For about the 6th year now, I am in Manti, Utah during the LDS Manti Pageant. This event draws far more anti-Mormons and "missionaries to the Mormons" than any other event in the Church. Typically there are around 120 individuals in the streets around the Manti Temple attacking the faith of the LDS faithful and guests attending the Pageant. I of course say "attacking the faith of the LDS faithful" because their "message" is that Mormons are wrong and should become any flavor of Christian but Mormon.
I have blogged previously on just how unBiblical these "Christians" are in their approach, so I won't belabor that point now. What I find funny is how I am being received by the various Anti's I engage. Whenever I start to talk with someone I don't know, someone walks up to them and either says directly to them or whispers in their ear, "He is an LDS apologist, don't waste your time." I respond that I see this as a great missionary opportunity since these people at least claim to be interested in Biblical truth.
Last night I spoke with Leonard, the ex-Mormon who claims he really was active before he read a booklet which got him on track to leave the Church. I have seen the booklet and sort of scratch my head. Now Leonard talks about believing the Bible, but doesn't know it very well. Cases in point: We were discussing "faith only" salvation, and that it cannot be lost. I note Heb 5:8-9 says that Jesus is the savior of those who obey, which means we obviously have to do more than just believe. Moreover, Mark 16:16 says you must have faith and be baptized, and even more pointedly 1Pet 3:21 says it is "baptism which is now saving us". He actually gets incredulous and doesn't believe the verse in 1 Peter is real until I show it to him. So then he insists that it is not water baptism being discussed. I point out Peter specifically says it is not because of the water washing away the dirt which is saving us, but the response of our conscience to the Spirit. He says "see". HELLO!! He is specifically saying water is involved, but it is not the washing away of physical dirt. I love it when folks think they have this stuff figured out without bothering to study it.
I was speaking with a small group of LDS and non-LDS men, and one non-LDS guy was quoting from "The Miracle of Forgiveness" to try and make some points about how you must forsake all of your sins. I had been preparing to do a sort of fireside conversation down here with anti-Mormon Aaron Shafovaloff specifically on "The Miracle of Forgiveness", and I had my book with me. So I pointed out to the young man that Kimball makes it clear that our progress is expected to include day to day follies, as stated on the last page of the conclusion, but that he is focusing on getting past serious sin and gradually overcoming our less serious issues. He then asserted that we would be in a position of losing our salvation every time we sin and get our sins back to us. I said that while it is possible to lose our salvation, it is not the LDS view that simply sinning destroys our salvation, so long as our desire is to press forward.
He disagreed that we could lose our salvation (my inner voice puzzling "don't they read the scriptures?") So I reminded him that Galatians 5:4 does in fact say that they have "fallen from grace", with the context being they have ceased to obey the Gospel by going back to the Law, and have therefore lost their salvation which is in Christ. He questioned if that verse really meant losing salvation in the Greek, and told him it did. He said "Have you read it in the Greek?" "Yes", I said. "In the Greek, you have read it?" "Yes, I read Greek, I don't have it with me, but I have read it in Greek, and it does mean fallen from Grace."
At this point a guy named Tim jumped in, after a guy walked up to the young man I was speaking with and warned him about me, (I am sooooo dangerous to unstudied anti's :-) ). Tim wanted to prove that Kimball and McConkie taught that you must be perfect in this life to be saved. This is clearly not LDS belief, but this line of conversation always devolves into a discussion of my own sinful nature, and my position that God will forgive me because my attitude is one of wanting to do what is right, and trying to live to that standard, understanding that while I will fail at times, my repentant attitude coupled with my consistent general living of the Gospel is good enough. He wanted to argue that position, but at that point I saw some of my family, and excused myself and visited with them until the pageant began. It was a great night for the pageant, and I stayed to watch it. It was very good.
I plan to put a couple of small flyers together on eternal security and faith and obedience, and so long as the rain lightens up, go have some fun.