Like I said earlier, Ralph wasn’t able to tap into Ustream.tv for all to hear, and he had to call in via Skype. I was reiterating what he said in my own words for the others in Ustream. The MP3 I recorded is of poor audio quality and has gaps of silence. If you can make it through this whole mp3 then I salute you. I figured it’d be better to post this than nothing at all!
I told Ralph he has quite the accent, but he informed me that no, it is me who has the accent!
PS: The first thirty seconds of the MP3 are silent.
Update: Here is Ralph’s summary of some of his points:
Aaron did a good job at re-iterating what I said, but because of the difficulties in audio, he agreed to allow me to write a small summary of my main points.
First point was that when LDS talk about God we usually mean Heavenly Father, and Jesus is a separate being. Where-as Evangelicals see them as (for want of a better word) one and the same. This makes some things a little difficult to discuss – so I made this point for the following explanation.
I used the story found in the Gospel Principles manual about a young man who went into debt and a friend bailed him out. The friend said that he would become the new creditor but his terms would be much easier than the bank’s.
In this story the bank is analogous to Heavenly Father, the friend is Jesus and the debt is sin and mortality. My understanding from this story is that Jesus has paid our debt to Heavenly Father in total. So we do not have to do anything at all to merit salvation from or for Heavenly Father except to have the correct belief/faith in Jesus Christ. It is a free gift for us if we choose to accept it. So yes, God has given us salvation as a free gift if we believe in Jesus – and that God is Heavenly Father. I made this distinction because Aaron read a verse that said as such – ie salvation is a free gift from God, then he paraphrased the verse but substituted Jesus in instead of God. We LDS would have substituted Heavenly Father in instead. Understand the difference in thought?
From the story we read that Jesus is now the creditor. He has asked us to do some things, for example “If ye love me keep my commandments.” If there are ‘commandments’ involved then that follows on that there are things necessary to do for Him. One verse I thought of after the discussion (sorry Aaron) Is where Jesus says come unto Him all who are heavy laden and lay our burdens at His feet and take upon ourselves His yoke because it is light. We are heavy laden by our sins as we try to keep the law of Heavenly Father. Jesus has paid for us to fulfill that law. But what does Jesus say – to take up His yoke – this implies that there is still a ‘load’ for us to bear. He did not say there was nothing, nor that the yoke was attached to nothing, but that His yoke is light and easier. Jesus does not require strict adherence to a law like Heavenly Father does. Jesus can allow mistakes and weaknesses but we must live a life as He has asked us to live – Love one another as I have loved you; feed His sheep (ie look after the other members of the Church spiritually); leave the 90 and 9 and find the one (ie missionary work); etc. But we as LDS believe that this is all predicated upon repentance – if we make a mistake or sin then we must repent.
So this brought up another difference in that evangelicals believe in forgiven once and for all – ie it is pre-given forgiveness and there is no fall from grace. If one sinned then it shows they were not truly forgiven in the first place We LDS believe that forgiveness is an ongoing thing. It is not pre-given, we must ask each time we make a mistake otherwise we fall from grace.
To show this I referred to the parable of the man who owed his master a lot of money and when it came time to pay he couldn’t and asked for forgiveness. The master fully forgave the debt and sent him on his way. this man found another servant who owed him less than one tenth of what he had owed the master and called for total repayment. When the other said he couldn’t and pleaded for mercy the other had him cast in gaol and had the wife and children sold into slavery and all the assets sold to pay the debt. When the master heard of this he called the servant in and said that he, the master, had fully forgiven the debt that the man owed. Shouldn’t he have shown the same mercy to someone who owed much less. Then the master recalled the debt and had the same thing done to the man as the man had done to the other servant. This shows that although we may originally been given full forgiveness, if we do not forgive others (a requirement from Jesus) then we can lose our forgiveness. Aaron had a slightly different interpretation of this parable.
Lastly I made a statement that I perceive that we have a slightly different meaning of faith and belief – but grace and works seem to be the same from what I have seen. This may be the main problem we reach in the discussion of grace vs works. We LDS see faith = belief + works. This comes from James 2 – faith without works is dead; the devils believe in Jesus and fear and tremble. This last scripture is one that I have heard a small saying – The devil knows Jesus, believes in Him too; What is the difference between the Devil and you?
I had a good time with it and I am sorry things did not pan out properly with the video and audio. Hope my ramblings are understandable.