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Introducing Christianity to Mormons: Chapter 8

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Chapter 8: Justification: Forgiveness of Sins by Faith Alone

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Christianity is all about the complete forgiveness of sins, which the Bible says is available only through faith alone in the work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. This is a different concept than having to perform certain works/duties for eternal life. A person’s efforts are not enough to pay any portion of sin’s debt. While adherents of other religions ask what must be done for the forgiveness of sins, the Christian asks, “What did God do for me?” And that makes all the difference in the world.

Discussion Questions Chapter 8

1. Someone might argue that The Miracle of Forgiveness is not scripture, so this book should not be considered authoritative. How could this argument be countered? Do you personally think using an LDS book to evangelize Mormons is a good or bad idea? Explain.

To me, this is the best evangelistic tactic I have ever used. Using it helps me get right to the heart of the issue. I think this can be a tactic used on the street as well as with LDS friends and family members. Ask, “Would you be willing to read The Miracle of Forgiveness with me?” It’s written by an LDS president, for Pete’s sake, so it is the perfect lead in. Even though I disagree with Kimball’s conclusions, I do admit that he did a great job of accurately explaining the unique LDS scriptures Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon. So, Latter-day Saint, are you doing everything that Kimball said you need to do in order to qualify for the celestial kingdom?

For more information on this tactic, visit TheMiracleOfForgiveness.com.

2. Spencer W. Kimball wrote, “We are gods in embryo, and the Lord demands perfection of us.” Does the Bible agree with this assessment?

Actually, he is exactly right. The Lord does demand perfection because he is holy. Since all people are sinners, they fall short of God’s glory. Now, the question is, how does a person reach this perfection? If it requires our own works, we’re doomed. This is why imputation (credit for righteousness only available through the work Jesus has done on the cross) is so crucial to comprehend. It is not our own perfection that is needed; rather, it is His work that provides the opportunity to be in a relationship with Him.

3. Christianity teaches that justification is a gift of God. For some like Marcus, receiving this gift sounds too easy. Why does this concept seem to be so difficult for those outside of Christianity to accept?

As humans, we are very much used to having to earn our way through life. If you don’t study, then you don’t good grades. If you don’t put the effort into your job, you don’t get promoted. If you don’t invest into your marriage, you end up with martial woes. And so on. Thus, most people assume that salvation comes through hard work and becoming better every day. After all, nobody will hand you a million dollars. However, the Bible is very clear that:

  • Nobody has done what they are supposed to do
  • The result is eternal separation from God
  • The only answer is to receive the free gift of God

It is impossible to gain salvation through one’s own efforts. This is why we must be willing to receive this free gift, but it can be ever-so-difficult for some to accept this biblical truth because it sounds too “easy.”

4. What is the “bad news” of the Gospel? Should this bad news ever be introduced into a conversation when presenting the gospel?

The “bad news” is that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and there is no way to right ourselves outside of perfection. Some people think that sin and hell are bad words that should never be used in the presentation of the Gospel, but I heartedly disagree. Unless people realize the awful state they are in, they will be content to live their lives the way they like. Mormons, for instance, think they are “good enough” and can somehow pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Christianity does not teach in universalism, or the idea that everyone will end up in a happy place no matter their status with God. This is serious business, so definitely the bad news plays an important role in evangelism to Mormons.

5. How is the biblical concept of becoming a child of God different from what is taught in Mormonism? Have you become a child of God? If you have, describe your life with Jesus. If you haven’t made that decision, what holds you back?

The preexistence according to Mormonism says that all spirits who chose Jesus in the Council of Heaven were given the right to become human. In other words, the way we lived in this previous world plays a direct role in where we are born and into which family. It seems to be very much related to Eastern thinking–sort of like a play on the Eastern ideas of reincarnation and karma. However, the Bible teaches that a person becomes a “child of God” only through faith (John 1:12, Rom. 8:14). I hope the reader has a personal relationship with Jesus. If not, it is time to follow Him! There will be no regrets!

What do LDS leaders have to say about salvation?

Articles

Crash Course Mormonism

The Miracle of Forgiveness (Spencer W. Kimball)

Families

The Future

Videos

God Loves Mormons short videos

Viewpoint on Mormonism Podcasts

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