User talk:RobertC/Grace

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Hey Robert,

I used to think there was sort of a big issue surrounding the LDS works based view of things. But now though I still wince occasionally when someone talks about earning our reward or what they say seems to discount the importance of the unearned gift of Christ's sacrifice, I've gotten to where I generally find the whole works vs grace controversy pretty uncontroversial. For example the question of whether grace is "prevenient grace"--I'm not really sure what the significance of the question is. Is there anyone who denies that without a gift from God, we wouldn't even be on this earth?--we wouldn't even have the option of choosing? And whereas I used to think there are different ways of reading 2 Ne 25:23 I now can't figure out what the significance of the difference is--we all believe both in grace and works. What do you think? Any thoughts on this? --Matthew Faulconer 05:59, 18 June 2007 (CEST)

Matthew, I can't say I'm super interested in the topic right now (I'm very interested in the topic of grace, and works, but not the faith-works controversy you're talking about...), but I think there are still unclear aspects of the issue that cause a fair amount of confusion. I think many of these issues surfaced on your post at the blog on the Prodigal Son. In particular, I think there is still a fair amount of controversy regarding the extent to which grace intervenes and changes our nature vs. the extent to which we have to, say, set goals for ourselves and "make ourselves" better. --RobertC 17:19, 18 June 2007 (CEST)

Well you aren't interested in the controversy and now I'm interested in talking about whether there is a controversy...hmmm....sorry. Well don't feel obliged to reply. But anyway, here's why I ask. A friend of mine is troubled by this whole issue. I think he finds it particularly troubling that sometimes the way people talk in the Church stresses works so much and they seem to forget about grace. Now for myself I just chalk all this lack-of-grace seeming talk mostly to fact that a lot of people say the wrong things about all sort of things (grace/works not being in an especially unique position there). But I don't see a dilemma. I think D&C 59:21 and Mosiah 2:24 are so clear that we can't credit ourselves for our own good works that I wonder, in light of those scriptures, what there really is to discuss about grace vs works. Anyway, I was asking because I thought you might have a way of talking about the dilemma in a way that I could then understand what the dilemma is and then be able to better address it to my friend. Thanks, --Matthew Faulconer 07:51, 19 June 2007 (CEST)

I think one "hang up" many people have is in thinking about when someone is saved. Grace-folk tend to think in terms of being saved at the first moment we really come to understand God's love for us, and the gift of the Atonement, etc., whereas works-folk tend to think in terms of being saved only after we have done all that we can in this life. I guess I'm inclined to think that salvation should not be understood in one way or the other, but both, i.e. the process of being saved begins we first recognize grace in our lives, but in another sense we are not completely saved until after Final Judgment (whatever that is...).
Although I think there are indeed many fascinating theological issues and questions all at work here, I think the so-called faith-works controversy I hear is not so much about the underlying theological issues, but about something more visceral. I think some people experience a rather dramatic mindset in terms of seeing/experiencing grace in a way that they hadn't imagined before. After such an epiphany, it is natural to want to talk about grace differently, to mark the change. I think this is what lies at the root of the controversy, a difference in experiential understanding that is very difficult to express in words (but I don't think this type difficulty is usually recognized, which is where frustration comes from). I think this aspect of the problem is quite fascinating, and very related to our lengthy discussions of Isa 6:9ff (having ears to hear but not hearing, etc.) as well as the many "wisdom of God is foolishness to man" passages, or of course, as many RM knows, conversion is much more than mere intellectual assent to certain theological propositions.
I know I'm probably not saying anything that you haven't already thought about, at least to some extent, but I hope something here is helpful. Regardless, it's interesting for me to try to think through this myself (although I said I'm not currently interested in this issue per se, it's related enough to other issues that I'm currently very interested in that I'm very happy to discuss it more). --RobertC 17:40, 19 June 2007 (CEST)