Satan’s Success:Diverting Attention from the Atonement to Far Lesser Concerns

This Easter Weekend I wish I could be more confident that the message of the Savior’s atonement and resurrection is near to the hearts of church members. However, my experience in the Bloggernacle in the last six years has opened my eyes to the fact that there are many other concerns on the minds of church members than the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I don’t think the author intended the following quote to include Latter-day-Saints but unfortunately it applies and fits all to well when it comes to what is routinely discussed in the ‘nacle.

“For many, the beautiful and deep doctrine of the Atonement is summarily dismissed and placed on the back shelf with the facile response, ‘Just believe and be saved.’ Why such an approach? Perhaps Hugh Nibley best articulates the reason:

‘So cool has been the reception of the message [of the Atonement] that through the centuries, while heated controversy and debate have raged over evolution, atheism, the sacraments, the Trinity, authority, predestination, faith and works, and so on, there has been no argument or discussion at all about the meaning of the Atonement. Why were there no debates or pronouncements in the synods? People either do not care enough or do not know enough even to argue about it. For the doctrine of the Atonement is far too complicated to have the appeal of a world religion.’

Satan has been successful in diverting much of the Christian world’s attention from the one doctrine that can save us, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to the ancillary doctrines that have meaning only because they draw their sustenance from this redeeming event. Like a skilled magician, Satan’s every move is to divert our attention and dilute our focus from the primary object at hand, namely Christ’s atoning sacrifice, in hopes we will turn exclusively to doctrines of secondary and far lesser import. His diversionary tactics have been, and will be, of such global proportions that John tragically exclaimed, ‘Satan . . . deceiveth the whole world’ (Revelation 12:9; see also D&C 10:63). After all the sleight of hand ceases and the smoke clears, it is still Jesus Christ, his Atonement, and our obedience to him that saves us—nothing else can do it.” The Infinite Atonement, Tad R. Callister, Pages 15-16.

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