The Second Counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley is quoted in Latter-Day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels (American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2002) by Ed J. Pinegar, K. Douglas Bassett, and Ted L. Earl.
BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT
All of us need to be born spiritually, from 8 to 80—or even 90. When Sister Luise Wulff of the German Democratic Republic was baptized in 1989, she exclaimed, “There I was—ninety-four years old and born again!” Our first birth takes place when we are born into mortality. Our second birth begins when we are baptized by water by one holding the priesthood of God and is completed when we are confirmed, and “then cometh a remission of [our] sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost” (2 Ne. 31:17). . . .
Baptism by immersion in water is “the introductory ordinance of the gospel, and must be followed by baptism of the Spirit in order to be complete” (Bible Dictionary, “Baptism”, p. 618). . . .
The full benefit of forgiveness of sin through the Savior’s Atonement begins with repentance and baptism and then expands upon receiving the Holy Ghost. (James E. Faust, Ensign, May 2001, 55)
So if I understand Faust correctly, any Christian that claims to be born again is deceived if he or she has not been baptized by the proper man who holds the LDS priesthood. Is this correct? To tie in with David’s last post on his blog, LDS Doctrine, let me pose this question: do LDS consider born-again Christians, truly born again? By the way, I really like how David has set up all his links.
A few more questions . . .
Do LDS today interpret “the kingdom of God” as the Celestial kingdom of heaven? McConkie (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, p. 141) and Ogden and Skinner (The Four Gospels, 2006, p. 118) think so. Therefore, is being “born of water and of the Spirit” all that is necessary to enter the celestial kingdom of heaven? And how does this mesh with a recent official Church publication, True to the Faith, quoted by Ogden and Skinner, “Conversion is a process, not an event. You become converted as a result of your righteous efforts to follow the Savior” (TFG, p. 119)?Firmly, McConkie writes about John 3:10, “Nicodemus should have known these truths about spiritual rebirth; he had the prophetic writings before him and was obligated, as a teacher in Israel, to read and understand them” (DNTC, p. 142). Ogden and Skinner echo the same conviction in softer terms, “Jesus responded with a mild rebuke: ‘Art thou a master [leader and teacher] of Israel, and knowest not these things?’ His answer suggests that these principles were known and taught in Old Testament times and Nicodemus should have been well acquainted with them” (TFG, p. 119).
Yet neither McConkie nor Ogden and Skinner bring forth the Old Testament texts about what is required before Jews can enter the kingdom of God. Where do you have “water” and “spirit” joined together as absolutely necessary for eschatological salvation? You can’t miss this like Nicodemus once did.