Sunday, June 11, 2017

What does Mormonism teaches about salvation by grace?

The Kingdom of the cult.
~Walter Martin and Ravi Zacharias

What does Mormonism teaches about salvation by grace?

It is  common to find in Mormon literature the statement that “all men are  saved by grace alone without any act on their part.” Although this appears  to be perfectly orthodox, it is necessary to study all the Mormon statements relative to this doctrine in order to know precisely what they  mean.

In one such official Mormon publication (What the Mormons Think of Christ, B. R. McConkie, 1973), the Mormons give their own interpretation:

Grace is  simply the mercy, the love and the condescension God has for his  children, as  a result of which he has ordained the plan of salvation so that they may have power to progress and become like him.  … All men are saved by grace alone without any act on their part, meaning that they are resurrected  and become  immortal because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. … In addition to this  redemption from  death, all men, by the grace of God, have  the  power to gain eternal life. This is called salvation by grace coupled  with obedience  to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Hence Nephi was led to write:  “We labor diligently to write,  to persuade our children, and also  our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is  by grace that we are saved after all we can do.”

Christians speak often of the blood of  Christ  and its  cleansing power. Much  that  is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense  and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one’s salvation. Many go so far, for instance, as  to pretend and, at least, to believe that if we confess Christ with our lips  and avow that we accept Him  as our personal Saviour, we are thereby saved. His  blood, without other act than mere belief, they say, makes us  clean. … Finally in our day, he has said plainly: “My blood shall not cleanse them  if they hear me  not.” Salvation in the kingdom  of God is available because of the atoning blood of Christ. But it is  received only on condition of faith, repentance, baptism,  and  enduring to the  end in keeping the commandments of God  (pp. 27–33, emphasis added).

The above quote is a  typical example of what might  be termed theological double-talk, which in one breath affirms  grace as a  saving principle and in the next declares  that it is  “coupled with obedience to the law and ordinances  of the  gospel,” and ends  by  declaring that  confession of Christ and acceptance of Him  as  “personal Savior”  is  “utter nonsense”  and  “palpably false.” McConkie decries  the  fact that Christ’s blood “without other act than  mere belief … makes us  clean” (p. 31).

The biblical position is, however, quite  clear in this  area; we are saved by grace  alone, as previously mentioned, but it in no way enables  us to “have power  to progress and become  like Him.” As  we have seen, in the  Mormon sense such a progression refers to becoming a  god, not to the Christian doctrine of sanctification, or of the  life of the believer being brought into conformity to the Holy Spirit as  clearly enunciated in the epistle to the Romans (chapters 8 and 12).

Mr. McConkie’s assertion—that “salvation by grace” must be “coupled  with obedience with the laws  and ordinances of the gospel” in order for a person to be  saved—introduces immediately the whole Mormon collection of legalistic observances and requirements. In the end, salvation is not by grace at all, but it is  in reality connected  with human efforts: “baptism, and enduring to the end in keeping the commandments of God”  (p. 33).

This is not the Christian doctrine  of  redemption that  the apostle Peter described graphically when he wrote:

Forasmuch as  ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from  your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb  without blemish and without spot. … Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (1 Peter 1:18–19,  23).

In diametric  opposition to the Mormon concept, the confession of Christ with the lips and the acceptance of Him  as  “our personal Savior” is indeed  the  very means of personal salvation. It is the biblical record which states that “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the  mouth confession is made unto salvation”  (Romans 10:10). The  gospel’s command is  “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be  saved” (Acts  16:31).  This is, of course, totally foreign to what the Mormons  would have us believe. Jesus  Christ  did not die merely to insure our resurrection, as  Mr. McConkie declares (p. 27), but He died to reconcile us to God, to save  us by grace, to redeem  us  by blood, and to sanctify us by His  Spirit. But such biblical doctrines the Mormons  most decidedly reject. It appears that they cannot conceive  of  a  God who could save  apart from  human effort, and Nephi’s statement betrays  this: “For we  know  it is  by grace that we are saved  after  all we can do” (p. 28).

In Mormonism, it is they who must  strive for perfection, sanctification, and godhood. Grace is merely incidental.

It was no less  an authority than Brigham Young who taught concerning salvation: “But as  many as  received Him,  to them  gave he  power to  continue  to be the sons of God” (Journal of Discourses, 12:100–101).

In Brigham’s theology, “instead of receiving the gospel to become the sons of God, my language would be—to receive the gospel that  we may continue to be the sons  of God. Are we not all sons of God when  we are born into this world?  Old Pharaoh,  King of Egypt, was  just as much  a son of God as Moses and Aaron were  His sons, with this difference—he rejected the word of the Lord, the true light, and they received it.”

In agreement with their doctrine of the preexistence of souls,  the Mormons believe that they are already the sons  of God and that the acceptance of God merely enables them to “continue  to be  the  sons of God,” a direct contradiction of  the biblical record which states:

“But as  many as  received him,  to them  gave he power to become  the sons  of  God, even to them  that believe on his name” (John 1:12).

The apostle Paul points out, with devastating force,  the fact that “they which are the children of the flesh, these are  not  the  children of God: but the children of  the promise  are  counted for the seed” (Romans  9:8, emphasis  added).

The apostle, with equal certainty, affirms  that only those who are led by God’s Spirit can be  called the sons  of God (Romans 8:14). It is  difficult to see how in any sense of the term, “Old Pharaoh, King of Egypt, was just as  much a son of God as  Moses and Aaron were His  sons,”  as Brigham  Young declared.

The biblical teaching is that  “ye are all the children of  God  by faith  in Christ Jesus” (Galatians  3:26, emphasis added), a fact Brigham  obviously overlooked.

 It is one of  the great truths of  the Word  of  God that  salvation is not of  him  that wills or of  him that strives, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16), and that  Jesus  Christ  has redeemed  us from the curse of the law, having become  a curse  for us (Galatians  3:13).  

It was the teaching of our Lord that “all that the Father giveth me shall come  to me; and him that cometh to me  I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37),  and the salvation which He still offers to lost men is “not by any works  of  righteousness  which we  have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” ( T i t u s 3 : 5 )

In the Mormon religion, they boldly teach universal salvation, for as Mr. Evans,  the  Mormon apostle and spokesman, put it: “Mormons believe in universal salvation that all men will be saved, but each one in his  own order”  (Rosten, p. 136).

It is the teaching of the Scriptures, however, that not  all men will be saved, and that at the end of the ages  some  shall “go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous  into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46). 

The somber  warnings of the apostle  John stand arrayed against the Mormon doctrine of universal salvation:

And I saw the  beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make  war against him  that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him  the false  prophet that wrought miracles before him,  with which he deceived  them  that had received the mark of the beast, and them that  worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire  burning with brimstone. … And the devil that deceived them  was cast into the lake  of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be  tormented day and night for ever and ever. … And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the  lake of fire. … But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have  their part in the  lake which burneth with fire  and brimstone: which is the second death. … The  same  shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be  tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence  of the  Lamb: And the  smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest  day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the  mark of  his  name  (Revelation 19:19–20;  20:10,  15;  21:8;  14:1011).

By no conceivable stretch of the imagination is  universal salvation to be found in these passages where the Greek words  in their strongest form  indicate  torment, judgment, and eternal fire that defies human chemical analysis.

The Mormon doctrine of “celestial marriage” derived  from their original concept of polygamy  and substituted for it in 1890, when  they  were forced  to abandon this  immoral conduct lest Utah not be given statehood, is tied to their doctrine of salvation. The Mormons believe that the family unit will endure unto the eternal ages, hence their insistence upon the sealing of Mormon men to many women, and the sealing of  their families. It was for this  reason that there are many special rites and ceremonies instituted in behalf  of  the dead (particularly relatives);  hence, their practice of  baptism  for the dead and laying on of hands (for the bestowing of  the  gift of the Holy Ghost), all by proxy.

No comments:

Post a Comment