Ep32-Soteriology in LDS Thought (Pt 1)- The Problems of Theism & The Love of God Ch 5

Show Notes:


“The relationship between divine grace and human response is at the center of theological reflection. It has also been the source of endless debate over the respective human and divine roles in salvation. It is a common charge brought against LDS thought that it preaches salvation by works and that it focuses on works to the exclusion of grace.”

“Soteriology in LDS scripture is the explanation of how God makes us free to choose to be in relationship with him.”

“I argue that the LDS view is not deficient in its elucidation of grace and divine mercy. It seems to me that the general Protestant failure to recognize an appropriate role for “works” in Paul’s thought in particular and Christian thought in general has led them to distort LDS thought. In particular, fellowship love entails “works of love” and “keeping the commandments” which define the law of love.”

“I want to explain how the LDS view of grace opens a space for healing our hearts, resulting in deliverance from our own self-deception that somehow we need to justify ourselves. Once we know that God regards us as acceptable to him simply by faithfully and trustingly accepting his gracious offer to enter into a relationship of intimately shared life, the blinders of our hypocrisy come off and the shackles of sin are loosed.”

LDS Soteriological Terminology
“To begin this discussion it is important to get some clarity on the way terms such as redemption, salvation, exaltation, works, and grace function within the LDS community of thought and scripture”

The Vision

“Joseph Smith received “the Vision” on February 16, 1832, and it revolutionized LDS soteriology or theory of salvation.

First, it is imperative to note that Joseph Smith’s revelations teach that we are “saved” by confessing and recognizing Jesus as the resurrected Christ and Lord through grace. It is simply that according to both Paul and LDS scripture, all persons, literally everyone born, will at some point confess Jesus as Lord.”

“One of the most prominent themes in the Vision is the universality of “salvation”—“that through [Christ] all might be saved whom the Father had put in his power and made by him, who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands except the sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him” (D&C 76:42–43).”

“The Vision is a revelation that explains the meaning of John 5:29”

“KJV John 5:29 challenges the Christian view of salvation because it divides those who are damned and those who have life based upon whether they have done good or evil rather than upon simply believing in Jesus Christ.”

“Three kingdoms of glory are revealed in the Vision, the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial. A later revelation to Joseph Smith clarified that every person will enjoy that degree of light or “glory” that he or she is willing to accept”

“Now for a few clarifications. “Salvation” in LDS thought (at least in the Vision) means being saved from God’s wrath and delivered from the devil and hell.”...
“Salvation must be distinguished from the LDS view of “exaltation” which corresponds to what Protestants typically mean by “glorification”—to be exalted to and be glorified with the glory that God enjoys and to receive all that he has and is.”
“Note that “salvation” is not dependent on works and is not a result of judgment by works. Further, once one has been saved, there is no way to fall from salvation except by becoming a son of perdition.”

“Because Joseph Smith’s revelations address those who are already saved, already baptized into the kingdom, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that grace is essential to salvation and that salvation is by grace rather than by works.”

“We are saved by grace, but we are judged and rewarded according to our works.”

Faith unto Repentance

“the initial account of Alma the Younger’s redemption only reveals to us that Alma repented and shows us the results of Alma’s repentance. How did he come to repent? Did he choose to do so on his own, of his own free will? Was it solely Christ who brought about the change, or some combination?”

“Alma the Younger felt tormented by his sins, recognized Christ as the Son of God, and asked for mercy—and that is it.”

“The Book of Mormon is clear that faith entails repentance in the sense that we must turn away from whatever alienates us from God and turn to God.”

“Repentance is an act of turning away from sin and turning to God.”

“Conversion is thus a turning away from sin and also a turning back to God. It is the human act of choosing to end the alienation that separates us. “Conversion” takes place when a person is willing to wholeheartedly repent by turning from sin and turning to God for forgiveness of sins.”
“Repentance is a condition of salvation. However, it does not “earn” or “merit” salvation any more than accepting a gift that is offered “earns” or “merits” the gift when it is given.”

Order of repentance and conversion dispute

Baptism essential for salvation in LDS though?

“the LDS scriptures view baptism as a necessary result of repentance that leads to reconciliation with God through Christ. Thus, Moroni states: “the first fruits of repentance is baptism”


“It is also imperative to grasp that repentance is made possible only through the atonement of Christ. The very freedom to choose to turn to God—the ability to repent—is a gift of the Atonement. The Atonement makes repentance possible, and repentance makes it possible for the mercy of God to be extended in a way that does not conflict with God’s justice”

Penal Substitution 'not' taught in the BoM...“ in Alma 34 and 42, mercy satisfies justice; but in this view, there is no mercy because the price is fully paid.”


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