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Irresistible (Dis)Grace

November 7, 2008

An interesting idea introduced as a central tenet of Calvinism is that of “Irresistible” or “Efficacious Grace.” This idea proposes that, in the grand scheme of things, a person who is elected by God will eventually come into a saving faith. This person might resist individual promptings of the spirit, but God’s grace is…as the saying goes, irresistible, to someone truly elect. It fits nicely in a theology of predetermination, I think.

I’m no Calvinist and I don’t pretend to have irresistible grace. But this actually gives me a springboard for what Irresistible (Dis)Grace is about. I am a cultural Mormon. And even if I don’t believe in many (or at least, the most important) tenets of the church, as someone who was raised in the church, I am irresistibly a part of LDS culture. Even more, I notice that this seems to be a common theme among people in a similar situations. It might be that one can just leave another church with little baggage lost, but with the LDS church, things are different. You still have the peculiar experiences and a strange attachment…even if you reject some fundamentals.

Mormonism isn’t a Calvinist faith. It doesn’t follow predeterminism and, in fact, is fairly strongly opposed to such concepts, so it’s silly to think that this is just a way for the Holy Ghost to “irresistibly” reach out to us. In fact, it’s suggested that for some, it might just be not a gift for us to naturally have an easy time with faith, but that if we can only desire to have faith, that’s enough. But on either side…on the faithful side or the unfaithful side, there are those who would think it strange that someone who has left the church or who disagrees with the church on some stances is still so drawn to it. They might use this as “proof” that really, the Church is true and all ex-Mormons are just trying to convince themselves otherwise or that all nonbelieving Mormons have a chip on their shoulder and that’s why they must whine incessantly.

…I think it’s as close to an idea of irresistible disgrace as we can imagine. I dunno. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a theologian. But it seems like something with a lot of room to talk about.

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