My head is still spinning--or rather, my heart aching--after a painful encounter with a local minister who tried to explain to me and a couple of the members of his flock that I am not Christian because I believe in a different Jesus. Didn't matter that I claim to believe in the New Testament and the Jesus that was born in Bethlehem, the Son of God, the one who died on the cross for all of our sins. My Jesus is a different Jesus because my theology isn't up to snuff. I believe in false doctrines like baptism for the dead, modern revelation, and the Book of Mormon. I also wrongly think it's necessary to be baptized, important to try to keep the commandments (works!), and so forth, plus my understanding of what happens after resurrection (eternal families? gag!) is non-biblical. All of which means that I am not even close to being a Christian because the Jesus I believe in is a different Jesus--not the Jesus of the Bible, but maybe (I'm guessing) Jesus Rodriguez, a shoe repairman in Veracruz, Mexico who smokes cigars when he's got them and yells at his kids. Or some other Mormon Jesus, not the one that saves.

That eventually led me to an interesting question which I wasn't shy about asking.

"Exactly when do saved Christians lose their souls?"


"Well, consider one of your followers who has accepted Christ, turned his heart to Jesus, and has been saved. What might he do to lose his soul?"

Nothing, really. God is powerful to save, and once God saves someone, he's going to heaven.

"But tell me when he loses his soul in this scenario. Imagine that he decides to walk into a Mormon church service one day. Has he lost his soul? Not yet? Suppose he enjoys the service and wants to come back? Soul lost? Suppose he starts to think that maybe he should keep the commandments to really follow Jesus. Then he starts to believe that maybe God does want him and his wife to be together even after death. He starts to believe eternal family life might be possible. Is that doctrine so abominable that his soul will be lost? Then he starts to read the Book of Mormon and he feels that it is also a witness of Christ. Is his soul lost then? Still believing in Jesus and in the Bible, he also begins to believe in baptism, even baptism by immersion Mormon style, and then baptism for the dead, and a dozen other incorrect Mormon doctrines--all while sincerely feeling that he still loves the same Jesus he once accepted. He eventually becomes a Latter-day Saint. At which point does God say that his theological understanding has become so flawed that the once-saved Christian must be kicked out of heaven and cast into hell? So when did he lost his soul?"

The minister, who couldn't quit talking before, seemed surprisingly quiet. Then he came back and challenged the scenario by saying he'd never known of a born again Christian who had become Mormon. But there have been people like that, I insisted. It's not merely theoretical. If a saved Christian can become Mormon, and many have, at what point do they lose their souls--especially when they still believe, in their hearts, in the same God and Jesus that they turned to for salvation in the first place?

Likewise, the path that I and others have been through, even while LDS, of turning to Jesus and seeking salvation from Him as the only source of redemption ought to fulfill every requirement of salvation from his perspective. If I am wrong about the Book of Mormon, if I've got my info on baptism and various other doctrines all wrong, then I'm truly sorry, but after all it is Jesus I believe in, the Jesus of the Bible, and it is through His Atonement that I have peace and hope. So in spite of all the flaws I may have in my knowledge of theology, does not my sincere acceptance of Christ, the Jesus of the Bible, and my sense that I have been born again through His grace not count for something? I may have all sorts of errors in my understanding, perhaps I have been deceived on many points of doctrine, but is it not possible to recognize that in spite of such flaws, I too may be Christian?

No, absolutely not. Because of the Book of Mormon and all our many mistakes, I believe in a different Jesus. End of story.
Continue reading at the original source →