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Defending the Faith: Salvation comes through Jesus Christ, without exception

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  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    As far as Guardian Angles , I think i have 2. One that is a little devil and the other that's a saint. The devil made me do it is the best excuse I can give when there ain't any other explanations.

  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 8:35 a.m.

    Don't forget that Joseph Smith plays a role too.

    "No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith...every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are"

    - Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 7, p. 289

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 7, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    Christ died willingly for those He believed in, which is everyone, and not just for those who believed in Him. Witnesses left us written accounts sufficient to withstand scrutiny. Odin & Co. have a looong way to go to get there. Man-made gods have human characteristics. Greatly exaggerated, but human nonetheless. They fade from history for that very reason. Jesus of Nazareth transcends the limits of the human imagination. What human could write Matthew 5 and expect to be taken seriously? Only a Being far beyond our frail abilities could author it.

  • ExTBird Springville, US-UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    @Moontan

    Oh wow...

    We are going to have to agree to disagree on pretty much all of that friend. :)

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    "....We believe that absolutely nobody — whether Jew or Gentile; whether Mormon, Catholic, Hindu or Buddhist — can earn heaven on personal merit, independent of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Nobody is “worthy enough to receive God’s eternal blessings on their own.”...."
    ______________________________

    The 2,000 year old debate continues between personal effort and the essential saving grace of a deity which I don’t believe Jesus himself ever claimed to be. Could he have even imagined that he would posthumously become the focal point of a belief in divine agency?

    What good is salvation if it brings no deliverance from ignorance?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    @Moontan = “Christ died willingly for those He believed in, which is everyone… “

    Even the billions (Buddhists, Hindus, Animists, Pagans, Taoists, etc…) who have no idea who he is, many of whom have religious traditions just as beautiful and often far more sophisticated (Buddhists, Toaists) than anything found in the Judeo-Christian tradition, including the admittedly beautiful Sermon on the Mount?

    Arguing for the excellence of your religion is fine. But when you argue for the exclusivity, universality or superiority of it, you do little more than embarrass yourself by showing profound ignorance.

    Article quote – “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” announces Jesus in John 14:6. “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

    BTW, has it ever occurred to any Christian that this passage – arguably made up out of whole cloth by the author of John (since it appears in no other gospel) – may be greatly misunderstood by what became the Orthodox Church?

    Other early Christian groups (e.g., Gnostics, Marcions) took this to mean our consciousness must become “Christ-like” and not that we must affirm a belief statement.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 7, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    @ExTBird ... Yes, I figgered. :) But it's all good.

    I would clarify, however ... Many people could write Matthew 5, I'll concede. But to expect to be taken seriously with 'love your enemies' is a stretch. More like laughed out of town. For me, the Resurrection validates His teachings. Witnessed, attested to, documented, sworn to by His apostles unto the point of torture and death ... this then sends me back to the Gospels to see what He taught. THEN the profundity of Matthew 5 shines through, and the hand of man is not to be found.

    Of course, if it turns out I'm wrong, I'll buy the next round.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    @TylerD ... I may suffer from 'profound ignorance' as you allege, but I'm awfully cute. :)

    You've not seen me claim exclusivity based on mere intellectual ascent to the truths of Christianity. I'll never claim special access to Him over the Buddhist, Taoist, etc., and may even admit to inferiority to many of them. I believe living a Christlike life was/is His message. This then gives all people access to Him.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:13 a.m.

    Tyler D

    In regards to your statement about John 14:6 you just re-affirm why we need modern day revelation and a restoration of all the truths of the church Jesus began. Yes people can read a scripure and not like it, disagree about it, and or misinterpret it for their own uses, ect. That is largely why we have so many different Christian churches in the world. Each seeming to emphasize certain doctrines, while neglecting others. That is why it was necessary to have a restoration, not a reformation, of the Church of Jesus Christ. And why it is essential to have prophets living in the modern world, not just in the ancient one. Makes and made perfect sense to me, after years of searching.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    Ranch -

    If there were proof there would be no need for faith. I would bet that, even if Christ appeared today, most atheists would find an excuse to not believe.

    You stated your opinion of what is in the Bible. Mine is that it is the Word of God to His prophets and that through prayerful study of it we can become more like Him. That is working for me so far.

    I also read the Quran, Dhammapada, and the Bhagavad Gita. I believe that a loving Father God gives to groups of His children the knowledge they are ready for.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 12:39 p.m.

    Billions of decent Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, atheists, and agnostics, who are decent and know of the story of Jesus, are denied salvation if they do not accept him as the messiah and redeemer? How about this novel concept - Jesus died for the sins of humankind regardless of belief, and it is up to humankind to repent of their own sins and strive to be virtuous. In other words, a noble no-strings-attached atonement for all, and then each taking responsibility for their own actions and follow-through. Demanding acceptance makes it ignoble, providing saving grace for all without that condition is the ultimate in altruism.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    To claim humility as a saving virtue while at the same time evoking omnipotence to a level that punishes with horrible consequences those who fail to supplicate and bend the knee is a paradox beyond reason...in my humble opinion.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 7, 2014 1:02 p.m.

    nonceleb,

    "....How about this novel concept - Jesus died for the sins of humankind regardless of belief, and it is up to humankind to repent of their own sins and strive to be virtuous...."
    ______________________________

    The idea of universal salvation is not new. It’s rejected by the Orthodox Christianity that favors the more Darwinian selective salvation for those who accept Orthodox dogma and doctrine.

    Not for me, thanks.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 7, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    @RedWings – “If there were proof there would be no need for faith.”

    Then why do religious people spend so much time trying to prove their beliefs?

    “I would bet that, even if Christ appeared today, most atheists would find an excuse to not believe.”

    Not at all – if Christ comes back and demonstrates his magic powers (viz-a-viz Book of Revelation) for even five minutes, Christianity will immediately become the science of Christianity. And you will be free to gloat.

    Many don’t believe it now because they see about as much evidence for Christianity as they do for all the gods of antiquity (i.e., none) and do not find the notion of “number of believers equals evidence” compelling in the slightest.

    “I also read the Quran, Dhammapada, and the Bhagavad Gita. I believe that a loving Father God gives to groups of His children the knowledge they are ready for.”

    Given the profundity of a book like the Dhammapada, I would agree with you that some people are getting graduate level religion while others are getting religions from primary school.

    @Moontan – nice post (3rd one).

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    I was really confused by this article. In the beginning it seemed clear Dr. Peterson was launching into a defense of the church practice of baptizing Holocaust victims. But he stops short of that and starts talking about the Divine Comedy then uses a false and cruel doctrine (by his own description) as a proof of his supposed true doctrine. That really doesn't make any sense. He basically says, this is completely false but hey it shows that I'm telling the truth! I'm not really sure that was the best analogy he could have made. In the end I'm basically left with another article that tries to tell me this particular dying and rising salvation god is the real deal (and of course as a result all those other dying and rising salvation gods - which there are many - are false). Of course no where in the article does he say why Jesus is the real deal - I suspect that he's hoping most of his readers have no idea that there are other very similar gods who predate Jesus. Otherwise he'd be forced to admit Jesus isn't special at all.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    @Apocalypse please
    "No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith"

    I'm pretty sure Journal of Discourses isn't considered scripture or doctrine in the LDS church (which is not to say it doesn't contain things that are doctrinal, just that assuming everything in it is doctrinal is incorrect).

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Aug. 7, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    When the pure and unadulterated restored gospel of Jesus Christ as taught and preached by The Church of Jesus Christ (WHQ: Monongahela, Pennsylvania) goes forth to every age-accountable soul on the earth, then will be fulfilled these verses from Mosiah, chapter 3 in the BOM:

    [20] And moreover, I say unto you, that the time shall come when the knowledge of a Savior shall spread throughout every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.

    [21] And behold, when that time cometh, none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 7, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    "Billions of decent Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, atheists, and agnostics, who are decent and know of the story of Jesus, are denied salvation if they do not accept him as the messiah and redeemer?"

    Jesus called himself "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." I believe that any person who recognizes that those things are sacred -- who dedicates himself to living moral truth, as well as God gives him to see it, and confesses that human life is holy -- is worshipping Jesus, even if it's by one of his alternative Names.

  • Eagle78 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 4:09 p.m.

    I don't know. I think telling Muslims that they are really worshipping Jesus using a alternative name is a good way to start a war heh. I think is they told you that you're not really worshipping Jesus, but Allah in disguise that you might also have some objections!

  • the greater truth Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 6:05 p.m.

    #Tyler D

    "Then why do religious people spend so much time trying to prove their beliefs?"

    Two reasons:

    1. Salvation of the soul is very important.

    2. Satan is the father of all contention, and is about causing discord and contention, especially among the religious people causing them to argue and move further from the truth and lean to own understanding or understanding inspired by satan.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Aug. 7, 2014 6:33 p.m.

    Like most other people in the Christian tradition, the Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ is the only way that anyone can become reconciled to God, in light of the fact that we all commit sins that, without the atoning sacrifice of Christ, would render us unworthy of entering the presence of God and living with Him in eternity.

    But for Latter-day Saints, there are two doctrines which make this "exclusive path" available to every person ever born on earth. First, all children who die before the age of accountability (8 years old) "are alive in Christ", and are saved eternally without any action on their part. Second, all other people are given the opportunity, when they die, to hear the full gospel of Jesus Christ and decide to accept Him as their Savior. The epistles of Peter refer to Christ visiting the realm of the dead in order to offer them salvation, during the time when he himself had died and was awaiting resurrection.

    Every person will have an opportunity to decide whether or not to follow Christ to salvation, even if that does not happen before they die.

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    Tyler D -

    I can't speak for all Christians, but I don't try to prove my belif in Christ. I tell of my personal experiences that have added to my faith. As a recovering addict, I can tell you that it is a miracle that I am sober, and that miracle came because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I know many others who have the same experience.

    My only "proof" of Christ is that I am a better person because of Him, and my family are treated much better.

    I believe that Christ will one day return and show His Power and Love, but I will not gloat over it. I will be desperately sad for those who chose a life that will preclude them from being with Jesus forever.

    @ Schnee - Thanks for the post. The JD are not considered doctrinal, not are they published by the Church. Lots of good things in there, but some other things that were a product of the times (like McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine")....

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    RE: RedWings. Christianity is not a religious system, but a relationship with God, one that He initiated and maintains. Christians believe that mankind was created specifically to have a relationship with God, but sin separates all men from Him (Romans 3:23, 5:12). Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ walked earth, fully God, and yet fully man (Phil 2:6-11), and died on the cross to restore the relationship. Christians have been adopted into God’s own family as His children (Eph 1:5)

    RE: Coltakashi .(1Peter 4:6 NET)In context the phrase those who are dead refers to those ‘Now’ dead who had received the gospel while they were still living and had suffered persecution for their faith (see James Acts12:2 or Antipas Rev 2:13). Though they “suffered judgment” in this earthly life. Peter encourages Christians not to fear persecution nor death because life in the presence of God follows.

    “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in (gehenna) hell.”(Mt 10:28) No second chances

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:22 a.m.

    sharrona,

    “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in (gehenna) hell.”(Mt 10:28) No second chances."
    ______________________________

    Such finality to such a harsh sentence for the trivial offense of obediently believing what one was brought up to believe.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 8, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    @ The Wraith

    "I suspect that he's hoping most of his readers have no idea that there are other very similar gods who predate Jesus. Otherwise he'd be forced to admit Jesus isn't special at all."

    Yes I am aware of Gautama Buddha. I am sure there are others that you could educate me about.

    I don't recall these other gods being prophesied by the prophets for thousands of years prior to their births.

    Although I do recall Prophets testifying about Jesus Christ and all the things that he would do. Such as fulfill the law of Moses among other things.

    Christ came through the line of David which was prophesied many years prior to his coming.

  • Pops NORTH SALT LAKE, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:07 p.m.

    A lot of the disagreement and argument would go away if we understood that there are many facets of "salvation". Christ did, in fact, die for every single person who will ever live on this planet, and will save every single one of us from physical death through the universal resurrection. He suffered and died for those _he_ believes in, which is all of us.

    As far as our destination post-resurrection, that's partly up to us. If it weren't for Christ, we would simply all go to Outer Darkness. But because of his Atonement, we can choose our destination by our choices. If we believe in "eating, drinking, and being merry" and ignoring God, there's a place for that. If we think any religion that teaches a person to be good is OK, there's a place for that. If we think that God is a specific person who gave us specific things to accomplish in this life, there's a place for that, assuming we actually do those things.

    Not all places are the same, but all are kingdoms of glory. It's a question of how much glory we wish to have.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:21 p.m.

    @greatbam22

    No, actually what you remember is a series of writers tweaking the story Jesus to match the prophesies in their own holy works (our OT). Which is why you get so many contradictions in the life story of this supposed Jesus. The Gospels don't agree on where he was born, what he said, where he traveled, or much of anything else. And yes I'm aware of all the apologetic responses to these contradictions but they all fail miserably. Even the historicity of Jesus is in question (I for one am convinced by the evidence that he was a mythical figure later made historical just like King Arthur). Your religion presents you with a story about Jesus, it leads you to believe there is actual historical evidence supporting this story but I'm afraid there really isn't.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:47 p.m.

    In the LDS Bible Dictionary, under "Christ, names of," one finds, among many others, the names "the way, the truth, and the life," in John 14:6.

    A person who confesses faith that life is sacred, that absolute truth exists and must be sought and followed, and strives to live the way of righteousness, is worshipping Christ, whether by that one particular name of His or by one of these other names of His.

    Inasmuch as a person does objective righteousness, Christ counts it as if it is done unto him.

    That Christians believe that Christ is ultimate the author of everyone's salvation, is not anti-Semitic, any more than it is anti-Zoroastrian or anti-Hindu or anti-Buddhist of Jews to declare that there is one G*d from whom salvation comes.

    Dr. Peterson's critics essentially want him to deny Christ, and adopt their religious views rather than holding to his, in the name of "tolerance." That's the opposite of what they claim to be for.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 8, 2014 1:47 p.m.

    @greatbam22 – “I don't recall these other gods being prophesied by the prophets for thousands of years prior to their births.”

    Many religions claim prophecy especially regarding the birth/mission of their founder, however, I’m always a bit perplexed at why this is so compelling to people.

    Writing the NT accounts (which were done decades after Jesus died and by Jews thoroughly familiar with the OT) to conform with OT “prophecy” would not be a difficult feat. In my view, we should be about as impressed with this as we would be that the events in Return of the King (3rd book in the LotR series) correlate with the set up in the Fellowship of the Ring (1st book in the series).

    @RedWings – “My only "proof" of Christ is that I am a better person because of Him”

    About the best justification for religious belief I’ve heard and I think the world would be a better and far less contentious place if believers focused on this very personal aspect instead of using religion as a weapon.

    Peace…

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 8, 2014 2:05 p.m.

    The Wraith,

    "....I for one am convinced by the evidence that he [Jesus] was a mythical figure later made historical just like King Arthur...."
    ______________________________

    That would require a conspiracy to top the wildest of all conspiracy theories. Much of what the gospel accounts record is questionable history but that the Jesus of the gospel accounts was an actual person who lived is something that virtually every responsible scholar does acknowledge, including many who are atheist.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:14 p.m.

    The so-called "mythicist" view, that Jesus probably (or even certainly) didn't exist, is gaining a weird new popularity among some non-religious people. But there is scarcely a single professional historian dealing with this issue -- perhaps, I've heard, there's ONE, but I'm not sure of that -- who takes that position.

    There are two very recent books, by the respected but unbelieving New Testament scholars Bart Ehrman and Maurice Casey (who died in May), responding to the claim that Jesus is a fictional character. Both, to be blunt, plainly regard those who deny Jesus' existence as fringe cranks.

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:16 p.m.

    @Craig Clark

    I'm afraid you are mistaken. It would not take a conspiracy of any kind as it turns out. Yes the general scholarship at present does consider some kind of minimal historicity when it comes to Jesus. However, the scholarship once considered Abraham and Moses to be historical figures but now is certain that they are mythical figures. The scholarship is changing as we speak when it comes to Jesus. For decades people considered Jesus to be historical but that was all based on culture and assumption and not on actual historical records. Scholars are now for the first time turning to the historical record and finding it wanting when it comes to Jesus. Simply read some of the new works being published about the topic. The most recent is by Dr. Richard Carrier and is titled On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Have Reason To Doubt; and it will open your eyes. There is virtually no evidence that Jesus was a historical figure; in a few short years it will be accepted scholarship that he was in fact a mythical figure.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 8, 2014 3:44 p.m.

    @ The Wraith

    No I recall addressing your question and you deflecting and moving onto another argument. First is it other "very similar gods" and now it is a "series of writers tweaking the story Jesus".

    Your creating quite an elaborate story line of your own.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 8, 2014 4:21 p.m.

    @TheProudDuck – “Dr. Peterson's critics essentially want him to deny Christ, and adopt their religious views rather than holding to his, in the name of "tolerance."”

    You’re missing the point of these criticisms.

    No one is saying “deny Christ” assuming that means not following his moral teachings and trying to live a Christ-like life. What we criticize is the provincial view of exclusivity that essential says “if my conception of Christianity is right then all other religions are wrong by definition.”

    1st, there is no way to prove this view and 2nd it is incredibly divisive, and given our destructive technology today we have no reason to believe we can survive this religious divisiveness indefinitely.

    And you have to do some real mental gymnastics to promote the idea that Christ is/was all the other religious founders too. Even if true, it’s still Christian-centric (i.e., why could it not be the case that Buddha and his core teachings are the real deal, but at some point – 500 years after he 1st appeared - he incarnated in Palestine to teach the more primitive Hebrews a much less sophisticated message?).

    Reached comment limit...

  • The Wraith Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 5:21 p.m.

    @greatbam22

    You must have entirely missed the point of my post. I guess I should have been more specific. My point was that Jesus was not foretold in prophecy any more than I was. Instead the writers of the gospels adapted and tweaked his story so it looked like he was fulfilling prophecy. In reality it's all a fabrication. It was very easy for these writers to match Jesus to different prophecies that they did so is easily verified by the fact that they matched his life to different prophecies which resulted in a series of stories about his life that contradict each other. One gospel writer matched Jesus to some old prophecies while another matched him to other prophecies. That's why the gospel stories can't even agree on where he was born. I hope this helps explain what I was trying to say. The facts of the story prove yet again that Jesus was not special.

    Oh, and all of the dying and rising savior gods of history fulfilled prophecies in their own religions - but through the same process. Writers matching stories to old prophecies.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    Aug. 8, 2014 9:34 p.m.

    @ The Wraith

    The puzzle of the Gospel doesn't have to be perfect for me to believe it to be true. It is the same with science. There may come out something today or tomorrow and it might not be fully realized yet or ever realized in my lifetime which may be true.

    I am happy with the truth that I have found and will continue to find more.

    It is interesting how some can lack faith unless they see perfectly.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 8, 2014 11:06 p.m.

    RE: The Wraith, William Lane Craig(Non-LDS) debated Richard Carrier on the resurrection of Jesus. Carrier has been impressing many gullible young atheists into his pseudo-historical and bizarre views on the Bible and Jesus.

    Dr. Craig: I felt that the debate went very well from the Christian point of view. I don’t think that Richard came to grips with any of the four facts that I presented on behalf of the resurrection. He tried to argue in terms of broad generalities like the disciples were prone to hallucinations, and Paul was schizophrenic, and Mary was a psychotic, and this explains everything rather than grappling with the specifics. I felt there was a failure on his part to come to grips with specifics in an effective way.

    So I am hoping that as a result of this debate that many people who had great confidence in Richard Carrier’s attacks will think again and say, “Wait a minute. Maybe the evidence for this event is much more powerful than I thought. Maybe there is a reason why Richard Carrier finds himself amidst that minority of scholars who deny these facts.”

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Aug. 9, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    Salvation comes from being born. Period.
    Humanity created religion, not God.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 11, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    Eagle:

    "I think is they told you that you're not really worshipping Jesus, but Allah in disguise that you might also have some objections!"

    I'd think they were wrong, but I wouldn't start a war.

    If you are worshipping any deity that thinks a proper response to people having their own beliefs is "starting a war" -- you're worshipping a demon, regardless of what name you give it.

    Tyler: You are by definition anti-Christian. "What you criticize" is the essence of Christianity. Jesus-as-moral-teacher is nice, but it's not the heart of Christian faith. "What you criticize," is.

    You wish, in other words, that Christians would stop being Christian. And you call others divisive.

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 11, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    to george of the jungle

    Do they each sit on a separate shoulder like in the cartoons?