Archive for July, 2011

21
Jul
11

Amazing Grace

 

Very few words have only one meaning.  That is apparent in any dictionary as most words have a number of meanings listed for them.  Therefore the context in which it is used is vitally important in determining its proper meaning.  Nowhere is this more important than in reading the Bible.

Take the word grace.  When it is used in the context of salvation, it refers to an attribute of God – his unconditional love.  This is the love Jesus spoke about in John 3:16.  This is the love Paul referred to in Romans 5, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’  What is pertinent to our discussion is that the Bible says, when it comes to salvation, grace and works don’t mix.  “And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then it is no more of grace; otherwise work is no more work.”  (Romans 11:6)

Mormonism defines grace differently. The LDS manual, True to the Faith, says:  “The word grace, as used in the scriptures refers primarily to the divine help and strength we receive through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  The LDS Bible Dictionary uses almost the exact same wording.  A couple of other excerpts from it:  “This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.”  “However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient.”  Nowhere do either of these two sources mention the idea that grace is God’s unconditional love for mankind.

One reason I am pointing this out is to highlight the fact that when Christians and Mormons talk about grace, most of the time they will be thinking of two different things.  If there is going to be any meaningful discussion between the two, this fact needs to be acknowledged.  Christians will need to remember that when most Mormons hear the word grace they will be thinking of an enabling power given them.  Mormons will need to remember that most Christians will be thinking of God’s love shown them in giving them salvation totally and freely on the basis of what Jesus did.

The second reason for doing this is so that I can bear my testimony about this amazing grace.  I know that God has accepted Jesus’ payment for my sins and I don’t have to add anything to it.  I know that I am going to spend eternity in celestial glory in God’s eternal family, in God’s presence, solely on the basis of what Jesus has done.  To him be all glory!

13
Jul
11

Why witness to Mormons?

I recently listened to a man speaking about the importance of eating correctly and exercising regularly. He talked about how important this was – even for those in the audience who appeared quite physically fit.  For example, there was one young man who ran half marathons but who admitted he didn’t watch his diet that closely.  The speaker said that he too should take the talk to heart because the inside of his body might not be looking as good as the outside.

That is just an example of two things that were very evident.  1) The speaker took being in good health very seriously and 2) he was concerned for everybody in the room.  Some might not have bought into the extremely strong emphasis he put on correct eating and exercising, but nobody denied that he thought that these were very important issues.

What does this have to do with witnessing to Mormons?  Just like people have many different motivations for speaking on good health, so there are many different motivations for witnessing to Mormons.  I can only speak for myself.  The reason I witness to Mormons is because I believe that the teachings of Mormonism pose a grave, eternal danger to people – that Mormonism isn’t a path leading to life with heavenly Father but one that leads people to outer darkness.  I write this with the full realization that many don’t agree with me – that this infuriates many people.  But I don’t say that to upset people – I say that in spite of the fact that I know it will upset people.  I say that because I am totally convinced that people need to be warned.  In fact, I feel that if I didn’t do this, I would be unloving.  Not warning people about a danger you know is approaching is nothing less than criminal.  It was obvious that the above-mentioned speaker felt that way about physical health.  That is how I feel about spiritual health.

Again let me repeat that I know many of you don’t agree with my assessment of the dangers of Mormonism.  Disagreeing with my assessment is one thing.  But if this is what I truly believe – and I’m telling you this is what I truly believe – then at least respect my motivation.  But attributing wrong motives to me or calling my character into question don’t do that.  To be honest, I think that says more about the person making the comment than it does me.

Why do I witness to Mormons?  Because Mormonism, in many ways, states that people, to some degree, have to contribute to living with heavenly Father.  One example:  “The phrase ‘after all we can do’ teaches that effort is required on our part to receive the fullness of the Lord’s grace and be made worthy to dwell with Him.” (True to the Faith, p. 77)   The Bible, however, teaches that it is all by God’s grace and that grace and works don’t mix.  “And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.  But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more works.”  (Romans 11:6)  To God – and God alone – be all praise and glory.

07
Jul
11

We are all Christians?

An ongoing source of contention between Christians and Mormons is the Mormon claim that we are all Christians.  I hesitate to bring this up again because this subject has created more than a few less than helpful comments on this blog alone.  But here it goes.

The reason I’m raising this subject again is because of an incident that happened recently.  A gentle woman, who was raised LDS, has been attending our church faithfully for a number of months.  She finally decided to officially ask to be released from membership in the LDS Church.  She wrote the required letter.  She was contacted by the bishop and an appointment to meet was set up.  At that appointment he warned her of the grave consequences of leaving the church.  That alone doesn’t fit in with the “we are all Christians” mindset.  But then came the clincher.  She asked if he was going to tell her family since she wanted to do that herself.  He replied, “Why would I tell them.  You no longer exist.”

To those Mormons reading this, please, before you whip off a comment, please, stop and try to understand how comments like that cause Christians difficulty in taking seriously the mantra we hear from Mormons that we are all Christians.  If the Mormon Church really believed that, why would an official representative say something like that?  Why would leaving the Mormon Church for a Christian church be such a big deal?  And this is not an isolated example.  Many ex-Mormons can testify to hearing similar things from family and church officials.  Such treatment contradicts the statement, “we are all Christian”.  Is that so difficult to see?

Bruce R. McConkie, in 1979, in his classic book, “Mormon Doctrine”, stated the position of Mormonism much more honestly.  He wrote, “Christianity is found among the saints who have the fullness of the gospel, and a perverted Christianity holds sway among the so-called Christians of apostate Christianity” (p. 132).  Pretty strong.  But pretty honest. At least McConkie acknowledged the great difference between Mormonism and Christianity.

There is a huge difference between the teachings of Mormonism and Christianity.  I wish that more Mormons would acknowledge that rather than obscuring it.




July 2011
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Blog Stats

  • 182,183 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 998 other followers