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This Week In Sunday School


consiglieri

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This coming Sunday, we will be covering those texts from the gospels dealing with the Savior's agony in Gethsemane.

As the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher, I feel it an invitation to address the subject of the salvation offered us by Jesus, which is through no work of our own, but solely through his grace.

It has been my perception that the LDS Church has been modifying its teachings on grace over the last three decades, which I tend to see as a reclaiming of Book of Mormon doctrine on the subject.

Any thoughts about how I can do this in such a manner as to avoid offending the class?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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This coming Sunday, we will be covering those texts from the gospels dealing with the Savior's agony in Gethsemane.

As the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher, I feel it an invitation to address the subject of the salvation offered us by Jesus, which is through no work of our own, but solely through his grace.

It has been my perception that the LDS Church has been modifying its teachings on grace over the last three decades, which I tend to see as a reclaiming of Book of Mormon doctrine on the subject.

Any thoughts about how I can do this in such a manner as to avoid offending the class?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

What do you think could possibly be taken as an offense by the class concerning the subject matter?

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What do you think could possibly be taken as an offense by the class concerning the subject matter?

It is my impression that Mormons tend to find repugnant any mention of "saved by grace" even though that doctrine is fleshed out in the Book of Mormon. I think it is time for the LDS to reclaim the concept.

Perhaps you could volunteer to be present in my class to observe the reaction, and to interpose your body in the way of vegetable projectiles as needed?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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What do you think could possibly be taken as an offense by the class concerning the subject matter?

Was your question directed only at consiglieri, or was that an open question to everyone?

I''ll suppose the latter for a moment.

Perhaps some members of the class would be offended by the idea in their own mind after hearing consiglieri say something like this:

It has been my perception that the LDS Church has been modifying its teachings on grace over the last three decades, which I tend to see as a reclaiming of Book of Mormon doctrine on the subject.

... perhaps thinking that by saying the Church has been modifying it's teachings on grace the Church hasn't been teaching correct teachings.

People can be funny, sometimes, about how they interpret things, and I think that's why we should always invite the Holy Spirit to guide us in our understandings.

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What do you think could possibly be taken as an offense by the class concerning the subject matter?

And as a further aside, I note that one member of the LDS Church has already suggested that I pray to God before venturing into such a controversial subject.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Perhaps you could volunteer to be present in my class to observe the reaction, and to interpose your body in the way of vegetable projectiles as needed?

Are they going to be using fresh vegetables from their gardens, ya think?

If so, I volunteer to catch the tomatoes. :P

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Dear Consiglieri,

Please leave the cavernous evil outside of Sunday School.

Thus sayeth the bylaws.

Gonna cut and run,

The Mohel

While I agree that the doctrine of salvation by grace may be evil, I was not aware it rose to the level of truly "cavernous evil." It is my intepretation of the bylaws that they therefore would not apply in this instance. Of course, your lawyer may disagree with my lawyer. Should I be awaiting an injunction?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Are they going to be using fresh vegetables from their gardens, ya think?

Typically, the members of my class who are familiar with my teaching style come fully armed with vegetables picked some time before the previous season.

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While I agree that the doctrine of salvation by grace may be evil, I was not aware it rose to the level of truly "cavernous evil." It is my intepretation of the bylaws that they therefore would not apply in this instance. Of course, your lawyer may disagree with my lawyer. Should I be awaiting an injunction?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

I have consulted my lawyer, and he disagrees with disagreeing with your lawyer. Nonetheless, I know that Mormons always skip over 2 Nephi 2:4 (and other such scriptures -- like 2 Nephi 10: 24), so I still feel that it will be evil for you to bring up such things in class.

Regards,

Llama Spit

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It is my impression that Mormons tend to find repugnant any mention of "saved by grace" even though that doctrine is fleshed out in the Book of Mormon. I think it is time for the LDS to reclaim the concept.

Really? I must be out of touch with LDS thought. <_< I think that LDS may reject the "saved by grace" doctrine of the EV's , but hasn't saved by grace always been a part of the LDS beleif system? I mean , we are to keep the Lord's commandments and receive the ordinances and covenants that go along with His Gospel , but don't LDS believe , in the main , that all these things are encompassed with His grace?

Perhaps you could volunteer to be present in my class to observe the reaction, and to interpose your body in the way of vegetable projectiles as needed?

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

:P

I've got your back , consig. :unsure:

shield.jpg

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May I add that, over and over again, the Book of Mormon seems to relish telling stories framed in such a way as to make it clear that salvation comes by grace alone with no opportunity for contributing works from the recipient?

There is the conversion of Alma, the younger, who is in a coma when he is saved and awakes from the coma only to tell the onlookers that he has been "born again." No possibility for works in the coma.

There is the conversion of King Lamoni, and then again of his father, told in similar terms.

There is the conversion of the Lamanites by Nephi and Lehi in Helaman 5 who are paralyzed when they are saved.

There is even the interesting anomaly in Lehi's Dream of the Tree of Life, where we tend to focus on the people that Lehi sees "pressing forward" toward the Tree of Life to partake of its fruit, without necessarily pausing to recognize that Lehi himself apparently got to the Tree of Life by a different route.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Was your question directed only at consiglieri, or was that an open question to everyone?

I''ll suppose the latter for a moment.

You supposed correctly. :P

Perhaps some members of the class would be offended by the idea in their own mind after hearing consiglieri say something like this:

... perhaps thinking that by saying the Church has been modifying it's teachings on grace the Church hasn't been teaching correct teachings.

I take your point.

People can be funny, sometimes, about how they interpret things, and I think that's why we should always invite the Holy Spirit to guide us in our understandings.

Indeed.

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I have consulted my lawyer, and he disagrees with disagreeing with your lawyer. Nonetheless, I know that Mormons always skip over 2 Nephi 2:4 (and other such scriptures -- like 2 Nephi 10: 24), so I still feel that it will be evil for you to bring up such things in class.

Regards,

Llama Spit

In your usual humorous and adroit manner, you bring up the apparent disconnect between the beliefs of many (most?) Mormons on the subject of salvation and their own book of scripture; not only the doctrinal passages you ably cite, but also the stories told over and over again in the Book of Mormon teaching the same thing.

I think this may be attributable to a knee-jerk reaction wishing to distance LDS thought from that espoused by Born Again Christians.

What do you think?

All the Best!

--Baboon lice

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It has been my perception that the LDS Church has been modifying its teachings on grace over the last three decades, which I tend to see as a reclaiming of Book of Mormon doctrine on the subject.

Any thoughts about how I can do this in such a manner as to avoid offending the class?

Your words seem to imply a fundamental ignorance of LDS doctrine which has not changed at all over the time period specified (and, I would argue, never has changed at all in any time period). No one will be offended if you teach from the scriptures.....

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 2 Nephi 25:23.

And thus we see that the LDS Church has taught since it's inception, as the scriptures do, that there are requirements for salvation.

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Consig- this is a subject I've spent a lot of time studying. My favorite recource on the subject is Bruce C. Hafen. I suggest getting a few talks from LDS.org he has done dealing with the atonement; he has explained it better than most any other I could find, truly illuminating the concept of "grace."

Here's a nice attention activity I came up with. It's simple. Get a cup of mud, an empty cup, and a pitcher of water. The cup represents us; in that we have been filled with sins, making us unclean. We must be cleaned first, repentence, etc, but even then we are just an empty cup. At that point we continue in our discipleship, we can be filled with charity, the pure love of Christ, a gift of the Spirit. Note to the class that the water is not self-generated by the cup by any means, it comes from a literal outside source. Charity is the same way; it is a gift of the grace of Christ, communicated to us and filling us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Refer them to the BOM scripture which teaches us to be "filled" with charity; not to be "full," indicating a process, not a state. The charity comes from God. Works won't attain it; though we pray for it and prepare ourselves to be ready to receive it.

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BCSpace; I'm not sure I understand your interpretation of the scripture in Nephi. It literally says it IS by grace we are saved; after all we can do.

After all we can do indicates just that- EVEN after ALL we can do, our works are never sufficient to save us. In spite of all we can do, we are saved by grace.

Members of the Church, some, have had the tendency to emphasize the works without relying on the grace; which in the end is unfortunate. If they'd pay attention to the doctrine as the Book of Mormon AS A WHOLE teaches, we'd be a lot better off. I can assure you the doctrine of grace is critical in the restored church of Christ. Please review these selections, and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Mosiah 2:20-25

20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another

21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to anotherI say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; [see John 14:15] and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.

Alma 22:14

14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory;

I believe these verses are great references to the LDS doctrine of faith vs. works. Do you feel these scriptures agree, or disagree with your concept of grace and salvation?

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Your words seem to imply a fundamental ignorance of LDS doctrine which has not changed at all over the time period specified (and, I would argue, never has changed at all in any time period). No one will be offended if you teach from the scriptures.....

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 2 Nephi 25:23.

And thus we see that the LDS Church has taught since it's inception, as the scriptures do, that there are requirements for salvation.

I am glad that you brought up 2 Nephi 25:23, because I think it is commonly misunderstood as meaning that we must first do everything we can, and then grace is the cherry on the top that carries us through the pearly gates.

I tend to agree with Stephen Robinson that nobody can do all they can do in the first place, and that the passage is better understood as "in spite of all we can do," or, "apart from all we can do."

Naturally this will come up in Sunday school, so it may be a good idea to hash it out here first.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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It is my impression that Mormons tend to find repugnant any mention of "saved by grace" even though that doctrine is fleshed out in the Book of Mormon. I think it is time for the LDS to reclaim the concept.

I don't think so. I only have a problem with "saved by grace alone" not "saved by grace"

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Charity is the same way; it is a gift of the grace of Christ, communicated to us and filling us by the power of the Holy Ghost.

2 Peter 1:5-7 indicates that charity, at least in part, is derived from our own actions. "add to your faith....."

Other verses imply the same.....

2 Nephi 26:30 Having charity is a commandment

Moroni 7:44-47 Charity comes becomes one is meek, lowly of heart, and confesses that Jesus is the Christ

Alma 7:24 Having charity is our responsibility (see that ye have it).

D&C 4:5-6 Charity is a qualification (listed among other qualifications)

etc.

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Consig- this is a subject I've spent a lot of time studying. My favorite recource on the subject is Bruce C. Hafen. I suggest getting a few talks from LDS.org he has done dealing with the atonement; he has explained it better than most any other I could find, truly illuminating the concept of "grace."

Here's a nice attention activity I came up with. It's simple. Get a cup of mud, an empty cup, and a pitcher of water. The cup represents us; in that we have been filled with sins, making us unclean. We must be cleaned first, repentence, etc, but even then we are just an empty cup. At that point we continue in our discipleship, we can be filled with charity, the pure love of Christ, a gift of the Spirit. Note to the class that the water is not self-generated by the cup by any means, it comes from a literal outside source. Charity is the same way; it is a gift of the grace of Christ, communicated to us and filling us by the power of the Holy Ghost. Refer them to the BOM scripture which teaches us to be "filled" with charity; not to be "full," indicating a process, not a state. The charity comes from God. Works won't attain it; though we pray for it and prepare ourselves to be ready to receive it.

Thank you for bringing up the very important concept that Charity is a gift of the Spirit obtained from God, and not something we can gain on our own through diligent striving. I believe this is critical to a proper understanding of salvation. If we must have charity to be saved, how are we to obtain this charity? I believe the Book of Mormon teaches it comes only through prayer to God; else it is not a gift.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

I don't think so. I only have a problem with "saved by grace alone" not "saved by grace"

Then you may have a problem with my position that the Book of Mormon teaches salvation by grace alone.

(I am sure we would agree on the details, however.) :P

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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2 Peter 1:5-7 indicates that charity, at least in part, is derived from our own actions. "add to your faith....."

Other verses imply the same.....

2 Nephi 26:30 Having charity is a commandment

Moroni 7:44-47 Charity comes becomes one is meek, lowly of heart, and confesses that Jesus is the Christ

Alma 7:24 Having charity is our responsibility (see that ye have it).

D&C 4:5-6 Charity is a qualification (listed among other qualifications)

etc.

Hence my example of the cups. The vessel must be cleansed, and our efforts are needed, as well as grace (the water, again, is not self-generated, though it can be applied to clean.) The nearer we get to God, the clearer our water poured into us becomes. It is a relationship dependant upon both God and the individual; bnut ultimately, that cleansing and filling come from a source outside of ourselves; ie, God.

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2 Peter 1:5-7 indicates that charity, at least in part, is derived from our own actions. "add to your faith....."

Other verses imply the same.....

2 Nephi 26:30 Having charity is a commandment

Moroni 7:44-47 Charity comes becomes one is meek, lowly of heart, and confesses that Jesus is the Christ

Alma 7:24 Having charity is our responsibility (see that ye have it).

D&C 4:5-6 Charity is a qualification (listed among other qualifications)

etc.

It is Moroni 7:47, which indicates charity comes from God through prayer:

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

And in our discussion, we should not overlook 1 Corinthians 13, which seems to indicate that charity is one of the gifts of the Spirit that will endure.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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In your usual humorous and adroit manner, you bring up the apparent disconnect between the beliefs of many (most?) Mormons on the subject of salvation and their own book of scripture; not only the doctrinal passages you ably cite, but also the stories told over and over again in the Book of Mormon teaching the same thing.

I think this may be attributable to a knee-jerk reaction wishing to distance LDS thought from that espoused by Born Again Christians.

What do you think?

All the Best!

--Baboon lice

Itâ??s certainly possible. I know that I am often guilty of such a knee-jerk reaction. Probably the greatest scripture(s) on this -- at least IMO -- is:

Mosiah 2: 20-25

20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with anotherâ??

21 I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to anotherâ??I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants.

22 And behold, all that he requires of you is to keep his commandments; and he has promised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth vary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do keep his commandments he doth bless you and prosper you.

23 And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him.

24 And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?

25 And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.

BCSPace aptly cites 2 Nephi 25:23, which has two possible ways of being interpreted:

1) We only receive grace if we have done everything we can.

2) After all that we can do, it is still grace that saves us (and not all the junk that we did).

As of late, I have begun to lean more towards the latter interpretation (and when compared to the Mosiah verses above, it tends to make more sense). It is G-dâ??s grace that saves us, period. He might ask us to do a couple of things to partake of that grace (and to be justified, and sanctified), but in the end it is still His grace. "...of what have [we] to boast?"

The grace/faith/works trichotomy is always a bit of a pickle (and usually not a very kosher one).

Hugs,

Vlasic Rabbi

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