The Grand Alliance

April 24, 2004 | 9 comments
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Do you think it is proper to say that God is recruiting us for the great cause–joining Him in the work of eternal life? Rather than simply being saved from our sins, we are being mobilized? Does this mean, in turn, that God benefits from our worshiping Him, that bringing to pass eternal life for His children adds to His glory? Is priesthood (including women) another name for the grand alliance of those who have joined God in His great work?

9 Responses to The Grand Alliance

  1. Grasshopper on April 24, 2004 at 11:53 am

    fix bug

  2. Jim F. on April 25, 2004 at 2:10 am

    Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

  3. Greg Call on April 26, 2004 at 1:32 am

    Richard’s remarks remind me of one of the more moving passages in William James’s _Pragmatism_:

    “Suppose the world’s author put the case to you before creation, saying: ‘I am going to make a world not certain to be saved, a world the perfection of which shall be conditional merely, the condition being that each several agent does its own level best. I offer you the chance of taking part in such a world. Its safety, you see, is unwarranted. It is a real adventure, with real danger, yet it may win through. It is a social scheme of co-operative work genuinely to be done. Will you join the procession? Will you trust yourself and trust the other agents enough to face the risk?’ … There is a healthy-minded bouyancy in most of us which such a universe would exactly fit. We should therefore accept the offer — ‘Top! und schlag auf schlag!’ “

  4. Russell Arben Fox on April 27, 2004 at 2:09 pm

    Jim,

    I think I would answer “yes, yes, no, and yes.” Do you think it is incoherent for me to believe this way? That is, do you think the questions which Richard posed in conjunction with his description of salvation as a “grand alliance” entail one another, or can one coherently separate them out? I’m not sure. I can, and think I do, believe in our salvation as a form of “recruitment”; however, I’m not sure I can (or want) to believe that God gains from, and thus in some sense needs, our acceptance of His recruiting call. (Desires it, yes; depends upon it, no.)

  5. Juliann Reynolds on April 29, 2004 at 2:26 am

    I have thought for some time that we are being mobilized, much as anyone joins an army (or Saviors on Mt. Zion). I came to that conclusion because of the solid body of prophetic statements promising that our children would return to us if we lived up to the sealing covenants. It is a paradoxical position given our emphasis on free will…yet one that jumps out from scripture when I stop adding the “but only if…” that is not there. The more I learn of Process Theology the more I like its philosophizing as to why God acts. As much as we theologize about it, the sucking up glory thing has absolutely no meaning to me. I also have no idea what priesthood really means aside from our standard definitions.

  6. Jim F. on April 29, 2004 at 7:28 pm

    Russell asked whether it is incoherent to believe (1) that God is recruiting us to join in his work, (2) that being saved from our sins is a kind of mobilization (3) that “priesthood” (in the temple sense, which includes women and men as equals) is a name for this alliance, and at the same time (4) that God does not benefit from our worship, i.e., that bringing eternal life to pass for his children does not add to his glory. (To show the possible incoherence better, I’ve not put these in an order corresponding to Richard’s.)

    That depends somewhat on what you mean by “incoherence” and a lot on what you mean by “glory.” I don’t think it is logically contradictory (i.e., incoherent) to believe the first three and not the fourth unless “glory” means “having others join him in his work.” That meaning involves a reasonable, possible interpretation of divine glory in LDS theology: God’s children in his presence are his glory, so an increase in them is an increase in his glory. On the other hand, it is possible to believe that divine glory is something else. For example, if it is something like the power to save, the splendor of his presence, or his honor, then your assertion of the first three and rejection of the fourth isn’t necessarily incoherent. One can conceive of saving power, splendor, and honor as already maximal and not increased by any increase among those in his presence—unless the increase in the number of children is the manifestation of his power to save, that which makes him splendid, or that which shows his honor.

    To my knowledge, relatively little work has been done on what “glory” means in the Old and New Testaments and none has been done on what it means in latter-day scripture (though I assume the meaning there would be connected to the biblical meaning). The entry on “doxa” (“glory” in Greek) in the _Theological Dictionary of the New Testament_ gives a helpful, though (as with everything in TDNT) somewhat dated overview (2:233). As it points out, the OT term for glory is “kabod,” a term denoting whatever it is that makes one impressive and demands recognition.

    My reason for saying “yes” to whether God’s glory is increased by bringing to pass eternal life for his children is that, as per the previous paragraph, I think his work for us is that in which we find his power to save, and it is, as well, that which gives him his splendor and honor. God is impressive and his being demands our recognition BECAUSE he exercises his power to save us.

  7. avalon on May 8, 2004 at 7:33 am

    Thank you for information !

  8. Katherine Green on November 6, 2005 at 9:16 am

    Just read Wilfried Decoo’s “The Flute” in Sunstone. Exquisite. I will read it to my Sunday School students tomorrow. I’m trying to help them understand how important community might feel to someone struggling with any sort of rejection or isolation. Jessica’s angst is universal. I hope my students will feel the metaphor of the unselfconscious and unintentional message. “A wave of bliss scatters the gloom.” Any child, of any age, can launch such a wave. Thanks, Wilfried.

  9. Wilfried Decoo on November 6, 2005 at 10:17 am

    You’re welcome, Katherine. I don’t know if it was intentional that your comment got on this thread, but it sure is fitting, as we are all part of the grand alliance. Even a child can, unwittingly, with the right priorities, make a sudden change in someone’s life, as I tried to tell in The Flute.

    To clarify to other readers: Sunstone asked Times and Seasons permission to reproduce The Flute in their latest issue.