I was reading the foundational beliefs that define Evangelism according to the authors of the the Evangelical Manifesto (brought to our attention by Tim) and was struck by the Third:
“[W]e believe that new life, given supernaturally through spiritual regeneration, is a necessity as well as a gift; and that the lifelong conversion that results is the only pathway to a radically changed character and way of life. Thus for us, the only sufficient power for a life of Christian faithfulness and moral integrity in this world is that of Christ’s resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Many people wonder why Mormons and Evangelicals can believe in miracles, in an unseen yet all-powerful god, in angels, prophets, etc. when there is so many reasons to be highly skeptical. At least one reason why there are believers because of the experience of the New Life.
The idea of a new life through Jesus is a central theme of the Book of Mormon as well. Alma 5 and Mosiah 5 are parts the more powerful sermons recorded in the book deals with this explicitly. In Mosiah, the newly converted explain after hearing a the sermon of a prophet:
” Yea, we believe all the words the which thou has spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually.” (Mosiah 5:2)
This is a real phenomenon in the LDS church, I have seen many people’s lives and characters change very radically after becoming converted to the Gospel. (I am still waiting for my “disposition to do evil” to leave however) To many Mormons, this phenomenon is primary evidence of the divinity of the LDS Church. It is not really a mystical experience from what I have seen, most of the change has very little to do with mysticism. It is talked about in very practical and psychological terms but most find the transformationi “supernatural” as the manifesto describes. People aren’t changed by mystical experience, they just find themselves and life different, they are able to do things they could not before, they feel different, they have more understanding or patience or love or less anger than they had before.
I have many questions about this “New Life”. Is how the Supernatural New Life of converted LDS differs from the New Life of the Evangelical? From my experience I am inclined to think that it is very similar. ( Correct me if I am wrong.)
Is the New Life an important evidence of the truth of the Gospel for Evangelicals?
Is a similarity of the new life in Christ in the two groups evidence of something?