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Covenants, Ordinances, and Blessings Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
September 27, 2021 9:48 pm

Covenants, Ordinances, and Blessings Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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September 27, 2021 9:48 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.

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, 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, Mormonism 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. Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Randy D. Funk is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. He has an article that is in the September 2021 edition of the Liahona Magazine. This article is based on a devotional that Mr. Funk gave.

At BYU-Idaho, which is in Rexburg, Idaho, he gave this talk on September 22nd, 2020. It's titled, Covenants, Ordinances, and Blessings. Now, Eric, when we were looking at this article, prepping to get ready for this show, we both have noticed that 2021 seems to be the banner year for emphasizing participation in the temple and keeping covenants and such.

It's not that the church has never talked about these issues before, because most certainly they had. Covenant keeping is a major doctrine in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But you and I both don't seem to recall when so much emphasis was being given to keeping your covenants and going to the temple, and we were trying to figure out why this strong emphasis could be because the church plans on building so many more temples in the state of Utah, as well as across the world. Maybe they're prepping their people to make sure that they're ready and prepared to participate in those temple ceremonies. You have to consider that there are over 250 temples that will be in the world in just five or six more years. So I think they want the people to be excited about going to the temple. And what do you do at the temple? One of the main things you do is you make covenants there. Well, Randy Funk is not a theologian. In fact, no leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no general authority would call themselves a theologian. He is an attorney, and he talks about when he was in law school, and he's going to relate a story about what happened to him when he was in law school, and he's going to make the connection with what Latter-day Saints are supposed to do when it comes to these quote-unquote covenants that they make.

What does he say on page 30, Eric? As a result, I have never forgotten that principle. Now the next section comes under the subheading of offer and acceptance. Among other things, to form a binding contract under the laws of man, there must be an offer and an acceptance. Generally, a contract is formed when one party makes an offer and the other party accepts the offer.

For some agreements, such as a contract to purchase real estate, the law requires that the offer and the acceptance be in writing. In other situations, the parties need only verbally agree. But for some agreements, the acceptance of an offer is made simply by performance. This is known as unilateral acceptance. This is where Mr. Funk has explained the answer to the question that I gave at the beginning of this show when he says, But for some, the acceptance of an offer is made simply by performance.

This is known as unilateral acceptance. On the next page, on page 32, he's going to tell us this story about buying a dozen bananas. For example, 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, buy a dozen bananas, and bring them to me. Or in some parts of the world, you might actually pick the bananas yourself. Either way, if you bring me a dozen bananas, I am contractually obligated to pay you $100. Why?

Because you accepted my offer by your performance. Now, it doesn't come as any surprise as to where we're going now in this scenario. He's talking about the contract of one dozen bananas for $100, which I think anybody would say that is quite a sum for a dozen bananas.

But I know he's trying to make a point here. But then he gets into the next section that says we must act. Covenants with our Heavenly Father work in much the same way. To receive the generous blessings he offers, we must act to accept them.

There is not a negotiation followed by a signed acceptance. Instead, by our affirmative expressions and by acting in accordance with his will, including receiving essential ordinances, we show our desire and willingness to make covenants with him. As we then keep our covenants by what we do, we qualify for the abundant blessings he has promised.

Well, first of all, let's ask the question. Would any Latter-day Saint deny that the receiving of celestial exaltation is anything less than a blessing that is given by the God of Mormonism to the individual member of the church? Of course, they would say yes. That is essential.

But notice how it is received. As we then keep our covenants by what we do, we qualify. We qualify for the abundant blessings he has promised. Is that an expression that you would hear most evangelicals say when it comes to how they received their justification or their salvation? Of course not.

They would never use a phrase like that. We qualify. In other words, it was received by something we had to do. Yeah, I would hope that there would be no evangelical Christian who would agree to that, but many, many general authorities have said the very same thing, that you have to keep the covenants to qualify for what God has in store for you, and that's the hope of celestial glory or exaltation. He's then going to cite Doctrine and Covenants 130, verses 20-21, and this says, We've talked about this before in other shows, Eric, that if a Mormon hopes to receive celestial exaltation or a place in the hereafter in the celestial kingdom, it's absolutely essential. During this mortality, which is called the mortal probation, they are to keep celestial law.

If they fail to do that, and let's say they don't do as much as they should to get into the celestial kingdom, but they may do what is qualified for the terrestrial kingdom, that would mean that they're keeping terrestrial law. So it's been pretty much spelled out by Mormon leaders as to what you receive based on what you have done during this mortality. But then, he quotes Matthew 7-21.

Notice what he does here, folks. He takes Matthew 7-21 and he equates it with this covenant keeping as it's understood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Now, some seeing Matthew 7-21 and not understanding the proper context might draw the conclusion that that's exactly what Jesus is talking about.

But he's not. He's really showing us what it looks like for a person who claims that they are true believers. In other words, there are going to be people who profess falsely that they are believers. How are we going to know the true from the false? Well, Jesus says, Could even a person in that classification be a false believer?

Yes! That's what makes it so difficult and why we're not supposed to judge according to the appearance. But a person who professes to be a Christian should have something that shows that he is a Christian. Now, I love quoting J.C. Ryle. He's one of my superheroes of the faith who passed away in the year 1900.

He was an Anglican bishop of Liverpool, England. I love his writings because he has a way of clearly explaining things, especially when it comes to the distinction between what justifies and what sanctifies. Here's what he said, Notice what J.C. Ryle is doing. He's making a distinction between what justifies and what sanctifies. He also said this, I think that is a telling statement because when we look at those Latter-day Saints that proudly point to their good works, their covenant keeping, quote unquote, they fail to realize, as J.C. Ryle has, I think, most eloquently pointed out, that their motives are going to be defective. And certainly the motives of a Latter-day Saint who is doing these things, keeping these covenants, why?

Because they want something from God. That would be a defect and an imperfection in the act that they are performing. And I think that shows a clear distinction between the theology of Mormonism and the theology of New Testament Christianity. All of our works as fallen people, as J.C. Ryle has said, are going to be full of defects and imperfections, but we're not saved by those works. That's what's beautiful about the whole thing. We may have a lot of defects and imperfections, but it's not by those defective works that we claim to be justified. They are the result of our being justified. Therefore, even though we know that all of our works are going to be more or less full of defects and imperfections, that doesn't cause us heartache. We still want to glorify the One who saved us. So we're not taking anything away from what is in Matthew 7.21. We're just not interpreting it badly as Mr. Funk is doing and trying to make it sound like this has something to do with covenant keeping and ordinances that are performed in the temple. Tomorrow we're going to continue looking at this article, Covenants, Ordinances, and Blessing, by Randy D. Funk, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. We'll see you again as we look at another Viewpoint on Mormonism.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-19 04:26:14 / 2023-08-19 04:30:53 / 5

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