General Conference, Saturday morning. In a talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson the everlasting covenant was mentioned, and I wondered what you all thought about this topic.
Elder Christofferson equated the everlasting covenant with John 3:16--"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." It seems to me that this is a much more evangelical Christian definition of the everlasting covenant than has been given before by the LDS. Do you think this is a reconstruction or a redefinition of Mormon doctrine? Do you think such a definition is a profound and deeper way of thinking of the new and everlasting covenant, or is it moving away from the original doctrinal concept?
Joseph Fielding Smith taught:
“The new and everlasting covenant is the fulness of the gospel. It is composed of ‘All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations’ that are sealed upon members of the Church by the Holy Spirit of promise, or the Holy Ghost, by the authority of the President of the Church who holds the keys. . . Marriage for eternity is a new and everlasting covenant. Baptism is also a new and everlasting covenant, and likewise ordination to the priesthood, and every other covenant is everlasting and a part of the new and everlasting covenant which embraces all things.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:65)
Do you think that boiling the everlasting covenant down to the atonement is an oversimplification of all of the contracts, vows, performances, etc. that have traditionally been required in Mormon theology, and moving closer to the evangelical view of grace without the necessity of works or ordinances? If the everlasting covenant is synonymous with John 3:16, then what constitutes the "fulness of the gospel" which had to be restored?
I will be interested to go back and read this talk when it is published, and I'm sure I will have more to say about the subject when I have Elder Christofferson's words in front of me. What were your initial impressions, readers?