Why I am not an Evangelical - Part 3

This post is the third in a series. Click here to read part 1, and here to read part 2.

I'm saved already!

The Evangelical message of salvation (from death, sin, hell and separation from God) is that everyone must to repent, turn to Christ and accept him as Lord of their lives. Thus far it is the same as the message the LDS Missionaries preach (see Article of Faith 4.) However, in the Evangelical version, salvation is then guaranteed for life. As a teenager I clarified that with my sister – did this really mean that I was saved eternally, whatever I might do in future? She assured me that it did; salvation is a gift, and God does not take a gift away once it is given. 

[Quick aside here: The Mormon version of salvation is slightly different. We believe that salvation is a covenant. That in order to be saved we must repent of our sins, turn to Christ and follow him. Following him includes enduring to the end and striving to live righteously. While the gift of salvation is given freely, as is forgiveness when we mess up, the recipient can reject it at any time by turning away from Jesus, his gospel and his church. So it's not enough just to simply believe and confess and then go about our merry way as though nothing has happened, we have to show our faith by our works, and it has to be a lifelong commitment. Some Evangelicals call this a "gospel of works", but the "works" are simply believing in Christ, repenting of our sins, being baptised and following him.]

As a teenager and young adult I responded to the altar call in various situations, from Billy Graham’s Mission England crusade to a talk given by Nicky Cruz at the Cliff’s Pavilion. You might think I only needed to repent and be saved once, but I repeatedly prayed that prayer of commitment because I was never really sure it had been heard. Having given my life to Christ I found I didn't feel any different. It was 30 years later - just a couple of weeks ago, in fact - that I finally heard a Christian pastor (thank you, Dave Smith) say that it's not uncommon to make that commitment to Christ and not feel any different, but despite that we can have that assurance that we are saved. I didn't know that; for many years I was waiting for that amazing moment when the rays of the sun would shine on me and I would hear the hallelujah chorus. So I was indeed saved all those years ago when I gave my life to Christ in a back room at Thundersley Gospel Hall, despite my uncertainty.

A couple of years ago I used an online forum to ask, “What must I do to be saved?” In less than 24 hours I received 33 answers from Christians, and almost all of them said simply “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and repent of all your sins.” (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; John 3:3). I then asked, “Once I am saved, can I ever be unsaved again?” Again, general consensus was that while I might sin or backslide, provided I had meant the original prayer then I was eternally saved.

So why do some Evangelicals still preach at me, telling me to do what I have already done? I have given my life to Christ, and he is Lord of it and has been for over 30 years. By their own theology, I am saved - irrevocably. At what point in my life did I renounce Christ? I never have, I have sought only to become closer to him. I have had at least two Christians tell me that joining this church is the only thing I could do to lose the salvation I already had. That if I had murdered, stolen, or even renounced Jesus, I would still be saved. But because I joined the Mormon church, I'm going to hell. Go figure.

Some Evangelicals go as far as to say that Mormons have a “different Jesus”. Let me assure them that the Jesus I worship is the Son of God, the one created the world, who was born of a virgin, healed the sick, suffered and died for our sins and was raised to eternal life and glory on the third day. That is the one I have covenanted to follow and in whose name my sins have been forgiven. If there's another one out there, I'm not interested.


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