Re: Yes, L.D.S “is” in the sense of a Christian Church
Malo Aliivaa! Thank you for such a comprehensive defense of your views on grace and works. You mention “we” but I don’t want to assume to know whom you are speaking on behalf of, because you never made that explicit.
It would be ambitious in my part to assume that you are providing an apology on behalf of the entire L.D.S Church. Especially when you have not used any of your other authoritative texts like The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, or the Doctrine and Covenants to support your stance.
However, to formulate this reply I had to check my letter that you were responding too and I was surprised to find that I had only provided a brief comment about the Grace of God in relation to salvation by works, and didn’t even quote or allude to any scriptures.
This is because it is a truth that is reflected not just through certain texts as you have so cogently displayed, but is a teaching of the Christian Church that permeates not only the interpretation of the scriptures but also the liturgy, life, work, and mission of the Church!
Whereas you choose to use the Bible as a proof texting vehicle by quoting passages without also stating their social, historical, and rhetorical backgrounds I tread more carefully.
To set the record straight I did not have that Ephesian text in mind, but it amazes me how as a Returned Missionary who have the ability to discern that when I was not even conscious of such a thing myself. Please be informed that I do not believe that the Grace of God is cheap!
On the contrary God the Father gave His Only Son to die for all on the Cross, so that anyone who will believe in Him, will have eternal life.
Why should we trust this Good News? Because God the Father resurrected His Son Jesus Christ on the third day, validating everything that Jesus said would happen, and granted Him all authority on Heaven and Earth. He is at the right hand of God the Father as we speak, mediating for all who come to the Father through Him.
But, He is also here through the power and presence of His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God that brought forth Creation in the beginning, empowered Jesus in His earthly ministry but also came upon the disciples at Pentecost charging them and now the entire Christian Church to go to the ends of the earth and proclaim this Gospel of God’s love, not just in words but also in deeds! So you see good works are a result of having already secured one’s salvation by receiving and accepting God’s free gift through Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection! Sorry for the novel, but when I am accused of teaching cheap grace, then I need to make a stand.
Finally, I confess that we can only say that Jesus is Lord because it is the Spirit of God within us that enables us to do so! If in the same vein we are promoting another Saviour, another Prophet of God as being equal to Jesus, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, then we may need to ask what spirit we actually have!
May God bless you always in your work, and search for the truth! May you know that God has already found us, and saved us freely, the works we do in return are a result of a heart overflowing with joy, thanksgiving and love because of our obvious unworthiness! Peace!