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Covenants, Ordinances, and Blessings Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2021 9:53 pm

Covenants, Ordinances, and Blessings Part 3

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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September 29, 2021 9:53 pm

Bill and Eric discuss an article in the September 2021 Liahona magazine written by Seventy Randy Funk on the requirements imposed by Mormonism for a person who wants to be a faithful member.


Viewpoint is the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 is a research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism how fresh are your bananas welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism.

I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM we been going through a devotional message that was given by Randy the funk of the first quorum of the 70 in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It was a devotional he gave at BYU Idaho on September 22, 2020 is been turned into an article and it's found in the September 2021. Addition of Leona magazine titled covenants, ordinances and blessings.

In this talk that he gave which is in the article printed in the Leona he gives the illustration of what a unilateral acceptance is and he mentions this in the context of while he was at law school. He had to describe unilateral acceptance of the example that he gives is found on page 32, he says, I might say to you, if you bring me a dozen bananas I will pay you $100 to accept my generous offer. You don't need to sign an agreement or even say you will bring me bananas. You simply need to go to the store marketplace by a dozen bananas and bring them to me.

Now, of course, the illustration makes sense when he explains the need for keeping covenants keeping ordinances if you hope to receive exultation in the context of Mormonism, but earlier in the week I was citing the words of JC Ryle who was an Anglican bishop in the Anglican church in Liverpool where he was talking about our need to have actions in our Christian walk.

And there's a big difference between those who merely profess Christianity and those who really are Christians. He said this and I think it's necessary to bring this out again when we look at Mr. Funk's illustration here. Ryle said the holiest actions of the holiest thing that ever lived are all more or less full of defects and imperfections. I don't think most Christians would deny that we are a fallen people. We are sinful people and even our best intentions are tainted by our fallenness. This is why I asked the question at the beginning of the show using Mr. Funk's illustration of the bananas. How fresh are the bananas that Latter Day Saints bring to their God.

Are they not also fallen, would that mean then that even their best intentions, their best actions would be more or less full of defects and imperfections in this context, you could say the whole reason why they're looking for. 12.

Bananas is because they want the hundred dollars I do the ordinances I do what I'm supposed to do because I want eternal life. There is a contract involved in this is exactly the point that is being brought out but how fresh would a Latter Day Saints bananas really be if those are illustrative of their works, and my wife really likes bananas, but she does not like Bruce bananas or if you put bananas in the freezer they become black and gross and so the question is, as you're asking how fresh are your bananas that you're delivering $400 you would expect to have the very best will. He tells the story taken out of the book of Mormon found in Mosiah 18, eight, nine, where Elma is explaining to the people what they must do if they hope to be numbered among the people of God. He says you have to mourn with those who mourn comfort.

Those that stand in need of comfort and stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places, even unto death. He goes on to say. Elma then described their promised blessings.

You may be redeemed of God and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that you may have eternal life, and that the Lord may pour out his spirit more abundantly upon you. Notice you have to meet that condition. If you hope to receive eternal life.

Now I don't believe that all that if the people in the book of Mormon really existed that they understood eternal life to be exultation or godhood because the book of Mormon never talks about this what Mr. Funk is obviously reading into the book of Mormon is that somehow this is what it must mean because that's what modern Latter Day Saints believe when it comes to this doctrine. They have of eternal life.

But what is he say in the next paragraph on page 33. Eric, what did the people need to do to accept those remarkable blessings in Elma's words quote you must be baptized in the name of the Lord as a witness before him that she have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments." As for Mosiah 1810, when he says, and keep his commandments. Would we be wrong in assuming that based on the illustration he uses earlier that you must provide a dozen bananas. What if I only provided 10 and that was the question that I asked yesterday. You see, you have to keep the commandments continually according to D&C 2515 you ask any Latter Day Saints. How many Commandments must you keep and how often must you keep them. They will give you an answer.

That sounds very similar to what's found in Mosiah 18 89. You have to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places, even unto death. If you don't, you're not being a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places and it's going to set those terms, according to what we get out of this article, but then Mr. Funk goes on to say, the covenants we make are sacred and binding on us and with God, we choose to accept his offered blessing when we exercise our moral agency to receive ordinances and what keep the associated covenants.

The 12 bananas. We got go back to the illustration we have to keep the associated covenants of providing God our 12 bananas if we don't give God our 12 bananas we don't get the hundred dollars/eternal life. It's as simple as that. The last paragraph in that section on page 34 he writes in other words, when we partake of the sacrament. Each week we testified witness the new that we will always remember Jesus Christ and that we are willing to keep his commandments. If we do always remember him and keep his commandments, his spirit will be with us and he says see third Nephi 18, seven and verse 11.

How many of those commandments you think he's inferring the audit be kept. I think he is inferring that you have to keep all 12 bananas worth of commandments. If you do not keep the 12 bananas worth of commandments, you do not get eternal life. I don't think for a minute that Mr. Funk is trying to give the impression that you only have to keep some of the commandments, LDS leaders had made it very clear you do not read that into those passages that talk about keeping the commandments.

In fact, many times they had made it very clear. You have to keep all of the commandments, but then he has a section called love and mercy and I have to be quite honest folks when ever an LDS leader uses the word mercy.

It makes me cringe because their idea of mercy is something that must be earned. You cannot earn mercy. The very word implies it's impossible to earn mercy if you earned it. It's no longer mercy. What is he say in the first column on page 35. The center for the great plan of happiness is a Savior Jesus Christ who makes up the difference overcomes the unfairness and allows all all who truly desire and do all they can to ultimately accept and receive the promised blessings of a loving heavenly father. Why does that sound so familiar to us well in the book believing Christ by Stephen E. Robinson. He tells the story of his daughter Sarah who wanted a bicycle and he told her if she was to do her chores.

That's the word that he uses and if she was disabled her panties pretty soon you'll have enough for a bike in the next paragraph on page 31 of believing Christ okay she said and she went away. I was off the hook. A few weeks went by and I was once again sitting in my chair after work, reading the newspaper.

This time I was aware Sarah doing some chore for her mother and being paid for it.

Then she went into her bedroom and I heard the sound like Klink Klink well unfortunately when they go to look at the bicycle that she's wanting it says on page 32 that Sarah noticed the price tag hanging down between the handlebars and with a smile. She reached down and turned it over. At first she just stared at it than the smile disappeared. Her face clouded up and she started to cry. Oh daddy. She said in despair. I'll never have enough for a bicycle. It was her first bitter dose of adult reality will her father, Stephen E. Robinson comes to the rescue and he asked her how much money do you have and she says $0.61 then I'll tell you what, dear. He said let's try a different arrangement you give me everything you've got the whole $0.61 and a hug and a kiss and this bike is yours.

Well, she's never been stupid. She gave me a big hug and a kiss and handed over the $0.61. Then I had to drive home very slowly because she wouldn't get off the bike. As I drove. He said it occurred to me that this was a parable for the atonement of Christ isn't you don't have $0.61. We are fallen we are in debt. We do not have anything that we can give towards that atonement. It must be a free gift. It must be an act of mercy on behalf of our benevolent God. You cannot earn it. This is the problem with this whole illustration he might try to say there's love and mercy involved. But let's not forget folks. Up until that paragraph under the section love and mercy found on page 35.

Mr. Funk has been making it very clear that unless you provide the needed amount of works keeping your covenants or in his illustration. If you don't bring a dozen bananas don't expect the $100. Don't expect the blessing of eternal life. It goes back to that pull quote that's on page 35 were Russell and Nelson says that God fixes the terms. Each person may choose to accept those terms. If one accepts the terms of the covenant, and obey God's law, he or she receives the blessings associated with the covenant. There seems to be a lot of doing here, Bill, you said you didn't like the idea of mercy being used by Latter Day Saints because mercy is not something in Christianity that is merited.

But in Mormonism you have to do certain things to get that but also love it says in first John 419. God loved us first, and so this is all us receiving the gift of God, and that's what Christianity teaches. The Bible teaches that were saved by grace through faith. And it's not based on what we do in that section. He also says another thing that really bothers me.

He says like the generous merciful parent. Heavenly father is he gives us much, far beyond anything we merit will no one would argue that, but the fact is, if you have to give anything, then you are meriting to a certain extent that mercy that you think your heavenly father is giving you. But then he plays with words. The next sentence says. Thus, exultation is not earned, but it must be chosen, accepted and gratefully received.

Thomas Monson, who was a prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints made it very clear that exultation is earned. He said this in the enzyme magazine, May 1988, page 56. It is a celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God, we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings must be earned must be erred. So when Mr. Funk says that exultation is not earned. That is certainly a concept that Thomas S. Monson did not agree with. Thank you for listening.

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