With a Mormon on salvation by works

by Matt Slick

This dialogue was a friendly one. There weren't any "victories" on either side. I took over a conversation that a friend of mine was having with this person. My goal was to point him to Jesus and true forgiveness. Salvation isn't attained through intellectual competition but through the work of the Holy Spirit. The question is, does the Mormon have the Holy Spirit, the true Holy Spirit? Are they saved by their own works, by God's sacrifice alone, by faith, etc.? Can our works save us in any way? These kinds of issues are what I was thinking while going through this dialogue.

Also, I made a mistake in the dialogue and had to correct myself in it. We all make mistakes.

Matt: Hi. What is your name?
Ken: Howdy
Matt: My friend tells me you are a Mormon apologist, true?
Ken: I try to be. I am only an amateur.
Matt: I was just telling him that it is useless to talk to you . . .  
Ken: Why is that?
Matt: Because you believe what you believe. You won't be converted. You can't be.
Ken: Like I told your friend when we started this exchange, I am only trying to correct his error of LDS theology. I trust the Lord to covert his heart.
Matt: Which Lord? The LDS one is different from the one I believe in.
Ken: You believe in a nature of God that I do not.
Matt: Correct. I believe there is only one God in all existence. You do not.
Ken: The argument stands that I believe that there are three Gods who act as ONE, you believe there are ONE God in three essences.
Matt: Not three essences but close enough.
Matt: You are a polytheist. I am a monotheist.
Ken: Not three essences? How not?
Matt: You believe that God has a body of flesh and bones. I do not.
Ken: That is true.
Matt: Three persons, distinct persons, not flesh and bones, yet only one God.  To continue . . . . you believe that Jesus is the brother of us all, correct? and that there is a goddess mother in heaven . . . . correct? You believe this all because you think the Holy Spirit bears witness of this, right?
Ken: I believe he is our Spirit Brother. Yes, I would also accept the statement of Heavenly Mother.  Sure.
Matt: Well, that isn't what the Bible teaches . . . . So, you are wrong. But, I cannot convince you of that. It is a spiritual issue. You must have the True Holy Spirit in order to know the truth. You must first be born again, or you will not have the Spirit of Truth. That is the issue. Jesus said that you must be born again. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit who bears witness of truth. But, He will not inhabit unholy vessels. You must be cleansed of your sins. Are you cleansed? Are you cleansed of your sins?
Ken: Of course. One must be converted of the spirit.  Amen.  Thank the atonement of Jesus.
Matt: Remember, the Spirit of God cannot inhabit the Temple until after it had been cleansed and sanctified.
Ken: Amen
Matt: Now I have a question for you. Do you now have eternal life? The eternal life is given by Jesus. 
Ken: Eternal life is Jesus. Amen to that.  If I endure to the end.
Matt: Jesus said that He gives eternal life (John 10:28).
Ken: Amen
Matt: And 1 John 5:13 says that we can know right now that we have eternal life. I ask because the true Jesus of the Bible, who reveals the truth and gives eternal life, is the true Savior.
Ken: If I endure to the end.
Matt: It does not say that eternal life is dependent on whether or not you endure. 1 John 5:13 says, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." It says that you may know, present tense, that you have eternal life.
Matt: Does your Jesus gives you this eternal life right now? Let me ask you, are you telling me that all of your sins are forgiven and that you possess eternal life right now?
Ken: Give eternal life. Yes. Right now, Yes.
Matt: How do you receive this eternal life? What do you do to get it?
Ken: There are many steps, though I already know how you will respond. Like I said, I get this everyday. Thanks for enlightening me.
Matt: I do not enlighten you. Only God can do that.
Matt: Then do you disagree with the eighth article of your Church which states that you are saved by Grace after all you can do?
Ken: The 8th article of faith says nothing about what you just said.
Matt: That you are saved by Grace after all you can do?
Ken: But that is a good tactic anyways.
Matt: This is not a tactic. This is not a game. This is life and death.
Ken: Dum dum dum.
Matt: I cannot convince you through logic, intellectual traps, or proof texts. I am only trying to get you to see who the real Jesus is.
Ken: Thanks for trying to scare me into believing.
Matt: I do not believe that anything I said was "scary." I was not intending to scare you into anything. The real Jesus does not require your good works in order to make you a Christian.
Ken: Thanks. I do say though that you are a much more interesting dialogue than with your friend.
Ken: Maybe you and I should have a dialogue.
Matt: We are having a dialogue, right now.
Ken: I believe Grace, Faith and Works are an eternal principle.
Matt: I need to stand corrected. I just checked. The eighth article of your Church does not state what I thought. It has been a long time since I looked at them.
Ken: No problem.
Matt: However, the third article says this: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."
Ken: Amen to that. "If you love me keep my commandments." Can I get an amen?
Matt: You see, one of the basic differences between Christianity and Mormonism aside from the dealings with God and His nature, is how we are forgiven of our sins. Yes, we are to keep His Commandments, but we are not saved by keeping those Commandments.
Ken: Amen to that also.
Matt: This is clearly taught in the Book of Romans, chapters 4 and 5.
Ken: Amen to that also.  Of course you would have to stand corrected if you think that we are saved by our good works.
Matt: In fact, the third article of your Church contradicts the Book of Romans and Ephesians and Galatians which all teach justification by faith alone.
Matt: Mormon 3rd article says "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." Which laws and ordinances must you obey in order to be forgiven of your sins?
Ken: Obey, of course. Do you argue that we may sin and be saved in our sins?
Matt: I am asking which laws and ordinances on the Mormon Church you must obey in order to have your sins forgiven. Can you please tell me?
Ken: There are two. And I believe you already know them.
Matt: You are confusing the difference between justification and sanctification.
Ken: No.
Matt: Justification is our legal declaration by God upon on us, sinners, that we are declared righteous in His sight. Sanctification is the process we go through in our lives where the Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus.
Ken: I must go to bed. It is almost 11:00 here and I must go to bed.  It was very good talking to you.
Matt: The question, then, is how are you justified? how are you made righteous in God's sight?  
Ken: Please email me and we will continue to exchange.  Keep the same questions and we will continue this.
Matt: I lovingly request that you read Romans, chapters 3-5 and Galatians 3-5
Ken: I am sorry. I would like to keep this up to but I have to go to bed. Plus, I need to spend some time with my wife.
Matt: It is these chapters that speak of this issue. I hope that if you read them that you will see that the third article on your Church is in contradiction to God's Word.
Ken: Ok, I will do that for tomorrow.
Matt: I understand you need to sleep.
Matt: Please understand that I am not here to bash on you. I believe you are lost, and I do not want you to go to Hell.
Ken: You are a breathe of fresh air, with sound logic.
Matt: Whatever I am I am by the Grace of God. I want you to find the real and loving Jesus who can fill your heart with His salvation.
Ken: Thanks for your concern. Of course I would say ditto.
Ken: Amen to that.
Ken: Good night.
Matt: I will be praying to Jesus for you and your salvation. Goodnight.