Comments about ‘LDS Christianity: Differences that matter’

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Published: Sunday, Nov. 27 2011 11:39 p.m. MST

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Central Texan
Buda, TX

"Historical" Christianity? It's not a matter of truth but of time.

When the 4th century councils finished their work had historical Christianity been reinstated or was it something different than what Jesus and the early Apostles taught? If the latter, then it was not historic Christianity but only is bestowed that title today because of intervening centuries.

When the reformers in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries were rejecting the then-historical Church, were THEY historical Christianity? They wanted to leave the historical church while still claiming to be the "truer" historical church that the existing churches had wandered away from. Yet they wanted to retain the claim to being "Christian". Now what do they have? Some intervening centuries now make THEM historical.

Then along comes Joseph Smith, claiming that the existing religions in his day had wandered away from the true historical church set up by Christ and his Apostles. There is a need for a restoration. And now, this church, known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has nearly two centuries of history under its belt. Seems to be just a matter of time, can we agree?

BobP
Port Alice, B.C.

I wonder what part of "For it is by grace ye are saved, after all your can do." that Millet can't understand.

Central Texan
Buda, TX

Vanka,

There is a known difference of interpretation of the term "salvation". Although normally the term is applied in scripture as meaning to be saved in God's kingdom (ie. the Celestial), it is also used in reference to being saved from death (ie. resurrected) or saved to a kingdom of glory (ie. not cast out to dwell with Satan.

Also, it is well known that Christ's atonement applied universally to all, affording to all the resurrection and affording to all conditions for repentance (which is different than being saved from death, but part of Christ's gift nonetheless).

There is confusion out there but not among those familiar with the doctrinal definitions of some otherwise confusing terms.

MapleDon
Springville, UT

@Vanka

Not quite true. Scriptural basis for salvation by grace is two-fold: salvation from sin and also resurrection, which you're referring to.

Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation from sin, but not for resurrection. Millet's claim that salvation (not exaltation) is dependent not only on faith but also obedience is not scripturally sound. The New Testament is very clear that salvation from sin is dependent solely on faith in Christ and is granted by Christ's grace--not by anything we do.

Exaltation, on the other hand, reqires not only faith in Christ but obedience and the performance of deeds.

Regarding the commandments, which we are taught we have to diligently keep, my guess is there is no one within the Church who knows and can list out all the commandments. There are many found in the Old Testament (not just the basic 10 alone), many more found in the New Testament, even more in the Book of Mormon, and a very large quantity found in the Doctrine & Covenants (originally referred to as the Book of Commandments).

Given the large number of commandments we can possibly break each day, I guess that's why we need repentance.

John Kateel
Salt Lake City, UT

thinking someone is so unclean and impure merely because they are not LDS, hence they cannot enter the Temple, is where the LDS Church may have its biggest schism with the rest of Christianity.

This is akin to indirectly saying...we are better than you. Yet we want you to accept us as equals although we will never accept you (meaning all you other Christians as equals)

Everybody can enter the Vatican and see the Sistine Chapel. Jesus himself was not concerned about quirky nuances of the Jewish temples of his time. He even advocated eating food from the temple if you were hungry.

Half of my family is Hindu and the other half is Catholic from 79 AD. St. Thomas reached the coast of southern India in Kerala and created a church in my mother's home town of Kollam. Hindus were allowed in the church and over time a percentage of them converted.

Hindus allow anybody to enter any temple at anytime. Hindus believe that Jesus Christ is God and there is only one true God. They believe that there are many manifestations of this one God. They believe that ALL religions are equal and the same.

christoph
Brigham City, UT

A dozen verses in the New Testament say that faith alone will save us; also a dozen verses in the Book of Mormon say the same thing; Elder Nelson has taught in the last few years in conference "repentance is conversion and conversion is repentance."

Vanka
Provo, UT

This confusion over "salvation" extends into confusion over the question of "original sin". I notice Millet does not contrast the beliefs of LDS versus Evangelicals on this subject. Why not? It is fundamental to the notions of salvation!

LDS doctrine asserts that "all have sinned", which is why a "Savior" is required to give men "salvation".

Yet LDS belief teaches against the idea of "original sin" (see the 2nd Article of Faith), as well as the idea that children cannot sin (nor be tempted) until they reach the age of accountability (age 8; see Moroni 8:10-21; D&C 29:46-47). Nevertheless, LDS baptize (sinless) 8-year old children "for the remission of sins".

You teach that humans are not punished for Adam's transgression, but insist that all mankind is in a "lost and fallen state" (Alma12:22), but this state is not a "punishment" (?), and you teach that sin conceives in children's hearts because they are "conceived in sin" (Moses 6:55). How is this different than "original sin"?

And why wouldn't Millet include the fundamental question of original sin in his comparison?

Vanka
Provo, UT

So, if I have understood the (convoluted and esoteric) explanations, you are all saying that "salvation from sin" is distinct from "salvation from death", both of which are also distinct from "exaltation"?

Please support these claims with scriptures. I dare say you cannot.

But even if you could, you are effectively saying that the "salvation" that is "free" (by grace) is relatively meaningless. What Evangelicals call "salvation" is "salvation from sin AND death". But you LDS are saying (without scriptural support) that "salvation from death" is free, but "salvation from sin" is NOT - it must be earned "by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel".

And you assert this in the face of the clear writings of Paul, who said there is NO salvation FROM SIN by the "laws and ordinances" (of Torah). This is evidence by Galations 3:17, which clearly points out that the promise of Salvation to Abraham pre-dated "the laws and ordinances" (of Torah and the "Law of Moses") by over 400 years!

So why does Millet fail to address these fundamental and critical distinctions?

christoph
Brigham City, UT

To Mr. Kateel: it took Enos in the Book of Mormon less than 24 hours to receive a remission of sins----for others in the New Testament, it took 5 seconds for Christ to see their faith and declare them clean and forgiven; the missionaries baptize people in 3 weeks time. And after baptism a person can enter the temple to perform ordinances and advance in the priesthood. I think it was Pres. Hunter that said, "God forgives us long before we forgive ourselves."

RG
Buena Vista, VA

I submitted this many hours ago, and I canât for the life of me figure out why it was denied, except for one word in all caps. Letâs try again. I donât think it is defamatory, mean spirited, or incoherent. I donât think it is much different than lots of comments published.

Interesting to read that Matt Slick is still at it. Like most Protestants, he maintains not only that the Bible is the only scripture, but the only possible book of scripture; there never could be any other scripture. About 10 years ago, I had a series of email exchanges with him. (I am active LDS). In my first email, I asked him if Paul's lost epistle to the Corinthians (referred to in 1 Cor 5;9) were to be discovered, authenticated, and shown to contain great Christian teachings, if he could accept it as scripture. (I knew he wouldn't say yes, since he claims all scripture is in the Bible, even though it was not compiled until hundreds of years AD, and was not compiled by prophets. But if he said no, it would force him to explain why an epistle that happened to get lost isn't scripture, while those in the Bible are.) He wrote back, âAre you a Mormonâ I said, yes, and please answer my question. He wrote back that I was lost and going to hell. I wrote back, please answer my question. After a few more emails, he said I wouldn't fare well in a debate with him. But he never could and never even attempted to answer my question. For this reason, I'm not sure he'd make a great debater either. But of course he missed the point; truth is not established in debates, including those at Nicea.

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

"'Is Mormonism Christian?' is a very important question," writes Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. "The answer is equally important and simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian.

"If you are a Mormon," Slick adds, "please realize that CARM is not trying to attack you, your character or the sincerity of your belief."

-------------------

CARM is as anti-Mormon as they come. Just visit their message board sometime and see. Asking CARM their opinion of Mormonism is like asking your worst enemy to give an an opinion of you. They have no incentive to give a fair opinion of Mormonism.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Vanka,

LDS doctrine is only Christ is perfect, but we reach an age of accountability.

-------

Augustine created "Original Sin", not Christ. Julian of Eclanum, an Italian bishop, was exiled for disagreeing with Rome's pagan-Christianity. He sent Augustine a letter, saying:

"Babies, you say, carry the burden of another's sin, not any of their own...Explain to me, then, who this person is who sens the innocent to punishment. You answer, God...God, you say, the very one who commends his love to us, who as loved us and not spared his son but handed him over to us, he judges us in this way; he persecutes new born children; he hands over babies to eternal flames because of their bad wills, when he knows that they have not so much formed a will, good or bad... It would show a just and reasonable sense of propriety to treat you as beneath argument; you have come so far from religious feeling, from civilized standards, so far indeed from common sense, that you think your lord capable of committing kinds of crime which are hardly found among barbarian tribes." (Freeman)

That's about how LDS doctrine (Moroni 8) treats this.

NT
Springville, UT

To state that LDS are not Christian is only true if what is really meant is "LDS are not Evangenlical Christians"

That is true - "Mormon Christians are NOT Evangelical Christians"

And that tautology merely reduces again to "Mormons are not Evangelicals" or "Evangelicals are not Mormons"

Let's not lose sight of representing ourselves by what is in our hearts (and actions), not by how we might be defined by the words of others or by the arm of flesh.

donn
layton, UT

Re: Central Texan, Seems to be just a matter of time, can we agree? Noway,

The pale of Christianity believes the birth of Jesus was a "Unique miracle" by the Holy Spirit/Ghost same Greek word. This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about, His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. (Mt 1:18 NIV). The Virgin Birth.

They tell us the BoM states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge ha statement. He BoM teaches No Such Thing! Neither does the Bible.(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation v. 1:19) See Alma 7:10.

The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood was begotten of His Father, as we are of our fathers. (JoD 8:115).

Another difference, Christians want to be with God Mormons want to be God.

radically_independent
Orem, Utah

You know, there is only one who ultimately decides who is Christian enough. Anytime man gets in the job of judging other peoples hearts and intentions, trouble follows.

Well written piece discussing the issue in what I feel is an overall balanced perspective. Not bad DN.

Cats
Somewhere in Time, UT

Dear RG: Excellent comment. Many of these people are small minded and afraid of anything that would threaten their livelihood. I'm glad you persisted. Clearly this man had no intelligent or logical answer to your question. It's not surprising.

As LDS we believe, love and follow the Christ of the New Testament--not the "Christ" that was invented by the Council of Nicea. We proclaim the divinity of Christ as the Son of God and the Creator of the Universe. We proclaim that he has restored his Gospel to the earth in the latter days.

JM
Lehi, UT

Great article. Of course there are those who still wish to increase misunderstanding, day in and out, but, overall, I can think of no evil that comes from evangelicals and LDS listening to each other. This is a much better than, for example, an Agnostic telling everyone that they must interpret everything in a confused way, because they do, etc ; ), that's just silly.... : )

As I study History my understanding of the importance of Joseph Smith's apostolic mission is greatly deepened. So much was lost during those early years of torture and hiding. There were many people, some with good intentions, others perhaps seeking power, who tried interpret, reform, and alter. I've attended Church and studied with evangelicals and others, and they are wonderful people, but the philosophers' creeds and Biblical interpretations didn't answer teh important questions. The Gospel, as restored by Jesus Christ, makes perfect sense to me.

@Vanka check LDS org, UR a little confused, as you said : ) (hints- not being punished for Adam transgression doesnt mean Adam didnt transgress; we look back to Baptism, we can sin at "about" 8; mankind lost for own sins; we are conceived into a sinful world but you forgot V54, "grow" etc

brokenclay
Scottsdale, AZ

Well said, Vanka. You have elucidated the matter well.

I've never spoken with an LDS person who has been able to reconcile 2 Nephi 25:23 with Ephesians 2:8-9. They are logically contradictory. Smith's choice of words in the Nephi verse are clearly alluding to the Ephesians passage, but polemicizing against it.

Justification is by grace alone.

"He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)

Tell me, are Mormons willing to say that all men have been presently regenerated by the Holy Spirit? If they are not, then their distinction between salvation and exaltation cannot stand.

johnnylingo62
Gray, TN

To Vanka: when Christ was baptized, was He baptised for the remission of His sins, or because this was a "commandment from God (His Father)"? John 3:5
Is baptism only to obtain a remission of sins, or is it the way to obtain the Gift of the Holy Ghost? The bestowal of the holy ghost is one of the greatest gifts of God. Acts 2:38 also Acts 8:12-25
So, children at the age of eight are able to comprehend more clearly right from wrong. Whether they have sinned or not, can be baptized so they can receive the gift of the holy ghost to be their constant companion as long as they live worthy to have the holy spirit to attend them, which spirit is able to assist us in making good decisions as we remain humble to listen to its guidance.

Rikitikitavi
Cardston, Alberta

Extremely mature dialogue throughout this thread. Methinks Dr. Millet knows his stuff so if unsure just ask him for clarification. I do not have his phone # but I am certain he would return your call to the faculty at BYU. His on-going dialogue with Dr. Mouw is highly positive. My own dialogue with Protestants attempts to find common ground for the better good of everyone. After everything is said and done we all want the same result=to return to the presence of our Savior with our families. All very good reasons for spending the time we do in the nearest temple. In my case the Cardston, Alberta Temple.

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