Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mormonism and the Sufficiency of Christ's Atonement

Dr. Ravi Zacharias,

Thank you for your devotion to teaching about the Savior Jesus Christ.  My name is Dr. David Brosnahan.  I grew up in Salt Lake, married a girl from Atlanta, and am living in Augusta, GA. I am Mormon, but have alway enjoyed your insights into Christianity and the reason behind faith.

I am an average Mormon, and please let me assure you, that for me, there is nothing "uncomfortable" about LDS doctrine. I was interested in your comments about the sufficiency of Christ's atonement and Mormonism not being Christian because we had "deviated... from the finished work of Christ".   

Yes, the Atonement was complete in John 19:13 when Christ declared "it is finished".  But even though the work of the atonement was complete, Christ's overall work concerning the salvation of man is not complete. 

Christ still hadn't yet gone and taught the spirits in prison, hadn't yet resurrected, and hadn't yet ascended to the Father. Jesus Christ would appear to and call Paul as an Apostles. He appeared to Stephen and then to John. The Bible then prophesies that Christ will restore Israel, restore His temple, and sanctify the Earth and His people upon it, finally to be our advocate with the Father and present us perfect, in Him, before His Father. 

So, yes the atonement was finished, but Christ's overall work, His grace, His mercy, His labors to bring mankind to partake of His atonement is not finished.  Christ is alive, and He is still anxiously and actively engaged in the salvation of man. 

The Book of Mormon teaches "for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (2Ne 25:23). In the context of Law of Moses-observing Jews looking ahead to salvation in Christ, this is not saying we contribute one iota to our salvation without Christ.  Christ gave the Law, and "All we can do" is "make use of the means the Lord has provided" (Alma 60:21). Whatever grace Christ gives, we are expected to receive and "make use" of it. That is "all we can do". 

And so it is with the Mormon Church.  Christ continues His work, continues to reveal His will, His word, call Prophets and Apostles, establish and restore His temple and temple covenants.  These are given by Jesus Christ, and do not add or subtract from the "finished work"  of Christ's atonement, but serve to bring us to Christ to fully partake of His atonement. partaking of Christ's "finished work" begins with the confession of faith, but proceeds to baptism, the Lord's Supper, and then to receive His priesthood and to becoming more sanctified in His Holy Temple.  The temple, these embassies of heaven, will be the mechanism by which Christ's millennial Kingdom will, one day, fill the whole Earth . 

Again, the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Jesus Christ, various understood and a very few not-well-understood teachings and temple do not add to Christ's atonement but are manifestations of Christ's continued infininte and ongoing mercy and love and labors to make us partakers of the Heavenly Gift. 

Joseph Smith, the great prophet of our dispensation, wrote by heaven's inspiration:  

"the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done."

Christ is alive, His work, mercy, miracles have not ceased but continue forever. 

Best Regards,

David D Brosnahan MD

As an aside, I think it's pretty amazing that Moroni saw the issue that Dr. Zacharias raises 1800 years ago and addresses it in the very last verses of the Book of Mormon:

Moroni 10:32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

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