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 4, 2012 2:11:18 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
Gaylen:

" The problem I have is the word 'alone.' The word should be "together". It is grace together with charity together with hope together with faith together with works together with LOVE together with humility together with gratitude together with obedience together with meekness together with virtue together with knowledge together with temperance together with kindness together with honesty together with patience together with long suffering together with temperance and endurance. All of which are important to our salvation. Lacking any of these things is less than godliness."

Your summary virtually drowns out grace and makes salvation largely a product of human work and efforts. Grace through faith is what saves us. Grace is unmerited favor, not something you earn or merit. We just make the decision to receive it.

"Lacking any of these things is less than godliness."

And that's why we have grace! Because as James wrote: "We all stumble in many ways." (3:2)

There is a difference between gaining salvation (forgiveness of sin, eternal life, etc.) and discipleship. All of those things you mentioned are important for discipleship.

(2 Peter 1:10)
"10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

Better translation:

"10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;"

So we strive to do those things, but considering James 3:2, none of us does them perfectly.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 2:58:01 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 4, 2012 6:36:33 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
William:

"I would have thought the belief that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world would have satisfied you. Where are you drawing the line. At the Nicene Creed?"

Salvation is more than believing Christ is the Savior. Is that an intellectual belief, or a relational belief?

Salvation is based on receiving Christ as savior, turning from our sins, and having our sins forgiven by grace through faith;

We also show that salvation by continuing in faith, and:

Serious discipleship with growth in obedience;

Developing a prayer life;

Involvement in a local body and fellowshiping with other believers;

Studying the Bible, accepting it as God's inspired Word, and confession of sin;

Accepting doctrinal essentials including the fallen nature of man and that he needs a savior, there is only one way to God (the Father) through Christ, that there is only one God (and yes, that implicitly includes the Trinity), the deity of Christ (he is eternal God and was never born). Also, Christ came to earth in human form, He atoned for sin on the cross, he died and was resurrected, and will one day come again for a final judgment and a new heavens and a new earth.

Another is that God created the universe and the earth.

The above is not exhaustive, but I think you get the point.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 3:33:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2012 3:39:48 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
ArmyMan

You said: Your summary virtually drowns out grace and makes salvation largely a product of human work and efforts. Grace through faith is what saves us. Grace is unmerited favor, not something you earn or merit. We just make the decision to receive it.

Reply: I wonder what God will think of those who refuse to glorify Him through works:

(New Testament | Matthew 5:16)

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Or those who refuse to be charitable?:

(New Testament | 1 Corinthians 13:2)

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Or refuse to obey God:

(New Testament | Romans 6:16)

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Or not have no humility?:

(Old Testament | Proverbs 22:4)

4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Or have no hope?:

(New Testament | Romans 8:24 - 25)

24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Or have no LOVE?:

(New Testament | Mark 12:30 - 31)

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Or have no gratitude?:

(New Testament | Luke 17:15 - 19)

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Or have no meekness?:

(New Testament | Ephesians 4:1 - 2)

1 I THEREFORE, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Or not have virtue, knowledge, temperance, or patience?:

(New Testament | 2 Peter 1:4 - 6)

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

Or have not endurance?:

(New Testament | 2 Thessalonians 1:4)

4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

All of these are attributes of the sons of God. How can anyone not have any one of these and still be called a son of God?

(New Testament | 2 Timothy 3:13 - 17)

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 ""All scripture"" is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be """perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."""

There is no LOVE without works. Those who believe do the works.

God is LOVE

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 4:35:26 PM PDT
B. Nixon says:
Jesus says: "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2012 5:40:34 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
(New Testament | John 15:5 - 14)

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 4:46:35 PM PDT
Army

You said:

"Salvation is based on receiving Christ as savior, turning from our sins, and having our sins forgiven by grace through faith;"

I could not agree with your statement more. I don't know whether you are an honorary Mormon or I am an honorary Protestant.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 5:53:37 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
William:

I appreciate you trying to find common ground between us. On the other hand, I read in your side's third Article of Faith:

. I read the third article: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."

So obedience, i.e. works is above all?

In the Book of Mormon, we read: "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, to be reconciled with God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2 Nephi 25:23)

We answer that we are saved by grace (given eternal life, etc. the moment we receive Christ as savior) through faith because there is nothing in terms of works that we can do to merit our relationship with God.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 7:06:03 PM PDT
I guess I'd better stop working on that faith...... ;-)

Yours in Christ, Brother Niv

JesusChrist.lds.org

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2012 8:33:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 6, 2012 8:36:16 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
ArmyMan

You said: We answer that we are saved by grace (given eternal life, etc. the moment we receive Christ as savior) through faith because there is nothing in terms of works that we can do to merit our relationship with God.

Reply: Non sequitur. That is completely out of context with the Bible.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 8:28:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 10:54:52 AM PDT
ArmyMan said: "We answer that we are saved by grace (given eternal life, etc. the moment we receive Christ as savior) through faith because there is nothing in terms of works that we can do to merit our relationship with God."

Jeff's reply: I'm still confused by your position on salvation. Here, you sound like a `monergist'. You are saying that there is absolutely nothing we can do as an individual to have an influence on our salvation, and sound like a Calvinist. In your earlier post to William, it sounds like you are a `synergist', agreeing with LDS that we must exercise faith and repent to have an influence on our own salvation.

Are you a `monergist' or a `synergist'? You also like to accuse us of works salvation; even though we repeatedly tell you that there is no way that we can save ourselves without the help of Christ.

Here is an example to distinguish how we look at salvation. I will give an example of `monergism', then `synergism', and then `works' salvation.

For all three examples, we are in the middle of the ocean 2000 miles away from the nearest land.

1) `Monergism': We are all unconscious and ready to slip under the ocean and die. Christ shows up in a helicopter and randomly picks some people to save. He ties a lifeline around their waist and pulls them into the helicopter and flies them to safety where they are brought to consciousness and do `good works' because Christ saved them for that purpose. Those that He chooses not to save perish. There is absolutely nothing a person can do to influence their salvation. This is what many Protestants believe and at times you claim to believe.

2) `Synergism': We are all conscious and struggling to keep our head above water. Christ shows up in a helicopter and throws lifelines into the water for everyone and commands us to tie the lifeline to ourselves so that we can be pulled out of the water and be saved. Those that do as He commands are saved. Those that choose not to do as Christ commands perish. Here we are clearly saved by Christ, but not without doing what he asks. This is what LDS and many other Christians believe and at times you claim to believe.

This is what those LDS scriptures you love to quote mean. When our article of faith says: `We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.' It is saying that Christ will save by grace (through His atonement) those that do as He commands which is to have faith, repent, and be baptized. It does not mean that we save ourselves ignoring the atonement of Christ.

3) `Works Salvation': We are all conscious and struggling to keep our head above water. Christ flies over in a jet and drops leaflets telling us what direction to swim in order to reach land 2000 miles away. Those with the strength and willpower to make it that distance through stormy seas on their own are saved. Christ merely pointed out the right direction. Here the person saves himself. Is this really what you think we believe?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 4:01:01 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
Jeffrey:

"ArmyMan said: "We answer that we are saved by grace (given eternal life, etc. the moment we receive Christ as savior) through faith because there is nothing in terms of works that we can do to merit our relationship with God."

"I'm still confused by your position on salvation. Here, you sound like a `monergist'. You are saying that there is absolutely nothing we can do as an individual to have an influence on our salvation, and sound like a Calvinist."

I am sorry if I did not make myself clear, but where you got the above I have no idea. I said "we are saved by grace (given eternal life, etc. the moment we receive Christ as savior) through faith..." Obviously if we exercise faith, we are making a decision and have an influence over becoming a child of God. We do this when we say a prayer of faith receiving Christ as savior (John 1:12; Romans 10:9). That would implicitly include the decision to repent of our sins.

"In your earlier post to William, it sounds like you are a `synergist', agreeing with LDS that we must exercise faith and repent to have an influence on our own salvation."

Those involve mental decisions, not works.

"Are you a `monergist' or a `synergist'?"

I am a synergist. But we probably differ on our definitions of that term.

"You also like to accuse us of works salvation; even though we repeatedly tell you that there is no way that we can save ourselves without the help of Christ."

And how much of a role does that "help" play? It just seems that all I hear from you guys is works, works, works, works, works.

"This is what those LDS scriptures you love to quote mean. When our article of faith says: `We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.' It is saying that Christ will save by grace (through His atonement) those that do as He commands which is to have faith, repent, and be baptized."

Then why does it say BY "obedience to the laws and ordinance of the Gospel." And there must be much more to it than just "faith, repent, and be baptized." Your side is the one that loves quoting James that "faith without works is dead." But I also quote him in saying "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (2:10) and "We all stumble in many ways." (3:2)

A problem as well is that we have rather different concept of grace. We call it unmerited favor. That doesn't mean we have "no influence" as we do make a decision to receive it. Your view seems to have salvation based largely on works, for which you merit continuing grace.

"It does not mean that we save ourselves ignoring the atonement of Christ."

Fine, but it just seems that your church minimizes grace, compared to obedience and works.

Bruce McConkie wrote: "Grace is granted to men proportionately as they conform to the standards of personal righteousness that are part of the Gospel plan." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 339)

So grace is something that is proportionately merited as a reward for obedience. You may believe this, but it is not Biblical.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 5:36:26 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
Gaylen:

"Non sequitur. That is completely out of context with the Bible."

Oh, so there are things we can do to merit our relationship with God? And strange you should say I am "completely out of context with the Bible," considering that your church has a fairly low view of the Bible, that it has contradictions, lost books, a distorted Gospel message, etc.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 6:29:39 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
ArmyMan

You said: Oh, so there are things we can do to merit our relationship with God?

Reply: Yes there are:

(New Testament | John 14:21)

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

(New Testament | Matthew 5:16 - 19)

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 ¶ Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

(New Testament | Matthew 7:21)

21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

You said: And strange you should say I am "completely out of context with the Bible," considering that your church has a fairly low view of the Bible, that it has contradictions, lost books, a distorted Gospel message, etc.

Reply: In fact the Book of Mormon, which you quoted, is much more correct and in tune with the Bible. God LOVES those who work in His vineyard. Those who seek after His lost sheep. Those who serve Him and look after their neighbor. He rewards the worker, not the slothful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 9:39:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 9:40:49 PM PDT
Army,

I am thinking this discussion cannot really be limited in scope and is therefore doomed to perpetual disagreement.

It seems that Grace is already in play and has been for a very long time. When we pray for something, we often are really hoping for a result. It has been my experience that God's blessings and answers to prayers often come through the actions of human beings. WE are the ones who must feed the hungry, attend to the sick, clothe the naked, etc. We are actors in the Grace which Christ's dispenses. Salvation, or entry into his kingdom is only an aspect, admitted the ultimate aspect, but I see Grace as being vast in expanse, and so intertwined with good works on the part of man, that it is almost futile to attempt to separate grace from good works. I am still troubled that on the basis of this somewhat undefinable quality you do not think Mormons are Christian. What else could we be if we worship Christ and attempt to follow him.

I must ask again, what is the threshold for being Christian, to have said a prayer in which we accept Christ and seek to repent. Every Mormon does this on many, many occasions. Wherein have we missed the mark and what is it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 9:07:36 AM PDT
ArmyMan said: "I am sorry if I did not make myself clear, but where you got the above I have no idea. I said "we are saved by grace (given eternal life, etc. the moment we receive Christ as savior) through faith..." Obviously if we exercise faith, we are making a decision and have an influence over becoming a child of God. We do this when we say a prayer of faith receiving Christ as savior (John 1:12; Romans 10:9). That would implicitly include the decision to repent of our sins."

Jeff's reply: I agree that this is synergism, but it does not jive with your past statements where you say: "there is NOTHING we can do to merit or partially merit our salvation". By saying that there is `NOTHING' we can do to merit salvation, you are stating the classic definition of `monergism'. We believe that exercising faith requires doing something. There is no faith where there is no action.
====

ArmyMan said: "Those involve mental decisions, not works."

Jeff's reply: Read James 2 again. Faith is shown by works, not simply by good intentions.
====

ArmyMan said: "I am a synergist. But we probably differ on our definitions of that term."

Jeff's reply: Probably. My definition was shown in my example in the previous post. How would you modify my example to fit your definition?
====

ArmyMan said: "And how much of a role does that "help" play? It just seems that all I hear from you guys is works, works, works, works, works."

Jeff's reply: It's a huge role. Grace is divine help. Christ gives assistance to those that seek it. It is offered to everyone. It's like the parent-child relationship where the kid asks for help building a model airplane, where the parent works with the child to build it. It is not like the scenario where the kid asks for help and the parent does all of the work while the kid goes off and plays and never puts forth any effort other than asking.
====

ArmyMan said: "Then why does it say BY "obedience to the laws and ordinance of the Gospel." And there must be much more to it than just "faith, repent, and be baptized.""

Jeff's reply: The laws and ordinances of the gospel are defined in the next article of faith. It includes the three you mentioned plus receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
====

ArmyMan said: "Your side is the one that loves quoting James that "faith without works is dead." But I also quote him in saying "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (2:10) and "We all stumble in many ways." (3:2)"

Jeff's reply: Hence the need for continual repentance. God has promised to forgive us as many times as we repent. The atonement makes repentance possible.
====

ArmyMan said: "A problem as well is that we have rather different concept of grace. We call it unmerited favor. That doesn't mean we have "no influence" as we do make a decision to receive it. Your view seems to have salvation based largely on works, for which you merit continuing grace."

Jeff's reply: Try not to confuse justification and sanctification. To be justified, we simply need to exercise faith by repenting, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Ghost. To be sanctified, we can continually become more Christ-like by His grace through following the promptings of the Holy Ghost and truly becoming one with God.

We never truly `earn' or `merit' anything from God. He always rewards us with way more than we can ever deserve. Nevertheless, we are judged by our works.
====

ArmyMan said: "Fine, but it just seems that your church minimizes grace, compared to obedience and works."

Jeff's reply: I think what you see is mainly a reaction to your minimization of obedience. We believe both are important. It is not one or the other; it is both.
====

ArmyMan said: "Bruce McConkie wrote: "Grace is granted to men proportionately as they conform to the standards of personal righteousness that are part of the Gospel plan." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 339)"

Jeff's reply: This is about sanctification.
====

ArmyMan said: "So grace is something that is proportionately merited as a reward for obedience. You may believe this, but it is not Biblical."

Jeff's reply: See the following:

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:6

Additional grace is tied to humility.

"15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Romans 6:15-18

We are servants of what we obey, either sin or righteousness. If we sin, we do not get grace.

"6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

We have control of how much grace we receive by what we sow.

We obviously interpret the Bible differently.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 3:51:19 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
Jeffrey:

"Jeff's reply: I agree that this is synergism, but it does not jive with your past statements where you say: "there is NOTHING we can do to merit or partially merit our salvation". By saying that there is `NOTHING' we can do to merit salvation, you are stating the classic definition of `monergism'."

I really don't think my point is that hard to understand. Receiving Christ as savior in faith (John 1:12, Romans 10:9), is NOT a meritorious work. It is a decision, but it is not a work at all. But it is not monergism. Monergism, as defined by Calvinists, has God's "elect" sovereignly born again unilaterally by God, with no decision by man, because he is "dead in sin." Actually, their point of view then becomes synergistic. They say that after the person is born again (i.e. given a new heart), he then repents and believes in faith. I am not saying I agree with that.

"We believe that exercising faith requires doing something. There is no faith where there is no action."

On one hand, I wonder what you would say about the thief on the cross. Did he do any works other than just say "Remember me when you come into your kingdom"? (Luke 23:39) Funny that Christ didn't say to him, "I can't let you in. You haven't done works!"

On the other hand, yes, obedience is important in the Christian life. If we have been saved, there will be evidence of a transformed life. But we distinguish between IMMEDIATE salvation (eternal life, becoming a child of God, etc.) a person receives when he receives Christ as savior, and Christian living to grow in maturity and sanctification.

====
"ArmyMan said: "Those involve mental decisions, not works."

"Jeff's reply: Read James 2 again. Faith is shown by works, not simply by good intentions."

Yes, in the Christian life as evidence of being born again. On other hand:

"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,9 who HAS saved us [past tense] and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity." (2 Tim. 1:8-9)

"He saved us [past tense], not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,..." (Titus 3:5)

====

"Jeff's reply: It's a huge role. Grace is divine help. Christ gives assistance to those that seek it. It is offered to everyone."

Actually, we say Christ provides assistance to ALL, but not all accept it. The Holy Spirit is convicting the hearts of the world (John 16:8). He is also drawing all people to him. (John 12:32) But this drawing can be resisted. Some do, some don't. Grace is way out in front of us. We say grace comes first. You apparently say it comes second.

====

"ArmyMan said: "Then why does it say BY "obedience to the laws and ordinance of the Gospel." And there must be much more to it than just "faith, repent, and be baptized.""

"Jeff's reply: The laws and ordinances of the gospel are defined in the next article of faith. It includes the three you mentioned plus receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost."

Me: "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." (Romans 3:28) Notice he doesn't say justified by faith along with good works and Christ's law. "The law" is any system of law.

Also, "Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:" (Rom. 4:4-6)

And "we are not under law but under grace." (Rom. 6:14)

====

ArmyMan said: "Your side is the one that loves quoting James that "faith without works is dead." But I also quote him in saying "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (2:10) and "We all stumble in many ways." (3:2)"

"Jeff's reply: Hence the need for continual repentance. God has promised to forgive us as many times as we repent. The atonement makes repentance possible."

And what happens if we sin once, don't confess it and then die? Evangelicals commonly believe there is Judicial Forgiveness and Parental Forgiveness. Judicial Forgiveness is being no longer in an unsaved, guilty status before God. Parental forgiveness is having sinful slips forgiven to not interfere with our relationship with God.
====

ArmyMan said: "A problem as well is that we have rather different concept of grace. We call it unmerited favor. That doesn't mean we have "no influence" as we do make a decision to receive it. Your view seems to have salvation based largely on works, for which you merit continuing grace."

"Try not to confuse justification and sanctification. To be justified, we simply need to exercise faith by repenting, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Ghost."

Evangecals strongly disagree with this. We say Christians are justified BY FAITH (Romans 5: 1-2) Justification is a legal concept that means we have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

"To be sanctified, we can continually become more Christ-like by His grace through following the promptings of the Holy Ghost and truly becoming one with God."

I would generally agree with that. But what happened to works?

"We never truly `earn' or `merit' anything from God. He always rewards us with way more than we can ever deserve."

Gaylen doesn't even agree with you on merit. Try reading his post from two days ago. But you are not being consistent. If we are "rewarded" something, then obviously there is something we have done (at least to some extent) to merit or earn it.

"ArmyMan said: "Fine, but it just seems that your church minimizes grace, compared to obedience and works."

"Jeff's reply: I think what you see is mainly a reaction to your minimization of obedience. We believe both are important. It is not one or the other; it is both."

Then why such a huge disproportionate emphasis on works? Yes, obedience is very important in the Christian life. But grace from God is far, far more important when it comes to having eternal life.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)

"5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." (Rom. 11:5-6)

====

"ArmyMan said: "Bruce McConkie wrote: "Grace is granted to men proportionately as they conform to the standards of personal righteousness that are part of the Gospel plan." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 339)"

"Jeff's reply: This is about sanctification."

But in your view, doesn't that all enter into when we are judged in the end anyway? Doesn't your church believe there is no salvation on earth, but only later on?
====

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." James 4:6"

Now I will bring up sanctification. This is additional grace to help people persevere in the Christian life.
-------

"15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." Romans 6:15-18"

"We are servants of what we obey, either sin or righteousness. If we sin, we do not get grace."

"If we sin, we do not get grace" is not the meaning of the above. We all sin, yet we still get grace. But we must not take grace for granted.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 4:12:48 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
William:

" I am still troubled that on the basis of this somewhat undefinable quality you do not think Mormons are Christian."

And what about the historical doctrine on your church's part that the existing churches at the time of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc. are "apostate." You have seen the scathing quotes I have given in the past, including Orson Pratt calling the churches "the whore of Babylon."
Are "apostates" Christians?

"What else could we be if we worship Christ and attempt to follow him."

Your group has a different Jesus--one of countless spirit children--and Lucifer's spirit brother--who "progressed" to godhood

"Every Mormon does this on many, many occasions. Wherein have we missed the mark and what is it?"

Polytheism, works-centric salvation, the Father is an exalted man, the Book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible ("the most correct OF ANY BOOK ON EARTH" as Joseph Smith called it), baptism for the dead, etc. This and more have all been covered on this series of threads.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 4:58:10 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
ArmyMan

You said: On one hand, I wonder what you would say about the thief on the cross. Did he do any works other than just say "Remember me when you come into your kingdom"? (Luke 23:39) Funny that Christ didn't say to him, "I can't let you in. You haven't done works!"

Reply: We have been over this many times. Neither did He say come into my kingdom. He said:
(New Testament | Luke 23:43)

43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Paradise is in the spirit world. Spirits go there before the judgment and the resurrection.

You quoted: (New Testament | 2 Timothy 1:8 - 9)

8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

This is about the apostles who were called in the pre-existence by Jesus. I believe Jesus told them their calling and election were made sure. I think you are reading more into this than was intended:

(New Testament | 2 Peter 1:4 - 11)

4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, """give diligence to make your calling and election sure:""" for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

God is LOVE

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 10:00:42 AM PDT
ArmyMan says:
Gaylen:

(About Luke 23:43)
"Paradise is in the spirit world. Spirits go there before the judgment and the resurrection."

Paradise is a component of heaven. We learn more about this in 2 Cor. 12: 2-4: "I know a man in Christ [Paul is probably talking about himself here] who fourteen years ago-whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-such a man was caught up in the third heaven, And I know how such a man-whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows-was caught up in Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak."

"You quoted: (New Testament | 2 Timothy 1:8 - 9) 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

"This is about the apostles who were called in the pre-existence by Jesus. I believe Jesus told them their calling and election were made sure. I think you are reading more into this than was intended:"

I would argue that this was God's sovereign plan for Christians from eternity past--but it came into fruition during our lives when we heard and responded to the Gospel message. This is about calling to salvation and service. This is according to God's grace. It is not according to our works-though service is TO works. Verse 9 is quite clear that God called us "not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace..."

About 2 Peter 1:10-11)
"10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, """give diligence to make your calling and election sure:""" for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Better translation:

"Therefore brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you."

These and the previous verses are about growing in maturity as opposed to being a baby Christian as mentioned in 1 Cor. 3:1-3. Maturity and service to the kingdom will result in rewards in heaven, hence the word "abundantly." Some will enter abundantly with rewards, while others will make it narrowly through the flames as mentioned in 1 Cor. 3:15.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 3:57:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012 5:55:41 PM PDT
LDSaint says:
ArmyMan

You said: Paradise is a component of heaven. We learn more about this in 2 Cor. 12: 2-4: "I know a man in Christ [Paul is probably talking about himself here] who fourteen years ago-whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-such a man was caught up in the third heaven, And I know how such a man-whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows-was caught up in Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak."

Reply: Paradise is a component of the spirit world. None of the three heavens is called Paradise. They are the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms. The Bible lists the type of body that will go to the first two kingdoms:

(New Testament | 1 Corinthians 15:40 - 42)

40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

The third type of body is listed but not named in the Bible.

You said: I would argue that this was God's sovereign plan for Christians from eternity past--but it came into fruition during our lives when we heard and responded to the Gospel message. This is about calling to salvation and service. This is according to God's grace. It is not according to our works-though service is TO works. Verse 9 is quite clear that God called us "not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace..."

Reply: Verse 9 is clearly about the apostles being called to a holy calling in the pre-existence. And yes they had been saved.

(New Testament | Mark 12:30)

30 And thou shalt ""love"" the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy ""strength"": this is the first commandment.

(New Testament | 2 Peter 1:3 - 11)

3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, ""giving all diligence"", add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, ""give diligence"" to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

So we see here we need to LOVE God with all of our strength and give diligence to the things of godliness "for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall".

There is no better translation. We need to obey the first and greatest of all of the commandments. LOVE (serve) God with all of our "strength" as stated.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 11:26:15 AM PDT
ArmyMan said: "I really don't think my point is that hard to understand. Receiving Christ as savior in faith (John 1:12, Romans 10:9), is NOT a meritorious work. It is a decision, but it is not a work at all."

Jeff's reply: It appears that we still have a different definition of faith. One that has faith is faithful. This implies obedience. If you are not obedient, you do not have faith. Yes, it is a decision, but it is also following through with that decision. It is also abundantly clear in scripture that `we must be doers of the word and not hearers only'. I think you understand that, so I'm baffled why you criticize us for thinking that action is required to show faith. We are also very clear that our actions alone do not save us, it is only by Christ that we are saved, but salvation is conditional on doing as Christ commands.
====

ArmyMan said: "On one hand, I wonder what you would say about the thief on the cross. Did he do any works other than just say "Remember me when you come into your kingdom"? (Luke 23:39) Funny that Christ didn't say to him, "I can't let you in. You haven't done works!""

Jeff's reply: Once again, our works do not save us; it is our obedience to what Christ commands. This man showed sincere repentance and faith in Christ. All he needs after that is to accept baptism and receive the Holy Ghost. We believe that this can be done by proxy while he is in the spirit world. He does not need to complete a list of `good works' to be saved; he only needs to obey the gospel.
====

ArmyMan said: "Yes, in the Christian life as evidence of being born again. On other hand:
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,9 who HAS saved us [past tense] and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity." (2 Tim. 1:8-9)
"He saved us [past tense], not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,..." (Titus 3:5)

Jeff's reply: True. We do not consider repenting, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Ghost as `deeds we have done in righteousness'. Of interest though is that we consider the `washing of regeneration' as water baptism and `renewing of the Holy Spirit' as receiving the Holy Ghost.
====

ArmyMan said: "Actually, we say Christ provides assistance to ALL, but not all accept it. The Holy Spirit is convicting the hearts of the world (John 16:8). He is also drawing all people to him. (John 12:32) But this drawing can be resisted. Some do, some don't. Grace is way out in front of us. We say grace comes first. You apparently say it comes second.

Jeff's reply: We normally don't refer to what we call the `Light of Christ' as grace, though I could accept that it is a form of grace or divine assistance. We also think of it as the conscience and is what helps us know the difference between good and evil. This light is given to everyone, but only those that listen to it and do as Christ commands will receive saving grace.

====

ArmyMan said: ""For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." (Romans 3:28) Notice he doesn't say justified by faith along with good works and Christ's law. "The law" is any system of law."

Jeff's reply: I disagree. Paul is specifically referring to the Law of Moses and even refers to the `Law of Faith' which he differentiates from the `Law of Works' (See the previous verse, Romans 3:27).
====

ArmyMan said: "And "we are not under law but under grace." (Rom. 6:14)"

Jeff's reply: If you read the next verse, you will find that it is required to not sin.

"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." Romans 6:15

Continuing with the rest of the chapter, you will find that it is required to `obey righteousness' and not sin. Paul in all of his writings is very clear that obedience is good and sin is bad. This is what we are trying to teach.

====

ArmyMan said: "And what happens if we sin once, don't confess it and then die? Evangelicals commonly believe there is Judicial Forgiveness and Parental Forgiveness. Judicial Forgiveness is being no longer in an unsaved, guilty status before God. Parental forgiveness is having sinful slips forgiven to not interfere with our relationship with God."

Jeff's reply: God is just and merciful. I'm sure that those that forget to repent of a `small sin' will have a chance to recall it and repent prior to the final judgment.
====

ArmyMan said: "Evangecals strongly disagree with this. We say Christians are justified BY FAITH (Romans 5: 1-2) Justification is a legal concept that means we have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us."

Jeff's reply: Yes, we view this concept quite differently than a typical Protestant. I did read a book by NT Wright (a Protestant) that fits closer to our definition called `Justification: God's Plan & Paul's Vision'. He explains it in language that you could understand much better than I could. The bottom line is that we believe that justification is a state, similar to a legal status. When Jesus is imputing to us righteousness, He is declaring us to be in the right (being told that we are upholding our end of the covenant), not actually transferring some of His righteousness to us. Also, when it is said that Christ is righteous, it means that Christ will uphold His end of the covenant (and that is a guarantee). It is all related to covenants.
====

ArmyMan said: "Then why such a huge disproportionate emphasis on works? Yes, obedience is very important in the Christian life. But grace from God is far, far more important when it comes to having eternal life."

Jeff's reply: We don't have a `huge disproportionate emphasis on works'. Try reading through our scriptures or our conference talks. The emphasis is on the atonement of Jesus Christ. But we do make clear that there is no saving grace without obedience. They are both important. In other words, though you will not have eternal life without the grace of Christ, you will also not have eternal life without obedience to Christ.
====

ArmyMan said: "But in your view, doesn't that all enter into when we are judged in the end anyway? Doesn't your church believe there is no salvation on earth, but only later on?"

Jeff's reply: We believe that our final state is determined at the Final Judgment. Though we do believe that we can know that we are in a saved state in this life if we are endowed with the Holy Ghost, but that can change if we turn from God.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 4:09:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012 4:15:08 PM PDT
ArmyMan says:
Gaylen:

(In response to 2 Cor. 2:2-4)
"(New Testament | 1 Corinthians 15:40 - 42) 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

"The third type of body is listed but not named in the Bible."

Better translation:
"There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown [l] a perishable body, it is raised [m] an imperishable body;"

I don't know how that helps your case. Paul was making an analogy of perishable and imperishable-in connection with the resurrection---as opposed to heavenly and earththly bodies in the cosmos. I really don't know what this has to do (directly anyway) with 2 Cor. 2:2-4. There are two types of bodies-perishable and imperishable. In 2 Cor. 2-4, the point was that Paul went, though temporarily, to paradise. It is the third heaven--which is heaven (or at least a component of it)! (The first heaven is the sky above us; the second heaven is the cosmos) That is the same place the thief on the cross went, without any meritorious works that you emphasize so much.

"You said: I would argue that this was God's sovereign plan for Christians from eternity past--but it came into fruition during our lives when we heard and responded to the Gospel message. This is about calling to salvation and service. This is according to God's grace. It is not according to our works-though service is TO works. Verse 9 is quite clear that God called us "not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace..."

"Reply: Verse 9 is clearly about the apostles being called to a holy calling in the pre-existence. And yes they had been saved."

It is not "clearly" about any such thing. Those who were apostles became such on earth, not in any "preexistence." But God has ordained from eternity that all shall be called and those who respond will be saved and given gifts and ministry.

"(New Testament | Mark 12:30) 30 And thou shalt ""love"" the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy ""strength"": this is the first commandment."

I agree. And.....?

"10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, ""give diligence"" to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

"So we see here we need to LOVE God with all of our strength and give diligence to the things of godliness "for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall"."

I already answered this. Better translation: ""Therefore brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you."

"We need to obey the first and greatest of all of the commandments. LOVE (serve) God with all of our strength as stated."

Yes, we do the best we can. But that is not the foundation of our salvation, contrary to what you may believe with your works-centric system.

"He saved us [past tense], not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,..." (Titus 3:5)
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