Is the New Life the same for Mormons and Evangelicals?

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?

Get Me a Manifesto

My friend Kullervo pretty much called me out on email over a specific issue.  I had neglected a major news story and had not yet added my 2 cents to the blogging ether about it.  Last week, the Evangelical world was a buzz over the release of something called “The Evangelical Manifesto“.

The Manifesto was an attempt by a number of Evangelical scholars and theologians to gain a stronger hand in defining to the world what defines and what doesn’t define an Evangelical.  Perhaps their most controversial point is that Evangelicalism is not a political movement to be used by the Right or the Left.

The Manifesto discusses a number of issues, but the language on politics was not overlooked by the mainstream media.  Most of the news stories focus specifically on what it says about politics.  But secular media are not the only ones discussing the politics of Evangelicalism.

The Manifesto is missing the signatures of a number of Evangelical leaders.  Not surprisingly, these same leaders are the ones who are most involved in American politics.  They critique the Manifesto as being a tool of liberal secularism and worry that it will only encourage Evangelicals to stop voting.

I read through the Manifesto and found it to be quite excellent.  Probably one of the best things to come out of the Evangelical world in quite some time.  It is both well written and deeply thought through.  I think it accurately defines who Evangelicals are and how Evangelicalism fits into the scope of history.  After finishing my read of it, I immediately added my signature to it. Later when I investigated the signatures, it was no surprise to me that the Evangelical leaders I most respect added their names and those I least respect are absent.

If you would like to understand more about Evangelicalism, I whole heartedly encourage you to read the Evangelical Manifesto.