Home > Jesus, Mormonism, Salvation > A Reasoned Response to Amanda – Part 1

A Reasoned Response to Amanda – Part 1

In my last post an old friend took exception to some of the points I made about Mormonism. She is LDS so that is understandable. She wrote a lengthy comment that I think needs some attention. She made 3 main points so in order to keep my blog posts manageable, I am going to respond in 3 separate posts, all of which will be this week. Her intro and first point I will respond to follows:

“I did not hear Glen Beck’s talk that this blog post is about…I can’t comment directly on anything he said, but based on what you wrote Doug I disagree with almost every point you made. I have been Mormon for 32 years. I have a pretty good understanding of the principles and doctrine of the church. I have studied extensively and while I don’t have a perfect knowledge or understanding I do feel like the understanding that you have of the church is very incomplete and in some cases wrong. I know you studied a lot, but I think that your testimony was never founded on Christ while you were a member of the church, and because of this you were unable to really understand what the church teaches. I don’t think that is uncommon. I think many people have an incomplete understanding, and not only in the Mormon church. We are all growing in our understanding and knowledge; learning is a principle of life. But as someone who has both complete faith in the Saving power of Jesus Christ and someone who believes strongly in the truths taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I would like to address some of the points you have made and why I disagree with them.

1) “Glenn speaks of being saved in the context of being baptized into the LDS church. If I have made the correct assumption based on what he said, than this is a 100% LDS statement.” – I can’t say what Glenn said, but I disagree that that is a 100% LDS statement. I don’t know anyone that thinks that their baptism saved them. Through baptism we are able to follow the example of our Savior, we are able to keep a commandment of our Heavenly Father, and we are able to receive forgiveness – but the saving comes through Christ.”

While I don’t doubt your devotion to the LDS church I do call into question your understanding of the doctrines and teaching of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as compared to Biblical Christianity. That is not in any way an insult. It is quite normal for LDS to carry with them many misconceptions about the doctrines and practices of Christian churches. Because of this, I want to show you what each faith system teaches about baptism and how it relates to salvation. We will start with Mormonism.

Here is the official statement under the “Baptism” heading in the “Gospel Topics” section on LDS.org.
“Baptism by immersion in water by one having authority is the first saving ordinance of the gospel and is necessary for an individual to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to receive eternal salvation. All who seek eternal life must follow the example of the Savior by being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

In addition to this, baptism is necessary to enter the celestial kingdom which is equivalent to what Christians would call heaven…living in God’s presence. Without LDS baptism there is no getting into Heaven. Here is a quote from page 131 of the Gospel Principles manual used to teach new members or those investigating the LDS faith.
It is under the heading, We Must Be Baptized to Enter the Celestial Kingdom.
“Jesus said, ‘Whoso believeth in me, and is baptized…shall inherit the kingdom of God. And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.’ (3 Nephi 11:33-34). Baptism is the gateway through which we enter the celestial kingdom.”

If we put those two things together it tells us that if we want to be “saved”, which to a Mormon this may only mean resurrected depending on the context but has a much greater meaning to a Christian, we must be baptized. In addition to that, without this baptism into the LDS church, it will be impossible to reach LDS “exaltation” which is what Christians would say salvation is…minus the assumed godhood, planets and countless spiritual offspring.

If you still don’t see how the LDS church equates baptism to a person’s salvation ask yourself why you perform baptisms for the dead in temples. If it was really all about what Jesus did, then no ordinance would be required, only complete reliance on the work and merit of Christ.

The Christian doctrine of baptism is very different. For us it is seen as something a person should do but in no way required to receive God’s grace and forgiveness. In fact, there are many examples of people who were promised salvation without it. I will share two such instances with you in hopes that they will cause you to think about them.

The first would be Abraham. There are a number of places that speak of Abraham being counted as righteous or “justified” because of his faith, not any ordinance or work.

Romans 4:2-5 “If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness”

This is echoed again in Galatians 3:5-7 “Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
6 Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
7 Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.

Another easily seen example is the thief on the cross in Luke 23. There, hanging and inches from death, he makes a declaration of belief in who Jesus is and without a baptism performed He tells the thief, ““I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Biblical Christianity always has and always will hold to the teaching that we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1; Eph 2:8-9). So instead of the ritual of baptism being a requirement for salvation, it is actually a result of a true confession of belief in Christ. It is a natural fruit of salvation, demonstrating to the world that you no longer live, but that Christ lives in you. It comes after, not before or even at the same time, eternal salvation has been secured.

So if a Mormon speaks of Jesus saving him in the waters of baptism, it is reasonable to assume that the context in which he speaks is that of baptism being the first, and perhaps most important, of the many steps in the LDS salvation process.

Categories: Jesus, Mormonism, Salvation

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