Posts Tagged ‘relgion

17
Sep
08

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 solely on the basis of what Jesus has done.  To him be all glory!

11
Sep
08

Definition of Gospel

 

     In my last posts I looked at a couple of passages that are very popular with Christians, Ephesians 2:8-9 and John 3:16.  Those posts reveal the need to define the word, “gospel” since, for example, I said that many consider John 3:16 as the gospel in a nutshell.  I have repeatedly said that Mormons and Christians use the same words, but often define them differently.  This is one reason why they so often end up talking past each other.

     “Gospel” is one such word.  Christians define gospel as the good news that Jesus came to take our place – to live a perfect life for us and to die for all our sins.  That’s not just good news – that’s the best news!  The gospel reassures us that eternal life with Heavenly Father is his precious gift to us.  To Christians, gospel is the message of salvation.

     But that is not how Mormonism defines gospel.  It equates the gospel with the teachings of Mormonism including all of its requirements.  The LDS manual, True to the Faith, says:  “The gospel is our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation.  The central doctrine of the gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”  And a few sentences later says:  “In its fullness, the gospel includes all the doctrines, principles, laws, ordinances, and covenants necessary for us to be exalted in the celestial kingdom.”

     Can you see the confusion this creates?  When the word gospel is used, Christians think only of Christ’s work and the salvation achieved by it.  When Mormons hear the word gospel, they think of the Atonement plus. . .  (Fill in the blank from the above quote.)  They think of the plan of salvation rather than salvation itself. 

     As Christians and Mormons converse with each other, it is important that they correctly hear each other.  One way that can be achieved is paying careful attention to each other’s definition.




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