Sun - Apr 15, 2007 : 12:06 pm
Necessity of Church Membership
An interesting question came to me today, while talking to a good friend at work. The question is simple.
It’s based on the premise of two distinct beliefs.
1. LDS faith teaches us that unless the proper ordinances have been performed by those who are in authority to perform such ordinances, one cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
2. Christian belief states that religion is not necessary for salvation (correct me if I’m wrong there).
Sooooo…… Why do we believe that one has to be “A Mormon” to be saved, or do we? Well, our scriptures teach us that Christ is the only way to salvation, and Christ taught us about baptism (2 Ne. 31:13,16) . We also need to follow the example of Christ.
I’ve been trying to find some biblical proof of the necessity to belong to a religion, or to have ordinances performed prerequisite to salvation, and have come up short, but not completely empty-handed.
Matthew tells us that Jesus gave “keys to the Kingdom of Heaven” to Peter. Hmm…. Keys… This is somewhat ambiguous, but from my standpoint, Jesus wouldn’t give something to Peter unless Peter could benefit from them. What could Jesus give that he hadn’t already? Keys to forgiveness? No, no keys required for that. What could Jesus possibly need “keys” for? Or, maybe he didn’t need them, but he certainly deemed them of worth for Peter. Why? Why the keys? A key is needed to unlock something else. A key gives power to its owner. The analogy of the keys being linked to power, in my mind, using my limited logic, directs me straight toward authority. A key gives someone authority. Jesus was giving some power of authority to Peter. What is the power of the Kingdom of Heaven? The power to save? Possibly. I’m getting all wrapped up in the possibilities of this passage. Incidently, this happens quite often to me when reading the Bible. Bottom line, I believe the keys given to Peter is the authority - the authority of God. In LDS terms, the authority of God is the Priesthood of God. Priesthood is needed in order to perform ordinances. I believe ordinances are necessary for salvation.
Many places in the scriptures, the word “ordained” is used. There are instances of people apart from Jesus Christ ordaining other people (Acts 14:23). How is that? Why should an organization which holds the authority to ordain its members to some authority even be mentioned in the Bible, if such an organization isn’t a key part in the pursuit of salvation? Maybe I’m completely off base here, and if so - please someone let me know and help me understand.
But from the 30 minutes of research I’ve done on this subject, I feel fairly comfortable that some sort of ordinance, or authority, is necessary for some purpose in our pursuit of salvation. “Ordaining” is mentioned too often to be considered superfluous.
This is only taking Biblical references into account. If we take the Book of Mormon and D&C into account, it becomes overly obvious that there are necessary actions to be performed by proper authority prerequisite to salvation.
I’m not thoroughly satisfied on this subject yet. More research needs to be done by yours truly.