Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Unexamined Foundation of Salvation

In our eternal view, nearly all who have been born into mortality have “confessed the name of Christ and been saved” (into *some* degree of glory in the presence of a member of the Godhead) by the grace of God - based on their acceptance of the Father’s Plan in the pre-existence. The only exception to that rule is the Sons of Perdition - an incredibly small percentage of God’s children, according to every statement we have. Therefore, in a very real way, we view this life very differently than other denominations. Essentially, the mainstream Christian “goal” (progress-less existence in the presence of God) is what we claim has been rewarded already in either the Telestial or Terrestrial kingdom. Iow, grace gets us a degree of glory in a kingdom of God, but our acceptance of what God asks us to do (our “fruits” - which I prefer over “works”) qualifies us for a higher degree of glory in a different kingdom of God.

Given that position, when we talk of “salvation” we generally mean “exaltation” - since within Mormon theology “salvation” as the rest of Christianity defines it essentially is a given. We have "been saved" - but we want the other blessings offered by Jesus in His great biblical vision. Our “problem” in articulating how we view grace is that the very concept of “going beyond grace” is anathema to other Christians, even though it is a central tenet of the Gospels, especially.


Last Lemming said...

There is an intermediate level of salvation that I think you are overlooking and that has meaning to other Christians--namely that we can be forgiven of our sins and not have to suffer for them ourselves. The salvation that you refer to as a given does not preclude our suffering for our own sins--only that such suffering will eventually end and be replaced with a degree of glory. I wish we had different words for those two concepts. I have tried assigning "salvation" to one of them and "redemption" to the other, but I don't think the scriptures support such a clean distinction.

Also, not "every statement we have" supports the view that the sons of perdition will be "an incredibly small percentage of God's children." This website provides some contrary opinions.

I don't personally agree with these sentiments, but they are nevertheless out there.

Christy said...

Wow, Ray, I appreciate your understanding of the grace vs. works concept. I only wish I knew it last year when we were teaching the New Testament!

Papa D said...

Thanks for that link, LL.

One of the best statements I've ever heard is, "If you don't like what a Mormon apostle says about something, just find one who has said something different." If we search over the course of the church's existence since 1830, there is a treasure trove of such examples - and that's actually something I really love about Mormonism.

Papa D said...

Thanks, Christy - but mine is as incomplete as most. I'm still figuring it out on an on-going basis. I'm glad my religion allows that.

Bryan said...

LL, the last paragraph in that link you provided says to me that the number who qualify must be smaller, relatively speaking at least. It says a person must receive "by revelation the absolute knowledge of the divinity of Christ, and then deny" [it]. Personally I don't know that I've ever met someone who has obtained an absolute knowledge. How many of those (few) people then deny - and not only deny, but also fight?

Papa D said...

Yeah, Bryan, I noticed that also - which is why I see this as I do.

I probably should have made it clear that I appreciate the link and LL's comment - but I still stand by the point of the post. I just realized that might not have come through my response as strongly as it should have.