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Can a person take themselves out of God's hand once one believes in Jesus Christ?  

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8 minutes ago, Meerkat said:

Can a person take themselves out of God's hand once one believes in Jesus Christ?  

Yes.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  (Matt. 7:21)

Thanks,

-Smac

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32 minutes ago, Meerkat said:

Can a person take themselves out of God's hand once one believes in Jesus Christ?  

Yes.

And since smac already posted a good reference, I'll just throw in the first verse from one of my favorite hymns:

Know this, that ev’ry soul is free
To choose his life and what he’ll be;
For this eternal truth is giv’n:
That God will force no man to heav’n.

I was talking to a pastor friend of mine a while back, and he said that even Charles Stanley has backed away from a position on eternal security being completely unalterable.

 

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1 hour ago, Meerkat said:

Can a person take themselves out of God's hand once one believes in Jesus Christ?  

Yes.  That is the very definition of perdition.

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2 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

Yes.  That is the very definition of perdition.

What about the Second Anointing? Is it okay to play God, so to speak?

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8 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

What about the Second Anointing? Is it okay to play God, so to speak?

What about it?  It is not playing God.  Godhood is not part of that ordinance at all.

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I think if you believe you're saved in the sense that you're loved and that you aren't inherently bad, I think thats a good thing.  

Conversely if you believe being saved leads someone to complacency and apathy, then those are negative things. 

I personally struggle with the utility of the entire concept of falling and needing to be saved.  I think it works in a metaphorical sense primarily and is a true myth at some level, but as soon as it was taken literally by Christianity as a mechanism to compel obedience and control, then it has been abused in very bad ways.  There is a lot of baggage around these religious concepts and salvation theology.  

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51 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

I think if you believe you're saved in the sense that you're loved and that you aren't inherently bad, I think thats a good thing.  

Conversely if you believe being saved leads someone to complacency and apathy, then those are negative things. 

I personally struggle with the utility of the entire concept of falling and needing to be saved.  I think it works in a metaphorical sense primarily and is a true myth at some level, but as soon as it was taken literally by Christianity as a mechanism to compel obedience and control, then it has been abused in very bad ways.  There is a lot of baggage around these religious concepts and salvation theology.  

I used to wonder about the concept of "The Fall", but I've since come to the understanding that the Fall was the simple transitioning of Adam and Eve from immortality to mortality.  And that while there was a transgression involved, i.e. eating of the Forbidden Fruit, it wasn't a sin, per se, since until they partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they didn't know good nor evil -- just that they had two commandments to obey.  After the Fall, I assume that Adam and Eve were taught properly about the commandments that God had for them, and then at that point they were finally capable of sinning -- now that they knew the law.

Well, I didn't partake of that fruit, and thus the Fall, per se, isn't mine and I don't need to own up to it (although I am subject to the mortal effects of it).  But I have committed many sins in the course of my life, and those I do need to own up to!  I hope that I have reduced my rate of sinning over the years, but I am still guilty of the sins I have committed already.  What can I do about those?  Nothing.  I'm sunk, because my guilt remains, despite my repenting of them.  And without Christ, I would have to suffer:

DC 19:15 - Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.

I used to subscribe to the notion that Christ had somehow suffered some kind of additive suffering, with the amount of suffering he had to bear being equal to the suffering required for each and every sin that was ever committed by every person from the beginning on to the end, including those sins that hadn't yet been committed at the time of the Crucifixion.  But I no longer believe this. This is because the Father doesn't have an infinite number of children, and therefore there couldn't have been an infinite amount of suffering. It would have been finite, even if large.  But this is what the prophet Jacob teaches in 2 Nephi 9:

2 Ne 9:7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement...

I don't want to get wrapped around the axle about "infinite" being one of God's names, and therefore all this means is that it is "God's atonement", and reason for this is because the infiniteness of the atonement appears to be mathematical and quantifiable, and not merely a descriptor.  And here's the mathematics of the matter: if you have committed any sin, even if it only one sin, you have fallen and are unworthy of the presence of God.  Any additional sin can't take you any further away than you already are.  So, you must receive the punishment for sin, which is to suffer exactly what Christ suffered:

DC 19:16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; 17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; 18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink

So there is a fixed punishment for sin, apparently required of us because not even God can get out of it.  And unless you repent, you will have to suffer it.  Having repented, however, Christ's suffering for sin that he didn't commit covers you completely. You don't have to suffer, and what's more, he can now lift you up because you are now sinless.  

The complaint of using this to compel obedience is missing the point. Does having a human law forbidding, say, robbery, for which a fine and period of imprisonment can be imposed, comprise a badly "abusive mechanism to compel obedience and control"?  Since I am aware that you don't believe in God, nor an afterlife, I understand how you could think that Christianity is misusing a threat of eternal punishment to compel obedience, but does the same canard apply to human laws, such as the laws which forbid robbery, assault and battery, and murder?  I don't think that you would apply that canard to those laws.  And assuming for the sake of argument that God does exist, and a punishment will be imposed on those who refuse to accept Christ and repent, is it really an abusive mechanism to compel obedience and control to warn people that if they commit sins they will suffer the consequences?  I should think one would regard it as highly unfair to NOT tell people that if they do A they will get Z.  Wouldn't that be eminently unfair?

I am reminded of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which the leader of the Vogon Destructor Fleet about to destroy the earth in order to make way for a Cosmic Bypass, responds to the complaints of the humans, that the notice of the demolition had been posted on the public notice board on Alpha Centauri for some hundred years, and if they couldn't bother themselves to check on it, he had no sympathy for them.  But we've been told all about it, and the notice isn't on Alpha Centauri, it's in the Bible and the other scriptures.  If you don't believe it, well then, that's your right, nevertheless you've been warned.

Parenthetically, I understand that in the ideal case we should avoid sinning just for the sake of doing right, and not just to avoid punishment, but that's the ideal case.  And how many of us are in that ideal case?

The question comes up, possibly, why does God propose to punish us for disobedience?  Couldn't he just chill and let it be?  Apparently he cannot, because there is a requirement for Him to respond to disobedience that even HE cannot escape:

Alma 42:25 What, do ye suppose that mercy can rob justice? I say unto you, Nay; not one whit. If so, God would cease to be God.

 

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3 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

What about it?  It is not playing God.  Godhood is not part of that ordinance at all.

I'm not sure what you mean by this, actually. The Second Anointing apparently has to do with having one's calling and election made sure. If that isn't Godhood, what is it?

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7 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Can a person take themselves out of God's hand once one believes in Jesus Christ?  

Yes.

16 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

I'm not sure what you mean by this, actually. The Second Anointing apparently has to do with having one's calling and election made sure. If that isn't Godhood, what is it?

I believe the moderators don't want second anointings discussed. But being anointed as something doesn't mean you are something yet. The anointing is part, just as the anointing before the endowment is not the endowment.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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10 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Yes.

I believe the moderators don't want second anointings discussed. But being anointed as something doesn't mean you are something yet. The anointing is part, just as the anointing before the endowment is not the endowment.

 

Fair enough.

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Covenants and ordinances always demand two people to enter into it and there are contingencies - If you do "this" then I will do "that".  There are no guarantees.

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

I'm not sure what you mean by this, actually. The Second Anointing apparently has to do with having one's calling and election made sure. If that isn't Godhood, what is it?

The Second Anointing bestows the priesthood office promised in the First Anointing.  That office is not Godhood.

1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I believe the moderators don't want second anointings discussed.

Hopefully I was sufficiently vague.

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8 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Can a person take themselves out of God's hand once one believes in Jesus Christ?  

From my LDS, Sentinel, Son Of Thunder Kryptonian  Archives for No Once Saved Always Saved and The LDS Evangelical In Me : -  http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org  

The Atonement It Is The Central Doctrine

Washing My Garment In His Blood

In His Eternal Debt/Grace

Anakin7

Edited by Anakin7

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20 hours ago, smac97 said:

Yes.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  (Matt. 7:21)

Thanks,

-Smac

And specifically what did Jesus Christ plainly tell us that the will of the Father is? 

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20 hours ago, Meerkat said:

Can a person take themselves out of God's hand once one believes in Jesus Christ?  

Friends, rely upon the word of Jesus Christ.

Once Jesus Christ knows you, is there anything that you can do that He would not know you?  He never knew the rejected of the Savior in Matthew 7.

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Matt 7:23

Once born, is there anything one can do from that point forward to be un-born?

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7

If Jesus promises us that if we have His gift of Eternal life, we shall NEVER perish and there is NO MAN – even you – that can take that away.

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:28

Jesus Christ promises us that if we chose to believe in Him, we have eternal life and those who do not believe will never see life because they will partake of God’s wrath because they do not have eternal life.  They did not obey the will of the Father and believe in His Son.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  John 3:36

The question is, will you choose to believe the words of Jesus Christ?

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4 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

Friends, rely upon the word of Jesus Christ.

Once Jesus Christ knows you, is there anything that you can do that He would not know you?  He never knew the rejected of the Savior in Matthew 7.

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Matt 7:23

Once born, is there anything one can do from that point forward to be un-born?

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7

If Jesus promises us that if we have His gift of Eternal life, we shall NEVER perish and there is NO MAN – even you – that can take that away.

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:28

Jesus Christ promises us that if we chose to believe in Him, we have eternal life and those who do not believe will never see life because they will partake of God’s wrath because they do not have eternal life.  They did not obey the will of the Father and believe in His Son.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  John 3:36

The question is, will you choose to believe the words of Jesus Christ?

This just turns into a dispute based on semantics and interpretation.  For example, you dismiss those who have prophesized in the name of Jesus, those who call on his holy name, they have even cast out devils in the name of Jesus and done many great works in his name.  You dismiss them by saying I never knew you (quoting the verse, but still not grasping the contingent promise).  How does Jesus state that he does not know them?  Look at the contingent promise in verse 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

It does not matter how many times someone preaches Jesus, talks about Jesus or even does miracles in his name - IF you don't do the will of the Father then Jesus will not recognize you.  What is the will of the Father?  That is found in doing/following the commandments and teachings of God. We have to both hear and do as it says in verse 24.  

One can easily have a spiritual experience and come to know the Savior and then close the door, not follow his teachings/commandments, and refuse his will for us.  You can even fake it - preach on Sunday about Jesus, cause others follow after him, but live like the Devil and he will not know you.  It is not about being unborn; it is about doing the will of God.  

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45 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:
Quote

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  (Matt. 7:21)

And specifically what did Jesus Christ plainly tell us that the will of the Father is? 

I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but I'll give it a shot. 

"The will of the Father" is, I think, best summarized in Matthew 22:

Quote

35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

And perhaps then clarified by John 14:

Quote

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
...
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
...
23 ... If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

And these:

Quote
  • We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. (AoF 1:3)
  • And again I say unto you, if ye observe to do whatsoever I command you, I, the Lord, will turn away all wrath and indignation from you, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.  (D&C 98:22)
  • Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.  (D&C 93:1)
  • I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.  (D&C 82:10)
  • And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.  (Mosiah 2:17)

And these:

Quote
  • We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.  (AoF 1:6)
  • And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.  (D&C 124:45)
  • And to judge his people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the prophets of God.  (D&C 58:18)
  • What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.  (D&C 1:38)
  • 9 Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations;
  • 10 But this generation shall have my word through you.  (D&C 5)

So to sum up:

1. The "will of God," distilled to its most basic elements, is to love God and to love one's neighbor.

2. Loving God is inextricably linked to obedience to God.

3. Obedience requires discernment of God's will.  He therefore has sent us prophets and apostles, and also endows us with the gift of personal revelation.

4. Loving God is also inextricably linked to loving one's neighbor.  The latter is an expression of the former.

Thanks,

-Smac

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51 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

Friends, rely upon the word of Jesus Christ.

I try to.

51 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

Once Jesus Christ knows you, is there anything that you can do that He would not know you? 

Yes.  

51 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

He never knew the rejected of the Savior in Matthew 7.

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Matt 7:23

We could proof-text this all day long.  I'll see your parsing of Matthew 7 and raise you a 1 John 2:17 ("And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.")

I just can't get on board with OSAS.  It's just fundamentally flawed.

51 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

Once born, is there anything one can do from that point forward to be un-born?

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” John 3:7

If Jesus promises us that if we have His gift of Eternal life, we shall NEVER perish and there is NO MAN – even you – that can take that away.

Sorry, but this sort of exegesis has never been persuasive to me.  OSAS makes hash of obedience to God, of individual agency and responsibility, of repentance, of loving God.  Pretty much the entirety of the Gospel.

51 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:28

Jesus Christ promises us that if we chose to believe in Him, we have eternal life

So what do you make of people who "choose" to believe in Christ, and thereafter "choose" to not believe in Him?  Are they going to be saved anyway?  What if they do not want to be saved?  Will salvation be given to them against their will?

These are not intended to be snarky questions.  I just honestly do not understand how OSAS plays out.

51 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

and those who do not believe will never see life because they will partake of God’s wrath because they do not have eternal life.  They did not obey the will of the Father and believe in His Son.

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  John 3:36

The question is, will you choose to believe the words of Jesus Christ?

Yes, I so choose.  But what happens if a person thereafter chooses to not believe the words of Jesus Christ? 

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, Storm Rider said:

This just turns into a dispute based on semantics and interpretation.  For example, you dismiss those who have prophesized in the name of Jesus, those who call on his holy name, they have even cast out devils in the name of Jesus and done many great works in his name.  You dismiss them by saying I never knew you (quoting the verse, but still not grasping the contingent promise).  How does Jesus state that he does not know them?  Look at the contingent promise in verse 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

It does not matter how many times someone preaches Jesus, talks about Jesus or even does miracles in his name - IF you don't do the will of the Father then Jesus will not recognize you.  What is the will of the Father?  That is found in doing/following the commandments and teachings of God. We have to both hear and do as it says in verse 24.  

One can easily have a spiritual experience and come to know the Savior and then close the door, not follow his teachings/commandments, and refuse his will for us.  You can even fake it - preach on Sunday about Jesus, cause others follow after him, but live like the Devil and he will not know you.  It is not about being unborn; it is about doing the will of God.  

Friends, Jesus Christ plainly tells us what the will of the Father is (John 6:40) and it has nothing whatsoever to do with obeying the commandments, being good, starting something, stopping something, trying harder, performing priesthood ordinances or any other worthy behavior.

What does Jesus Christ tell us that the will of the Father is for those whom He does not already know?

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23 minutes ago, smac97 said:

So what do you make of people who "choose" to believe in Christ, and thereafter "choose" to not believe in Him?  Are they going to be saved anyway?  What if they do not want to be saved?  Will salvation be given to them against their will?

These are not intended to be snarky questions.  I just honestly do not understand how OSAS plays out.

Can you decide to be unborn?

I mean, what if you honestly and sincerely decide that you no longer want to be the biological child of your parents?

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This thread reminded me of this USA Today article published in 2010:

Quote

Only about one in four teens now participate in church youth groups, considered the hallmark of involvement; numbers have been flat since 1999. Other measures of religiosity — prayer, Bible reading and going to church — lag as well, according to Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif., evangelical research company. This all has churches canceling their summer teen camps and youth pastors looking worriedly toward the fall, when school-year youth groups kick in.

"Talking to God may be losing out to Facebook," says Barna president David Kinnaman.

"Sweet 16 is not a sweet spot for churches. It's the age teens typically drop out," says Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, which found the turning point in a study of church dropouts. "A decade ago teens were coming to church youth group to play, coming for the entertainment, coming for the pizza. They're not even coming for the pizza anymore. They say, 'We don't see the church as relevant, as meeting our needs or where we need to be today.' "

"I blame the parents,"who didn't grow up in a church culture, says Jeremy Johnston, executive pastor at First Family Church in Overland Park, Kan.

His megachurch would routinely take 600 teens to summer church camp, he says, "and many would be forever changed by that experience. But this summer we don't even have a camp.

I came across it in this article by Jana Riess (oh, for the days when she could occasionally publish something faith-affirming!):

Quote

This development didn’t come out of nowhere. Throughout the last decade, sociologist Christian Smith has published some fascinating research about religion and the American teenager, most notably in the Oxford book Soul Searching and its recent follow-up, Souls in Transition. Based on the National Study of Youth and Religion, these books were gold mines of information about the religious behavior and attitudes of American teens, generally revealing that although American youth profess belief at a high level (in God, the afterlife, and the Bible), their level of religious practice does not typically match what they say they believe.

So kids are leaving Christianity.  Why?  Part of the answer may be the sort of easy-believism that is reflected in concepts like OSAS.  Back to Riess:

Quote

One of the researchers in the National Study of Youth and Religion, Princeton Theological Seminary professor Kenda Creasy Dean, now draws upon the data to issue a gentle jeremiad to Protestant congregations. In Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church, she argues that if teenagers don’t have a firm grasp of core Christian doctrines and instead worship at what she calls “the Church of Benign Whatever-ism” — or don’t worship at all — it’s because youth pastors and other leaders have watered down the message, she claims. Teenagers in Protestant churches get the idea that they’re supposed to feel good about themselves, but that little is expected of them; Christianity is designed to make them “nice,” but it’s not supposed to form them as disciples. The first part of the book draws upon copious research data to diagnose the problem that Protestant teens are being taught a brand of Christianity that is a mile wide and an inch deep.

"Youth pastors and other leaders have watered down the message."

OSAS, I think, is one of the spigots  doing the watering down.

"Teenagers in Protestant churches get the idea that they’re supposed to feel good about themselves, but that little is expected of them."

That sounds like the natural consequence of teaching youth concepts like OSAS ("Once Saved, Always Saved"), condemning the idea that followers of Christ need to conform their behavior to the commandments of God, watering down Christianity and salvation to nothing more than an altar call, etc.

"A brand of Christianity that is a mile wide and an inch deep."

OSAS is, I think, part of that brand.

This is interesting to read, particularly coming from a Protestant scholar. As an outsider to Protestantism, I won't claim to have a perfect perception of how things go in that world.  And of course, we Mormons have our own struggles with retention, albeit for some very different reasons.  Easy-believism is not our thing.  Being a Mormon is, well, challenging.  Demanding of one's time and effort and means.  And in some ways quite unpopular.

Here's where the book Riess is reviewing gets interesting:

Quote

Then the book takes a surprising turn. In a chapter called “Mormon Envy,” Dean further indicts Protestant churches by holding up Mormonism as an example of a religious group that is doing right by its teenagers. She makes it clear that she has serious theological disagreements with Mormonism, but from a sociological perspective, Mormonism is succeeding in creating young adults who firmly understand what they believe and why their faith needs to have a claim on their behavior. She says that Mormonism is giving teens the four things they need in order to have a growing adult faith, elements that she develops more fully in Part III:

1) They are sufficiently catechized in beliefs by their own parents and by a spiritual community that expresses consistent expectations. In order to succeed as Christian adults, teens first need to know what their faith communities believe–the substantial stuff, not just the feel-good fluff. Dean holds up the Mormon tradition of early-morning seminary as an example of successful catechesis at the institutional level, and Family Home Evening as an example of how it can occur in the home. Mormon teens are nearly twice as likely (79%) as other teens to pray with their parents at times other than grace for meals.

This is an excellent point. My wife and I are currently using the Gospel Principles manual as the basis for all of our FHE lessons for the next year or so. We also have our children attend church every week. We also have family scripture study every night before bed. We also discuss the Gospel informally when we are in the car, over dinner, etc. All of these are teaching moments where we "catechize" our children. And judging by my children's increasing tendency to make thoughtful and original comments during these discussions, these "moments" are paying off.

And my children all know they have "consistent expectations" placed upon them. Church attendance, scouting, priesthood and young women's, service projects, administering the sacrament and collecting fast offerings (for the boys), serving missions, getting married in the temple, preparing to have and rear children (for both the boys and the girls), paying tithes and offerings, serving in the church, and so on.

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2) They need to acquire a personal testimony. Step one (catechesis) is vital but in the end insufficient if teens don’t make the Christian story their own. In Mormonism, there’s a great emphasis on personal testimony. More than half of LDS teens (53%) reported giving a talk or presentation in church in the last six months, compared to one in seven Southern Baptist youths and one in twenty-five Catholics. Mormon teens also exercise leadership, which Dean says is a crucial part of faith formation; 48% reported attending a church meeting where they were called upon to make a decision that would be binding on a group. These practices aren’t just window dressing, according to Dean; they pave the way for other crucial faith-forming events, such as missionary service. “From a very early age the church fosters . . . the skills that help her talk about her faith and participate in faith-sharing practices, starting with regular religious conversations in the home, shared leadership practices in youth ministry, and frequent opportunities for public testimony in worship,” Dean writes of one of her Mormon interviewees.

Another great point. And I wonder if Mormons have an advantage here because we encourage our members to develop a testimony through study, pondering and prayer. I also find it ironic that this concept is met with so much derision amongst many Protestant critics of the LDS faith.

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3) They need concrete religious goals and a sense of vocation. Part of the problem that Dean is diagnosing in American Protestantism is that there’s nothing teens are working toward, no sense of spiritual growth being a closely monitored goal. Much of that seems to end with confirmation around age twelve or thirteen, which is an invitation to drop out. In Mormonism, children prepare for missions and the temple; start fasting with the community every month at age eight; are expected to pay tithing just like adults; give up time on weekends to clean the church building and do service projects; and actually track these things in personal progress journals.They work toward Eagle Scout status or being a Young Woman of Excellence. (That latter designation is extremely hokey, and it’s arguably a separate but unequal companion to the Eagle, but at least it’s a goal.)

This is a continuation of the first point above.

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4) They need hope for the future. In Mormonism, Dean says, teens talk confidently about the purpose of this life (which they understand as being tested and growing spiritually so they might return to their Heavenly Parents after death). In Protestantism, she says, there has been an erosion of eschatological hope. Reading Dean’s book — particularly the final chapter “Make No Small Plans,” which deals with the complexities of inculcating hope — you get the sense that this is where the author feels most at a loss for what to do. What she and Christian Smith call “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” (the idea that religion exists to make me a better person and make me feel good) has so infected Protestantism that she doesn’t quite know how to respond, though she is sure the answer as well as the problem lies with the Christian church.

Wow! This is how I've perceived Protestantism for quite some time. And yet I don't dwell on or expound upon it because I am an outsider, and hence did not feel that I was sufficiently informed to make such cutting observations.

One more bit from Riess:

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One complaint I have with Dean's book is that she seems to assume that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism doesn't exist in Mormonism, which it does despite the aforementioned high levels of religiosity. Many, many Latter-day Saints have a functional belief that religion exists primarily to make them better people in this life.

I think Riess is correct here. However, I wonder if the LDS approach (making adherents feel like better people through faith and correlated good works) is superior to the approach used in some Protestant quarters (making adherents feel like better people through teachings (like OSAS) that don't require much or anything of the believer).

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

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1 hour ago, FormerLDS said:

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  John 3:36

The question is, will you choose to believe the words of Jesus Christ?

Are the scriptures the words of God?  If so, how do you reconcile John 3:36 with James 2:19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." And what are the implications?   

Or 2 Peter 2:17-22 "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
            18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
            19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
            20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
            21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
            22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

How can it be better for a person to have not known the way of righteousness than to turn from it, having once received it-- if, having turned from it, a person is still saved?  

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45 minutes ago, smac97 said:

So to sum up:

1. The "will of God," distilled to its most basic elements, is to love God and to love one's neighbor.

2. Loving God is inextricably linked to obedience to God.

3. Obedience requires discernment of God's will.  He therefore has sent us prophets and apostles, and also endows us with the gift of personal revelation.

4. Loving God is also inextricably linked to loving one's neighbor.  The latter is an expression of the former.

 

So you believe the rejected of the savior performed all of these miraculous works in the name of Jesus Christ, but they did not love God?  They cast out demons in the name of Jesus Christ, but they did not love their neighbor?

They prophesied in the name of Jesus Christ but didn't try to obey the commandments?

They did things that no Mormon has ever done for others around them but they didn't love their neighbor?

If they didn't make it, what does that say about your odds?  

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6 minutes ago, FormerLDS said:

Can you decide to be unborn?

I mean, what if you honestly and sincerely decide that you no longer want to be the biological child of your parents?

Please answer my questions:

  1. What do you make of people who "choose" to believe in Christ, and thereafter "choose" to not believe in Him? 
  2. Are they going to be saved anyway? 
  3. What if they do not want to be saved? 
  4. Will salvation be given to them against their will?

To answer your questions:

"Can you decide to be unborn?"

Well, no.  But I can sever my relationship with my parents.  

"I mean, what if you honestly and sincerely decide that you no longer want to be the biological child of your parents?"

I can't do much about biology.  But as far as sociality, I have all sorts of options.  I can shun my parents.  Disobey them.  Ignore them.  Reject any gifts or bequests they may leave to me.  Cut them out of my life.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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