15
Jul
09

Is Sin Only a Willful Act?

 

     One of the things I have noticed in my reading of the Ensign and the LDS Church Manuals is that they use often words like mistakes, bad choices, etc. for things the Bible labels sinful.  In True to the Faith, a manual recommended by the First Presidency of the LDS Church as a companion to scripture study, under the heading sin it reads:  “When we willfully disobey God’s commandments, we commit sin.  We also commit sin when we fail to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17).”

     Is sin really only a willful disobedience of God’s commandments?  In the majority of the world’s society, morality has been on the decline with the result that more and more people have a weakened sense of right and wrong.  Does this mean that Islamic suicide bombers aren’t sinning especially if they see their actions as following God’s will?  Does this mean that if a person doesn’t know that God commands us to lead chaste lives that he or she isn’t sinning by being unchaste?  

     The Bible doesn’t limit sin just to willful disobedience.  Take Jesus’ prayer as he was being nailed to the cross:  “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)  He would not have had to pray that if sin was limited to willfully disobeying God’s commandments.  Especially sobering is this passage:  “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23).

     Neither does the Bible limit sin only to our actions.  In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.  One example:  “But I say unto you, That whsoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in her heart.”  (Matthew 5:28)  And we see this not just in the Sermon on the Mount.  The Bible repeatedly talks about evil thoughts, about sinful lusts, etc.

     But True to the Faith. mentions none of this under the heading sin.  In that, it is quite representative of LDS teaching.  Mormonism drastically diminishes sin.

     It is vitally important for people to see the extent of their sinfulness.  The more limited and restricted people’s view of sin is, the less desperation they will feel for a Savior.  On the other hand, the more accurate their knowledge is of how of how much they do sin, the more they will be inclined to despair of their works and trust solely in Jesus’ work for them.  That is what I am doing.

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93 Responses to “Is Sin Only a Willful Act?”


  1. 1 ADB
    July 15, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Mark,

    This is such an important post, as it really gets to the heart of things. It also explains why the LDS fail to acknowledge the reality of, or–more importantly–the need for, an unconditional gospel. A minimizing or downplaying of sin will always lead to a minimizing of the gospel and forgiveness of sins.

  2. 2 GB
    July 15, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Mark: Neither does the Bible limit sin only to our actions. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.

    GB: It is clear that you are getting it WRONG, AGAIN!!

    How on Earth do you conclude that “sinfulness of thoughts” are EXCLUDED from “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth”?

    TRULY you were grasping at NON-EXISTENT straws with that one.

    Again, unfortunately you fail to understand LDS vernacular. ANY violation of God’s will is a transgression. A knowledgeable violation of God’s will is a sin. ALL sin is transgression, but all transgression is not sin.

    It is rather OBVIOUS that those who crucified Jesus did not FULLY understand/know that they were killing THE SON of GOD. That ignorance, however WOULD NOT absolve them from the willful and knowledgeable act of killing an INNOCENT man. That action WAS the SIN for which Jesus was requesting forgiveness.

  3. 3 GB
    July 15, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Oh and you are taking the phrase “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” WAY OUT of context.

    Why didn’t you use the phrase (Rom 14:14) “there is nothing unclean of itself”?

    The context is a discussion of meat and drink. And I post it here for all to see.

    Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
    15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
    16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
    17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
    18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
    19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
    20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
    21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
    22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
    23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

  4. 4 GB
    July 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Mark,

    Alma 12:12 And Amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death, and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality, and being brought before the bar of God, to be judged according to our works.
    13 Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned.
    14 For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence.

    Again, why do you conclude that our thoughts are EXCLUDED from “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth”?

  5. 5 Echo
    July 16, 2009 at 1:23 am

    GB said:
    ========

    “ANY violation of God’s will is a transgression. A knowledgeable violation of God’s will is a sin. ALL sin is transgression, but all transgression is not sin.

    It is rather OBVIOUS that those who crucified Jesus did not FULLY understand/know that they were killing THE SON of GOD. That ignorance, however WOULD NOT absolve them from the willful and knowledgeable act of killing an INNOCENT man. That action WAS the SIN for which Jesus was requesting forgiveness.”

    Echo:
    ======

    1. What do you mean by “all transgression is not sin” ?
    2. Do you believe a person is guilty for sins they don’t know about?
    3. Do you believe that people will be held responsible for sins they don’t about?

  6. 6 Echo
    July 16, 2009 at 1:30 am

    Correction:

    3) Do you believe that people will be held responsible for sins they don’t know about?

  7. 7 jm
    July 16, 2009 at 6:52 am

    GB. Your double talk is way out in left field.

    (ALL sin is transgression, but all transgression is not sin.) Both of these words have the same meaning.

    trans·gress
    Pronunciation:\tran(t)s-ˈgres, tranz-\
    Function:verb
    Etymology:Middle English, from Middle French transgresser, from Latin transgressus, past participle of transgredi to step beyond or across, from trans- + gradi to step — more at grade
    Date:15th century
    intransitive verb
    1 : to violate a command or law : sin

    1sin
    Pronunciation:\ˈsin\
    Function:noun
    Etymology:Middle English sinne, from Old English synn; akin to Old High German sunta sin and probably to Latin sont-, sons guilty, est is — more at is
    Date:before 12th century
    1 a: an offense against religious or moral law

  8. 8 jm
    July 16, 2009 at 7:09 am

    GB,

    You also said, It is rather OBVIOUS that those who crucified Jesus did not FULLY understand/know that they were killing THE SON of GOD.

    Mat 26:63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

    Mat 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

    Mat 26:65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.

    That ignorance, however WOULD NOT absolve them from the willful and knowledgeable act of killing an INNOCENT man. What ignorance?

  9. 9 GB
    July 16, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Hello Earth to jm!!!

    Did you not read what I said?

    I will repeat it again, because it is OBVIOUS that you MISSED it somehow.

    “Again, unfortunately you fail to understand LDS vernacular. ANY violation of God’s will is a transgression. A knowledgeable violation of God’s will is a sin. ALL sin is transgression, but all transgression is not sin.”

    What part of “LDS VERNACULAR” do you not understand?

    By that I mean that, in general, when the word “sin” is used in scripture, it means to “willfully disobey God’s commandments” or to “fail to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth”. And when the word transgression is used, it means a violation of God’s commandments regardless of whether it is willful or knowledgeable.

    Here is another clue.

    Just because Jesus told them who He was doesn’t mean that they believed/understood/knew it. That is like me telling you that;

    1) Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

    2) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints it the only true church.

    There!! Now you KNOW. Now you MUST act according to those truths. So when are you going to accept real baptism and join the LDS church? :-)

    Just because someone tells you the truth doesn’t mean you will believe/understand/know it.

  10. 10 GB
    July 16, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Mark,

    IF the Son is just a different manifestation of the same being as the Father, and the Son had the power to forgive sin (Matt 9:6, Mark 2:10, Luke 5:24), then why didn’t Jesus just forgive them Himself? Why did He ask the Father to forgive them?

  11. 11 markcares
    July 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Gb:
    In post #9 you state: “By that I mean that, in general, when the word “sin” is used in scripture, it means to “willfully disobey God’s commandments” or to “fail to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth”. And when the word transgression is used, it means a violation of God’s commandments regardless of whether it is willful or knowledgeable.”
    On what basis do you make that distinction?

  12. 12 faithoffathers
    July 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    One would think that, based on your article, you have not read much of the Book of Mormon or the rest of our canon (Or the writings of our leaders for that matter). Look up King Benjamin’s speech or Alma’s discussion that GB referenced. I find that in the church, we talk just as much about controlling our thoughts as we do our actions. So to be truthful, your article and argument just simply has no basis.

    How often do you guys accuse us of placing too much emphasis on our duties and commandments. According to you this leads us to always feeling inadequate. How in the world does that jive with your article here? Now you are saying “Mormonism drastically diminishes sin.” Make up your mind.

    You don’t think a religion that teaches that a person can be saved by confessing Christ and believing He saved him or her minimizes sin and the consequence of actions? Please. According to you, your behavior after being saved is motivated simply by gratitude.

    Also- when Christ was on the cross- He asked the Father to forgive the Roman soldiers BECAUSE they didn’t fully understand what they were doing (Father forgive them, FOR they know not what they do). What if they DID fully understand what they were doing? Would their sins be as easy to forgive? To me, it certainly seems like a person’s level of understanding is taken into consideration when judging and forgiving them. Does this seem unfair to you?

    fof

  13. 13 ADB
    July 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    FOF,

    “According to you, your behavior after being saved is motivated simply by gratitude.”

    You nailed it!

    “14For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

    15And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (KJV 2 Cor. 5:14,15)

    and, if that doesn’t make much sense …

    (NIV) 14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

    Christ acted on our behalf to assure us of living eternally with Heavenly Father, and we respond to his free gift “motivated simply by gratitude.” His actions alone, and nothing else, motivate our behavior.

  14. 14 markcares
    July 16, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    FOF:
    Do you agree with GB’s interpretation of Jesus’ prayer? “It is rather OBVIOUS that those who crucified Jesus did not FULLY understand/know that they were killing THE SON of GOD. That ignorance, however WOULD NOT absolve them from the willful and knowledgeable act of killing an INNOCENT man. That action WAS the SIN for which Jesus was requesting forgiveness.”
    Tell me what I’m missing. You say that Jesus asked for forgiveness because they didn’t fully understand what they were doing whereas GB in post #9 connects willful and knowledtge with the word sin. The two don’t go together.

  15. 15 faithoffathers
    July 16, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    ADB and Mark,

    So doesn’t that minimize your sins and guilt if the only motivation for keeping the commandment is to show gratitude. (Gratitude is probably the greatest reason for obeying in my opinion by the way). My point is not to argue, once again, about faith vs. works.

    My point is that we believe we must obey the commandments and endure to the end. One would think that this would result in a more poignant appreciation and recognition of our guilt and the consequences of sin.

    I am really not arguing you are wrong about your belief in faith, etc. I am saying your article has no basis in our doctrine or belief. And if anything, being disconnected from the terrible nature of sin would more likely come out of an evangelical theology in which salvation is instant and irreversible.

    fof

  16. 16 faithoffathers
    July 16, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Mark,

    Sorry missed your note back. It is a matter of degrees. There are some things that are black and white- like killing someone who is innocent. And a person’s level of understanding is a consideration as is the case with the crucifiers of Jesus. We don’t know their hearts- they may have shown up for work that day and been instructed to carry out the crucifixion of this person who had been found guilty of crimes against Caeser. They may have felt they were simply carrying out the law and the orders of their superiors. Hate to defend the crucifiers of the Savior, but you get my point.

    I don’t know if a behavior should be labelled “sin” if the person doesn’t know that it is wrong. To be honest, I don’t know that it matters. Would it make you feel better if they are considered sinning in ignorance? Their reward or punishment doesn’t really change with the label. What I believe and what we teach is that a person’s understanding is a matter of consideration in the Lord’s judgement. And that is why He is judge- because we don’t know the heart. He does.

    I believe that the most that can be expected of any person is to live as closely as possible with their conscience. What more really should be expected, and would that be fair?

    fof

  17. 17 markcares
    July 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    FOF:
    Thanks for your reply. What I am trying to get at is the definiton of sin. GB made a pretty black and white statement in #9 about sin’s defnintion compared to his defintion of transgression. If his defintion of sin truly represents the LDS defintion of sin then I have a diffiult time putting yours and his interpretation of Jesus’ words side by side and seeing how they agree.
    The bigger issue for me and the real question is: Is this an agreed upon, accepted defintions of words in Mormonism? Sin is just one example. If so, where does a non-Mormon find them. They can’t be discovered by talking to individual Mormons. But knowing the definition of words – and staying with those defintions – is important if there will be any hope of meaningful discussion.
    Just one more point on this. GB talks about the “LDS vernacular”. Find and good. But, it has been my experience that there is no agreement even among individual LDS what that vernacular is. If there is no agreement, then it doesn’t do much good to talk about an LDS vernacular. At best, I can talk about GB’s vernacular or FOF’s vervacular.

  18. 18 faithoffathers
    July 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Mark,

    Good points. To tell you the truth, I have heard LDS speak of clear and distinct differences between sin and transgression. Usually a result of discussing Adam’s partaking of the fruit. I don’t think there is a nice, easily definable distinction between them- at least that is uniformly applicable in my opinion. I think Adam’s was a very unique situation, which we have discussed at length before. For the rest of us since Adam, I don’t know that distinguishing between the two words matters that much.

    Again- I don’t know that labels matter all that much. It is the principle of being judged by out works, with our hearts and levels of understanding/knowledge being weighed in the balance by God.

    What of my questions?

    fof

  19. 19 GB
    July 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Mark: Is sin really only a willful disobedience of God’s commandments?

    GB: “ONLY”?

    I don’t see the word “only” any where in “When we willfully disobey God’s commandments, we commit sin. We also commit sin when we fail to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17).”

    Is your INSERTION of the word “only”, an attempt to ARTIFICIALLY limit the definition, thus create a strawman?

    Now before you guys get your panties in a bunch, and scream “but you said ‘but all transgression is not sin'” be advised that I also said “By that I mean that, IN GENERAL, . . . yada yada . . . regardless of whether it is willful or knowledgeable.

    Now SPECIFICALLY, I was referring to the partaking of the forbidden fruit by Adam and Eve. I find NOWHERE in scripture where that act is referred to as a SIN!!

    Now, the usual ANTI-Mormon response it so quote Rom 5:14

    “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”

    Notice that this verse SPECIFICALLY refers to Adam’s TRANSGRESSION (and NOT Adam’s sin). It also is clear that when others do similar things to what Adam did it is called SIN.

    So what is the difference?

    Knowledge of good and evil!

    Adam and Eve did NOT have knowledge of good and evil BEFORE they partook of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil” now did they!

    So IN THIS CASE, knowledge is the difference between sin and transgression.

  20. 20 GB
    July 16, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Mark,

    You seem to be trying to find inconsistency between FOF and myself. To clear this up answer this question.

    When Jesus said “Father, forgive THEM; for THEY know not what THEY do”, to WHOM was He SPECIFICALLY referring?

  21. 21 Echo
    July 16, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    GB,

    Do you believe a person is guilty for sins they don’t know about?
    Do you believe that people will be held responsible for sins they don’t know about?

  22. 22 markcares
    July 16, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    FOF:
    Thanks for your reply. I don’t want to misunderstand you but what I take from it is that the the concept of a stated LDS vernacular (and agreed upon definitions of works) is not that easily identified. If I misunderstood you, please clarify for me.

    In post #16 you said: “I believe that the most that can be expected of any person is to live as closely as possible with their conscience. What more really should be expected, and would that be fair?”

    As I have stated in the past, what is expected of all people is perfection. Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This is reinforced by other passages like James 2:10: “For whosever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all of it.” The point the Bible makes is that a person’s knowledge makes no difference. “For there is no respecter of perssons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” (Romans 2:11-12). This is part of a larger discourse from 1:18 all the way through 3:20. In it Paul is stating that doers of the law will be justified (2:13) – but no-one is a doer of the law. “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his signt.” (3:20). This then sets the stage for his wonderful proclamation that justification comes not from our works but from Christ’s works for us – that Jesus provides the perfection we need to stand before God.

  23. July 16, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    This is a really important post, Mark. Really important. When I came to the Lord and completely surrendered my life to Him, the Holy Spirit really convicted me of my sins, and my eyes were opened to see who I really was. Before then, I would have never ever called myself a “sinner”…. nope that just wasn’t something that I labeled myself as Latter-day Saint. I would have said I erred, or made a mistake, but not sinned, and I most definately would have never called fellow LDS “sinners”. That changed dramatically when I came to the Lord. He showed me my sin, my need for salvation and redemption and cleansing.

    You will most likely never hear in an LDS testimony meeting the following ” I am a sinner. I have sinned before God and am grateful for His grace and mercy that cleanses me from sin and redeems.” Now, I have in the almost 2 yrs since I have been a born again believer, many testimonies and I am always amazed, in a most wonderful way at how candid Christians are in admitting their sins and confessing them publically, and yes even calling themself a “sinner”.

    A few months back a good LDS friend of mine and I were having a conversation. She was so distraught because I called myself a “sinner”. ” Oh now you aren’t” she exclaimed! She went on to say that she had known me for the better part of 19 yrs and did not believe I was capable of being a “sinner”. I re-assured her I was. I was born a sinner, and will die a sinner, and only because of the blood of Christ will my sins be cleansed and washed away. She was so worried about me , thinking I had such a negative opinion of myself.

    Bottom line, is we are all sinners – all of us have fallen short. LDS, Christian, Muslim, etc. we are all sinners, whether we admit it or not. It is only thru the blood of our Lord that we can be cleansed and made clean.

    He is our hope!

    Gloria

  24. 24 JesusLover
    July 17, 2009 at 1:25 am

    Amen Gloria!
    It’s beautiful to hear of your conversion to Christ.I long for the day when my LDS friend comes to know the real Jesus also.

    Blessings to you.

  25. 25 geoff456
    July 17, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Mark,

    I can imagine that there are many LDS people who don’t want to talk to you (no offense, of course) because they doubt your motivation.

    If you REALLY wanted to know, you could simply take the missionary lessons and learn about the Gospel from the bottom up….with no pre-conceived ideas and NO agenda. Both of which you have. :)

    A real live Mormon has told you that you have mis-stated our beliefs….did you back off and agree with him?? NO, you and others (maybe MOSTLY others) want to tell Mormons what WE believe.

    If you have questions…just ask! Please don’t just assume you understand our doctrine because you have read a few lines in a book.

    ~Geoff

  26. 26 geoff456
    July 17, 2009 at 2:00 am

    As far as the difference between sin and transgression:

    Sin: something that is inherently WRONG: i.e. shedding of innocent blood.

    Transgression: something that is deemed to be wrong by man: i.e. breaking the speed limit and murder!

    Hence, ALL sin fits in the category of transgression but not ALL transgression fits in the category of sin.

    get it?

    ~Geoff

  27. July 17, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Keep loving on your friends and showing them Jesus, and most of all keep praying for them! My extended family ( parents and sibs) prayed for 19 yrs! God answered them!

    God bless,
    gloria

  28. 28 jm
    July 17, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Hello earth to GB!!!

    Yes i read what you said. Your giving two different definitions for two words that mean the same thing. You did not believe Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definitions. I’ll ask you the same question Mark did. On what basis do you make that distinction? It’s is not from the LDS VERNACULAR. Here are the definitions from the LDS web site, there is no difference. It dose not say transgression is regardless of whether it is willful or knowledgeable.

    Sin

    To commit sin is to willfully disobey God’s commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17).

    Transgression

    Violation or breaking of a commandment or law.

    Additional Information

    See Sin

  29. 29 JesusLover
    July 17, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Thanks Gloria. I recently had an astonishing email from him where he acknowledged that I was closer to God than he was and likely closer to Him than any man in his church and asked me to pray about something for him. I’m encouraged that he can see the difference between a real relationship with the living Jesus and what he believes in the mormon church – he thinks it might be “just me” but we know it’s how every true believer in Christ is. I’m a tad excited! :^)

  30. 30 markcares
    July 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Geoff:
    I have talked to hundreds of “real live Mormons”. In fact, I met another Mormon just yesterday who thanked me for what I said and wants to hear more.
    I have taken the missionary lessons more than once. In fact, one of the things that I noticed early on was that the answers often varied from one misssionary team to the next.
    Having said all that, when I have asked LDS leaders what were the best authorities to learn Mormonism they pointed me to the church manuals, Conference editions, etc. In fact, it was a member of the stake presidency who gave me my first copy of Gospel Principles.
    And if my motivation isn’t clear – let me repeat it. I believe wholeheartedly that the teachings of Mormonism lead people to the outer darkness of hell. That motivates me to warn Mormons about their teachings and point them to the truth that we are not saved by grace, after all we can do, but we are saved by grace through faith without works because Jesus has done everything for us.

  31. 31 GB
    July 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    jm,

    Sin

    To commit sin is to willfully disobey God’s commandments or to fail to act righteously despite a knowledge of the truth (see James 4:17).

    Transgression

    Violation or breaking of a commandment or law.

    Additional Information

    See Sin

    Hello earth to jm!!!

    Do you not see the difference?

  32. July 17, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    That is encouraging!! Keep praying for your friend, loving him and never give up! I am so glad that my family did just that for 19 yrs!! Thanks for the praise report! I am thrilled too!
    God bless,
    gloria

  33. July 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Mark,

    I just want to personally encourage you. What you are doing here is done in the Spirit of Love.. it’s so obvious. Yes, there are going to be LDS who may not appreciate your thoughts and insights, but I have never felt animosity or anger or hostility from you towards the LDS here or on your site in general. You are sharing the truth in love, and sometimes the truth hurts. It hurts to read or be told that what one has held true is simply not true. It hurts, but it needs to be done. Why? Because as you shared, you don’t want to see anyone spend an eternity seperate from God.

    Please know I pray for you and others on the web who are witnessing to the LDS. May the Lord continue to encourage you!

    In Christ,
    gloria

  34. 34 JesusLover
    July 17, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    GM – there IS NO DIFFERENCE between sin and trangression in God’s eyes. It is YOU that does not see the difference and it’s a costly blindness. As much as we would like to we can’t justify our sin before God – rating the severity according to how we think – it’s God’s standard and it’s a high one. “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”Romans 3:23.

    This passage from Romans 5 is a wonderful passage about sin entering the world thru Adam (12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned) – our own sinful nature because of this inherent nature within all people (yes I know mormons don’t believe in “original sin” but this passage is clear about this truth) and the loving sacrifice of Jesus to “solve” that sin problem and make us acceptable before God. It is a once and for all sacrifice that “gets us into heaven” (saved from wrath through Him vs 9) if you will but daily we must submit in love and obedience to Christ so He can refine us.

    ” 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

    10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

    14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

    16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

    17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

    18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

    19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

    20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

    21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    Please read the passage carefully. Sometimes you respond so quickly that it’s not apparent whether or not you have really read the passage towards understanding or just something to skim over on your way to prove me wrong.

  35. 35 faithoffathers
    July 17, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Mark,

    You said “I don’t want to misunderstand you but what I take from it is that the the concept of a stated LDS vernacular (and agreed upon definitions of works) is not that easily identified.”

    What I said is that the concepts of sin vs. transgression are not perfectly distinct from eachother as some people claim. I was not in any way making broad statements about “LDS vernacular.”

    There is no group in the world that does not demonstrate the phenomenon of imperfect communication. Nobody defines words exactly the same way. No form of communication between mortals is perfect, including the written or spoken word. LDS are no different. Neither are evangelicals or anybody else.

    I do not believe LDS are more prone to such imperfect communication than other groups. We have opinions just like every member of every other church in the world.

  36. 36 JesusLover
    July 17, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    GB -you cut and paste and added:

    Mark: Neither does the Bible limit sin only to our actions. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.

    GB: It is clear that you are getting it WRONG, AGAIN!!

    How on Earth do you conclude that “sinfulness of thoughts” are EXCLUDED from “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth”?

    GB – HOW ON EARTH do you get from what Mark wrote that he excludes sinful thoughts from willfully disobeying God?? He says that very thing: “In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.” Deliberate or passing thought – if our thoughts are of a sinful nature – they are sin and Mark is quoting Jesus when He talks about sinful thoughts.

    Many times you make statements about what people say that are patently not true and that all can read for themselves that you have either twisted or edited statements to fit your advisarial stance. Do you truly not see that or are you trying to create an air of “those evangelicals out to make us LDS look bad” hoping that people will read what you write more carefully than that of what people say and thus sway people to your views? I’ve seen it again and again with what you write and long before I started posting in here. It’s very obvious at least to me. A strong argument or truth does not need to resort to such tactics.

  37. 37 GB
    July 17, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    jl: Please read the passage carefully. Sometimes you respond so quickly that it’s not apparent whether or not you have really read the passage towards understanding or just something to skim over on your way to prove me wrong.

    GB: Please read the passage carefully. Sometimes you respond so quickly that it’s not apparent whether or not you have really read the passage towards understanding or just something to skim over on your way to prove me wrong.

    NOWHERE in those verses does it call the partaking of the forbidden fruit by Adam (or Eve) a sin. Transgression yes, sin no.

    NOTICE!!! That statement neither expresses nor implies that Adam was without sin after partaking of the forbidden fruit.

    12 Wherefore, as by one man sin (notice that it does NOT say “by one man’s sin, sin) entered into the world (and it entered because of Adam’s transgression), and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

    As I said before, I find NOWHERE in scripture where partaking of the fruit is referred to as a SIN!!

  38. 38 GB
    July 17, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    jl: GB – HOW ON EARTH do you get from what Mark wrote that he excludes sinful thoughts from willfully disobeying God??

    GB: Because he used the statement “Neither does the Bible limit sin only to our actions. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.” as an argument to support his assertion that “Is sin really only a willful disobedience of God’s commandments?” is what “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth” boils down to.

    He is the one claiming that “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth” is in error because “Neither does the Bible limit sin only to our actions. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.”

    Why does He think that “Neither does the Bible limit sin only to our actions. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.” shows the error of “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth” UNLESS “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth” EXCLUDES “sinfulness of thoughts.”?

    I hope that isn’t to deep for you.

  39. 39 Echo
    July 17, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    GB,

    I have asked this a few times already,

    Do you believe a person is guilty for sins they don’t know about?
    Do you believe that people will be held responsible for sins they don’t know about?

  40. 40 JesusLover
    July 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    GB – it’s not too deep – I just don’t see how you think Mark doesn’t think thought life is counted as sin as well as actions when he states so clealy: “Why does He think that “Neither does the Bible limit sin only to our actions. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly talked about the sinfulness of thoughts.” shows the error of “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth” UNLESS “willfully disobey(ing) God’s commandments” or “fail(ing) to act righteously despite our knowledge of the truth” EXCLUDES “sinfulness of thoughts.”?”

    Mark – and the bible – are saying that willful sin – both acted out and thought about – are the same as sinful acts or thought commited without intent. I’m sure he can speak better for himself but in nothing he’s written has he ever said what you are saying he said. He is clearly writing “white” and you are screaming out “are you all so stupid – he says it’s black”.

    Mark clearly stated in his post that actions and thoughts are equal in the eyes of God. You may like to justify and sugar-coat sin but I sure don’t.

  41. 41 Echo
    July 18, 2009 at 4:45 am

    GB said:
    =======

    “NOWHERE in those verses does it call the partaking of the forbidden fruit by Adam (or Eve) a sin. Transgression yes, sin no.”

    1 Timothy 2:14 “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a SINNER”

    Romans 5:14 “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not SIN by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.”

    Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as SIN entered the world through one man(Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned

  42. 42 jm
    July 18, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Thank you JesusLover, there IS NO DIFFERENCE between sin and transgression in God’s eyes. There is only one definition for sin and transgression and they are both the same.

  43. July 18, 2009 at 5:52 am

    I haven’t read any of the ensuing debate, so I won’t comment on it.

    To respond to Mark’s original post…

    Yes, sin can be unintentional, I guess. Although I’m not sure the label really matters much here. I think it’s clear that both Evangelicals and Mormons consider a premeditated murder to be somehow worse than an unintentional one.

    As for why the LDS teachings focus mostly on conscious action – probably a practical focus on trying to guide people toward better living. Nothing more.

    Frankly Mark, I don’t see what the big to-do is.

  44. 44 markcares
    July 18, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Gloira:
    Thanks for the encouragement.I pray that the Lord continue to also bless your efforts..

  45. July 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you, mark & God bless you!

    In Christ,
    gloria

  46. 46 GB
    July 19, 2009 at 1:19 am

    1 Timothy 2:14
    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    International Standard Version (©2008)
    And it was not Adam who was deceived. It was the woman who was deceived and became a lawbreaker.

    King James Bible
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    American King James Version
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    American Standard Version
    and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression:

    Bible in Basic English
    And Adam was not taken by deceit, but the woman, being tricked, became a wrongdoer.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And Adam was not seduced; but the woman being seduced, was in the transgression.

    Darby Bible Translation
    and Adam was not deceived; but the woman, having been deceived, was in transgression.

    English Revised Version
    and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression:

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

    Weymouth New Testament
    and Adam was not deceived, but his wife was thoroughly deceived, and so became involved in transgression.

    World English Bible
    Adam wasn’t deceived, but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience;

    Young’s Literal Translation
    and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, into transgression came,
    ===============

    Romans 5:14
    New American Standard Bible (©1995)
    Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

    King James Bible
    Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    American King James Version
    Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    American Standard Version
    Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come.

    Bible in Basic English
    But still death had power from Adam till Moses, even over those who had not done wrong like Adam, who is a picture of him who was to come.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even over them also who have not sinned after the similitude of the transgression of Adam, who is a figure of him who was to come.

    Darby Bible Translation
    but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even upon those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him to come.

    English Revised Version
    Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a figure of him that was to come.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    World English Bible
    Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those whose sins weren’t like Adam’s disobedience, who is a foreshadowing of him who was to come.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    but the death did reign from Adam till Moses, even upon those not having sinned in the likeness of Adam’s transgression, who is a type of him who is coming.
    ================

    And Echo, IF your are trying to say that Rom 5:12 says that Adam’s partaking of the forbidden fruit was a sin, THEN your reading comprehension skills really SUCK!!!

    Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

  47. 47 JesusLover
    July 19, 2009 at 4:21 am

    GB – telling someone they “suck” is not a mature or polite way to discuss the things of God – not only have you confirmed your young age to me but you owe Echo an apology for your rudeness to him. This site is for a mature discussion about God – it’s not your personal playground where you can say anything you like to people while you hide behind the internet.

  48. 48 JesusLover
    July 19, 2009 at 5:01 am

    1 Timothy 5
    1Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

    2The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

  49. 49 Echo
    July 19, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    GB,

    What about:

    Do you believe a person is guilty for sins they don’t know about?
    Do you believe that people will be held responsible for sins they don’t know about?

  50. 50 Echo
    July 20, 2009 at 2:48 am

    GB Said:
    ========

    “And Echo, IF your are trying to say that Rom 5:12 says that Adam’s partaking of the forbidden fruit was a sin, THEN your reading comprehension skills really SUCK!!!

    Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

    Echo:
    ====

    Have you carefully read this passage? Have you read the context? Very clearly it is refering to Adam’s SIN in Eden. The SIN that brought “death” to us all.

    In Eden, God said:

    Gen 2:17 “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, FOR WHEN YOU EAT OF IT YOU WILL SURELY DIE.”

    Satan said:

    Gen 3:4 “”You will not surely die,”

    Adam KNEW he was not to eat and he did anyway. That is willful transgression (willful sin)

    The Romans 5:12 the verse says that sin “entered into the world” through Adam. That is because Adam was the first man in the world to sin. That is why the passage says: “sin entered the world”. Most definately this passage points to Adam’s sin of eating the fruit in Eden. Most definately his transgression (sin) was not done in ignorance.

    The KJV uses the word “transgression”. A transgression is defined as: “A deliberate stepping over the boundary” (strongs exhaustive concordance)

    This proves absolutely true in the case of Adam since Adam knew that God did not want him to eat the fruit from the tree and he did it anyway. That is willful transgression, willful sin!

    The passage also says “sin entered the world and DEATH BY SIN”. When did Death first enter the world? After Adam’s sin!

  51. 51 GB
    July 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Echo,

    You can twist it any way you want BUT IF your are trying to say that Rom 5:12 says that Adam’s partaking of the forbidden fruit was a sin, THEN your reading comprehension skills really SUCK!!!

    =========

    Notice to JL !!!

    Read that very carefully and then tell me what I said sucked. We will see how your reading comprehension skills are. :-)

  52. 52 Echo
    July 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    GB

    What are your answers to these?

    Do you believe a person is guilty for sins they don’t know about?
    Do you believe that people will be held responsible for sins they don’t know about?

  53. 53 geoff456
    July 20, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Echo,

    I will answer your questions.

    1. No, I do not believe a person is guilty for “sins” they don’t know about.

    What would be an example of one, anyway??

    You must be aware of a law to break it. Aboriginal people of the South Pacific, for example, can not be convicted of a breech in a law they NEVER knew existed. Where there is NO law, thee is NO punishment.

    2. I do not believe any one would be “held responsible” for sins they don’t know about.
    Innocent children and ignorant people can not break laws or be held responsible to OBEY a law they do not know about or understand or are capable of understanding. That is why children are not baptized until age 8….the age of accountability.

    I will also reiterate my last post:

    Sin is something that is inherently WRONG, in God’s eyes and man’s….like cold blooded murder.

    A transgression is something DEEMED wrong by man or society….like breaking a speed limit and/ or cold blooded murder.

    Hence, ALL sin is a transgression, but not all transgression is a sin.

    Mark used to post about how guilty Mormons feel…how they worry about sin and perfection too much! Now he is telling us that we don’t worry about sin enough??

    ~Geoff

  54. 54 geoff456
    July 20, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    GLORIA,

    I read your post about the conversation with the old friend. Here is my observation:

    Mormons question the “i am a sinner” line because we believe in repentance! My sins are forgiven and FORGOTTEN when I repent. I don’t keep harping on them and calling myself a “sinner”. This is all possible because the Lord suffered and died and paid the price for my sins so that I didn’t have to. What is the use in harping on being a “sinner” all the time if the price has been paid and the sins are forgotten??

    I know we continue to sin and fall short, but we just repent daily and do what is right!!

    The Lord has done His part, why don’t you do your part?

    I guess you could say that I am planning on being the best person I can be by repenting and striving for perfection by the time I meet the Savior and not wait until the very end. It sounds like to me that you are just counting on the Savior taking your place and not doing any repenting or improving at all.

    Improving my life through repentance gives me the power and the strength to choose the right and be happy.

    ~Geoff

  55. 55 Echo
    July 20, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks for answering my questions Geoff.

    Geoff said:
    ===========

    1. No, I do not believe a person is guilty for “sins” they don’t know about.

    2. I do not believe any one would be “held responsible” for sins they don’t know about.

    Echo:
    =====

    Here is a passage of scripture worth giving alot of thought to:

    Leviticus 5:17 “If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible.”

    Geoff said:
    ==========

    What would be an example of one, anyway??

    Echo:
    =====

    Here are a few examples, maybe you are aware of some of them.

    If we are called by our church to do something and do it only because to refuse would make us look bad, we are sinning.

    If God wants us to do something we are uncomfortable doing and we don’t do it, we sin.

    Worry is a sin. If we worry about our health, our money situation, when we worry about whether or not we will gain eternal life etc., we sin.

    When we feel superior to someone else because they sin in ways we never would, we sin.

    When we don’t speak the truth in love to those who believe in false teaching, we sin.

    Anytime we are angry about all the troubles that are happening in our life, we sin.

    Anytime we depend on our feelings rather than turning to God’s word in scriptures for answers, we sin.

    Anytime we hide our faith we sin.

    Whenever we trust what others say and teach rather than testing what they say in light of scripture, we sin.

    When we don’t love everyone unconditionally, we sin.

    If we are aware of a single false teaching in our church and do not speak up or leave that church, we sin.

    Cheating on our taxes is a sin.

    Maybe some of the other people posting on this blog could add to this list.

    Geoff said:
    ==========

    Sin is something that is inherently WRONG, in God’s eyes and man’s….like cold blooded murder.

    A transgression is something DEEMED wrong by man or society….like breaking a speed limit and/ or cold blooded murder.

    Hence, ALL sin is a transgression, but not all transgression is a sin.

    Echo:
    =====

    I believe that breaking the speed limit would be a sin since God wants us to obey our government. If we don’t obey the governement, we aren’t obeying God, therefore we sin.

    Romans 13:3-4 “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”

    Can you give me another example?

    Geoff said:
    ==========

    Mark used to post about how guilty Mormons feel…how they worry about sin and perfection too much! Now he is telling us that we don’t worry about sin enough??

    Echo:
    ====

    I can’t speak for Mark. But when a person is very sincere and serious about God and is a follower of the LDS church and is faced with meeting “conditions” to gaining eternal life, they are naturally going to worry all the time about sin and perfection. Add to that the LDS belief that forgiveness only comes after a person has overcome their sin.
    This results in a person always being so uncertain about whether or not they have met those conditions, or whether they have been forgiven and it can potentially create alot of anxiety, fear and even despair. Fear, anxiety and despair are not what God intends for us. God intends for us to have perfect peace.

    On the other hand, there are those in the LDS church who don’t worry about sin enough. (I am sure we have them in our church body also- not to single out the LDS church in anyway). They have either hardened their heart so that they are not pained by their sin any longer or they don’t know what sin is, or the depth of sin, the boundlessness of sin etc.

    What we have is two kinds of people (thus far) and two approaches tailored to those specific groups of people.

  56. July 20, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Echo, when you are talking about a worldly code of laws, it is a much different matter than when one is talking about one’s status before a perfectly just God.

    We all know that, in the United States, ignorance of the law is no defense. This is because our law enforcement officers, and our court system have no way of sorting out who was really ignorant of the law, and who is just lying to get out of a traffic ticket. If ignorance were a defense, it would make our civil laws overly-complicated, and often unenforceable.

    So the “ignorance is no defense” line is used as a matter of convenient civil governance.

    Which is the sense in which Leviticus 5:17 is used. It’s just a pragmatic governance verse.

    It gives no indication that it refers to a person’s ultimate status before God and heaven.

    So I don’t see Lev 5:17 as an answer to Geoff’s comment.

  57. 57 jm
    July 21, 2009 at 6:24 am

    17 “If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. It’s just a pragmatic (opinionated) governance verse. yea right

  58. 58 Echo
    July 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Seth said:
    =========

    So the “ignorance is no defense” line is used as a matter of convenient civil governance.

    Which is the sense in which Leviticus 5:17 is used. It’s just a pragmatic governance verse.

    It gives no indication that it refers to a person’s ultimate status before God and heaven.

    Echo:
    =====

    Where in the Bible does it say that it is a matter of convenient civil governance?

    Where in the Bible does it indicate is does not refer to a person’s ultimate status before God and heaven?

  59. July 21, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    “Where in the Bible does it say that it is a matter of convenient civil governance? Where in the Bible does it indicate is does not refer to a person’s ultimate status before God and heaven?”

    Where in the Bible does it indicate otherwise?

  60. 60 geoff456
    July 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Echo,

    I just have a minute right now but I think you and I are not quite on the same page.

    You listed sins of omission. I think people KNOW when they are NOT doing what is right.

    You talked about “sins people don’t know they committed” which to me is akin to the “being born a sinner” argument.

    If I fail to keep a commandment I would know about it.

    so, can you give me an example of a sin I wouldn’t know about?

    and maybe I should have simplified my definition of a transgression this way: going 55 miles and hour is not a sin in the Lord’s eyes. It is NOT inherently wrong. It is wrong to go 55 miles an hour through a 25 mph school zone. THAT is a transgression. cold blooded murder is inherently wrong. It is WRONG all the time in God’s eyes.

    ~Geoff

  61. 61 geoff456
    July 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Oh and one more thing,

    Living the Gospel and keeping the commandments makes me happy, not guilty feeling. I love having the Holy Ghost with me. I can feel the emptiness when He leaves. I do everything I can to get His influence back! The Gospel is a blessing in my life, not a burden!

    If you have heard otherwise, you must have been talking to LDS who are on the “fringe” and who have a hard time keeping the commandments, have a pride issue, etc. The average Latter-day Saint is a happy, faithful person. It comes with the territory. :)

    ~Geoff

  62. 62 GB
    July 21, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Geoff: Mark used to post about how guilty Mormons feel…how they worry about sin and perfection too much! Now he is telling us that we don’t worry about sin enough??

    GB: AMEN!!!!!!!!!!

  63. 63 Echo
    July 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Seth said:
    =========

    E: “Where in the Bible does it say that it is a matter of convenient civil governance? Where in the Bible does it indicate is does not refer to a person’s ultimate status before God and heaven?”

    S: “Where in the Bible does it indicate otherwise?”

    Echo:
    =====

    Leviticus: 17 “If a person sins and does what is FORBIDDEN IN ANY OF THE LORD’S COMMANDS, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. 18 He is to bring TO THE PREIST as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. IN THIS WAY THE PRIEST WILL MAKE ATONEMENT FOR HIM FOR THE WRONG HE HAS COMMITTED UNINTENTIONALLY, AND HE WILL BE FORGIVEN. 19 It is a guilt offering; HE HAS BEEN GUILTY OF WRONGDOING AGAINST THE LORD.”

  64. 64 Echo
    July 21, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Geoff said:
    ===========

    “You talked about “sins people don’t know they committed” which to me is akin to the “being born a sinner” argument.

    If I fail to keep a commandment I would know about it.

    so, can you give me an example of a sin I wouldn’t know about?”

    Echo:
    ====

    Oh, yes we are talking past one another then.
    I wasn’t talking about being born a sinner although we are born sinners and have inherited our sinful nature from Adam. I am just talking about sins, any sins, that some people might not be aware of as being sins.

    Geoff said:
    ==========

    and maybe I should have simplified my definition of a transgression this way: going 55 miles and hour is not a sin in the Lord’s eyes. It is NOT inherently wrong. It is wrong to go 55 miles an hour through a 25 mph school zone. THAT is a transgression. cold blooded murder is inherently wrong. It is WRONG all the time in God’s eyes.

    Echo:
    =====

    I agree that going 55mph is not a sin. It is a sin when the speed limit is 25mph.
    But going 55mph in a 55mph zone is not a sin nor a transgression.
    Going 55mph in a 25mph zone is a sin and transgression. Right?

    Geoff said:
    ===========
    Oh and one more thing,

    Living the Gospel and keeping the commandments makes me happy, not guilty feeling. I love having the Holy Ghost with me. I can feel the emptiness when He leaves. I do everything I can to get His influence back! The Gospel is a blessing in my life, not a burden!

    If you have heard otherwise, you must have been talking to LDS who are on the “fringe” and who have a hard time keeping the commandments, have a pride issue, etc. The average Latter-day Saint is a happy, faithful person. It comes with the territory. :)

    Echo:
    =====

    I am not talking about feeling “guilty.”
    Keeping the commandments isn’t what is making people feel fearful, anxious and despairing. What I am saying is that the “conditions” the LDS places on gaining eternal life and forgiveness is what makes them feel fearful, anxious and sometimes leads them to despair.

    It doesn’t matter how much effort any human being puts into obedience to God’s commandments, they are always going to come up short of the goal. This applies to ALL of us, not just some of us. Our burden is our sin, not our obedience.
    You have defined someone who is on the “fringe”. You sort of make them sound like they aren’t as good or as committed as others. They have a hard time keeping the commandments, have a pride issue etc. In reality, they could be 10 times more committed than you or I are! Do you know why or how that could possibly be true?

    You also said: “The average Latter-day Saint is a happy, faithful person. It comes with the territory. :)” The average happy, faithful LDS or Lutheran person could be 10 times less committed than you or I are! Do you know why or how that could possibly be true?

  65. 65 geoff456
    July 22, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Echo,

    The “fringe” are people who are NOT committed to the Gospel. they don’t attend church, hold a calling, or keep the commandments, but claim membership in the Church. They are not the typical, faithful Latter-day Saint. There are also those who think they know more than the leaders of the Church. they criticize, grumble and complain. THEY are not the typical, faithful Latter-day Saint. THOSE are the ones who end up leaving the Church and becoming “anti-Mormon”. Usually this kind does not “fade” into the sunset. They stir up trouble, controversy and openly mock the things of God. THAT IS WHO IS SUBJECT TO THE MARK CARES OF THE WORLD.

    I can tell who has the Spirit with them by the look in their eyes. I can spot it a mile away! (ok, not really a mile :)

    I am NOT making claims about denominational Christians…..just LDS.

    ~Geoff

  66. July 22, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Yeah, and the entire book of Leviticus is essentially a book of civil code.

    Your scripture quote doesn’t prove anything.

  67. 67 Echo
    July 22, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Geoff said:
    ==========

    The “fringe” are people who are NOT committed to the Gospel. they don’t attend church, hold a calling, or keep the commandments, but claim membership in the Church. They are not the typical, faithful Latter-day Saint.

    Echo:
    =====

    What IF these people really are 10 times more committed than you or I? Do you know why or how that could possibly be true?

    Geoff said:
    ==========

    There are also those who think they know more than the leaders of the Church. they criticize, grumble and complain.

    Echo:
    =====

    What if God has led these people to see more and know more than the leaders of the Church? God does use the weak to shame the strong, he does use the foolish to shame the wise.

    Geoff said:
    ==========

    THOSE are the ones who end up leaving the Church and becoming “anti-Mormon”. Usually this kind does not “fade” into the sunset. They stir up trouble, controversy and openly mock the things of God. THAT IS WHO IS SUBJECT TO THE MARK CARES OF THE WORLD.

    Echo:
    =====

    I can’t speak on behalf of the LDS but I guess I am thinking to myself that just because someone is dead set against the Lutheran teachings I believe in doesn’t make them “anti-Lutheran.” In fact, the very opposite could be true! The fact of the matter is that if someone is against Lutheran teachings, they actually could be the chosen tool in God’s hand to lead me away from any false beliefs I have or any deception I am caught up in. So rather than them being anti-Lutheran, they could be a very special gift from God to me!

    If I am approached by someone who is against what I believe, what might “appear” to me to be controversy, mocking and trouble might actually not be controversy, mocking and trouble. Jesus was deadset against the teaching of the Pharisees and he made that known, the Pharisees were offended by what Jesus said, they judged him as one who caused great controversy, they thought Jesus was mocking the things of God, they thought Jesus was stirring up trouble. Unfortunately, they judged him wrong and all to their own peril.

    It is also true that there will be true anti-Lutherans as apposed to those who are a special gift from God to me. But the fact of the matter is, both “may” appear to be on the same side of the fence from my perspective. They may both “appear” to be controversial, mocking and stirring up trouble when in reality, only one of them is truly the anti-Lutheran. Then there is the person who is against Lutheran teachings who isn’t anti-Lutheran, but is himself misguided and decieved. If that is the case, then God may be using a Lutheran as the tool for such a person as this.

    How do you think we can we judge who is anti-LDS/Lutheran and who is a chosen tool in God’s hand to lead us in a different direction?

  68. 68 Echo
    July 22, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Seth said:
    ==========

    Yeah, and the entire book of Leviticus is essentially a book of civil code.

    Your scripture quote doesn’t prove anything.

    Echo:
    =====

    What has forgiveness of sins have to do with civil code?

  69. 69 geoff456
    July 22, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Echo,

    i think i know why you named yourself echo. repeat, repeat, repeat!

    gotta be LDS to understand it…. sorry if you don’t get it, but apparently you don’t.

    ~geoff

  70. 70 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 3:44 am

    Geoff – I’m pretty sure Echo “gets it” – I just think he is trying to get you to see things from a different perspective. God sometimes appears when we least expect it and not always in the way that we are used to. If we are not open to Him – if we think we have all our ducks in a row – we can miss hearing His voice and thus miss the message He is trying to give us. Sometimes the very people that don’t tow the line as we expect they should are the one’s closest to God because they are not following men and man-made rules.

  71. July 22, 2009 at 4:25 am

    The entire US penal code is essentially (among other things) an attempt to win forgiveness. It doesn’t always work. But then again, neither did the ancient Jewish code.

  72. 72 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 4:35 am

    SethR – The entire US penal code is essentially (among other things) an attempt to win forgiveness. It doesn’t always work. But then again, neither did the ancient Jewish code.

    I don’t agree. The penal code is not about forgiveness – it’s about punishment and penalties for crimes/sins. Forgiveness can only be forgiven by the victim of the crime or by a judge who pardons the individual. I see the penal code as a warning to potential sinners/criminals. It doesn’t always “work” because it is human nature to want to go against rules and there are always people who don’t care about rules or breaking them. Because of our inherent sin nature.

  73. July 22, 2009 at 5:18 am

    You see, that’s where you go wrong JL.

    Justice IS a part of forgiveness.

  74. 74 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    SethR – Respectfully – you are mistaken.

    Mirriam Webster online:

    Justice:

    1 a: the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments b: judge c: the administration of law ; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity2 a: the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1): the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2): conformity to this principle or ideal : righteousness c: the quality of conforming to law3: conformity to truth, fact, or reason : correctness

    Forgiveness:

    : the act of forgiving

  75. July 22, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    A person cannot really grasp forgiveness unless he feels he has paid for his wrongs in some sense.

    The Atonement is an acknowledgment that our efforts to pay are always short. But something is still required of the sinner. You will never really have saving confidence in your own forgiveness unless you know you have paid for it somehow.

  76. 76 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    SethR. – you may “feel” that this point of view is correct but your feelings would be telling you a lie as thinking you can save yourself is a doctrine invented by the devil and no where found in scripture.

    This belief I have to tell you is a huge part of why bible-believing Christians – myself included – find the beliefs of mormons so offensive because that whole belief system disrepects and downgrades the true nature and being of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Believing you can effect ANY of your salvation is akin to spitting on the Lord Jesus and saying “thanks pal for dying but I can take it from here”.

    Offensive that His agony on the cross was not enough and that you have to do more.

    Arrogant and prideful that you can believe you are on the same level as God and can save yourself by rituals and acts.

    Offensive too is the belief that Jesus is the spirit brother of satan – my blood boils whenever I read this mormon belief. As if the only begotten Son of God is related in some way to satan and God entertained “his plan” as you believe is………I can’t find words to speak of how offensive that is to me. ANYTHING that dishonours Jesus in anyway is offensive to me because I am so grateful for His sacrifice and love to me when I didn’t deserve it and still don’t.

    I’m forgiven by God – not because of something I do.

    Because the mormon church so patently teaches opposite to what the truth of the bible teaches – no matter how a person seeks to manipulate scripture – it is false and that is why we have this site and board and discussions hoping that the truth of God will break thru the elaborate deception and shine God’s truth so that many of you can walk out of a lie and into a truth. What makes it so elaborate a deception is that all the same words in the bible are used yet the meanings ascribed to them are nothing like they are meant to be.

    I KNOW I am saved and will spend eternity with God in heaven. I feel this truth yes but it is not based on some warm fuzzy – it is soundly based on the Rock of His Word the bible which tells me so and it’s only thru the resurrection power of Jesus that I am saved and NOT of my own efforts.

    You cannot know true forgiveness – nor extend it to anyone – until you have received it from God. That is why you feel you must do something to earn forgiveness – because you have not experienced it yet from God.

  77. July 22, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    “I feel this truth yes but it is not based on some warm fuzzy – it is soundly based on the Rock of His Word the bible which tells me so”

    And why do you feel the Bible is reliable?

    Answer: warm fuzzies!

  78. 78 geoff456
    July 22, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    JL,

    It is like trying to explain rocket science in Spanish to an English speaking 1st grader.

    You may pick up a few words, but it is so far over your head that you can’t comprehend it.
    Mark tries, but HE doesn’t get it either.

    You DON’T get it, because YOU DO NOT have the same perspective LDS have. You DO NOT have a grasp of the Gospel as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You do not understand nor have a grasp of the Restoration of the Gospel.

    This is NOT meant to be offensive. But we have something you don’t have. It is there for you, but you would have to humble yourself and open your heart and mind. Is that possible for you? YES. Is it probable?? No, probably not. That is exactly why the LDS people on this blog frequently sound exasperated.

    ~Geoff

  79. 79 Echo
    July 22, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I love the way Jesuslover coined the truth when she said this: “The penal code is not about forgiveness – it’s about punishment and penalties for crimes/sins.”

    That is justice.

    Seth said:
    =========

    A person cannot really grasp forgiveness unless he feels he has paid for his wrongs in some sense.

    The Atonement is an acknowledgment that our efforts to pay are always short. But something is still required of the sinner. You will never really have saving confidence in your own forgiveness unless you know you have paid for it somehow.

    Echo:
    =====

    A person cannot really grasp forgiveness when he feels he has to pay for his wrongs in some sense.

    Seth said:
    ==========

    You will never really have saving confidence in your own forgiveness unless you know you have paid for it somehow.

    Echo:
    =====

    You will never really have saving confidence in your own forgiveness unless you look to Jesus, who is God, who died on the cross and PAID ALL THAT WE OWE IN FULL. No strings attached.
    You can either be your own Savior by paying for it somehow or you can believe that Jesus is your Savior and has paid it if full for you.

  80. 80 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    geoff – see there is where I see the arrogance – “you just don’t understand”. The LDS gospel is not difficult to grasp at all – I just know it to be false and so reject it. Could this just not be the reason bible-believing Christians reject the teachings of the mormon church?

    I find Mark extremely knowlegable which is why I read his blog and extremely loving in his approach with LDS people. I think sometimes seeing your beliefs written out by people in black and white at times unsettles some of you so you turn around and say we don’t understand but we do. From reading the LDS website – the BOM and other books you have – the archives of the BYU library – the Journal of Discourses – speaking to mormons about their beliefs and most importantly lining up those beliefs with the bible – the inherrant word of God.

    The LDS faith is not at all “over my head” as you stated – I reject it because it is a lie. No other reason.

  81. 81 Echo
    July 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Geoff said:
    ===========

    You DON’T get it, because YOU DO NOT have the same perspective LDS have. You DO NOT have a grasp of the Gospel as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You do not understand nor have a grasp of the Restoration of the Gospel.

    Echo:
    =====

    No offense intended but the LDS gospel is straw that will burn up in the fire, the gospel in scripture, which doesn’t require restoring, is Pure Gold and withstands all fire. A restored gospel is another gospel. It isn’t the gospel preached in the Bible.

    Galatians 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”

  82. July 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    By all demographic indications, it’s the EVANGELICAL straw that’s going to burn out long before the Mormon one does.

    If it weren’t for Joel Osteen and the mega-churches, your religion would be pretty-much a demographic black hole.

  83. 83 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Seth – you wrote: ”

    And why do you feel the Bible is reliable?

    Answer: warm fuzzies!”

    Absolutely not! and this actually made me laugh because that is exactly how the LDS missionaries and the LDS people say that we are to “know” that the book of mormon is true – a feeling!
    My friend – there is TONS of evidence to prove the reliabily of the bible and absolutely none to prove the same of the BOM.

    Start with creation: http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/
    This site has tons of scientific evidence to prove that God created the earth.

    Archaological Evidence: http://www.facingthechallenge.org/arch2.php

    These points in case you don’t want to read Christian websites:

    “There is a growing mass of evidence from archaeology that the Bible accounts deal with real people living in real places. But what can this evidence from archaeology do?

    1. It might disprove something in the Bible documents. If the Bible was false, we would expect new archaeological discoveries to do this. In fact, there is no known case where archaeology decisively disproves the Bible. This itself is strong evidence for the truth of the Christian message.
    2. It could provide direct confirmation of what the Bible says. We would expect that in many cases there is no direct archaeological evidence one way or the other, and this is what we find. However, there are some cases where archaeology does provide direct confirmation, and we have listed some of them on this site.
    3. It can provide background information that helps us to understand what the Bible documents say.

    The examples above either provide direct confirmation of something in the Bible, or provide background information that helps us to understand what the Bible says.”

    The best books that I have read on the subject of whether or not the bible is reliable are by 1)Josh McDowell – http://www.josh.org/site/c.ddKDIMNtEqG/b.4023555/k.BE5B/Home.htm – they are entitled: “Evidence that Demands a verdict” and
    2) “The Stones Cry Out – what archaeology reveals about the truth of the bible” by Randall Price.

    We don’t believe the bible because of warm fuzzy – we have solid evidence to do so which is so wonderful! and that does produce a calm, confidence and gratitude that God did not just plop us here on earth and leave us to figure things out. And I praise Him for that.

  84. July 22, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    So tell me JL.

    Should I start worshiping Zeus because the Illiad talks about “real people” and “real places?”

  85. 85 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Seth R. – where is the bible does it say that the majority believing something makes it’s true?

    Where is a majority opinion of something EVER found to be conclusive evidence for the truth of something?

    My children both said that to me when they wanted to do something I told them that they couldn’t: “Everyone else is doing it.”

  86. July 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I agree, demographic success doesn’t equate with truth. Glad we agree.

    Now, I expect that you will likewise refrain from pointing to Mormon exit stories as proof of your position, like I’ve heard so many of your fellow Evangelicals attempt to do.

  87. 87 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Seth – why are you threatened by the bible being factual? You seem a genuine, earnest fellow that wants to follow God – shouldn’t finding out the truth of God be the most important thing in this life rather than defending a church that has shifted and changed and lied to its people since its inception?

  88. 88 Echo
    July 22, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Seth,

    I’ll bet that when Jesus’ dead body was placed in the tomb the Pharisees pretty much thought that Jesus’ religion was a demographic black hole since he now was dead.

    I’ll bet there were those who scoffed that a helpless little baby born in a manger (animal’s food trough) being true God, the Savior of the world.

    I’ll bet those who drive Porsche’s flinch a suspicious eyebrow at a God/man riding a donkey.

    I’ll bet Rich folks with hired servants would cringe at a God/man washing the feet of his disciples.

    You won’t find God in the sparkle and glitter of the world, you will find him only in the lowly places. In the places that are despised by the world.

  89. 89 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Seth – it had not occured to me to talk about mormon exit stories as proof.

    Truth is not determined by how many and who believes it – something is either *true* or *false* in and of itself – someone believing or not believing it doesn’t change that. That’s why the number of people in the mormon church doesn’t prove it to be true. And even you must know that using that argument is not factual as the LDS church is losing at least as many members by going inactive or leaving as it is gaining. That is no secret to anyone that reads the news on either “side”.

  90. 90 Echo
    July 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Seth said:
    ==========

    You will never really have saving confidence in your own forgiveness unless you know you have paid for it somehow.

    Echo:
    =====

    How can you ever have saving confidence in your own forgiveness until you know exactly how much must be paid?

  91. July 22, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I’m not threatened by the Bible being factual.

    But I think you are seriously misguided if you think you’ve somehow objectively proven that it is. God is beyond being historically and scientifically proven by your feeble efforts. If you continue to rely on the arm of the flesh for your conviction in the Bible, eventually you will meet an atheist who is a lot smarter than you and utterly wipes the floor with your academic arguments.

    At that point, if your conviction is based on nothing more than a handful of sketchy archeology, and few bad logical proofs, your faith in God WILL fall.

    And I’ll see you among the ranks of bitter angry atheists the I lock horns with every once in a while.

    Arrogant fundamentalism leads to shallow convictions that are easily toppled once a stiff breeze hits. If you rely on the arm of the flesh to prove your Bible, you run the risk of being toppled eventually as well.

  92. 92 Echo
    July 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Seth said:
    ==========

    At that point, if your conviction is based on nothing more than a handful of sketchy archeology, and few bad logical proofs, your faith in God WILL fall.

    Echo:
    =====

    I agree with you on this. No amount of archeology or scientific proof creates saving faith. Saving faith comes only through the message of the gospel.

    Seth said:
    ==========

    You will never really have saving confidence in your own forgiveness unless you know you have paid for it somehow.

    Echo:
    =====

    How can you ever have saving confidence in your own forgiveness until you know exactly how much must be paid?

  93. 93 JesusLover
    July 22, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Seth – I posted a small snippet of information for you on the evidence for the bible in response to your comment that I believed the bible to be factual because of a “warm fuzzy”. And I assure you it’s not “a handful of sketchy archeology, and few bad logical proofs” – it’s a vast body of very real evidence that God is revealing to man – the God of the bible wants us to seek and find Him! If you wanted to truly know Him as He is and not how you want Him to be you would not be afraid to dig into what we have written just as I was not afraid to investigate the mormon church thoroughly.

    Contrary to what you might think – I had no prejudices or biases when I started studying the LDS faith and very much a bias for it to be true as I was dating a mormon I loved very much and we were headed towards marriage.I wanted it to line up with my beliefs very much but wanting something doesn’t make it so!

    However – that being said – that is not what I base my faith on. Echo is right – ” Faith Comes By Hearing and Hearing By the Word of God” Romans 10:17

    I take scripture as truth and I take the promises that God has made to me literally and I walk them out in my life as much as possible because I love Him and I want to know Him more. An example of this is “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
    Proverbs 3:5-6

    This is currently what I am doing with God – when something good comes my way – I thank Him for it. Many would say “oh it’s coincidence or chance or you did this…” but I CHOOSE to believe the scripture that tells me “James 1:17, which says that every good gift “is from above, coming down from the Father.” By acknowledging this TRUTH as I read in Proverbs 3:5-6, I am being obedient to the God and He will “make my paths straight” because He promised in the bible He would and the bible is true. I find the “proof” of these scriptures being true evidenced in my life. That is one way I know the bible is true other than scientific fact and historical evidence.

    I do not expect you to accept this. I prayed one night for my mormon friend and his heart pain stopped. I knew God had healed him and told him to thank God. He became very angry and accused me of forcing my beliefs on him. I didn’t get why he was angry (unless my gift of healing that I exercised is only *supposed* to come from the Mormon Priesthood and this angered him)- I was happy that he was healed and I thanked God myself for it. I would say that this too was evidence of the bible’s truth about praying for the sick and contradicted his belief that only can one get the the Holy Spirit from a mormon priest.

    It does not show a lack of faith to have support for one’s beliefs – it shows that one’s faith is rightly placed. God ***wants*** us to find Him – it is our pride that prevents this. We have to meet Him on His terms – not ours.

    There is NOT ONE PIECE of evidence that disproves any doctrine in the bible. Many have tried and failed. My faith is based on the solid rock that is Jesus and has been for a long, long time.

    Seth – I truly have no arrogance about my beliefs being correct – the bible says “”For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 1 Corinthians Chapter 1.


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