An interesting movement is afoot in the Mormon world. Wendy Nelson, wife of Mormon apostle Russell M. Nelson, has written a children’s book on the topic of covenant-keeping. This sounds like a good fit for Mormon kids, but LDS adults are petitioning for The Not Even Once Club to be removed from the shelves of Deseret Bookstores. They say the message of the book is psychologically “damaging” to kids, and will cause them “to feel needless shame and humiliation.” Yikes.
According to Deseret Book, The Not Even Once Club is “an adorable and appealing way to engage children in a story that will help them choose for themselves to keep the commandments and to never break them. Not even once.” As one reader explains, it tells the story of a little boy who wants to join a club of which the other kids in his Mormon ward are members. The club provides many “benefits” (like candy and games), but the only way to become part of the fun is to pledge that he will never “break the Word of Wisdom, lie, cheat, steal, do drugs, bully, dress immodestly, or break the law of chastity. Not. Even. Once.” As long as the children keep their promises, they get to be part of the club and receive “jars of pretzels and popcorn and candy” from their Primary teacher. But any instance of a child breaking his or her covenant results in expulsion from the club (and a loss of all of its benefits).
Missing from the story is any appeal to grace, forgiveness and the Atonement of Christ. Mormon parents are upset over this and the resulting message the book conveys to kids: That they can (and must) be perfect; that obedience and flawlessly keeping their covenants keeps them safely in the “club.”
The book’s publisher, Deseret Book, says there is an “emphasis on the atonement of Jesus Christ” in the back of the book, found in an included “Guide for Parents and Children.” Yet concerned Mormons say it is not enough, one explaining that this mention of the atonement is “in tiny print” coming “right after a paragraph urging exact obedience.”
The idea that one receives rewards for keeping the commandments and is deprived of them for failing to keep the commandments “is not LDS doctrine but is twisted,” wrote one commenter at the Rational Faiths blog. “It is not the [LDS] Gospel of Jesus Christ,” wrote a reviewer at Amazon.com. But unless she deliberately set out to misrepresent Mormonism, author Wendy Nelson (and probably her apostle husband), thinks the message of her book conforms to Mormon doctrine. The publisher thinks so, as well. Authoritative Mormon teachings also seem to support the premise of the book. For example:
“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated— And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:21)
“We go to our chapels each week to worship the Lord and renew our covenants by partaking of the sacrament. We thereby promise to take His name upon us, to always remember Him, and keep all His commandments. Our agreement to keep all the commandments is our covenant with God. Only as we do this may we deserve His blessings and merit His mercy.” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 442)
“I have many times repeated what my grandfather said… ‘There is a line of demarcation, well defined. On one side of the line is the Lord’s territory. On the other side of the line is the devil’s territory.’ And he said, ‘If you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you are perfectly safe, because the adversary of all righteousness can not cross that line.’ What does that mean? It means to me that those who are living righteous lives, keeping all of the commandments of our Heavenly Father are perfectly safe, but not those who trifle with his advice and counsel.” (George Albert Smith, Conference Reports, Oct. 1949, 5-6. See also The Presidents of the Church Teacher’s Manual, 132)
“Each command we obey sends us another rung up the ladder to perfected manhood and toward godhood; and every law disobeyed is a sliding toward the bottom where man merges into the brute world.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 153).
Indeed, while some Mormons are rightfully decrying the unbiblical message of The Not Even Once Club (i.e., necessary and attainable perfection — based on one’s own obedience/righteousness), the Mormon Church at large seems to agree with it. As LDS blogger Edward Jones notes,
“A system that finds it necessary to assess the spiritual worthiness of individuals will almost inevitably fall back on works because they are concrete and measurable. Either you have paid your tithing or you haven’t. Only God can know whether you paid your tithing out of love, so human administrators gradually lose interest in intentions altogether. Focusing only on correct actions, we find ourselves back with the Pharisees.
“This, of course, is the current state of the Mormon church. We give constant lip service to Christ’s atonement, but our highest aspiration is never to come within a hundred feet of it. If only we can prevent people from performing wrong actions, we think, they can return safely to heaven, untouched by the world and I would add, untouched by Christ’s grace.
“This clearly is the view of Wendy Watson Nelson…”
And this is clearly the view of at least some Mormon leaders who believe they have been called and equipped by God to proclaim Gospel Truth. As Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie wrote,
“To the saints his everlasting counsel is: Obey, obey, obey; keep the commandments; earn the attributes of godliness–and then, and then only, cometh salvation!” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:124).
Join the club? No, thank you.
It’s much better to be adopted into the family of God, made a son or daughter according to His great love and purpose, with no fear of ever being cast away. This is what God, in His magnificent mercy, offers us.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit…
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8)
I’m glad some Mormons are speaking out against this book. What’s sad though is they can’t see the connection of what this book teaches to what Mormon doctrine actually is. What’s even sadder is most Mormons probably see no problem with what this children’s book is teaching.
Wow. I just had a flash back to the primary song, “Keep the commandment, Keep the commandments, in this, there is safety, in this there is peace.” Of course I do believe it is good to follow the word of God. But it is inevitable that we will not be perfect in it. So what message are the children left with? They have lost their safety, peace, blessings, they’ve shown themselves to be untrue, if they mess up. The guilt is intense. I just watched a clip from the Book of Mormon musical from the song, “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream.” My husband and I had flash backs from our teenage years where we would dream that we had a sip of coffee, tea, or alcohol, and we would feel sooo bad in the dreams. I think I even woke up crying from one. We laughed so hard as the Starbucks coffee cups danced across the stage.
But seriously, I think most kids walk around with their own self imposed guilt. I have trouble battling it with one of my daughters. We want her to not be afraid to talk to us when she makes a mistake. We try to tell her all the time that mistakes are okay sometimes, that the important thing is to learn from them and love God, because he loves you and so do we. Even though, we tell her this and don’t punish her needlessly for every mistake, she still is very hard on herself. She wants to keep her guilt a secret. I find that she (and my other kids) don’t need a guilt trip. The don’t need to be taught in a constant world of rewards and punishments. Good behavior equals stickers and bad behavior equals dots. Anyone know what children’s book I am referring too? “You are Special,” by Max Lucado was actually one of the only things that helped bring me out of a very hard struggle while I was Mormon. I was so overwhelmed with performance issues. I remember reading that book for the first time and balling my eyes out. A children’s book! Children need to be taught unconditional love from God. That is the message that will help them through the hard times and help them to love others and follow God.
This is sort of ironic because I was thinking yesterday during the sermon what a lucky stiff I am being covered by the blood of Jesus and a recipient of God’s grace.
I would have no chance, zero, to be acceptable in God’s sight if not for the blood of my Lord and Savior.
Growing-up Catholic in the era I did, I was constantly under the Law. I had no peace with God. Despite the best efforts of the Church to provide things like confession, prayers of contrition and some penance I knew I was going to have to burn some place after death, probably purgatory. Despite my best efforts I could not avoid some level of sin. The standards were unbelievably strict.
So the Law, couldn’t keep me holy but it could keep me feeling guilty, anxious and miserable.
I finally got away from it when at twenty years old I just gave-up and went happily into sin. I was free! I can’t express how good it was to get that body of death off of my back.
In the Book Of Galatians, Paul writes all about this. He refers to it also in Romans.
Paul makes a point of saying that in talking about freedom in Christ he’s not talking about living a life of licentiousness; that is, taking license to sin. Quite to the contrary habitual willful sin is not the benefit of coming to Christ. What happens is that we are born again spiritually but are trapped in this sinful body. Paul says that he does the very thing he does not want to do and concludes it’s sin within him.
From what Mormons write on this blog, it’s obvious that they don’t understand the relationship that the true believer in Christ has with our Heavenly Father based on what (Christ) did for us. I’ve never heard a Christian say that they are free to sin because of the grace of God and the free gift of eternal life given to us through faith.
Mormon “grace” is not the same as Biblical grace. Mormons have no understanding of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ really is. They have settled for a poor imitation and have put themselves under a form of Mormon Law. But the point of Mormon Law is the end product that they think they will attain, becoming gods themselves. They think that they are going to “earn” this status and the way to do it is by leading a sin free life which isn’t going to happen.
So the debate here seems to be between members of the LDS church and the wife of one of their leaders.
So who has Mormonism in the LDS context right, the wife of the leader or the rank-and-file who are rebelling against the message in the book? This isn’t a debate between Christians and Mormons regarding what the gospel is. This is really interesting because it gets to a common theme here on MC regarding what exactly the Mormon gospel is and what does a Mormon have to do to get the big prize, becoming a god.
Having never been a Mormon I don’t know what the program is like in terms of trying to live out the expectations. From what I’ve read, “earning it” is a central feature of the Mormon “restored” gospel and earning it means coming as close to sinless perfection as one can. It’s a great way to try and control people but when you have kids guilt ridden and at least a few committing suicide because they did something awful like masturbating, I’d say the system has some obvious flaws.
Can the Law control behavior? Sure if enough pressure and guilt are applied but it also fosters a lot of suppression which leads to perverted behavior.
What is the divorce rate among members of the LDS church? Is there more or less viewing of pornography on the internet by members of the LDS church. I’m not wagging my finger at Mormons but I am pointing out that their emphasis and techniques to try and achieve sinless perfection and eventual deity status probably aren’t real effective.
The only thing that I’ve found that is effective long term in getting sin into proper perspective and living a life pleasing to God is to get close to the Lord Jesus Christ. History is replete with movements that have had built in structures to purify the members and it doesn’t work. People continue to sin. Sin is in our nature.
The only antidote to sin is the blood of Jesus and walking in the Spirit in faith. What the can’t do weak as it is in the flesh, God did by sending His only Son, He condemned sin in the flesh. The life I now lead is in the Lord Jesus Christ who took my sin upon Himself on the cross.
Falcon said, “Mormon “grace” is not the same as Biblical grace.”
So true. I hear Mormon’s say all the time that they are saved by grace but you have to do things to earn the grace or for it to be applied to you. If grace is earned it is not grace.
There is a prayer that I read daily because I love it so much. Part of it goes, “And again, O Savior, save me by Thy grace, I pray Thee. For if thou shouldst save me for my works, this would not be grace or a gift, but rather a duty .”
What I find interesting is the reaction of lay Mormons to this book.
Has Monson ever spoken much about works/grace? What does he and his current ‘administration’ and leadership team say about this stuff? Where is the present LDS leadership heading on this topic?
About 6 months ago there was an ensign article about Christ, the Atonement, and Gods love. I think it even talked about grace. It was a rather good article. If I recall it was Biblically sound. At the end of the article was a disclaimer by one of the 12 about the terms and how when we say such and such we believe in doing all the works and covenants as necessary. Ill see if I can find the link. The average mormon would likely read the article, feel good about it, and miss the disclaimer.
Here is the article. http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/03/the-enabling-power-of-the-atonement?lang=eng
I thought it was good. Then there is an addition made to the article at the end that says, “What do Latter-day Saints believe about grace?
We believe that God’s grace is what ultimately saves us; yet it does not save us without our doing all that we can to live God’s commandments and follow Jesus Christ’s teachings. We do not believe salvation comes by simply confessing belief in Christ as our Savior. Faith, works, ordinances, and grace are all necessary.”
I felt like it completely undid the entire article.
Thanks for posting. Its an interesting read. The focus is on how Christ helps us through tough times– a good message.
The disclaimer at the end is intriguing. The second paragraph of it talks about how grace gives everyone a resurrection in the end.
Earning grace? Now that’s an interesting concept. It would be like earning a gift. In the Mormon program as practiced by the SLC LDS, a member would have to qualify for the grace. They qualify for the grace by all sorts of means I would guess. They’d have to practice the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, pay their 10% to the LDS Org., and do all sorts of temple rituals. That’s a really weird form of grace. They need to get a better name for it. I think we should call it “earned grace”.
There’s a verse in the Bible I really like. It’s ………and Abraham believed God and it was counted to Him as righteousness”. God imputed righteousness to Abraham on the basis of faith. God counts us as righteous through our faith in Jesus and acceptance of His shedding of His blood on the cross. The blood of the spotless Lamb covers our sins. We can’t cover our sins by exceptional behavior or the practice of religious rites.
I was thinking about “election” yesterday as I was sitting in the church service I attend. OK so I like the edgy music, the donuts and the coffee but that’s not why I go. The preaching of the Word is consistently very good. And it’s a Lutheran Church. Pretty funny huh?
Anyway, I was applying the concept of election specifically to “mapleleaf” and her recent leaving of Mormonism and coming to Christ in faith. I was wondering why mapleleaf and the other former Mormon posters here responded to God’s call to leave their native land (Mormonism) their kindred and travel to a new land which God would show them?
Did God extend to them something that He’s not extending to clyde, FOF, Alex, Ralph, shem and a bunch of other Mormons who have traveled through here over the years?
I don’t think it’s a question I’ll ever find a suitable answer for.
Just for fun………………….
Let’s suppose for a minute that the SLC LDS sect of Mormonism didn’t believe in a pantheon of gods and that men could become gods. Let’s say that they had an Orthodox Christian view of the nature of God.
Where would their works base system put them in the Christian family? I don’t mean to get too off track here but various Christian groups over the centuries have had various views of the nature of man and the role of God bringing someone to faith and the maintenance of that faith until death.
It’s one of my favorite topics along with the nature of God and quite frankly every time I delve into it I come away thinking, “Well that’s interesting!” You see I know my view on “grace” and “election” really have no effects on the fact of it. That is, I’m saved by grace and led to God Almighty by His Holy Spirit. I have to believe to be saved. There is no other pathway to the Father except through Christ Our Lord.
But it’s some what entertaining to ponder “election”, “grace”, “the sovereignty of God” and the responsibility of man. Any which way it works, we have to come to Christ. I’ve written about how God put so much pressure on me I had little choice but to respond.
So if we want to know what the SLC LDS might look like without their aberrant view of God, perhaps we could look at some other Mormon sects who have a more orthodox view of the nature of God.
Unfortunately for SLC LDS Mormons they are stuck in a religious system that does not recognize God but that has a god that is just one of many through out the universe. In reality what these folks believe about “grace” is immaterial because they don’t even get God right.
Not even once club? Must be a club for the self-deceived. Thank God for biblical grace.
We know that Joseph Smith was influenced by Evangelical Christian revivalism of his era. In fact, Grant Palmer points out that Smith’s BoM evangelist are patterned after the revivalist preachers of (Smith’s) experience. Part of Methodism is the quest for holiness. Did Smith also “borrow” and modify this (holiness) from what he experienced in the camp meetings and the effect on the participants?
The Wesleyan Holiness Movement has a multifaceted understanding of the concept of ‘holiness’. First, God is holy, and God’s holiness represents that which is spiritually whole, well, pure, or perfect (Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). Thus, when God calls people to be holy, they should respond by consecrating themselves entirely to God. By God’s grace, they may become more holy through the presence and work of the Holy Spirit (Leviticus 11:44-45; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15). Although members of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement recognize the problems of sin and evil in the world, they are confident of the power of God’s grace to transform individuals (Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:24). It is their belief that God sanctifies believers, transforming them into greater Christ-likeness. As they respond to God’s grace, consecrating themselves entirely to God as Lord of their lives as well as Savior, God gives even greater blessings of the fruit of the Spirit and of empowerment to better love God and others (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 6:1). This entire sanctification (sometimes known as Christian perfection) does not represent Christ-like perfection or sinless perfection (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 1 John 1:9). Instead, it represents a view of the Christian life, intending to love God with all of one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Mark 12:28-30; Hebrews 12:14ff.; 1 John 3:4-10).
Members of the Wesleyan Holiness tradition are also confident about the power of God’s grace, working in and through the lives of believers, to transform the world. Transformation includes both evangelism and care for the physical, social, and other dimensions of life, just as Jesus ministered to the holistic needs of people (Psalm 82:3; Hebrews 13:1-3; 1 John 3:16-18).
Sometimes the American Holiness Movement departed from its Wesleyan roots. During the nineteenth century, some in the tradition focused too narrowly upon a kind of perfectionism that sought an eradication of sin. This aberration of Wesley tended to withdraw Christians and the church from the world, focusing on privatized experiences rather than on experiencing God in ways that enable love for both God and others.
As the day has moved on, the only answer to my question on what current LDS leaders have said about grace/works is Jaxi’s, where she posted an article from Ensign, written by a non-authority, but with some ‘fine print’ at the end by someone with authority.
I wonder what the current crop of LDS leaders thinks about the issue…
So where did the SLC LDS sect emphasis on “perfectionism” come from?
Joseph Smith was certainly not a prime example of someone who lived an exemplary pious life style. But his sinful life is quite consistent with false religious leaders of his stripe. We see, more often then we like with Christian pastors sinful behavior that’s outside what I’d call the normal realm. I think that there are men, in particular, that get seduced by the power, money, sex trifecta. Some are drawn into religious life because it’s a good way to apply their predatory natures.
But where did the perfection obsession come from in Mormonism?
LDS women, when she worked as a crisis counselor in the emergency room at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Doty saw increased activity of LDS women on Sunday evenings after church meetings suffering from feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and guilt.
“Doty concluded the LDS women’s depression was caused by genetics, abusive history, family relationships, and judgment by others. However she found that toxic perfectionism was the major cause of depression among LDS women.”
“Despite the high quality of life, in a study by Mental Health America, using data from 2002-2006 revealed Utah was instead the most depressed state in the US. In the area of Serious Psychological Distress (PSD), Utah was the only state to rank in the top fifth of all three age groups. What’s more, the intermountain west states of: Utah, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Colorado register more suicides per hundred thousand than any other region in the US.”
“We believe that this high rate of toxic perfectionism is what is driving the high depression and suicide rate in Mormon Communities. It is important to realize, everyone will face trials in their lifetime, which will cause situational depression or compound clinical depression. To feel guilt for not living up to perceived religious or social expectations makes one susceptible for deep depressive episodes.”
“Normally faith provides a solace to those who are suffering with grief or stress. One can assume LDS members who are active in their ward, that their activity should provide a barrier for depression. Faith can, and should, offer solace and comfort in times of stress and grief. Unfortunately when value as a person, and satisfaction in life, is wrapped up in a personal evaluation or a competition with others, the end result is, we judge others and ourselves way too harshly. After all “nobody is perfect”, and ultimately toxic perfectionism leads to unhappiness all around.”
Perhaps LDS women are all in the “Never Even Once Club” and have not yet figured out that they are trying to live up to an impossible standard; one that’s being imposed on them by their church. This is called spiritual abuse and has all of the characteristics of physical or sexual abuse.
First off before I say anything I want to make a few things very clear about where I stand. I do not believe Mormon Doctrine any longer, and I do believe that Jesus was the sin atonement sacrifice. Looking at this from a Words of Wisdom perspective I can see how it is ridiculous but my reasoning of why this is ridiculous has nothing to do with the blood of Christ covering sin. My reasoning is because the laws of the Mormon prophets and apostles are nothing more than wanna be Pharisees that created a doctrine of men. The Words of Wisdom are not the laws of God and therefore don’t really matter (except the ones of immorality which fall into the ten commandments). Jesus HATED the Pharisee laws and taught against them, calling them the doctrine of men Matthew 15:9. So from this perspective YES it is teaching a doctrine against that of which Jesus taught….throw it out!
Looking at it from another perspective, Gods laws, I would have to disagree with all of you. God does not say that it is ok to sin “a little”, or “sometimes”. God says go and SIN NO MORE John 8:11. The ten commandments have not been thrown out like people say they have. If the law of God, not of men, was thrown out than how can their be sin? Without the law there cannot be a guilty person, believer or unbeliever. 1 John 3:4 states “Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.” Notice it says EVERYONE. It doesn’t say believers or unbelievers. Also 2 Peter 3:17 states that we are not to be led away by lawless people and fall out of stability. What law is Peter talking about? Not the Pharisee law but Gods law, the ten commandments. That was the only law that he would be talking about. God did not find fault with the law, the ten commandments, but with the people Hebrews 8:7-10. Notice that it says IF that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second one, but FINDING FAULT WITH HIS PEOPLE….vs9 Because they did not continue in His covenant. Then He goes on to say that he will write them on our minds and on our hearts. So if the law is gone than how can they be written on our minds and on our hearts? This is also stated in Jeremiah 31:31-33. Its states that after the laws are written on our hearts and on or minds that we will call Him God. If he is our God doesn’t that make us obedient to Him? Hebrews 10 The scripture everyone just loves to use to explain how the law was a shadow of things to come is not speaking of the ten commandments but is speaking about the sacrifice of animals. If you read it you will see that it is always referring to the sacrifice.
Anyways…I want to write more but im on my way to work. My point is that sin is never ok…not even once. We are obligated to keep the law and commands of God..not Man. If we claim him as god than that is our part of the deal.
According to Mormonism kids under 8 can’t sin, so they get a free pass for anything they do in the “Not even Once Club”… right?
Jesus fulfilled the law. We couldn’t keep the law that’s why we need a Savior. Jesus gave 2 commandments, love God and love your neighbor, He said on these two commandments hang all the laws and the prophets. Does that mean that we go out and sin like crazy? NO! It means that if you love God you will not be taking His name in vain, if you love your neighbor you are not coveting his wife, stealing from him, lying to him etc. We sin. We will always sin while in our flesh. God knows this, that’s why He sent His son. Why do you think Jesus died? If we could go and sin no more. Ever. Not even once. Then we wouldn’t need a Savior. Why did God give the law in the first place? It was to show us our need for a Savior. Remember, the OT is the NT concealed and the NT is the OT revealed. There’s more to it than this but I am out the door to an appointment. I’m sure the other Christians can expand on this. Have a great day!
Good point! Maybe the book is for 8 years old and up? 🙂
I agree that sin is never OK– for a variety of reasons, not least of which God tells us not to sin. Often, evangelicals gloss over this, but sin is never OK.
However, we will sin. No matter how hard we try, we will sin. Even when we think we are being good, we sin. For example, we look at other people and think we are better than they are if we are being good. This is a sin. I could go on with examples of how we sin even when we don’t think we are sinning.
Its a very tough road to travel down. But, we are told to throw off everything that encumbers us and follow Jesus. Be ready for a long, hard trip, and we will stumble. We can’t do it on our own. We need Jesus. We need God’s cover. And while we are to strive for a perfect life, we know we cannot do that. We know we need Jesus to help us through, and to give us forgiveness when we stumble.
This is not an excuse to sin, but it provides hope and identity to those who do believe in Jesus. Those who willingly and repeatedly sin show their hearts– they may have an addiction problem or they may not believe. But, knowing that even when we stumble we will be lifted up is a powerful idea. We may stumble, but we rest in the peace that we are forgiven, and we try not to do it again.
I merely urge you not to forget that truth: that even while we are still sinners, Christ died for us.
As Kate rightly said, Christ fulfilled the law; we had no hope of doing that, which is why Christ did it for us. I’m not sure why you think that people in here believe the Ten Commandments have been thrown out. I can’t speak for anyone else but I certainly don’t think that.
The Ten Commandments consist of two parts, the first concerns our relationship with God & the second concerns our relationship with each other, hence Christ was able to sum up the Law by saying Love God & love your neighbour as yourself. Summing up the law in that way does not remove any obligation from us regarding the keeping of the Ten Commandments; they stand forever.
“………My point is that sin is never ok…not even once. We are obligated to keep the law and commands of God..not Man. If we claim him as god than that is our part of the deal.”
If by the law you mean the Levitical law then we as Christians are not bound by it but if, & I think this is what you mean, that we are obligated to keep the Ten Commandments then if course I agree with you. Having said that I doubt very much if anyone in here actually believes that it is ok to sin but let’s be realistic, Scripture makes it abundantly clear that anyone who attempts to keep the law in order to be saved is doomed to failure, we are simply incapable of doing it.
“For all have sinned & fall short of the Glory of God”
The Law requires a 100% success rate, just one failure means we don’t make it.
Christ set us free from the law but that does not mean He gave us freedom to sin, rather it means that He freed us from the penalty of sin.
Thankfully God in his mercy has made provision for our sinful nature which is why, even though we, (all of us, every person who has ever been born) whether we want to or not, will continue to sin, are nevertheless justified through faith. Romans 5:1
I hope that helps to clear up any confusion catty J
I must say that I can’t live a life where I try not to sin.
That just doesn’t work for me, as they say, on an operational level. In-other-words, I can’t operate like that. I’d end up like Paul doing the very thing I hate.
I use to run a lot, a few years ago I gave it up and now I ride a racing bike for my exercise. So when I ran, I could always tell if an elderly person was driving an on-coming car. I knew this because they would aim right for me. They’d be so heavily concentrating on not hitting me that I quite literally became their target. They were doing what they were trying to avoid.
That’s the way sin is. If we become focused on sin, sin will become our target. If we are focused on Jesus, Jesus will become our target.
I’d much rather be God-centered than sin-centered. It just works a lot better for me. I’ve tried the other way and it just doesn’t work well for me.
I don’t think the point ever was that sin is okay. I think the point is that when we sin (which we will), instead of feeling like you are kicked out of the club and that’s it, we come to our Savior and Reedeemer, Jesus Christ, and we ask for His forgiveness and healing. Sin is never okay just as sickness and death aren’t okay and the only person that can make those wrongs right is Jesus Christ. So instead of teaching children that in order to stay in the club they need to be absolutely perfect, it’s important to teach Gods love for us, His desire to be with us, what He has done for us, so that they know where to go when they “miss the mark” (sin), so that they can be corrected and healed.
Who’d want to be in that stupid club?
I know I wouldn’t. The “club” is Mormonism that keeps people enslaved to an impossible standard and thus are enslaved to the religious system that’s going to provide the means by which they get the big prize; becoming gods!
All I can say to Mormons is to get free from that trap you’re in.
In Christianity when someone is enslaved to a form of Law my advice is the same. Christ has set you free from the Law of sin and death. Because what the Law couldn’t do, as weak as it was in the flesh, Christ did. He became sin for us.
So now we’ve started our journey by the Spirit and we want to try and complete the journey in the flesh? What the Law could not do Christ did. Why in the world would someone want to put themselves under Law when its been proven that we can’t keep it?
I’m not going back under the Law after having accepted God’s gift of eternal life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If I sin I have an advocate with the Father who pleads on my behalf.
I have a very “tight” and “strict” standard of what sin is. I have knowledge of sin but I don’t dwell on it. I am thankful for the moral training I had as a Catholic school kid. But I’ve taken myself out from under the Law and put myself at the foot of the cross.
It’s a much better place to be!
The discussion in the Amazon reviews and comments are interesting. One, most of the reviews and comments are by LDS. This is unsurprising but not the usual case for books on Amazon. Two, there are more than 70 one-star reviews and only 4 five-star reviews. Three, the 5-star one about the “misguided campaign” against the book is particularly interesting, non-sequitur, and classically “LDS apologetic”/oblivious to the real issue.
There’s even at least one with the foresight to predict that LDS critics will use this book…. Yep…That’s right.
I must say that I can’t live a life where I try not to sin.
I find this comment very interesting since it seems to be saying I give up. It also points to a fact that there is a divide between us. We say try, have faith in yourself and the God who made you. You seem to say it won’t work but when you put your faith in Jesus you seem to be doing the very same thing we are doing.
I believe people can avoid sin. If the American commanding general at Bastogne had learned to cuss better his answer to the Germans would have been more than just “ Nuts “. Although that was a different time people can change.
You’re going to have to write a little more so that your meaning might be understood. If you’re having trouble understanding what I’m saying, I’ll try again.
First of all, if you didn’t recognize what I wrote, you’ll find it in the Bible particularly Romans and Galatians.
Yes I have given up! I don’t try NOT to sin. I am dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus my Lord. Do you see the difference? One is sin oriented and the other is God oriented. In one approach a person puts themselves under the Law. With the other, the person puts themselves under the cross.
Am I free to sin? No, may it never be. How can I who have died to sin continue in it?
Now Mormons must put themselves under some sort of Law. The reason is that they are working to earn their status as gods. Mormon grace is earned by doing all they can do. A big part of this “doing” is remaining in good standing in the LDS club so that they might get the “candy”.
You see for the Christian, the love of Christ controls us. One died for all, therefore all died and Jesus is the One who died for all, that we who live should no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died and rose again on our behalf.
So concluding that this is true, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; new things have come. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting our trespasses against us; He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
So you see clyde, it all first starts with knowing who God is. Then it’s knowing and accepting by faith the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross on our behalf. Lastly, we walk in the Spirit and not by the flesh because the Spirit of God lives in us.
The Law lost its power to condemn me when I came to Christ. I’m under the cross, covered by the Blood of Jesus, and walking in the Spirit.
As a Mormon you are under a religious system that attempts to make you righteous by your obedience to their ordinances. You suppose you will become a god if you perform precisely how the system requires you to perform.
I’ll take Christ.
No one can “avoid sin”. That is the whole problem with Mormonism’s regulations, it makes people think that they can. As John said,
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
He also says,
4 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
Regulations can’t get you there.
You said, “We say try, have faith in yourself and the God who made you.”
While I agree with the last last part I do not agree with the “have faith in yourself” , which causes a problem for the whole statement. One of my favorite quotes to emphasize this point is from G. K. Chesterson.
“Thoroughly worldly people never understand even the world; they rely altogether on a few cynical maxims which are not true.
“Once I remember walking with a prosperous publisher, who made a remark which I had often heard before; it is, indeed, almost a motto of the modern world. Yet I had heard it once too often, and I saw suddenly that there was nothing in it. The publisher said of somebody, ‘That man will get on; he believes in himself.’ And I remember that as I lifted my head to listen, my eye caught an omnibus on which was written ‘Hanwell’ (lunatic asylum). I said to him, ‘Shall I tell you where the men are who believe most in themselves? For I can tell you. I know of men who believe in themselves more colossally than Napoleon or Caesar. I know where flames the fixed star of certainty and success. I can guide you to the thrones of the Supermen. The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.’ He said mildly that there were a good many men after all who believed in themselves and who were not in lunatic asylums.
‘Yes, there are,’ I retorted, ‘and you of all men ought to know them. That drunken poet from whom you would not take a dreary tragedy, he believed in himself. That elderly minister with an epic from whom you were hiding in a back room, he believed in himself.”
“If you consulted your business experience instead of your ugly individualistic philosophy, you would know that believing in himself is one of the commonest signs of a rotter. Actors who can’t act believe in themselves; and debtors who won’t pay. It would be much truer to say that a man will certainly fail, because he believes in himself. Complete self-confidence is not merely a sin; complete self-confidence is a weakness. Believing utterly in one’s self is a hysterical and superstitious belief…’ And to all this my friend the publisher made this very deep and effective reply, ‘Well, if a man is not to believe in himself, in what is he to believe?’ After a long pause I replied, ‘I will go home and write a book in answer to that question.’”
You cannot have faith in yourself and God. It would be a way of serving two masters. You can only believe in God and what He did/does/will do for you and all Creation. The faith must be entirely in God. To have faith in yourself would be to make your own self an idol.
“We say try, have faith in yourself and the God who made you. You seem to say it won’t work but when you put your faith in Jesus you seem to be doing the very same thing we are doing.”
Clyde, there is a huge gulf between Christian & Mormons, just as there is a huge gulf between God & men, thankfully God has bridged that gulf.
Like all cults, sects, whatever, that deviate from scripture it results in the same thing, you said it yourself in the comment above, ‘have faith in yourself’ You (the LDS) refuse to accept Gods word & you add to it, where scripture tells us to have faith in Christ you tell us to have faith in our own abilities. That’s human pride talking, the very thing that separates men from God, it’s the attitude that tends to say, I, I can do this, I can do that. Notice that letter Clyde, ‘I’ the middle letter of sin.
You’re looking at what Falcon says from the wrong angle, when he says he ‘gives up’ he’s saying that he gives up trying to avoid sin. Why does he say that? He says it because scripture tells us that’s what we have to do, we has to stop striving in our own strength & look instead to Christ, the author of our faith, the one in whom we become new creations.
Unfortunately members of the LDS seem to have little comprehension of what becoming a new creation means, I’ve never seen a member of the LDS talk about it. Ask why that is, think about it & perhaps you will see that the reason is because of the emphasis on ‘after all we can do’ Can you see that Clyde? It’s pride talking & it’s our pride that tends to nullify the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That might seem way over the top to you but you must try to understand that giving up self is paramount & that’s exactly what Falcon is talking about. Christ gave everything for us, we must do the same & that includes putting ourselves totally in His hands so that we can finally say, ‘this is all of God & nothing of me’. Surely you can see that?
Stop looking to an organization for answers, stop looking to your own abilities, stop striving to do what scripture says you can never do & look instead to the one who died so that you might live.
The first thing to understand is what does it mean to be lawless? Lawlessness, I was told by someone who is fluent in Hebrew and Greek translation, is translated as without instructions. What are the instructions that God gave us? The ten commandments.
I had a lot of battles to overcome with doctrine, knowing truth and accepting Jesus as the Messiah and reigning King over my life when I realized that the LDS faith wasn’t true. One of the struggles that I had was accepting Pauls writings. I used to call his writing the doctrine of Paul because reading it just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the bible. I found a good teacher tho who has helped me to understand Pauls writings better. Paul speaks about grace but he also speaks about law. The fact of the matter is that Gods laws were meant for us to place ourselves under. Mans laws were never his intentions! Knowing the difference is what MAKES the difference.
The LDS rituals and ordinances are nothing more than modern day parasitical practices. The apostles and prophet are sitting up on their thrones high above all of the other people just as the Pharisees did in their times. If these Mormons are believe that the scriptures in the bible are true than they can read for themselves about how that does not line up with scripture. If Jesus Christ is your shepherd/teacher/instructor/Rabbi etc than they should LISTEN and OBEY him. And that whole nonsense about “as far as its translated correctly” well I agree that sometimes you do need someone to help you understand….for example the translation of lawlessness….but sometimes is easy enough for a 5 year old to understand. Like what im about to say.
First of all the Pharisees transgressed by adding to the Torah (first five books of the OT).
In Isaiah 29:13-14 Its states that their worship consisted of man-made rules and that because of this he will remove their understanding and wisdom. In Matthew 15:1-3 we see Jesus speaking and hes talking to the Pharisees and scribes. Hes asking them why they choose to break GODS COMMANDMENS (the ten handed down by Moses) in order to keep THEIR TRADITIONS. In Matt 15:6 it is clear that Jesus is speaking of the 10 commandments because he quotes one of them (honor your father and mother). And then in Matthew 15:7-9 we see him quoting Isaiah 29:13-14.
Jesus taught us to obey the Commandments that were handed down to us by Moses but to be careful not to fall into the traps of the doctrine of Men. When we obey the laws and ordinances passed down from men than our hearts are far from the Lord. We have to be careful whos laws we are putting ourselves under.
The way I view the issue of sin and our efforts to avoid are that we should strive to do what is right. However, we should strive to live our lives in Jesus, and when we do that, we do what is right. Its a matter of focus, really. Instead of focusing on sin, we need to focus on Jesus. Instead of focusing on doing anything, we need to focus on Jesus. Jesus is our focus, not the law.
When we keep our eyes on Jesus as the prize, we will finish the race as winners. When we do this, we won’t sin. This is much easier to say than to put into practice, but that does not mean it is incorrect.
Clyde seems to suggest when we do this we do the very same thing LDS do. This is simply not true, because we don’t have to go to any temple to do any ritual. We don’t have check boxes that are marked off as we grow. We merely follow Christ, and allow Him full control in our lives by making Him our full focus.
Now, I do agree with catty in that the law has not been taken away. It still exists, but when we are in Christ, we are within the law. We will not break the law when we are in Christ. Unfortunately, as humans, we find ourselves rebelling and wanting to do what we want to do, which is all too often not what God wants us to do. We then sin.
However, Christ’s forgiveness is huge, and as long as we recognize our sin God will work in us to keep us from sinning again. He has more patience for mankind than we, as humans, can ever imagine. It is not our effort, but the grace of God that keeps us from sinning. This grace is found when we focus on Jesus.
OUCH! Are you sure you want to place yourself under the Law?
” The fact of the matter is that Gods laws were meant for us to place ourselves under.”
There’s a good study to do in that statement. I know I may be splitting hairs with you here, but these little exercises are good for us to do in order to get a good grasp of God’s Law, His grace and the meaning of our relationship with (God) now that Christ has fulfilled the law.
Read Galatians, especially the first chapter.
Here’s the point. Paul talks about the Law through out his writings and refers to it as our tutor. He points out that the purpose of the Law was to demonstrate to us how impossible it is to keep it. That’s why God gave us a new Law in the Spirit and not the flesh.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 explains it telling us, “…….I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people……for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m challenging you in a negative way.
Mormonism is a system that starts out wrong because it doesn’t even know who God is. Based on a wrong understanding of God, a complete system of religious works was developed in order to appear to be making people into gods.
It’s all nonsense of course like most false religious system started by false prophets are.
I think this is pretty good. It gets to that idea of how should we then live having been saved by the grace of God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
The essence of pietism is this:
It is a practice designed to lead to an experience that purports to give one an elite or special status compared to ordinary Christians. The Bible addresses this error in the book of Colossians. The false teachers in Colossae claimed to have the secret to a superior Christian experience that would cause people to rise above the bad “fate” they feared. Paul went on to explain that they already had everything they needed through Christ and His work on the cross. Another way of stating this is: If after having fully trusted Christ’s finished work on the cross, you are told that you are still lacking something, you are being taught pietism.
Paul calls this approach “self-made religion” which is exactly what all forms of pietism are. They all suggest that having been converted by the Lord through the cross and practicing His ordained means of grace by faith are inadequate. They have discovered a better way that leads to a higher order experience. Paul says they have “the appearance of wisdom.”
God is committed to the holiness of everyone He has redeemed. He makes them holy through His ordained means of grace. Paul warned both the Galatians and the Colossians against adding anything to the work of Christ: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6); “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). This means that salvation is by grace through faith and sanctification is by grace through faith. There is no secret principle to be discovered that creates higher order Christians. Here is how it is explained in Hebrews: “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. . . . For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:10, 14).
Pietism is an attack on the scriptural truth that Christ has already done it all and that this is true for all Christians. I believe in progressive sanctification, but God is sanctifying all Christians by the same means.
Members of the SLC LDS are caught on a treadmill of performing all sorts of temple rituals and signing on to a moral life style code that is void of the Spirit of God. It is one of these religious ideas that appears to have wisdom but again is simply man-made.
Falcon said, ” Mormonism is system that starts out wrong because it does’nt even know who
God is . Based on a wrong understanding of God , a complete system of religious works was
developed in order to appear to be making people into gods .”
Well said .
Carolyn Sexauer , ( for over 30 years a Mormon but then saved by God’s grace ) describes
what she as a Mormon was taught the gospel of Jesus was :
” The gospel of Jesus Christ is called the plan of salvation . It is system of rules by complying
with which, salvation may be obtained . ”
May the Mormon people discover the liberating truth which will get them off that treadmill
they’re on . The answer is Jesus , not a elaborate system of works .
I haven’t read through all of the comments, so if I’m repeating someone, I’m sorry.
But this issue speaks volumes as to what exactly is going on in the LDS culture. You have so many Mormons (usually the ones outside the Utah bubble) who hear the Biblical message of grace, forgiveness, etc. While they continue to believe in JS, the BoM, and so on… they have this odd perception that they’re the “same” as other Christians. They like to quote CS Lewis (and have no idea their prophets would’ve hated him) and uplifting, feel-good sayings from their apostles that have nothing to do with doctrine. It’s fascinating, because they seem to be pretty blind to what their religion actually teaches. They go to church, obey their rules, be nice to people, go on a mission, and assume that’s all there is to it. So when they hear something like this, a radar goes off in their heads that this can’t be right. Typical non-Utah Mormons don’t have a clue about everything their prophets have taught, which is why we see so many of them go silent when their weird teachings are quoted fully and in context here. This book teaches what the Mormon religion is all about, but based on the reaction, it looks like the majority of Mormons in the pews missed those lessons.
I don’t think that you are challenging me in a negative way Falcon. This is a topic that I feel pretty passionate about and I think I am able to back it up with scripture so I hope that I do not come across as being to pushy about it either.
So I am going to refer to the scripture that Falcon referenced in Colossians 2:6 but I would like to look at the entire text from vs 4-23. vs 6 :This scripture tells us that we are to walk in Christ, established in the faith and as we were taught. Jesus taught the laws and commands that were given by Moses and he taught against the laws and practices of the Pharisees. Christ taught us to put off sin and human traditions. This is reinforced in vs 8 were it states to be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human traditions that are not rooted in the teachings of Christ. The teachings that Christ taught were to follow the commandments of God that were given to Moses as shown in Matt 22: 36-40. The Ten Commandments have laws that apply to our relationship with the Almighty and laws that apply to our relationship with mankind. He was saying that they are all important. In Galatians 2:18 it states that we should not allow anyone to tell us that we are unworthy due to their rules that they have compiled themselves “without cause” and by an “unspiritual mind”. The regulations that are being spoke of in vs 20-21 are not the 10 commandments or Sabbath but the regulations imposed by the writings of the Rabbis (Talmud). It flat out states that they are the commands and doctrines of men in vs 22. The Ten Commandments were not the doctrine or commands of men but the COMMANDS OF GOD. The LDS doctrine and laws are definitely the commandments of men because when God presented his law it was given in front of thousands of people to see so that there would be no dispute about where it came from, not in a hidden place. In vs 23 it states that mans doctrine is of no value because it does not curb self-indulgence.
In Galatians 2:21 it is speaking about the sacrificial law, not the 10 commandments. If righteousness could be gained by the killing of animals than Christ would not have had to die. The verses in Chapter 3 are speaking about the Galatians who had returned to offering animals sacrifices for sin after Jesus Christ had already died. This is not talking about being in obedience to the Ten Commandments, honoring the Sabbath day or honoring the feasts. Do we need the spirit of God within us in order to obey the 10 commandments? Yes. Do we need to accept the lamb sacrifice that Jesus Christ provided for us? YES. Will we be forgiven if we sin unintentionally and then repent (repent=make right what was wrong and then turn away from the sin with the intent of not committing it again and then asking forgiveness)? Yes. If we continue to sin in direct defiance to Gods commands, knowing that we are disobeying him will we receive salvation on Judgment day? No. There is a scripture that completely lines out those who will not receive salvation on the day of judgment 1 Corinthians 6:9.
Do the rituals and ordinances performed in the temple help to obtain any kind of glory in the world to come? NO! BECAUSE THEY ARE THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN AND NOT OF GOD!
I just showed you where Jesus Christ spoke against the doctrines of men and taught the law of the Living God that was given to Moses. The people in the NT were following the laws of the Pharisees and false prophets and the same is true for the Mormon Church today (and many other churches).
They believe that the customs and traditions that they keep are necessary to some degree in receiving glory in the afterlife. These are all the doctrines of men that Jesus was telling us to beware of. If the laws or ordinances cannot be found to be delivered by Moses or Jesus than it is a doctrine of man and should be avoided. If we are servents of the eternal Melchizedek Priest Jesus Christ than we will obey the teaching that HE gave since He is a Priest forever Hebrews 7:20-24. I am very certain that He covered everything that needed to be covered so that no man would deceive us by being a false shepherd to us. God has something to say about false teachers as well.
Jeremiah 23:16-32 GOD says “I did not send these prophets, yet they ran with a message. I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. If they had really stood in My council, they would have enabled My people to hear My words and would have turned them back from their evil way and their evil deeds.” Whose words? Gods words. What words did he deliver to the people that would turn them from their evil ways? Oh ya…the laws and commandments of God..the Ten Commandments. It also states that he is against the prophets who teach falsehoods and boast in all their glory. God states that it was not He who sent or commanded them and that they are of no benefit to the people.
Matthew 7:13-23 Warns us about listening to false teachers. He states that they will come in sheeps clothing but will be ravenous wolves inside! They will come as something innocent and pure in appearance….they will be difficult to recognize if you don’t know what to look for. Good thing that we were told! Its says that we will recognize them by their fruit! If what they are teaching does not line up with scripture or is proven to be false this is BAD FRUIT/bad instructions/ bad doctrine…Eve believed bad instructions in the garden. She allowed the serpent to deceive her in his false teachings. His teachings were opposite of what she was instructed by the Father. She took of the bad fruit that Satan offered and was separated from the Father for breaking his instructions. The last portion of this scripture states that many will expect to receive salvation on the day of judgement because of all of their works that they performed in his name ie: prophesy, driving out demons, and miracles (LDS go ahead and add baptisms for the dead, temple endowments, not drinking coffee etc). But instead they will hear “Depart from me, you lawbreakers!” What law have they broken? His laws and commandments. This means that they were without instructions. They did not keep the instructions that counted but instead did what they wanted to do that glorified themselves in the presence of others. (Isaiah 59:1-8 This is a freebee)
Please don’t think that I am saying that we have to be perfect in order to receive salvation on the day of judgment. What I am saying is that Gods laws are the laws that we are expected to keep, not mans. Yes, God has written them on our hearts and our minds if we have accepted the covenant that is presented to us with the sacrifice of Jesus the Messiah. The reason they are on our hearts and minds is so that they are ever present and before us. This is so that we do not forget the Name of the One that we serve and that we keep them as a good servant keeps the rules of his master.
I know this is long and I apologize. I hope this helps.
I think Matthew 22:37 fits in good with statement about the laws being written on our hearts and our minds. If we love Him we will keep his commandments. John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching (keep my word); and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him.”
I don’t think you will have read my comment from a couple of days ago made at 9:49am. If you would care to go back & read that posting you will find that I am saying pretty much the same as you, albeit in a more condensed form 🙂
We, as Christians, do follow the law as laid down in the Ten Commandments, we have little choice really as they become part & parcel of our nature when we become Christians therefore I really don’t understand the confusion.
As far as I’m concerned we obey Christ simply by following him, John 3:16 everything follows from that & when we take that step we become a new creation. His ‘commands & laws’ become part of our nature, as you rightly said they are written on our hearts. The true Christian knows, because he is a new creation, what is right & wrong but as I explained in my earlier post we cannot be perfect. When we are told as in John 14:23 & 1 John 3:9 that we do not continue to sin we need to understand that those passages are referring to continuous deliberate & sinful practices that separate us from God. They are not referring to the kind of sins that we all commit from time to time which are part of being Human. Those things, when we ask forgiveness, are forgiven.
So to sum up my beliefs on this, all true Christians live by Gods laws as given to us in the Ten Commandments but do not follow laws that were applicable only to the Jewish nation. In other words we live according to Gods Moral laws but have been set free, by Christ’s sacrifice, from all other laws.
I guess we are saying the same thing. Sometimes its hard to tell because of the Christians who believe in the once-saved-always-saved theory. They have a tendency to say that it doesn’t matter and that a person is just backslidden. The thing is that if a person is away from God than they are not in his presence and wont be there in the day of judgment either. Just a quick example: If a girl or boy makes a decision to be a slave of Jesus the Messiah and lives according to his word for years but then is convinced to move in together with their girlfriend/boyfriend and has found a way to rationalize the sin….where does that leave this person? Or how about a pastor/bishop who is committing adultery but has rationalized it because him and his wife have been having problems for years. I have to say that these people who at one time may have resided in the safety of the Almighty have now chosen to live under his wrath. God is a merciful and patient God, but he is still God always and I think that is something that the LDS church tends to leave out. They teach all about the love of the Father and the love of our “brother Jesus” *just puked a lil* but they don’t teach about the fear of the Lord God in heaven. 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 and 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 If there is not the fear of God instilled in the members than how can anyone be encouraged to dig deeper to make sure that their doctrine is correct and that they are not infuriating their Creator? Jesus Christ may have come in love but he will return a Mighty Warrior and King. Everything will be revealed to us and we will know the truth from the lies Revelation 21:1-8. Those who have followed lies and false doctrines will have their destiny revealed to them by their works that they called works of righteousness (works not commanded by God but by men) 2 Corinthians 11:15.
For all of the LDS who just sit back and read this blog and scoff at the truth that is being revealed to you, you will be held accountable for it on the day of Judgment. (I had someone on here tell me that when I was not listening to truth. *winks at Rick B) And you will be double accountable for what you teach your kids! Matthew 18:6-7 If something clicks inside your head that the LDS church may not have it all together, than you had better run as fast as you can from that place! God will not waiver his judgment based on your good intentions of thinking you had it right. We are required by God to test authority and find the truth (and not just pray to see if its true but line it up against scripture and in context). If you aren’t doing that than you are already at fault. 1 John 4:1-6 If we are born of the Spirit of Truth than we listen to what the apostles and prophets said in the Old Test. and New Test. Be careful about the people you follow in the name of apostle and prophet. Matthew 7:14 states that the wide road, the road many people follow only leads to death. A wise teacher told me that if you see many people following a certain type of doctrine than you should test it because it probably is not true! The truth is a narrow road and very few people find it.
🙂 Old Man, I have to disagree with regard to keeping the Sabbath and Feasts but that is a discussion for another place than this.
Thanks for your response Catty, you make some excellent points concerning the rationalizing of sin. I confess to my shame that I’ve been down that road so I know exactly what you’re talking about & trust me, without going into any details, I know at first hand just how destructive the results of such rationalizing can be, however that’s a story for another time. You mentioned ‘once saved always saved’ there’s a lot of debate concerning that particular doctrine but it’s far too involved to discuss at the moment so maybe some other time.
As you rightly say, this is not really the time to be discussing the Sabbath & feast days so all I’ll say for now is that there are some things we do not have to agree on because they don’t affect our salvation, what applies to one person does not always have to apply to another. Paul talks about this in Colossians 2:16-17
Ps. I do like to keep one day a week as a special day 🙂
Ah– once saved always saved.
I happen to think this is true, but I do not think it is worth fighting over. There’s a simple message to remember: doing what we are supposed to do relieves all questions.
In the end, we are called to walk in Christ, and when we do that, we eliminate any questions for other people. However, part of the problem is the other people. Only God knows our hearts. And while we may do things other people object to, they do not know our relationship with God. Nonetheless, there are things that we just shouldn’t do, because it blatantly goes against what God tells us to do. Adultery is a good example, and repeated adultery likely means the adulterer’s commitment to God is lacking– and probably was from the beginning.
But because someone commits adultery one time is not sufficient evidence to conclude the person is not a believer. And John 10: clearly records Jesus as saying that “no one will snatch them [believers] from my hand.” I recognize that Heb. 6 the author writes about the impossibility of restoring believers who have fallen away, but I see in that text believers who no longer believe, not those who sin. In Heb. 10 we see someone deliberately sinning losing “privileges”. But in James 5, we see the possibility of someone believing, falling away, and then the possibility of someone bringing the person who fell back.
I see all of these and more, and focus on Jesus’ word: no one shall take believers away from Him. Once He has His grip on us, we are ensured of our salvation. If we deliberately sin, or if we ourselves reject Him, I think there are questions as to genuine belief from the beginning.
Who can reject God’s power and love? Only the selfish and the hard-of-heart.
Now, having said all of that, I see room for disagreement on much of this given topic. I am OK with those who think that sincere believers can lose their salvation.
I happen to agree with you. We all struggle with things in our lives. Let’s take drug addiction for example. I personally don’t believe someone who has confessed Jesus with their mouth and has a deep love for Him will ever lose their Salvation for slipping up and using drugs after becoming clean. What if that person is only alive because of their relationship with Him? What if that person prays for strength to resist his/her addiction every single day? I don’t believe Jesus would abandon that person because they struggle with that, if anything, He carries them through it.
I believe we are Justified by faith. The Bible says the righteous shall live by faith. There is no Justification in the law. No matter how many times I stumble (sin) I know there is One I can turn to and through His righteousness I am Justified. I don’t believe God is like this ” Not even once” book. He doesn’t just give us one chance and then we’re out. He loves us so much that as long as we turn to Him, He will be there. He sent His Son to redeem us. That’s where I turn. I don’t turn to or rely on the law (any part of it) for doing so puts me back under a curse. Isn’t God’s love wonderful?!
I don’t wish to get into a debate over once saved always saved (I have my own views on that which for the time being I’ll keep to myself) but broadly speaking I agree with what MJP & Kate say.
Having said that I think that cattyjane has been misunderstood, I don’t believe she was referring to a one time adulterous liaison, or the occasional giving in to a sinful impulse, it seems to me that she was talking about a person who misuses scripture to rationalize a continuous sinful practice. Correct me if I’m wrong catty.
Scripture does tell us that it’s possible to fall away from the faith but as I said above, broadly speaking if a person has truly been reborn then, theoretically at least, it shouldn’t be possible to lose that salvation. However, I refuse to be dogmatic about it, I’ve learned the hard way, the very hard way, what it can mean to rationalize sin & fall away. With respect, I would prefer not to be told ‘in that case you couldn’t have been a true Christian’ because, unlike most in here, (yes I know that’s an assumption) I know exactly what it means to be cut off from God, not just briefly but for a long time. I know what it is to feel Gods anger because I’ve been there, I’ve experienced it & it’s precisely because I was a Christian that I’m aware of the despair that separation from God can bring.
I think MJP answered what cattyjane was saying.
“If we deliberately sin, or if we ourselves reject Him, I think there are questions as to genuine belief from the beginning.”
I wasn’t really speaking to what cattyjane was saying, I was responding to MJP’s post. I will say that if we separate ourselves from God for whatever reason, that is on us. God is there, all we need to do is ask.
I appreciate your thoughts, and assure you that you are not the only one to learn the hard way on some things. The human mind can rationalize anything, and is one tool opposition uses to bring us down. We must always be wary of this.
In this discussion, I am reminded of the parable of the farmer scattering seed, where Jesus describes some seed taking root and thriving, some not taking root at all, but others still taking root but dying off quickly for lack of deep roots.
It is from this idea where I conclude that some who fall away never were much believers, anyway. We’ve all seen it: some people go to a church event, get all excited, outwardly say they’ve made a commitment to Christ, get baptized, go to church enthusiastically for a few weeks, then start to fade away from church. They disappear. Some keep going for awhile, and most probably want to believe, but they just won’t let their hearts be transformed in the way they need to be transformed by God. They don’t allow God’s roots to develop in them.
Outwardly, most people probably think these people really have accepted Christ. But as has been said, only God knows our hearts. We can only guess.
And I hope that I do not come across as arrogant or anything like that by suggesting some people who fall away were never sincere in their beliefs. Surely, most are at least sincere– even if they didn’t fully allow Jesus to work in them.
Oh boy…………….in my many years on MC we’ve deftly avoided the “once saved always saved” controversy.
I would agree with MJP. Those are my sentiments. Get saved and behave yourself! It’s a reflection of who you are in Christ.
I grew up in what I’d call a hyper-Armenian religion. You all know my background as a Catholic. It is what I call “N.F.” no fun. Because pretty soon what happens is that people want to know how far they can go before they are “lost”. We had mortal and venial sins and confession and all sorts of mental gymnastics trying to decide if we had gone over the line.
Their are Protestant churches whereby people are getting saved, then lost, then going forward again and “rededicating” and on and on.
I’ve developed, for my own peace of mind, a sort of modified Calvinism.
Now I can hear some TBM would jump up and proclaim that they have a prophet who hears from God so they don’t have this confusion. To what I say, “SHUT UP, Your religion is a confused mess even with a prophet.”
I believe a person has to have faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross in order to be saved.
The seed of the Word falls on all sorts of ground. In-other-words, there is “bad code” in some people and that’s just the way it is. They are the result of the Fall. Corrupted nature begets corrupted nature.
“I believe a person has to have faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross in order to be saved.”
Money quote! This is it in a nutshell.
We are all at different levels in our walk with Jesus. The beautiful thing is that He meets us where we are. This was so hard to accept for me at first.
Coming out of a works based religion, I couldn’t get it through my head that it was ok to put all my faith and trust in Jesus for my Salvation, it seemed too simple. All I have to do is believe. I still do good works and I still try not to sin, but I know that I am covered by the blood of Christ and I am not perfect. Like you, I focus on Jesus and not on sin. It works better for me that way as well.
To anyone who cares to read this
As I said in my previous post, a long time ago I fell away, I had to endure years of punishment for what I did, no easy escape route for me, no saying ‘sorry Lord’ & let that be an end to it. I suffered for seven years as God said I would & now, after 50 years of believing that I was a Christian, those who know next to nothing about me & know even less about what has happened in my life inform me that I wasn’t really a Christian after all.
So to all those who say that I fell away because I wasn’t really a Christian let me say this.
I have known Gods hand on me, I have known what it is to fall on my knees, humbled by Gods presence. I have known what it is to cry out, “ why me oh Lord, why me”? Knowing at that moment that God had a purpose for me, someone who was just a sinful man. For 50 years I kept the faith even after the death of two of my three sons, even after seeing my eldest son crippled, having to spend the rest of his life initially on crutches & within a few years, in a wheelchair. I kept faith even after seeing my darling daughter beset by an illness that will probably end her life before she reaches old age. You know next to nothing about me, you know nothing of the circumstances surrounding my falling away so please tell me why God severely chastised me. Please tell me why He brought me back into His Grace. Why would he do that if I ‘wasn’t really a Christian’? Why, if the seeds that were sown hadn’t taken root? Yes MJP I also know the parable.
It’s all very well Falcon saying things like “Get saved and behave yourself” so easy, so simple but also so misleading. There is purpose for everything that happens in the life of a Christian & I can tell you that what happened to me was the result of God working out His purpose in my life. Before anyone tells me ‘God wouldn’t cause you to sin’ thanks but I already know that. Everyone seems to be saying ‘yes I sin now & again but God forgives me’ as if that was the only thing that matters well, it’s not the only thing that matters, certainly He forgives, that goes without saying but what people seem to be conveniently forgetting is that He also chastises & punishes. It might be helpful to read Hebrews 12:6-10 in that regard. Why does he punish? He punishes for the very same reason that He forgives us, because He loves us.
I don’t know for sure if the mods will allow this post, be that as it may, I have no wish to cause offence but, if I have then I say to you, sorry but I have spoken the truth.
I doubt very much if I will come back & some will possibly see that as a blessing. However that might be, I came here believing that I might be of some use in helping LDS doubters along the road to Christ but I see now that I was wrong as I seem unable to get across even to the Christians in here.
I have no reason to think you never were a believer, nor are one now. Even Christians make mistakes. I happen to think that sometimes God does allow bad things to happen for purposes beyond our understanding.
I also believe that eternal salvation is a different matter than sinning and facing earthly consequences as a result. Even the best Christians will do bad things, and may face harsh consequences.
It sounds like I may be preaching to the choir, Old Man, as you may know this better than any of us. These are heavy matters, and heavy lessons to learn. I don’t know what you did, and honestly request you not share to keep your privacy. Its none of my business. But I do know that God does not make earthly consequences go away.
I have been talking about eternal matters here, not immediate ones. And in that sense, I think you are deeply rooted, from what I can tell by your posts. I want to emphasize that I have never meant to insinuate true Christians don’t sin on a large scale. They do. Never once did I intend to give the impression that Christians don’t make mistakes.
If I have offended you, I am deeply sorry. I stand by my comments concerning salvation, but do want to state that I don’t think you would be in danger of falling away. In other words, I don’t think Christ ever let go of you.