My wife and kids are Mormon. They reject the Trinity, but believe Jesus atoned for their sins, rose from the dead, etc. Will they have to go through some kind of punishment for rejecting the Trinity and believing in other things that aren’t true?
That’s a tricky question, particularly as I’m not God
Anyway, I’ll have a guess, in no particular order:
]I’d say we all believe some things that aren’t true/]
]Whilst I believe the Trinity fits best, Biblically & Philosophically, it’s so complex I don’t expect to fully understand it in this life/]
]Fortunately perfect doctrine isn’t what saves us, Christ is/]
]I think that if people genuinely love God & everyone around them, and display the fruits of the Spirit (even if technically we might say they don’t have it), then they may well be a lot closer than some people who have only confessed with their words, and showed no response or desire to follow/obey Jesus/]
]I certainly hope they don’t have to go to hell, however, if they do, I think the punishment there is at least partially educative and therefore it shouldn’t take long to repent of error and be reconciled/]
i think we’ll all face some form of refining fire…and as Alex says, none of us have perfect knowledge/doctrine. what is required of us is that our heart’s belong to God, and that we’re obedient (i’m in trouble there lol). but God is merciful, and while i’m sure each of us will have some tough things to learn, it’s not hopeless, and it’s not going to be overly severe.
incidently i believe we have a few non-Trinitarians here.
i don’t agree with Mormonism (though to be honest, what i “learned” may’ve been alarmist anti-propaganda, and i’ve since forgotten much of what was said), but God knows who belong to Him now, and who WILL belong to Him in the future. all shall be well.
though that isn’t to say if there’s an error in our lives we shouldn’t correct it with God’s help. so keep praying and loving and if something needs fixing, He’ll do it…whether it’s in you, or in them…and definitely in me! lol
I’ve come to believe that judgment is based on how we actually live, what we do with the revelation that God gives us, and especially how we treat others. And the purpose of judgment is for our good, to help us be reconciled to God AND to one another. The truth, well, burns the hell out of us.
And I’ve come to have faith in Christ for “me and you”, or “for all, even for me”. So for your wife and children, I trust God to reconcile them fully, as I trust Him to reconcile me though I sometimes act like an enemy.
Doctrine does effect how we live, but I don’t see in scripture where judgment is based on doctrine but on how we actually live. In other words, Trinitarian, Oneness, Binitarian, or Mormon is not nearly as important as simply loving God and loving people. And there are many Mormons who are doing well at loving God and loving people. So let’s let God judge and focus on loving one another.
I like your reply, Sherman
My view on the matter (which, of course, may not be correct, but we can trust God to act always in love, and love alone, and, if the below is not completely true (which it probably isn’t), God will do better than we expect):
Personally, I do not believe that a perfect understanding of everything is required; trusting in God is what is important, as otherwise no-one could be brought to God, especially on an issue such as the Trinity which the Bible does not seem to require an exact understanding of for salvation. Everyone will need to be corrected by some process before they can live in true harmony with others; I don’t think that any Christian has achieved this standard.
If a person has been genuinely mistaken, they will be educated (gently) about the truth of the matter; I don’t think that there is any grievous punishment for anyone whose only fault is that they are mistaken about the truth, but only gentle correction, although knowing the truth is extremely helpful and helps development. A genuine desire to trust in God is the most important thing, understanding God’s nature of love through Jesus Christ which allows Him to develop a person from the inside.
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
I don’t think that any intellectual boundaries are required for salvation: a simple reading of the above (in my opinion), requires accepting Jesus as “Lord”, where the Greek word is ‘kurion’ and is used for the word, “Master”. This seems to me that a person, at minimum, needs to call upon God and ask Him for help, choosing to follow Jesus and trusting Him as the Saviour, the Christ, the Son of God, trusting that this is shown to be real and actual by His resurrection. I think that this passage does not seem to present a necessary understanding of the Trinity, although it is, of course, best for people to realise the truth of the matter.
+1 to CC.
Speaking as an ultra-doctrinaire, I never teach that salvation from punishment (much less from sin!) comes by holding correct doctrines. That would be gnosticism–which I reject as an ultra-doctrinaire.
That doesn’t mean I think doctrines are unimportant: I am an ultra-doctrinare, after all. But I think it’s important in sort-of the same way physics is important. What someone does with it is what counts ethically.
The more pertinent question, for your family Bart or for any of us, is whether we are persistently acting (including mentally) toward fulfilling non-fair-togetherness (un-righteousness) between persons, whether those sins seem big or little. Any sin held onto is unforgivable so long as it is held to. And forgivable if repented of. (Even to 70 times 7!)
Which has to be distinguished from the concept that we earn God’s forgiveness or our salvation (or even save ourselves) thereby. If that was the case, we wouldn’t be talking about God yet but only about a god.
That’s an important technical distinction. And maybe one of some importance in assessing Mormon vs. other Christian theologies. But where the problem only comes from working on false information, we should be able to expect God to solve that problem Himself sooner or later one way or another, with or without our help. (Although if we refuse to help in cooperation with God then we’re the rebels.)
Anyway: you can’t save your wife and child in any case, Bart, no more than any of us can save our loved ones ourselves. So you can either trust God to do that, or not. If universalism is true, that’s a definite yes. If Calv or Arm soteriology is true, that’s a definite qualified maybe. Punishment only comes into play if people are holding on to un-righteousness, and only as much as God sees to be necessary to lead them to let their unrighteousness go. It might only amount to a stern talking to–whatever gets the job done. But doctrinal error, in and of itself, is not slated for punishment I expect. (Doctrinal error in order to go one’s own way is definitely slated for punishment, but the distinction isn’t always easy for us to make since we cannot very well read other people’s hearts. Doctrinal accuracy in order to go one’s own way is also slated for punishment meanwhile–something a hyper-doctrinaire like myself does well to keep self-critically in mind. )
To which can be added Christ’s own remonstrance to His own apostles on this topic!
Now John answered (probably in regard to the Mark 9:49-50 statement about everyone being salted with fire) and said, “Rabbi… we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to hinder him, because he does not follow along with us.”
But Jesus said to him: "Do not hinder him; for no one shall do a miracle in My name, and then be able soon after to speak an evil of Me.
“For he who is not against you, is for you! You take heed to yourselves!”
(Keeping in mind that not five minutes earlier they had been strongly warned by Christ that if they didn’t drop the attitude of being concerned about which of them was greatest, they would by no means be entering into the kingdom!)
Well if we truly understood Mormon theology, no human is lost anyway when he dies because he is not a fallen angel by the very fact he has a body which lives and dies to begin with. According to them all mankind is saved.
Don’t you mean except for Judas, Cain, and any other “sons of perdition”?
There are passages in The Book of Mormon that seem to teach eternal conscious torment much more explicitely than anything in The Bible (and they also ave their “Doctrine and Covenants,” which seems to leave little room for any notion that all mankind is saved.)
Depends on who you speak to, according to some Christian apologetic sites which discusses Mormonism (while not necessarily Mormon) says: “For the most part, it is a modified system of universalism which means that there will be a temporary punishment, or “hell” of sorts. Ultimately, though that punishment will have an end. LDS Apostle John Widtsoe stated, “In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is no hell. All will find a measure of salvation” (Evidences and Reconciliations, p.216). The only real, eternal hell will be each person’s knowledge that he or she could have had a better reward.” mrm.org/sons-of-perdition
While I agree that you cannot save your wife and kids, I believe that your very influence will have an effect on their getting saved.
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” - I Corinthians 7:14
I would say that they are of somewhat believer’s in Christ, even if their understanding of who he is is distorted. When Paul and Silas witnessed to the Philippian jailor, they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” I believe that God will be especially persistent in bringing your family to salvation.
As a Unitarian Christian, I certainly hope people won’t be punished by God for rejecting the Trinity!
Seriously though, my understanding is that false beliefs lead to punishment only insofar as they have a negative effect on our character and lead to our “sowing to the flesh” rather than to the Spirit. But as an “Ultra-Universalist,” I don’t think Scripture reveals that the negative consequences of what we believe and do will extend beyond this mortal state of existence. I believe the next conscious experience of your wife and children after death will be a supremely glorious and happy one.
(Of course, some hell-believing Christians might possibly see my beliefs as having a negative effect on one’s character! )
A lot of UR believers still embrace there will/is some form of punishment for the ungodly but I’m not one that agrees with that. If God expects us to turn the other cheek, why would he be any different? To say there’s yet to be some form of punishment in the afterlife is then saying salvation is conditional. Love is conditional . . .everything is then “conditional”. As much logic as people seem to believe that it has in it . . that it only makes sense that if you’re bad, you get punished for being bad . . .but the one thing they keep skipping over is . . .the realms have changed. If I’m bad in the natural realm, when I die and pass over to the other side, they’re saying that because what I did on this side, I’ll be punished for on the other side . . .even though Jesus himself tried to tell us, things on the other side are not based by the same laws as what govern this side.
On this side, what we see as last, is last. But on the other side, what we see as last on this side, is first on the other. Everything is backwards. Meaning that you can’t apply natural reasoning from this side to articulate the principles on the other side. What I sow on this side, I reap on this side. But when I die, what I did here, remains here. We are “rewarded” for what we do on this side, but there is no Scripture that states God keeps a record of the bad, only of the good. We assume he keeps a record of the bad and good . …but the truth is, the bad is blinded out not because we’re all of the sudden perfect, but because the blood of the Lamb has all of the sudden perfected us. Salvation doesn’t bring on natural perfection, even though many work at trying to achieve that natural perfection. It’s not perfection I strive for. My goal is not to be perfect, my goal is to pursue Christ . . .
The concept of God keeping record of both good and bad is being confused with Santa Clause . …just sayin’
I’m with you, Sherm. All of us will be judged based on this. I have no doubt that there are some Mormons who will be judged less harshly than I will!
Thanks Mel. As I’ve studied the passages on judgment, they’ve impacted me a lot. It’s interesting that most of them are about the judgment of all of us, but especially the judgment of believers. The judgment of God begins with the household of God, with us. And in a very real way, we’ve already begun embracing the judgment of God and it effects us today. I’ve encountered the judgment of God and have wept many tears, ground my teeth in regret and frustration, and felt the disapproval of our Father. It was terrible facing the truth about myself, but it did work in me some good I believe. I not nearly as judgmental and negative of others. And I have more faith in God’s love and grace for myself and others.
Concerning age-to-come punishment/chastizement, well, I believe that such will be given as a means of reconciliation. Raising children I’ve found that sometimes one needs to experientially understand the negative effects of his transgressions in order to fully have a change of heart and mind.
Concerning unbelievers when they die I believe they come into the fully reality of this present evil age, and experience that reality until they are delivered, saved; and then they face the judgment too. But all of this is in the age-to-come, the age that is on the horizon; we can see the shadows of it but do not see it even close to clearly. The more I study scripture and pray, the more I think salvation and discipleship, from our perspective, should be about seeking bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth. Jesus has taken care of the other side of the coin, getting us into heaven.
But, I could be wrong; I have been before.
Could you please elaborate on what you mean by that Jason?
I agree, Melchizedek; many Mormons may have been much more virtuous than I have ever been in my life, and I would probably be judged more harshly than them!
I believe that, once people die, they are before the presence of God and realize their need of Christ and for having faith in His death and resurrection to be saved. Thus, I believe that all will be saved.