Thanks for all of the comments/emails/thoughts on the July 14th post Who Is Really Saved?
As a follow-up/further conversation piece, I thought I would also post an email exchange I had with a new friend in response to that blog. Hopefully this will be able to continually spur others on/continue the great dialogue out there/encourage some of you to read the original and share these truths with others!
From: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2011 4:47 PM
Subject: Who is really saved
I’ve become aware of your ministry through my employer, a member of your congregation who has been awesome in working to shepherd me through a difficult time for my faith. He recommended a recent post of yours “Who Is Really Saved” from your blog. Off that, I watched the related sermon, a few past sermons and read most of the last years worth of your blog posts. Over the weekend I came to really appreciate your bold presentation of God’s word, I also came to appreciate that you’ve selected your views carefully and after study and consideration.
Before I get to my question, a little about me. I was raised LDS and remain nominally active, primarily because I appreciate the positive influence the LDS church is in my wife and children’s lives. I enjoy a casual interest in LDS and more general Christian history and tradition. Unfortunately I’ve almost entirely lost my faith in God, at least in part due to my inability to reconcile faith and reason, but there are a number of other issues that plague the growth of my mustard seed.
My question for you primarily centers on your “Who is Really Saved” post. I noticed that while you reserve judgement on the Christianity of many nominally christian churches, you didn’t extend that to Mormonism. While I definitely appreciate the deep theological divisions Mormonism has with some of the more mainstream Christian sects, the religion still revolves around the belief the Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior and only through faith in him can a person be saved, which would seem to be the keystone of any definition of “Christianity”. Where yourself and a Mormon may disagree about the appropriate weight that emphasis on works role in identifying true faith receives, you’ll find no disagreement with them that faith in Jesus is the only way to salvation. That would seem to set it apart from religions like Islam and Judaism, which are explicitly non-christian.
I’m asking solely for my own edification. I’m not as interested in a detail of where you disagree with Mormonism, I’m more interested in where the line is drawn for you on what qualifies as a Christian.
Thanks for your ministry, I’ll continue to enjoy your perspective both in written and spoken form!
– Xxxxx Xxxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2011 2:31 PM
To: Xxxxx Xxxxxxxx
Subject: RE: Who is really saved
Xxxxx…please forgive my delay in response. I have been out a bit speaking/tending to other commitments and sorry to just getting back to you. Really glad you sent this email and are asking questions….that is how we all learn!
I would love to answer your specific question here, with a hope that we get a chance to visit about your broader faith struggles at a later time. I have copied the co-worker you mentioned here so he can step in and continue to dialogue with you…but for starters on salvation, there are a few past messages that have been done at Watermark that I think answer your question and were included in the blog…but if you want to re-listen, I’ve included the links here:
The reason I separated Mormons with other non-Christian beliefs is because although Mormons speak of Jesus, they do not speak of, believe in or follow the biblical Jesus. So while LDS speaks of Jesus….they redefine him, or to say another way, marginalize him in the same way Judaism and Islam speak well of Jesus but reject His claim to deity and His claim that He alone is the means through which fallen humanity can be reconciled to His holiness by grace through faith in His full and complete work on the cross.
A good message for you to watch and talk with your employer about is “Jesus on Jesus”, which you can find here.
Really glad the blog and some of what has been shared at Watermark has encouraged you and I would welcome the chance to say hello in person should you ever get the chance to visit with us at Watermark…if you join us on a Sunday that I am teaching, please stop by the front so that I can shake your hand and greet you.
Love the questions you are asking…stay at it!
Todd Wagner | firstname.lastname@example.org