Home > Grace, Jesus, Mormonism, Salvation, Spiritual Growth > A Reasoned Response to Amanda – Part 2

A Reasoned Response to Amanda – Part 2

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

The second thing I said in my post called “Premature Platform” that Amanda took issue with was this statement.

”In fact, if a LDS person does have a genuine salvation experience and continues to allow God to renew his mind and grows in understanding of what the Bible teaches, they will not remain Mormon for long. Eventually their spirit will not be able to coexist in an environment where incorrect doctrine is taught and a false god is worshipped and that person will be lead by God to a place where truth is taught and the One True God is worshipped. I realize that this last statement may make some of you uncomfortable but rather than apologize, I would challenge you to take some time to honestly study LDS doctrine to better understand where I come from when I say that.”

To that she said:
“I in every way disagree with this. Who is to say whether someone’s salvation experience is genuine enough? When Christ atoned for my sins, my weakness, my shortcomings, my trials, my pains, all of my mortal experiences, and for those of every other person created, that was a salvation experience. And I have been being experiencing salvation every day of my life because of it. It is not just one moment. I need His atonement to constantly save me. If by a salvation experience you mean when I fully accepted Christ as my Savior, well I don’t know that there was one exact moment in my life when I did that, I always have. I have always believed in Christ and relied on Him. Does that mean I have not been “born-again”? The way I hear “Orthodox Christians” speak of their salvation experience it is as though Christ chose them to have it. Why would He not choose everyone? I believe He has chosen everyone, that He saved all of us, and He invites ALL of us to come to Him, and the closer we draw to Him the more we can feel of His love and a greater understanding of His salvation we receive. I do not believe the God I worship is false – I believe in God, the eternal Father, my literal Father, the creator of my spirit, the creator of this world – I believe He is all powerful, all knowing, perfectly and completely and endlessly loving, and ever-present. I believe He loves me enough that he provided a way for me to live with Him through eternity – He sent His Son to make this possible. I believe that even if Muslims and Jews and Hindus and any one else that believes in God believes in the same God that I do – they may not have as complete an understanding or a complete knowledge, but we still believe in the same God. I also believe that as I have continued to all God to renew my mind and the more I learn and understand what the Bible teaches I find my testimony of the Mormon church strengthened, and others do as well. I do not believe our doctrine is incorrect or that we worship a false god, and my spirit is very happy as a member of His church.”

Amanda, you are right, only God is the Judge of our hearts and He knows for sure if someone truly believes He is LORD. In your statement you actually bring up a lot of interesting theological questions like predestination and free will that are too lengthy to address here. Perhaps I will tackle them in the future.

What I would like to address is the need of a defining salvation experience that can be traced to a moment in time when you exercised your will and confessed that Jesus is Lord. Jesus equates the salvation experience with birth which is an experience which happens in a defining moment in time. In the natural it is a one-time occurrence and the same is true in the spiritual. I have heard many LDS come to an improper conclusion about this passage in John 3 so let me point something out that is important.

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and of the Spirit.”

Most LDS I know like to stop there and draw a premature correlation between the “water and Spirit” spoken here and LDS baptism and confirmation/receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. When not in its full context that appears to be a plausible conclusion. It is however dangerous to not consider the full context of scripture so we must move on to see what verse 6 says.

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

Why is this verse so important? Because it is what Jesus uses to clarify the previous one.
Water = Flesh              Spirit = spirit

Thinking of natural birth, while a baby is still in the mother’s womb it is surrounded by…water. In order for birth to happen, the water must “break” beginning the birthing process that comes to completion with the baby entering a new environment, forever changing what he knew to be true existence and opening his eyes to a whole new world around him. That is the fleshly birth Jesus is speaking of.

Looking at the same idea spiritually, many of the same parallels can be made. There is a moment of conception in all of us, when God plants in us a seed of faith. We carry that faith and hopefully care for it as a mother would her unborn child. While the gestation period varies in length, we all have one. Then, there comes a time when spiritual birth happens. When it does, we are transformed spiritually and nothing is ever the same as it was…and we can not go back. Our eyes truly open for the first time and we see a world around us that we never knew existed. It is only after we are born again of the Spirit that we can truly live the life God created us for. It is a defining moment in time that all true believers in Christ can look back at with rejoicing, acknowledging the change that took place.

Elsewhere, such as in Ephesians 2:8-9 phrases like “for it is by grace you have been saved…”
Colossians 2:13 says it this way, “God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins…”

Notice the definitive and past tense used. Does this moment mean that we no longer have to improve upon our understanding of who God is and ever establish a greater relationship with Him? Of course not; to say that would be ridiculous. So much so that I have not met a Christian yet that thought that or that looked at this free gift of salvation as justification to be in blatant sin.

According to Mormon teaching, a child is not even capable of making such a decision to receive the gift of salvation Jesus offers to everyone. It is not until they are 8 years old that they are even capable of sinning and therefore need baptism to at least momentarily cleanse them of that sin. But as I pointed out at the beginning, baptism is not this born again experience, but it should be the result of such an encounter with God.

Amanda, if you can not say with conviction that you have had such an experience I would encourage you to study it out and try to gain an understanding of why this is so important. Nurture the seed God has obviously placed in your heart until it gives life to your spirit and brings forth the indescribable fruit of salvation.

I know this idea is foreign to mainstream Mormonism but it is at the very core of the Christian life.

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  1. January 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Your blog touches my heart because I have too had these types of conversations with my LDS family members and friends. I will pray for Amanda and other Mormons that they can see the difference between religion and relationship. That God does a work in them to open their eyes and truly accept him.

  2. Brittani Estes
    May 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    I am a member of Gateway Church and trying to figure out how to contact you. If you see this, I would love a reply.

  1. January 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

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