Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Peterson, F. Ross ; Peterson, Mary Kay
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Dialogue: Vol 23 No 4
The Concept of Grace in Christian Thought
AR TICLES AND ESSAYS The Concept of Grace in Christian Thought Blake T. Ostler The concept of grace and its relation to individual salvation is probably the most debated issue in the history of Christian thought. The list of combatants is virtually a Who's Who in Christian thought: Augustine versus Pelagius, Banez versus Molina, Luther versus Erasmus, Calvin versus Pighius, and Whitefield versus Whitely. These debates have always centered on the same issue: whether God's saving grace is compatible with human freedom. Discussions of grace in Mormon thought are too often carried out in almost complete ignorance of the evolution of Christian thought on this topic. Both Mormon and non-Mormon interpreters of Mormonism frequently assume that, at least so far as modern Christianity is concerned, Mormonism is alone in emphasizing free will and works over salvation by grace alone. For example, Rev. William Taylor described the Mormon position as a denial that grace has any role in salvation: "Mormons deny grace, except as a way of saying that Jesus' atoning sacrifice won resurrection and immortality for all men, regardless of their worth." Catholics, he says, in contrast, "emphasize that this 'new creation' is something we can never earn; it is God's gift, given out of love, in Grace" (Taylor 1980, 44). We can hardly blame the good Reverend for adopting this view of Mormon belief, for he quotes Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine which says that Mormons believe that persons must achieve salvation by good works and that God's grace consists in universal resurrection. Such a view misunderstands both Mormon and traditional Christian thought. BLAKE OSTLER is the husband of one and the father of three. He graduated from the University of Utah with a juris doctorate and is a philosophy instructor at the Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center and an attorney in private practice.