There has been much talk across the blogs lately on what doctrine is and what it is not. My focus with this post is to identify what is the true doctrine of Christ and what maybe is not the true doctrine of Christ. Short of spelling it out though, I will let you decide.
We know that gospel means "good news". So the gospel of Christ is the good news of Christ. And what is that good news? That he came into the world to bear the sins of the world on all those who believe on his name that they might live eternally with him. All other doctrine in the church hinges off of this doctrine. The Book of Mormon contains the "fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ" (D&C 20:9, JS-H 1:34). This to me means that in the pages of the Book of Mormon, we can find the fulness of his gospel. We can find the things that save us or damn us- it is that simple. All other doctrine hinges off of it. Hinging doctrines include recent revelations such as D&C 138 concerning the gospel being preached to the dead. The dead are taught the same exact gospel over there as we are taught here.
Let us now examine what is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It is found in 3 Nephi 27. The 12 Apostles were struggling to know by which name they should call the church. Christ appeared and gave a simple but perfect set of instructions that included a summary in it's fulness of his gospel. Let's start in verses 5-6.
5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;
6 And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.
(Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 27:5 - 6)
Here we are told that the Church must be called by his name. He also tells them that whoso takes upon his name and endureth to the end shall be saved at the last day. So now we have the foundation of his doctrine- we must take upon us his name. But how do we do this? Let us read further-
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
(Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 27:16)
Here we are taught that taking on his name requires repentance and baptism, and then endurence to the end (last judgment). If we do this we have the promise that we shall be held guiltless before the Father at that great last day of judgment. So then what happens if we refuse to repent and be baptized in order to take upon his name? Read further-
17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given, and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.
19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
(Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 27:17 - 20)
If we do not repent and get baptized, then we are hewn down and cast into the fire. This fire is the second death which befalls the devil and his angels. This summarized doctrine is the gospel of Christ in it's fulness! All other doctrine can be judged against this doctrine, and all either stands or falls against these words that Christ himself spoke of. This leads us into modern times where we have added doctrines that may not stand up under careful scrutiny against Christ's gospel. One of these added doctrines is that man can be saved from being hewn down into the fire without obedience to Christ's gospel- that of repentance and baptism. We sometimes call these people Telestial or evn Terrestrial heirs. We say this because everyone knows that when a person is baptized, they are born again "into" the Celestial Kingdom. Some even say that when we get baptized, we are initiated into the Celestial Kingdom.
So how is it then that a person can be saved from the second death if they obey not the gospel of Christ? They can't, it's that simple! A person "must obey" the gospel in it's fulness. By fulness I am talking about being found "spotless". Even in section 138 of the D&C we are taught that even the wicked and rebellious in spirit prison must repent and be baptized- even if they rejected it in mortality. Here then is the answer fulfilled- if one repents and is born again, whether here or in death, he becomes again a son or daughter of God and is entitled to all the blessings that God grants to those who hear and obey his voice!
So is it a true doctrine of Christ concerning those who are saved from eternal death without repentance and baptism? It certainly can't be a true doctrine of Jesus Christ. Otherwise either Christ is not telling the truth, or the Book of Mormon really does not contain the saving gospel of Christ in it's fulness. What do you think?