Throughout my many travels I'm frequently asked by persons who don't know much about Mormons, Are Mormons Christians? With a smile I always give the same answer, "Yes we are, very much so."

Mormons quite often are referred to as Latter-Day Saint Christians due to the official name of the church which is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But it's more than just a name, Latter-Day Saints strive daily to live the life of Christ and abide by his teachings and those of his apostles.

The Bible tells us the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. (Acts 11:26) The word Christian means “a follower of Christ" but the word disciple means “student” or “pupil.” Hence a true Christian is not someone who simply says they believe in Christ but rather someone who ardently follows and studies the Savior their entire lives. Mormons do exactly that, therefore we are very much Christian in the truest sense of the word.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What started out as a BYU devotional talk has become a new book on 'grace' for author Brad Wilcox

(by Trent Toone 3-22-17)

On July 12, 2011, author Brad Wilcox delivered a devotional speech at Brigham Young University titled "His Grace is Sufficient."
The message found an audience. Nearly six years later, the talk is the most viewed speech of all time among BYU speeches, and has more than 400,000 views on YouTube.

Because the message continues to resonate, Wilcox, an associate professor in the BYU Department of Ancient Scripture, has written a new version of the talk in book form and titled it "Changed Through His Grace."

"The purpose of this book is to help all of us choose to receive Christ's grace and more fully rejoice in the gift and the giver," Wilcox wrote in the book's introduction.

"We must understand what grace is, what it isn't and its connection to the Atonement," he wrote. "We need to know how a covenant relationship allows us to receive grace in greater and greater abundance and escape the bondage of addictions. Through the Holy Ghost — the messenger of grace — we can be strengthened, saved and transformed. As we more fully value and appreciate grace, we can offer it to others as liberally as it is offered to us."

One of the main questions addressed in the book is the argument about whether Mormons believe in being saved by grace.

"It is not the definition of grace that sets us apart from other Christians, but our larger and more comprehensive view of 'saved,'" Wilcox wrote.

"They see salvation as just getting into heaven. For us, salvation also includes the opportunity to become heavenly," Wilcox wrote. "That is where we are different, not in recognizing our total dependence on Christ, but because we see a bigger salvation."

Another part of the book involves looking at levels of grace.

"If grace is God's enabling power, how is it different from the gift of the Holy Ghost or the power with which we are endowed in temples, or priesthood power, etc.?" Wilcox wrote. "I propose that these are not different powers, but different levels of the same power. We do not do ordinances and make covenants as works in place of faith, but as outgrowths of faith. They are not evidences that we don't need grace, but rather that we are ready and willing to invite more and more grace into our lives."

The book is full of real-life accounts and personal experiences that demonstrate the power of Christ's grace, along with teachings from the scriptures and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In one chapter titled, "Succored by Grace," Wilcox tells about an Australian student named Tyler who had a cancerous brain tumor. While the battle against cancer is still ongoing, for now there is a happy ending as Tyler is preparing to get married in April, Wilcox wrote.

Wilcox has authored several books in recent years, including "The Continuous Atonement," "The Continuous Conversion" and "The 7-Day Christian." He is a popular speaker at BYU's Campus Education Week, Especially for Youth and Time Out for Women. He has served as a member of the Sunday School general board and as a LDS Church mission president in Santiago, Chile.


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