22
Apr
10

FAITH IN JESUS’ WHAT?

    Both Mormonism and Christianity talk about having faith in Jesus.  But, as with so many words and phrases, each means something differently by that.

     James E. Talmage, who was an LDS apostle, defined faith this way:  “Primarily, and in a theological sense, we are considering faith as a living, inspiring confidence in God, and an acceptance of His will as our law, and of His words as our guide in life.”  Apostle Joseph B. Wirthlin put it this way:  “We each should develop the faith of Nephi to do the things the Lord has commanded [see 1 Ne. 3:7] knowing that all commandments are given for our good.” 

     When Christians talk about faith in Jesus, however, they are not talking about accepting His will as our law or even His words as our guide in life.  The first and primary things Christians think about when faith comes up are not Jesus’ words but his works.  To Christians, having faith in Jesus means trusting that what Jesus did he did for us and because Jesus has done those things, we are already acceptable to God.  So much so that faith in Jesus, for Christians, includes the thought of abandoning any reliance on our own works.  But note that any mention of Jesus’ works for us is completely absent in James E. Talmage’s words – even though he is describing faith “primarily”. 

     Although both Mormonism and Christianity talk about having faith in Jesus, they have two different objects in which they place their faith.  In order to understand each other and not talk past each other, it is important to see this difference.  It is not enough to agree that both talk about having faith in Jesus.  The telling question is: faith in Jesus’ what?

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77 Responses to “FAITH IN JESUS’ WHAT?”


  1. 1 Echo
    April 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Our faith is: believing we HAVE BEEN fully and completely accepted by Heavenly Father because of Jesus’ works in our behalf. We have faith in Jesus’ works rather than faith in our works.

    The LDS faith is: believing we could potentially be accepted by Heavenly Father, though that depends on our works following Jesus’ pattern. They have faith in their works rather than faith in Jesus’ works.

  2. April 22, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Mark ~ As you probably have already figured out, the LDS use many of the same terms as Christians, but an entirely different dictionary. The subject of your post is a good example of just that.

  3. 3 faithoffathers
    April 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Mark,

    You so badly do not want to understand LDS doctrine on this matter. I can conclude nothing else.

    We have faith in Christ’s words AND works. I really do not understand how you can say we do not have faith in Christ’s work and think you are saying something meaningful.

    My definition of faith: The power, force, and influence that drives a person to act. Hence, I wake up and go to work in the morning because I have faith that such will result in my family having the funds to purchase those things needed to prosper.

    I get on an airplane because I have faith that the airplane itself and the pilot are able to transport me to a destination to which I intend to go.

    I have faith that the sun will rise, so I have a plan for each days activities the night before.

    You get the idea.

    It is impossible to have faith in Jesus Christ and not obey His commandments. Because if a person has faith in Him, he or she will follow Him.

    I have faith that if I accept Jesus Christ and follow Him, His astonishing and amazing atonement will be applied to me, and that atonement will make eternal life possible for me.

    For some reason, you want to equate faith with the insistance that our salvation is set in stone in the past- disconnected from any responsibility or accountability today. While you may see yourself embracing the power of another, I see this philosophy as escapism.

    For the millionth time- we do not believe our works save us. 100% of our salvation is achieved by the works of Jesus Christ. But Christ applies His work to those souls who accept and follow Him.

    I do not have “faith in my works.” I continue to fail at so many things. But I know I have to keep trying. He requires me to, AND I HAVE FAITH IN HIM.

    Be honest- is that so difficult to understand? You may disagree, but can you at least intellectual understand how we Do trust in the works of Christ. Or is the prejudice too great to overcome?

    fof

  4. 4 Echo
    April 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    FOF said: “We have faith in Christ’s words AND works. I really do not understand how you can say we do not have faith in Christ’s work and think you are saying something meaningful.”

    The LDS doesn’t have faith in Christ’s work in the sense that Christians do. We have faith in Christ’s work in the sense that Jesus’ work is that he met all the conditions for us that are required of us to gain entrance into the celestial kingdom. The LDS on the other hand must meet those requirements themselves. You see, eternal life is only a “possibility” for you and it depends on YOU, for us it is already a reality, Jesus made that possible for us because it depended on HIM.

  5. 5 RLO
    April 23, 2010 at 5:04 am

    FoF says: “I have faith that if I accept Jesus Christ and follow Him, His astonishing and amazing atonement will be applied to me, and that atonement will make eternal life possible for me.”

    Help me understand what you mean by this statement.

    1. Do you believe that your acceptance of Jesus Christ is a prerequisite to receiving His grace?

    2. Do you believe his grace only makes eternal life a possibility?

  6. 6 adb
    April 23, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    FOF: “It is impossible to have faith in Jesus Christ and not obey His commandments. Because if a person has faith in Him, he or she will follow Him.”

    Then in the same post a little bit later, you say, “I continue to fail at so many things. But I know I have to keep trying. He requires me to …”

    So which is it? You state that it’s impossible to have faith and not obey, but then you admit that you fail at that very obedience. You then soften the demand for obedience by saying “I have to keep on trying.” I don’t get the impression that such double talk is even recognized as such to the LDS, but to Christians it is a clear contradiction. To state that obedience is necessary for faith, and then to admit that you fail at such obedience, but you are at least trying, are two completely different things. So which is it, BE obedient, or TRY for obedience?

  7. 7 faithoffathers
    April 24, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    RLO,

    1. To receive the grace associated with eternal life- yes I absolutely must accept Jesus Christ. It is surprising this is a question.

    2. Yes- it is the grace of Christ that makes eternal life possible. But that does not take away my personal responsibilities.

    I have explained how justice, mercy, faith, works mesh and meet to the LDS so many times, I am truly bored- not because the topic doesn’t fascinate and interest me, but because the same people act as if they have no idea how it works over and over and over and over.

    I understand if you disagree, but your statements, including Mark’s, show that you either do not understand or you are purposefully misrepresenting us.

    fof

  8. 8 shematwater
    April 24, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    FOF

    I love your explanation, and I do agree that not matter how ofter we try to explain LDS doctrine no body seems to get it, turning back to the old arguments.

    ECHO

    I find it funny that you use LDS terms to describe your faith. You do not even believe in the different Kingdoms of Glory, but in one single Heaven. Why do you use the Celestial Kingdom in regards to your doctrine.

    Now, to add just a little to what FOF said: The grace of God saves all except those who commit the unpardonable sin from everlasting damnation. Without the atonement and grace of Christ we would all be cast out to spend eternity with Satan. Christ overcame death (through the resurrection) and Hell. This is why the LDS teach that all men will achieve some level in heaven, because his Grace is universal (except to those commiting the unpardonable sin).
    It is not our entrace into heaven that is dependant on our works, but the reward we receive when we get there.

    Oh, and just one other thing: Even our own good works cannot be considered our own, as it is through the grace of Christ that we are given power to perform them. Also, after we do perform them we are blessed, and so no matter how much we do we are always in debt to God.

    These are just two parts of the doctrine that I think non-LDS people either fail to understand or purposely ignore.

    Oh and MARK, could you tell us where those nice quotes came from. I would love to read the rest of the statements made by these men.

  9. 9 Echo
    April 24, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    FOF said: “I have explained how justice, mercy, faith, works mesh and meet to the LDS so many times, I am truly bored- not because the topic doesn’t fascinate and interest me, but because the same people act as if they have no idea how it works over and over and over and over.”

    Do you think that there is a possiblity that we do understand exactly what you believe but in our efforts to show you how what you believe is wrong, that it could be you that doesn’t see just what we are saying? Just a thought. That’s why I believe ongoing communication is so important.

  10. 10 Echo
    April 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Shem said: “Now, to add just a little to what FOF said: The grace of God saves all except those who commit the unpardonable sin from everlasting damnation. Without the atonement and grace of Christ we would all be cast out to spend eternity with Satan. Christ overcame death (through the resurrection) and Hell. This is why the LDS teach that all men will achieve some level in heaven, because his Grace is universal (except to those commiting the unpardonable sin).”

    So no matter what willful sinful choices people make in life, all of them get to go to heaven except those very few who commit the unpardonable sin (apostate LDS members).

    That is License to sin.

    Not only that but the LDS motivation for doing good is totally “self”-serving. (i.e. If I do good, then I will be rewarded with…) God despises self-serving motives. Jesus taught us to deny “self” not to promote it.

    Third, a person has a better chance of getting into one of the LDS’s 3 heavens by NOT becoming a Mormon. I mean, why would they want to join the LDS church if doing so means that they then have the potential to become an apostate Mormon who ends up in outer darkness. They are more likely to go to heaven not becoming a Mormon!

  11. 11 Echo
    April 24, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    To attempt to say this gently, I truly believe that it is the LDS who has no understanding of us. For example: The fact that you said:

    “We have faith in Christ’s words AND works. I really do not understand how you can say we do not have faith in Christ’s work and think you are saying something meaningful.”

    That statement tells me that you don’t understand what we are telling you. You also said:

    “I have faith that if I accept Jesus Christ and follow Him, His astonishing and amazing atonement will be applied to me, and that atonement will make eternal life possible for me.”

    Here in your statement eternal life is only possible “IF I”…

    We believe that believing in Christ’s works means that all the “If I’s” are removed. And that is what we are trying to explain to you. So when Mark or anyone says that you don’t believe in Christ’s works, this is what we mean.

  12. 12 Seth R.
    April 24, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Yes Mark…

    And I’m sure you can’t find any Mormon quotes praising what Jesus did, right?

    Because, of course, your survey of Mormon writings on the subject has been extensive and comprehensive, right?

    Uh huh…

  13. 13 Echo
    April 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Seth, your missing the point entirely. Your so caught up in a sinful mindset that defending your religion has left you without the capability to “listen.” The following proverb is true of you:

    Proverbs 28:1 “The wicked man flees though no one pursues…”

    This is evident in your continual sinful remarks and personal attacks against others. You “flee” in the sense of sinfully assuming that Mark’s motives and the motives of others are not sincere and good. You suggest by your sinful thinking that Mark is intentionally leaving something out of his message that might make the LDS church look good as if his intent were evil or malicious in some way. You “feel” he is pursuing you in the sense of he is out to harm you or the LDS church. You don’t take time to “listen” because your continually fleeing!

    All your assumptions are dead wrong! Only the “wicked” man ASSUMES evil things about other people apart from their own words! The righteous man never judges the motives of others apart from their own words because he hasn’t the ability to do so! Only God has that ability!

    Stop wrongfully and sinfully judging Mark’s motives and then stop attacking him for them! Your assumptions are wrong!

    Mark never said anywhere that the LDS church doesn’t have any quotes praising what they believe Jesus did so don’t suggest that is what he is doing with all your sarcasm. What the LDS does praise Jesus for is not the topic of this thread. The topic of this thread is what the LDS doesn’t praise Jesus for!

    The FACT of the matter and whole point of this thread is that the LDS NOWHERE praises Jesus for giving them the celestial kingdom wihtout any “IF I’s…”

    Listen!

  14. 14 RLO
    April 25, 2010 at 3:15 am

    FoF responded: “1. To receive the grace associated with eternal life- yes I absolutely must accept Jesus Christ. It is surprising this is a question.”

    Don’t be surprised by the question. I am simply making an attempt to slowly and methodically determine what the differences are between your beliefs and my beliefs. Our respective beliefs are different, and I think it would be worthwhile to identify precisely what those differences are. I asked the question of you, as I did, in order to ensure I wasn’t misunderstanding what your position was. With that said, it appears I have understood your position correctly – that your acceptance of Jesus Christ is a prerequisite to your receiving God’s grace.

    Now I will tell you what my belief is on this. I essentially believe just the reverse. I believe that God’s grace is a prerequisite to my accepting Jesus Christ. The reason I believe this is because when I look at Ephesians 2:8-9, I see that it is by God’s grace that I am saved through God’s gift of faith. It is through God’s gift of faith that I can believe in Jesus Christ. So God’s grace in granting me the gift of faith (through which I can believe in Jesus Christ) is a prerequisite to my ability to believe in Jesus Christ. Earlier in Ephesians, I am told that I was dead in transgressions and sins. And that it was because if his great love for me, and his mercy, that he made me alive if Christ. And that he raised me up, and seated me with him. Not because of anything I did to merit it. But he did it to show the riches of his grace.

    So it appears:

    You believe your acceptance of Jesus Christ is a prerequisite to your receiving God’s Grace.
    I believe receiving God’s grace is a prerequisite to my accepting Jesus Christ.

    Do you feel I have accurately represented your belief is this summarization? And do you feel this accurately illustrates a difference in our respective beliefs?

    FoF responded: “2. Yes- it is the grace of Christ that makes eternal life possible. But that does not take away my personal responsibilities.”

    You see, I don’t believe his grace only makes eternal life a possibility; I believe God’s grace ensures eternal life. Since it is through his grace-gift of faith that I believe in him, I know he has done everything that has to be done in order that I can have an assurance of eternal life.

    So it appears:

    You believe Gods grace makes eternal life a possibility.
    I believe God’s grace ensures eternal life.

    FoF said: “I have explained how justice, mercy, faith, works mesh and meet to the LDS so many times, I am truly bored- not because the topic doesn’t fascinate and interest me, but because the same people act as if they have no idea how it works over and over and over and over.”

    I can understand your frustration. I have often felt the same frustration when attempting to explain the Christian perspective. While there is a lack of agreement between our respective views, it would be beneficial to at least identify and understand what the differences are.

    FoF said: “I understand if you disagree, but your statements, including Mark’s, show that you either do not understand or you are purposefully misrepresenting us.”

    I hope you can see that I am attempting to understand the differences between Mormonism and Christianity, and that I am not purposefully trying to misrepresent your beliefs. In fact, that is why I have set out on the slow and methodical approach I have taken; to ensure I don’t misunderstand what you believe before I attempt to compare and contrast our respective beliefs. Let’s try telling each other what we believe, and why we believe it. And then maybe we can accurately identify what the differences are between our respective beliefs.

  15. 15 RLO
    April 25, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Shematwater;

    Shematwater to Echo: “I find it funny that you use LDS terms to describe your faith. You do not even believe in the different Kingdoms of Glory, but in one single Heaven. Why do you use the Celestial Kingdom in regards to your doctrine.”

    In Mark Cares’ book, “Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons,” chapter 10 speaks to using mormon terms with mormon meanings in order to more effectively communicate, and to avoid misunderstandings. I would hope you could appreciate Echo’s efforts in doing so, rather than finding it “funny.” When someone goes more than halfway to meet you, and is bending over backwards to communicate with you, you really shouldn’t kick them with criticism. Why don’t you try being a little more gracious?

  16. 16 gloria
    April 25, 2010 at 3:48 am

    Shemwater — Where does it say in the Bible that Christ’s grace is universal? Never once have I read in the Bible that all men will achieve some level of heaven. Where does it say that in the Bible?

  17. 17 RLO
    April 25, 2010 at 3:57 am

    FoF:

    Sorry, forgot to address one other point.

    FoF said: “2. Yes- … But that does not take away my personal responsibilities.”

    I would respond to this by saying, “Nor is personal responsibility absent from Christian theology.” I think the difference between the mormon perspective and the Christian perspective on responsibility, is where the responsibility comes into play. Mormon responsibility comes into play “before” God’s grace is granted; Christian responsibility can only come into play “after” God’s grace is granted. Indeed, before God grants us his grace, we are not even capabale of demonstrating any degree of personally responsible behavior towards God. As Ephesians chapter 2 tells us, before grace, we were “dead in transgressions” and “objects of wrath.”

  18. 18 shematwater
    April 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    ECHO

    As to your comments to Seth, I have to agree with Seth. The entire post was wording to make the unlearned think that the LDS do not believe in the works of Christ. Whether it was intentional or not really doesn’t matter. It is still how the post was worded and how it came across.

    As to your comments made to me: You still have no understanding. LDS doctrine condemns the self-serving motivations of men. If you actually took the time to read what is taught you would know this.

    You also said: “So no matter what willful sinful choices people make in life, all of them get to go to heaven except those very few who commit the unpardonable sin (apostate LDS members). That is License to sin.”
    Now, I agree. Christ states “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.” (Matt: 12: 31) Christ does not say can be, or are able to be. He says they will be, they shall be. In this same verse he continues “but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” Thus the only sin that does not receive some level of forgiveness is the Blaspheming the Holy Ghost.
    Thus, according to the Bible all sins are forgiven through the atonement (as I said) which leads to the logical conclusion that all people will be in heaven, excet those who commit that one sin that is declared unpardonable.

    Is this license to sin? In a manner of speaking it is, yes. However, unless you are obedient to the laws of God, unless you tame your passions and follow Christ you will be cast out of the presense of the Father. You will still be in heaven, but you will loose the gifts of blessings that God has reserved for the faithful, such as Eternal Life. God has basically stated “These are the things you can earn, and it is up to you to deside which you will strive for.” If we want to be self-serving and commit sin freely we will receive only the lowest of all rewards. If we are not self-serving, but serve God with all our heart, might, mind, and strength we will be welcomed home into the glory of the Father, to inherit jointly with Christ all that our Father has.

    RLO

    Echo’s use of the term Celestial Kingdom actually creates more of a misunderstanding rather than avoiding it. I appriciate the attempt, but Echo used Celestial Kingdom to mean what the general Christian thought of heaven is, not the LDS definition. This is why I clarified our doctrine.

    Echo stated “We have faith in Christ’s work in the sense that Jesus’ work is that he met all the conditions for us that are required of us to gain entrance into the celestial kingdom.”

    Now, if Echo had used the term “Heaven” instead of “Celestial Kingdom” the statement would have been exactly what the LDS believe, for his work in the atonement met the conditions for our entrance into heaven. In using the term “Celestial Kingdom” she has ignored this part of LDS doctrine.

    Along these lines let me ask you a question, since you are seeking to understand the difference between the LDS and other Christians:
    For you, does everyone who enters heaven receive the same reward, or do they receive different rewards? And if they receive different rewards what determines this?

  19. 19 RLO
    April 26, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I do believe that each person who enters heaven will receive the same rewards – the reward of eternal life, of being with the Lord forever, of no longer suffering the consequences of sin, of being with our fellow believers, of being with the holy angels, of enjoying the full knowledge God has always intended for us, to mention only a few. But perhaps this is not really what you wanted to know about. I’m thinking maybe you really wanted to ask, “Do I believe there will be degrees of glory in heaven?”

    There are biblical accounts which would support degrees of glory in heaven (the parable of the ten minas for example). As for me, I’m not certain. Nor am I worried about it. Because I know there will be no degrees of Joy in heaven (consider the parable of the workers in the vineyard). And if there are degrees of glory in heaven, they will likely be based upon what one’s station in life was, and upon the fruits their faith displayed.

  20. 20 RLO
    April 26, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Shematwater;

    One other point;

    It’s not the difference between the LDS and “other” Christians

    It is the difference between the LDS and Christians.

    I don’t view the LDS as “another” Christian denomination. Do you?

  21. 21 Echo
    April 27, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Shem said: “As to your comments to Seth, I have to agree with Seth. The entire post was wording to make the unlearned think that the LDS do not believe in the works of Christ.”

    The LDS do not believe in the works of Christ as Christians believe in the works of Christ and I have explained that above.

    Shem said: “but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men”

    Can you define that according to the LDS?

    Shem said: “Is this license to sin? In a manner of speaking it is, YES.” (emphasis mine)

    Where does the Bible say that we have license to sin?

    Shem said: “If we want to be self-serving and commit SIN FREELY we will receive only the lowest of all REWARDS” (emphasis mine)

    Where does the Bible say that God “REWARDS” SINNING FREELY?

    Shem said: “God has basically stated “These are the things you can EARN, and it is up to you to deside which you will strive for.” (emphasis mine)

    “EARNING” your way into one of the two higher of the three heavens is self-serving.

    Shem said: “For you, does everyone who enters heaven receive the same reward, or do they receive different rewards? And if they receive different rewards what determines this?”

    I don’t even think about rewards. Jesus ***IS*** enough for me because he has made me his.

  22. 22 shematwater
    April 27, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    RLO

    No, I was talking about rewards, not degrees.

    I have been in conversations where people will declare their belief that all the faithful go to heaven, but depending on our works is what reward we receive there. This is based in verses such as Revelation 22: 12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

    These people still want to revile against the doctrine of the Degrees of Glory, when it is essentially the same thing. All people are admitted into heaven, and once there they are judged according to their works and given their reward (or placed in a certain Kingdom or degree).

    This was what I was hinting at in my last post. Because most Christians focus on the words used, and not the complete meaning of the doctrine, they miss the striking similarities between the them and the LDS.

    As to using the LDS terms, I think it because more confusing, especially to those who are unfamiliar with the different uses of each term. If you believe in only one heaven, with no varying degrees, than to use terms that are applied to varying degrees is confusing.

    I do not think it is a good practice. I think you should simply use your own words, but define them.

    And yes I do consider myself and all LDS members Christian. The term Christian was first used in Antioch to simply denote those who believed in Christ. Thus, for me, anyone who believes in Christ as the son of God and savior of the world is a Christian. Exactly how they define this, or what other doctrine they put with it, doesn’t matter. The term Christian is a description that covers all those who agree on this one issue. As this is the primary focus of all LDS doctrine, we are Christians.

  23. 23 shematwater
    April 27, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    ECHO

    You are being very silly.

    No one claimed we have the same understanding and belief concerning the works of Christ. But the post implied that we ignored them all together, which is completely false.

    As I expained, the Bible states that all sin will be forgiven. Forgiveness in itself can be seen as a reward, and thus all sin, even those freely commited, will be reward in some way. Also, as all sins will be forgiven to some extant this gives a lisense to sin.

    Now, I love the way you try and twist my words, or try and prove them wrong with the every common, yet rather uncreative tactic of “Where is it in the Bible?” Does it ever say these things? Of Course not, as that would be a rediculous way to teahc anyone. Does it imply these things however? Yes, and in the manner that I have explained.

    Earning a reward does not have to be self-serving. After all, many celebrities compete in competitions in order to gain a reward, which they then turn over to a charitable cause. Earning something simply means you have done what is necessary to aquire it, it does not address motivation in any way.
    When I go to work I am rewarded with a paycheck. Is this the reason I work. No. The reason I work is to provide for my family. Thus my motivation is self-sacrifing for the benefit of my family, even though my actions earn me a reward.

    As to thinking about rewards, I don’t think I would be thinking about them either if Christ hadn’t brought it first. Over 20 times Christ and the Apostles speak of the rewards we can earn. So why shouldn’t I talk about them, and consider them?

  24. 24 shematwater
    April 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I would like to correct one statement that I made.

    I said “thus all sin, even those freely commited, will be reward in some way.”

    This should have said “Thus all sinners, though they freely sin, will be rewarded in some way.”
    Sin itself is never rewarded.

    Sorry for the error.

  25. 25 RLO
    April 27, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Shematwater;

    You began your post by saying you were previously talking about rewards, and not degrees of glory. But then you almost immediately go on to say that rewards and degrees of glory are essentially the same thing. So then, you were essentially talking about degrees of glory, right? Or, is it no? I can’t tell. You are expressing yourself ambiguously.

    You said that all people are admitted into heaven, and once there they are judged according to their works and given their reward. Yet the Bible says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to like, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14. So tell me, why do think I should believe you over the Bible when you say that all people are admitted into heaven?

    You said: “…Thus, for me, anyone who believes in Christ as the son of God and savior of the world is a Christian. Exactly how they define this, or what other doctrine they put with it, doesn’t matter…”

    And I say, how one defines this, or what other doctrine one mixes with it, means everything. One is not a Christian just because they believed Jesus existed. The Sanedrin knew as much. And they were hardly Christians. I believe that Buddha and Mohammad existed. That hardly makes me a Buddhist or a Muslim. Mouthing out the syllables and the words that Jesus is “The Son of God,” or, “The Savior of the World,: really isn’t sufficient. It depends on what that means to you. And whether what it means to you is consistent with what Jesus revealed about himself. Exactly how I define these, means everything.

  26. 26 RLO
    April 27, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    “…that leads to life…” (sorry, typo)

  27. 27 Echo
    April 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Shem said: “Now, I love the way you try and twist my words, or try and prove them wrong with the every common, yet rather uncreative tactic of “WHERE IS IT IN THE BIBLE?” WHERE IS IT IN THE BIBLE?” DOES IT EVER SAY THESE THINGS? OF COURSE NOT, AS THAT WOULD BE A REDICULOUS WAY TO TEACH ANYONE. Does it imply these things however? Yes, and in the manner that I have explained.” (emphasis mine)

    Asking Shem to show me where in the Bible his doctrine is taught is not an “uncreative tactic” as he wrongfully presumes. The Bereans were condidered of NOBLE CHARACTER because they searched the scripture every day to see if what even the Apostle Paul said was true.

    Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

    Shem said it is rediculous to teach anyone using the Bible. That’s exactly what Satan would say since Satan knows that the scriptures contain the “TRUTH”! The TRUTH that God gave us to protect us from Satan’s lie’s! Scriptures are TRUTH, which Acts 17:11 also states besides other passages of scripture.

    Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the SCRIPTURES every day to see if what Paul said was TRUE.”

    Does the Bible imply that God rewards us if we sin freely as Shem states?

    Be like the Bereans and examine the scriptures for yourselves:

    Ephesians 2:3 “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”

    Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”

    Collosians 3:5-6 “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming”

    1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 “They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.”

    Revelation 11:18 “The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

    Revelation 14:9-11 “A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”

    Romans 2:5-8 “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger”

    1 John 3:7-8 “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”

    Not only does the Bible not imply even remotely that God rewards us if we freely sin but in fact states the complete opposite of what Shem claims. Those who freely sin end up like this: “He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”

    2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

  28. 28 shematwater
    April 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I was a little ambiguous, and purposely so. The degrees of Glory are different from rewards in that they are not specific descriptions. They are general categories. However, the basic principle is the same. The details of the doctrines are different, which is why there is a distinction between them. But as the underlying principle is the same it can be said that there is a striking similarity between the two.

    As to all entering heaven and the verses in Matthew 7: I would ask you what the term “Life” in these verses is talking about. I would say that it is talking about Eternal Life, which to me, and according to LDS doctrine, is the highest level within the Celestial Kingdom. Eternal life is not a gift that is given to all men. It is reserved for the faithful, and thus it is said that few find it.

    But, as I said, Christ declared that all sins will be forgiven. If they are forgiven than how can anyone be cast into Hell with Satan? This would be unjust, and God is just. Thus all people who do not commit the unpardonable sin will enter heaven. Howeve we are told by John (1 John 3: 15) “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life biding in him.”

    We know from Christ that Murderers will be forgiven, but we know from John that they cannot have eternal life. So, what happens to them? As they are forgiven justice demands that they be admitted into heaven. But it does not demand that they be raised to the highest levels.
    It does not say in Matthew 7 that the wide road leads to Hell with Satan, only to destruction. The murderer is destroyed because they can have no progression. They do not have eternal life. This is destruction.

  29. 29 Echo
    April 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Shem said: “We know from Christ that Murderers will be forgiven, but we know from John that they cannot have eternal life. So, what happens to them? As they are forgiven justice demands that they be admitted into heaven. But it does not demand that they be raised to the highest levels.
    It does not say in Matthew 7 that the wide road leads to Hell with Satan, only to destruction. The murderer is destroyed because they can have no progression. They do not have eternal life. This is destruction.”

    Revelation 21:7-9 “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the MURDERERS, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the FIERY LAKE OF BURNING SULFUR. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH”

    Revelation 19:20 “But the BEAST was captured, and with him the FALSE PROPHET who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the FIERY LAKE OF BURNING SULFUR.”

    Revelation 20:10 “And the DEVIL, who deceived them, was thrown into the LAKE OF BURNING SULFUR, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. THEY WILL BE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT FOR EVER AND EVER.”

  30. 30 shematwater
    April 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    ECHO

    You are still trying very hard to twist my words again. Either that or you have a very poor understanding of the English Language.

    You said “Asking Shem to show me where in the Bible his doctrine is taught is not an “uncreative tactic” as he wrongfully presumes. The Bereans were condidered of NOBLE CHARACTER because they searched the scripture every day to see if what even the Apostle Paul said was true.”

    Just because others search the Bible does not make your asking me to creative. Let me explain. I gave a very clear and logical explanation of the opinion that I put forth using the Bible. In stead of addressing my arguments, or the logic behind them, you ask me to show you “where it is in the Bible.” This is an overused and thus uncreative tactic. It is a deffensive move that would indicate that you cannot argue against the logic I have used, and so you are trying to force me into a place that you can argue.

    Of course you real twisting of my words comes in your next statement, when you say “Shem said it is rediculous to teach anyone using the Bible.”

    Now, I find it hard to believe that you actual think this is what I meant, but I will give you some credit, so I will explain in a little more detail.

    My comment was not on using the Bible to teach, but the methods used by Christ and the Apostles in writing the Bible. These men want all of us to achieve the highest reward possible, so why would they teach us how to receive a lower reward. They teach that which will lead us to the highest reward we can receive. However, in teaching the truths of the gospel, event though they focus on what is needed for the highest reward, the idea of a “lisence to sin” will be implied.
    It is just like teaching in school today. No teacher wants their students to get only a D. They want all their students to receive an A+. However, in teaching them that 90% and higher is an A, but that 60% or higher still passes the class, they are in a sense giving the students lisence to slack off and accept an D. However, they still actively teach the class how to receive the A+, and so they set the rules and regulations, and the grading scales that will help the students acheive this.
    For Christ and the Apostles to state directly that you can sin all you want and still make it to heaven would be a rediculous method of teaching. However, in teaching to the highest reward there is always the implication of a lower reward that people can receive.

    You can quote all the scriptures you want. The fact is that Christ declared that all sins will be forgiven. The logical conclusion of this statement is that people can sin all they want and still be forgiven. Or are you saying that Christ was wrong?

  31. 31 shematwater
    April 28, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I never said that all people will enter heaven at the same time. I only said they they will eventually enter heaven.

    I agree with what Revelation says, that Murderers will be cast into a lake of fire and torment. But it does not say they will be there forever. They will remain there for the thousand years that Christ reigns on the Earth and satan is bound (see Revelation 20). They have no part in the First Resurrection. But they will have part in the second, which is after this thousand years.

    Only one verse that you cite actually makes mention of Murderers or other individual sins. The other two speak more to those who have commited the unpardonable sin. Many will have lived with Christ as the ruler of the world. They will have seen him, known him, and yet they will turn away from him when Satan is again loosed for a little season.

    Murderers will enter heaven, but only after they have suffered God’s wrath.

  32. 32 Echo
    April 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Shem said: “Shem said: “I gave a very clear and logical explanation of the opinion that I put forth using the Bible.”

    And Shem has not mentioned all the passages of scripture that speak against what Shem implies. I listed all of those above in my other post(28). False teachers do this, they take one part of scripture and use it to support their teaching while ignoring the rest of scripture. Satan did this to Jesus, he took one part of scripture and ignored the rest. Jesus countered him with more scripture that contradicted what Satan implied.

    Satan uses scripture to imply something:

    Mathew 4:5-6 “Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
    ” ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”

    Jesus countered him with more scripture that contradicted what Satan implied:

    Mathew 4:7 “Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

    Shem said: “I agree with what Revelation says, that Murderers will be cast into a lake of fire and torment. But it does not say they will be there forever.”

    Shem said they will not be there forever, his teaching contradicts the Bible:

    Revelation 20:10 “And the DEVIL, who deceived them, was thrown into the LAKE OF BURNING SULFUR, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. ***THEY WILL BE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT FOR EVER AND EVER.***”

  33. 33 shematwater
    April 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    ECHO

    I never contradicted the Bible. It never mentions Murderers in Revelation 20: 10. In this passage it is speaking of the Sons of Perdition, those who follow Satan even after the thousand year reign of Christ. These will be cast into that lake of Fire and Brimstone for ever and ever, but only these. Murderers and the like will be cast into it only until they hae suffered the wrath of God and paid the price for their sins.

    There is no contradiction. There is no verse that states murderers are cast out for ever and ever. Such does not exist because such would be false.

    As to my not listing all verses, to do so would take far too long and too much space. However, you have yet to show me a single verse that truly contradicts what I have said. You accuse me of deception, and yet you have given no proof. Please provide the evidence for your accusation.

    I have ignored no verse in the scriptures. I know them all and they are all in agreement.

  34. 34 Echo
    April 29, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Shem, what you have taught me through your LDS teaching is that the only way that I will spend an eternity in Hell and be tormented night and day forever and ever is if I become a Mormon.

  35. 35 shematwater
    April 29, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    ECHO

    If that is all you want to get from what I have said that is your choice. I have said a great deal more than this.

    However, what you say is essentially true. The details are a little more than that, but we can leave it at this.

    But, you do seem to leave out that the only way you can be exalted with our heavenly Father is to become a mormon as well. Kind of funny how that works isn’t it.

  36. 36 Echo
    April 30, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Shem said: “But, you do seem to leave out that the only way you can be exalted with our heavenly Father is to become a mormon as well. Kind of funny how that works isn’t it.”

    What you and other Mormons have taught me through LDS teachings is that the person who “OBEYS ALL THE COMMANDMENTS” will be exalted.

    I have not once, spoken to a Mormon, who has obeyed ALL of the commandments. NOT ONE.

    Mormonism teaches me what I must do to be exalted but Mormons themselves don’t do it. Mormons are teachers of the law (i.e. obey ALL the commandments)
    Mormonism puts a heavy load on me that they themselves have not carried out. Mormons don’t practice what they preach.

    Mathew 23:2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, FOR THEY DO NOT PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

    I have spoken with Mormons who pay their 10% tithe but I havn’t spoken with a single Mormon who is merciful, who acts justly or who is faithful…

    Mathew 23: 23″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

    What I have experienced with all Mormons is this:

    Mathew 23:27″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

    When a Church teaches that a person must obey all the commandments to be exalted but the members themselves don’t do what they preach. They are hypocrites.

    So that’s two reasons now why nobody should become a Mormon.

  37. 37 shematwater
    May 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    ECHO

    You still have no understanding.

    No where does it teach that a person who does not obey all the commandments is doomed. In fact we teach almost the oposite. All that is required is an honest effort, and that is all that will be required. Few will attain perfection in this life, but many will be exalted in the next.

    I have to say that the LDS members are, in general, the most merciful, the most just, and the most faithful people I have ever met. I don’t know what your standards are in these areas, nor do I know who you have met. But I have to say that few, if any, of the members I have met really meet the description you give. Few are not trying with all their sould to be obedient to the laws of God.

    If this is you view of the membership you have either had the worst experience in the world, or you are simply looking for this.

  38. 38 RLO
    May 2, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Shematwater says: “No where does it teach that a person who does not obey all the commandments is doomed.”

    No where?

    “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)

    and,

    “…the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

    Shematwater says: “All that is required is an honest effort, and that is all that will be required.”

    Is that all that’s required? Honest effort?

    “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

    So, if you want to put trust in your own best efforts, what can you expect?

    “For the wages of sin is death…”

    But if you are willing to put your trust in the accomplishments of Christ?

    “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

    Shematwater says: “Few will attain perfection in this life…”

    Christians have perfection already in this life Because when God the Father looks at them, he sees only the perfection of his Son.

    But hey, if you insist on trusting in your own best efforts, rather than on the free gift God is offering you, well then, you will be judged on your own best efforts. But remember:

    “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

    Trust yourself. Come up short.

    Trust God. Receive eternal life.

    Frankly Shem? It’s a “no-brainer.”

    But still, you accuse others of having no understanding …

  39. 39 Echo
    May 2, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Shem said: “No where does it teach that a person who does not obey all the commandments is doomed. In fact we teach almost the oposite. All that is required is an honest effort, and that is all that will be required. Few will attain perfection in this life, but many will be exalted in the next.”

    Here are some quotes from the LDS Church:

    Perfection is a mandate. Perfection is attainable. Perfection is achievable:

    “This progress toward eternal life is a matter of achieving perfection. Living all the commandments guarantees total forgiveness of sins and assures one of exaltation through that perfection which comes by complying with the formula the Lord gave us. In his Sermon on the Mount he made the command to all men: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48.) Being perfect means to triumph over sin. This is a mandate from the Lord. He is just and wise and kind. He would never require anything from his children which was not for their benefit and which was not attainable. Perfection therefore is an achievable goal.” (Miracle of Forgiveness Chapter 15 page 208)

    Since Perfection is a mandate. Since Perfection is attainable. Since Perfection is achievable:

    To fall short of perfection means you havn’t done all you can do and that is a no brainer:

    From the Book of Mormon: 2 Ne 25:23 “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

    From the Book of Mormon: Alma 11:37 ” And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins.”

    You can NOT gain eternal life in your sins. That means its a logical “no-brainer” that perfection is required.

    Just to repeat Alma 11:37 ” no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven;”

    So where do you get the idea that only an “honest effort” is required? Are there False teachers in the LDS Church teaching you things that contradict the true LDS teachings?

    The astonishing and most astounding thing here is that I AGREE and am in complete harmony with the LDS teaching that perfection is required to gain eternal life, and now your telling me you don’t agree with your own LDS teaching?!

  40. 40 l4courtney
    May 4, 2010 at 5:24 am

    This is not only a battle between the author of this blog and mormonism but also within mainline christianity. for years since the beginning of Christianity one would emphasize works another would emphasize grace.As for me i emphasize grace like Mark. I would be considered Reformed orthodox I guess. I came from a church that talked a lot about our responsibility in this faith rather than the objective truths of Christs work which produces faith upon hearing the word. It is also very subjective to talk about what those “works” are or how we should “follow” the commands. When we look inward to what we do its easy to see how broken we are and incapable. Martin Luther said “The law is for the proud, grace is for the brokenhearted.” At times I am proud and need a little humbling and at times I’m broken and need the faithful father in heaven. Maybe its more about our works in relation to Christ work rather than an either or. There is a verse about even when we are unfaithful He is still faithful. I would rather rest in His faithfulness than my own if I’m really honest.

  41. 41 shematwater
    May 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    ECHO

    Perfection is required, but not in this life. When this life is over we will be judged of our works. Those who have attained perfection will be exalted. Those who have not, but have shown their willingness to work at it, will also be exalted, continuing the progression to perfection in the next life. It is those whom, by their actions, have shown an unwillingness to try that are cast out and denied the right to progress.
    If we are honestly and earnestly striving for perfection, as long as we are improving our lives, we are not in sin, for we are penetant. Thus we are not saved in our sins, just as Amulek says.
    This is what is taught by all the prophets, and simply taking a single paragraph from a few sources does not change this fact.

    RLO

    James is addressing the need for the atonement. As one sin makes us guilty without the atonement we would all be cast out, as if we had broken all the law. Thus we need the atonement as it makes it possible for our past actions to be forgiven and forgotten, thus making us sinless.

    In a more general note, if you think I am putting my trust in my efforts you do not know me or LDS doctrine. I put my trust in Christ. Without him my efforts would mean nothing. With him my efforts are given value. It all rests on him.

    As to Christians being perfect, your not, no matter how you try to conceal this behind the perfection of Christ. All you have really said is that because Christ is perfect God will look the other way when it comes to your imperfection. That is fine. But I know that if do all that he wants of me, with the assistance of Christ, than God won’t have to look the other way when he comes to me, but will look me strait in the eye and proclaim “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

  42. 42 RLO
    May 4, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Shematwater;

    This is what I am hearing you say:
    “If I … , then God will …. ”

    It’s these “If … Then … ” statements in mormon theology that contrast so sharply with Biblical Christianity.

    This is what I believe:
    “Because God has … , I am able to …. ”

    Your “doing” is in order to get God to respond. My “doing” is in thankful response to what God has already done.

    Do you see the difference?

  43. 43 Echo
    May 5, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Shem said: “If we are honestly and earnestly striving for perfection, as long as we are improving our lives, we are not in sin, for we are penetant. Thus we are not saved in our sins, just as Amulek says.”

    The LDS church teaches that a person isn’t truly penitent until they have overcome their sin.

    “Abandonment of Sin. Although confession is an essential element of repentance, it is not enough. The Lord has said, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (www.lds.org)

    Shem said: “As to Christians being perfect, your not, no matter how you try to conceal this behind the perfection of Christ. All you have really said is that because Christ is perfect God will look the other way when it comes to your imperfection. That is fine. But I know that if do all that he wants of me, with the assistance of Christ, than God won’t have to look the other way when he comes to me, but will look me strait in the eye and proclaim “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

    Your mirroring the Pharisee below:

    Luke 18:9-14 ” To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'”But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  44. 44 shematwater
    May 8, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    RLO

    I make statements of “If I…than God will…” because he has made them to me. He has stated that “If you…than I will…”

    I also believe that “Because Christ…I am able to…” Without Christ I could do nothing of any value and would be cast out. I have never denied this. What I have denied is that “Becuase Christ…I don’t have to…”

    I see the difference in what you are saying, but it is not valid. You assume. like most others, that the LDS church is all about doing good in order to gain the reward, and it isn’t. This is a very deffinite result of doing good, yes, but not the reason for doing it.

    I believe in the Law of Cause and Effect. When something happens it will cause something else to come into effect. What is the effect of our obedience? It is rewards in heaven. What is the effect of our disobedience? It is to be cast out. We are free to chose which ever path we will, and we will have to accept the effect of our choice.

    ECHO

    First, one can be penitant and not have completely abandon sin. Sin is a difficult thing to get rid of, especially after many yeas of practice. The desire to cast it off, and the honest effect in the process is what makes us penitant. We have completed the process when we have completely abandoned the sin, but we can be in the process long before this end.

    As to mirroring the pharisees, I have not. I have stated my reliance of Christ, and I am very willing to admit my sins to God and anyone who is harmed by them. I do not boast of what I have done right, as the pharisee in your reference. I have simply stated that I believe in a process that God has laid out for us, and I will do all I can to follow that process.

    Courtney

    I prefer to emphasize both works and grace in an equal way.

  45. 45 Echo
    May 8, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Shem said: “First, one can be penitant and not have completely abandon sin. Sin is a difficult thing to get rid of, especially after many yeas of practice. The desire to cast it off, and the honest effect in the process is what makes us penitant. We have completed the process when we have completely abandoned the sin, but we can be in the process long before this end.”

    What is the son of perdition according to LDS teachings? It’s the person who denies Jesus.

    In my beliefs, when someone denies any teaching of the church by watering it down, changing or altering it slightly etc., they are denying truth. Jesus IS truth. Therefore they are denying Jesus.

    Now you have said that: ” one can be penitant and not have completely abandon sin”.

    And the LDS church has said: “Abandonment of Sin. Although confession is an essential element of repentance, it is not enough. The Lord has said, “By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them” (www.lds.org)

    Since what your church teaches very clearly shows me that what you are saying isn’t what your church is saying, you are a son of perdition because you deny this very clear teaching of your Church.

    If you were a member of my Church, you wouldn’t be considered a son of perdition. We believe that we are assured of full forgiveness upon confession of sin alone. Knowing we are forgiven already, that fact produces the desire within us to abandon the sin, with God’s help. Being exalted isn’t ever in jeopardy because all our sins have been forgiven.

    Shem said: “As to mirroring the pharisees, I have not.”

    Let me show you what I see in your statement which I will repeat here: “All you have really said is that because Christ is perfect God will look the other way when it comes to your imperfection. That is fine. But I know that if do all that he wants of me, with the assistance of Christ, than God won’t have to look the other way when he comes to me, but will look me strait in the eye and proclaim “Well done thou good and faithful servant” Now I am not making this comparison word for word, I am adding a touch here and there to show you what “I” see.

    From Luke 18:9-14 “‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—”

    From you: ” God, I thank you that I am not like Echo and RLO who think that you will look the other way when it comes to their imperfection.

    From Luke 18:9-14 ” I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’”

    From you: “But I know that if I do all that you want of me, unlike what Echo and RLO, you will say “well done thou good and faithful servant.” God, you won’t have to look the other way when it comes to me!”

    Shem, you are a reflection of that Pharisee. Now I am not saying this to knock you down because my intent isn’t to make you look bad. My intent is to open your eyes to something. Please bare with me.

    The Pharisee was doing what God wanted. He didn’t rob, he wasn’t an evil doer or an adulterer and he wasn’t like the tax collector who is proclaimed only his sin! This Pharisee gave a 10th of everything he had to God and even fasted!. He proclaimed he WAS NOT like the tax collector in the same way that you proclaim your not like Echo and RLO. The tax collector only had sin to confess from his lips and he had nothing righteous, no good thing he had done to offer up to God.

    Yet in Luke 18:9-14, the tax collector gets exalted and the Pharisee with all his righteous works does not get exalted.

    So what’s the difference between the Pharisee and the tax collector? Well the difference is that the tax collector was honest about his not being “Good” and he was honest about his not having one single “good” thing to offer to God. And the Pharisee wasn’t being honest and truthful. He refused to admit he had nothing Good to offer God, he refused to admit he wasn’t “good” Mark 10:18 “No one is good—except God alone”

    So now you Shem are saying that you can be “good” if you try to do everything God wants you to. But this parable is showing YOU Shem that when you can’t look up to heaven because of your sins and when you realize you can do nothing “good” that can be offered up to God in order to be exalted, and when you agree with Jesus when he says that no one is good except God alone, then you will be exalted. And this parable shows YOU Shem that whenever you think that you can do something to be exalted, that you will be humbled and not be exalted. (Biblically speaking, those who aren’t exalted go to outer darkness permanently)

    Now when you can beat your breast like the tax collector here: “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” Then you Shem, will be exalted.

    Shem, God didn’t give us his laws and commandments to show us what we must do to be exalted. He gave them to us to silence us from thinking we can be exalted by our obedience to his commandments: Romans 3:19 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

    He gave you/me his commandments to show you/me that we can only say what the tax collector said because God’s law “stops every mouth”. God’s law holds us “ALL GUILTY!” So when you say God is going to say to you well done good and faithful servant, you aren’t being honest about your guilt and you have refused to stop your mouth for your mouth still thinks it can do something to be exalted. You are denying that no one is good but God alone. You are denying Jesus because you are denying his word. It’s that kind of ongoing hardening of your heart, according to my beliefs, that you are in fact in the process of committing the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit. If this doesn’t at least prick your conscience then your soul is in grave danger if not lost already. This hardening of your heart is serious business!

    God gave us his law and commandments to humble us and to get us to beat our breast like the tax collector who said: “God have mercy on me a sinner! The only way to be exalted is to humble yourself before him like the tax collector.

  46. 46 RLO
    May 9, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Shem;

    And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6

    The New Testament is replete with passages and accounts that speak against the notion of man’s works causing or contributing in any way to salvation. God’s grace is the cause of salvation. Man’s works and obedience are the effect of that salvation; not the cause of it. Your crowing rooster of works is trying to take credit for the rising sun of salvation. You have your “cause and effect” backwards. You should instead be performing your works and acts of obedience out of gratitude for the free gift, rather than thinking you can somehow “cause” with your works, the “effect” of that gift being given to you.

  47. 47 shematwater
    May 11, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    ECHO

    I have denied nothing. The word repentance and the word penitant do not have the same meaning. Nor does the word Repented. Yet you seem to be applying the same meaning to all of them. Let me explain in better words.

    Repentance: The process by which man can be forgiven of Sin.
    Penitant: The state of one when they are in the process of Repentance.
    Repented: The state of one who has completed the process of Repentance.

    Thus, to acheive full repentance, as it is said in the quote you gave, one must abandon the sin completely. However, to be penitant means you are in the process but not yet finished with it. If you die in this process you will be able to finish it in the next life, and thus have the change to acheive the state of the Repented. There is no contradiction between this and what the leaders have said.

    Also, you need to read D&C 132 so that you can actually understand what it is to be a Son of Perdition. Holding a different opinion is no where near enough to fall this far.

    As to the Pharisee, you seem to be ignoring a very important part of what I said. I said “with the assistance of Christ.” I cannot do it. My works by themselves could never do it. But with the Lord’s help I can. I made no comment on what I have already done, only on what I can do with his help. So, like the Tax Collector, I am asking for the forgiveness of God because my sins make my salvation impossible without him.
    When did I ever list what I had done, or am doing? When did I ever give thanks that I am not like you, or anyone else? I have not. I have not done as the pharisee.

    RLO

    I do not have anything backwards. There are just as many references in the New Testiment to works gaining rewards.
    Revelation 22: 12 “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”
    Hebrews 5: 9 “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
    There are many more, and I find it difficult to ignore them.

    The process, as I see it outlined in the Bible, goes like this.
    1. God offers his Spirit: We either accept it or we don’t.
    2. We accept his spirit. The effect of this acceptance is to gain power to do good. We then must choose whether we will do the good.
    3. We do the good. The Effect of this is that we are given more power to do even greater good. And thus the cycle of Cause and effect continues, with our choices resulting in greater power to do greater good, which results in even more power.

    Now, if we reject the spirit we do not receive the power and are thus left to our own to do that which is necessary, which is impossible. As such we will fail and the effect of this is to be cast out.
    Also, if at any time that we receive new power we choose not to act on it the effect of this choice is that we loose power, slowly regressing back to where we started, until we we alter our course in choosing to act on the power.

    Doing good is our choice, the ability to do good comes first from us, and then in greater degrees from God.

  48. 48 RLO
    May 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Shem said: “There are just as many references in the New Testament to works gaining rewards … and I find it difficult to ignore them.”

    Yet you seem to have no problem ignoring the numerous passages and accounts explicitly stating that salvation is by grace, apart from works.

    Don’t you know that a judgment based on works assumes those good works are the fruits of faith – a faith which itself is a gift from God? God graciously saves us. And He gives the gift of faith through which we grasp that salvation. From that faith flows the fruits of our good works – good works given, not to receive something, but good works given out of gratitude.

    Do any of the works passages you allude to “really” say that works precede salvation? And how do you resolve those “alleged” works passages with the numerous and explicit accounts and passages that clearly teach a salvation by God’s grace, apart from anything we can do? Other than by simply dismissing all the grace passages?

    Shem said: “ Doing good is our choice, the ability to do good comes first from us…”

    You have an awfully high opinion of fallen mankind’s abilities, don’t you? Consider:

    Romans 3:10-18 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are like open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    Romans 8:7 The sinful mind is hostile to God It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

    Genesis 8:21 Every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.

    Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

    Ephesians 2:1-3 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

    2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

    Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.

    Philippians 2:13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

    Romans 9:16 It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

    The ability to do good comes first from us? I think not.

  49. 49 Echo
    May 11, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Shem said: “The word repentance and the word penitant do not have the same meaning.”

    I have 5 dictionaries in my house that all define “penitent” as meaning “repentance”.

    Shem said: “I have denied nothing”

    Speaking from a biblical perspective rahter than an LDS perspective, you have completely denied the Lord who paid for your sins with his own blood. Listen to the bible itself!

    You have rejected his payment for your sin in favor of paying him back for your sins.
    Any “payment” you make to pay him back gives you grounds for boasting just like the pharisee in the parable.

    If you re-read the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector, it was the one who couldn’t pay back anything that was exalted. The one who tried to pay Jesus back(the pharisee) was humbled and went to outer darkness.

    There are no “conditions to exaltation” laid out in this parable! It was the one who had empty hands and who met no conditions that was exalted! The one who believed in meeting conditions went to outer darkness!

    Luke 18:9-14 ” To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

  50. 50 shematwater
    May 13, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    ECHO

    I will deny what you believe all I want, as I do not believe it is right. However, you accused me of denying the LDS doctrine, which I did not do.

    As to repentance and penitent, the dictionary deffinition is applied only to Penitent in the LDS church. The word Repentance has a different meaning. Though both are similar.
    If you look in the dictionary under “Terrestrial” I can guarantee you will find a different definition than the one used by the LDS church. Does that mean that I have to use the dictionary definition when discussing LDS doctrine? Of course not. I use the LDS definition, which is what I did with the three words I gave in my previous post.

    As to the parable, it is not for trying to pay the debt that the Pharisee is cast out, but in assuming his own works were enough and thus made him better. I have never claimed this, and thus I am not like the pharisee. However, the publican was not saved because he didn’t try to pay the debt, but because he admitted that he couldn’t.
    There are subtlies in the language that I think people miss. First, where does it every say that the Publican was not doing all he could to live a righteous life? It doesn’t. It merely shows that he understood that no matter how righteous he was it would never be enough. This is how I feel. I will never agree that all men are evil, vile sinners. I will admit that all men are prone to such, but not all fall into such. I will also admit that all men have sinned, and thus are in need of a savior. But I will never agree that in doing nothing we are saved.
    Lastly, you made the comment that “any “payment” you make to pay him back gives you grounds for boasting.” I disagree. I can make every payment I am able to make, but I can never boast in myself. Mosiah 2: 23-24 “And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?”
    As I said before, I made the choice to accept the Spirt of God, but all the power I have to do good comes from him, and so how can I boast when I do good.

  51. 51 shematwater
    May 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    RLO

    “Don’t you know that a judgment based on works assumes those good works are the fruits of faith”
    What of Naaman the Syrian? He had no faith, and even became angry at Elisha. But when he acted he still received the promised blessing. And after his actions he believed. (2 Kings 5)
    Verse 17: “And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.”

    Quite clearly his actions preceded his faith and thus his salvation.

    I do not ignore any passage dealing with Grace, but I have found that most include works, or are speaking of things other than salvation.
    Such as the quote you give from Romans. In chapter eleven of that epistle, verse five, we read “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” You quote verse 6 in reference to grace, but what is this grace about. It is about the election, which is, as we are told in verse two, the foreknowledge of God. Meaning that before we were born God had elected some to be born into Israel who would remain faithful. This election, caused by the foreknowledge of God, is through his grace and not works, as we have not yet had the oportunity to perform works here on earth.
    It is much like Jeremiah being called as prophet before he was born. Did he do anything in this life to earn the calling? No. But he was called according to the Election of Grace because God foreknew him, or knew that he would do that which was necessary for that calling.
    With this understanding of the verse you give there is no contradiction between it and the need for works.

    Now, from everything else you have said I need to ask one question.
    If our good works are a result of our faith than why is it that the faithful still sin? If we can’t do good before we receive this faith why can we do evil after receiving?

  52. 52 RLO
    May 13, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Shem asks: “If our good works are a result of our faith than why is it that the faithful still sin?”

    Justification is an instantaneous event, which is all God’s doing . Sanctification, on the other hand, is a cooperative process between God and man. I participate (to a miniscule degree) in my sanctification which begins following justification and is never fully completed during this life time. The reason the faithful new man in Christ still sins is because that new man still carries that old man, “The old Adam,” around with him through this life, which he can never completely be rid of until he finally sheds this body of death.

    Shem asks: “If we can’t do good before we receive this faith why can we do evil after receiving?”

    Same question, I think. Hence, the same answer.

    But excellent questions, nonetheless.

  53. 53 RLO
    May 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Shem asks (in response to my statement that good works are the fruits of faith):

    “What of Naaman the Syrian? He had no faith, and even became angry at Elisha. But when he acted he still received the promised blessing. And after his actions he believed. (2 Kings 5) Verse 17: “And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord.”
    Quite clearly his actions preceded his faith and thus his salvation.”

    I think you’re confusing the “good works” of the believer, with the mere “actions” of the unbelieving Naaman. Naaman’s “actions” were out of shear desperation to be rid of his leprosy. They hardly qualify as a “good work” that preceded his salvation and faith.

  54. 54 RLO
    May 13, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Shem said: “I will never agree that all men are evil, vile sinners. I will admit that all men are prone to such, but not all fall into such.”

    How can you even say such a thing?! Did you even read the scripture passages from my last post that spoke to this very point?

    Romans 3:10-18 As it is written: “There is no one (NO ONE, SHEM!) righteous, not even one (NOT EVEN ONE, SHEM!); there is no one (NO ONE, SHEM!) who understands, no one (NO ONE, SHEM!) who seeks God. All (ALL SHEM! ALL!) have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one (NO ONE, SHEM!) who does good, not even one (NOT EVEN ONE, SHEM!).” “Their throats are like open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    Shem, if that’s not a description of “evil, vile sinners,” I don’t know what is.

    Romans 8:7 The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so (…NOR CAN IT DO SO, SHEM!).

    Genesis 8:21 Every inclination (EVERY INCLINATION, SHEM!) of his heart is evil from childhood.

    Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

    Ephesians 2:1-3 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (DEAD, SHEM! NOT JUST “PRONE” TO TRANSGRESS AND SIN SHEM, BUT DEAD!), in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

    Go ahead Shem, keep sticking your head in the sand, keep ignoring the plain and simple truths of the Bible. I mean, really. It’s only your eternal salvation that’s at stake here, right?

  55. 55 shematwater
    May 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    RLO

    I think the real problem is that we use different words to mean different things.

    First, if you are going to define a good work as only that which is done after you have the spirit, fine. I will agree with you that you can’t do good until you have the spirit, as the definition you use prevents such.
    However, I believe a good work is anything done that in alligned with the will of God, regardless of your religious affiliation. Thus, a man who is honest has done good. A Buddist who stops to help a man fix his car has done good. A muslim who is chaste is his relations has done good. These are all good works, and I believe they will all be rewarded in heaven.

    Concerning your wonderful tangent about us all sinning, when did I ever deny this. I simply said we are not all vile sinners. I am sorry, but a serial killer is a vile sinner, as is a rapist. But one who lives a decent, honest life is not a vile sinner. Mother Teresa is not a vile sinner. Peter, James, John, and all the ancient apostles were good men, none of them vile sinners. They all sinned, just as it says in the scriptures. But they have not commited the vile acts of true evil. They have commited the small offenses and errors that all men are prone to.

    Now, let me ask you another question: If faith is given to us by God, what must we do to receive it?

  56. 56 RLO
    May 13, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    According to the Bible, Where does faith come from?

  57. 57 shematwater
    May 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    RLO

    It all depends on where you look, and how you look. As such, where I see the Bible saying one thing, you may see it saying another. As such, to ask what the Bible says does not really help to clarify.

    I see the Bible saying that it comes from both hearing the word, as well as doing the word. I see both as being necessary in order to gain faith.

    Romans 10: 17 tells us that it is through hearing the word that we gain a knowledge of what we are to have faith in.
    However we are told by James (2: 22) that it is through our works that our faith is made perfect.

    We have the example of the Eunuch in Acts chapter eight, who, after hearing the word preached by Philip desired to be baptized, for he believed the word.
    But we also have the example of Naaman the Syrian, who, after obeying the word of Elisha was healed, and returned with thanks, believing in God so completely that he rejected all other gods, and sought soil from Israel on which to pray.

    One man gained faith through hearing, the other through obedience. Both had faith, and thus the Bible gives us to methods by which a man may come to faith.

  58. 58 RLO
    May 18, 2010 at 5:17 am

    In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul addresses how we receive God’s gift of salvation and eternal life. His answer? By faith alone, apart from works.

    In James 2:24 James is concerned with how we can demonstrate before human beings that our faith is real and not simply alleged. Only in the matter of demonstrating our faith (not in the matter of obtaining salvation), do works play a part.

    Paul wrote in Romans that we are justified by faith alone since he was dealing with false teachers who wanted to say that Christ’s saving work was not enough, and that people must add their own works to what Christ did in order to be saved, redeemed, justified, and reconciled.

    James was dealing with an entirely different kind of false teaching, namely, people who said that they didn’t have to do any good works. James reminds these people that we are not justified by a faith that doesn’t do any works, because such a faith isn’t really a faith at all.

    A true faith is a living thing which, like a living apple tree, will produce fruit. So James is saying that a person isn’t saved, justified, or reconciled if their faith isn’t a true living faith. This is exactly what Paul also says in Galatians 5:6 “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

    James never professed that faith comes from works. Rather, James needs to be read in the context of numerous and clear passages that teach salvation by grace through faith apart from works.

    The Bible does not teach that works obtain faith.
    But the Bible does teach that true faith expresses itself with good works.

    Good works are the evidence of faith, not the cause of it.

    You view your performance of works as a necessary prerequisite for obtaining faith.
    I view the possession of faith as a necessary prerequisite to performing good works.

    And this leads back to your question, “If faith is given to us by God, what must we do to receive it?”

    Answer: Stop thinking you must do something to receive it. It’s a gift from God. Simply receive it. Then, and only then, will you be able do the good works which are pleasing to God.

  59. 59 shematwater
    May 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    You did not really listen to what I was saying, did you?

    You claimed that I said that works are necessary for obtaining faith. I never said this. I said it is one method, but I also gave another. Thus works is not necessary to obtaining faith, but faith can be obtained through them. There is a great difference in this and what you claimed I said.

    As to your whole “Real Faith” and “Living Faith,” aren’t you just arguing definitions again? Let us be logical about it.
    If faith saves regardless of works than they are right who say that we have no need to perform good works, because they don’t matter.
    However, if you are right in saying that real faith will produce good works, than a person who does not do good has not faith, and thus they are not saved. As such works are required.

    It is all very simple.

  60. 60 RLO
    May 18, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Shem;

    The apple does not make the dead tree alive, but the living tree produces apples.

    Works cannot produce faith. But a living faith will naturally produce fruit.

    Shem said: “However, if you are right in saying that real faith will produce good works, than a person who does not do good (works) has not faith, and thus they are not saved …”

    True. Just as a tree that is dead produces no fruit, a faith that is dead produces no good works. Good works are not the cause of saving faith. Nor can they ever be even “a” cause, of saving faith. Good works are simply evidence that living faith is present.

    “… As such works are required.”

    False. An erroneous conclusion. The apple does not bring the dead tree back to life. But when God brings the dead tree back to life, it will produce fruit.

    Shem said: “You claimed that I said that works are necessary for obtaining faith. I never said this. I said it is one method, but I also gave another. Thus works is not necessary to obtaining faith, but faith can be obtained through them.”

    So are you saying that salvation can be obtained either by grace through faith, or by works?

    And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

    The Bible is clear on the fact that salvation is not an “either…or…” proposition – either by works or by grace.

    So, now I have a question for you: In light of these two passages, how is it that salvation can be obtained through works, without crucifying grace?

  61. 61 shematwater
    May 18, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    RLO

    You again claiming I said things tht I never did.

    You ask “So are you saying that salvation can be obtained either by grace through faith, or by works?”
    When did I ever mention salvation? I said faith can be gained through works, and I used the example of Naaman the Syrian as Biblical support for this. It is still through his faith that he gains salvation. But he gained this faith after he had done the works.
    Please read what I am saying.

    Thus, in light of the two passages nothing has changed. Salvation comes only through the grace of God, given to those who have faith in him. The question you asked me was not how we gain salvation, but how we gain faith.

    As to the whole apple analogy, if the apple is going to repesent good works, then could one not say that in planting the apple, or in doing the works, the tree grows. Naaman planted the seed when he obeyed the word of God directed to him, and from that seed sprouted a great tree of faith that produced many works.

  62. 62 RLO
    May 19, 2010 at 3:03 am

    You seem to be making a distinction between “salvation” and “faith,” where I don’t necessarily see one. Those who are saved possess a saving faith. And those who possess this saving faith have salvation. They are inseparably connected. One is implied by the other. One cannot be saved without a saving faith. And without saving faith, one cannot be saved. Salvation is a gift. Faith is a gift. I recognize you may have different definitions of “salvation” and “faith” than I do. For me, salvation, or being saved, means having the gift of eternal life with and in the presence of God. Grace is the undeserved love God has for us, and by this love, receiving something from God that we don’t deserve. Saving faith is also a gift, the gift through which we receive eternal life. Salvation by grace, through faith. You can’t have one without having the other. Faith consists of these: 1. Knowledge. 2. Assent. 3. Confidence.

    I guess I could just as easily have asked, “So are you saying that “saving faith” (which for me, means salvation) can be obtained either by grace, or by works?”

    And likewise I could have asked, “In light of these two passages, how is it that “saving faith” (which again for me, means salvation) can be obtained through works, without crucifying grace?”

    Now, are these questions you would be willing to answer?

    Shem said: “I said faith can be gained through works, and I used the example of Naaman the Syrian as Biblical support for this. It is still through his faith that he gains salvation. But he gained this faith after he had done the works.”

    Again, while the faith of Naaman the Syrian appears to have been received “after” his “doing” (and I don’t know that I would even characterized his doing as “obedience,” but that’s a whole ’nuther question…), I’m unconvinced that his “doing” was in some way the “cause” of his faith. As I have previously alluded to, “The cock crows, and the sun rises.” Now does that mean the crowing causes the sun to rise? I must interpret the case of Naaman’s faith in the light of what many other clear and explicit passages say, regarding where faith comes from, one of the clearest and most explicit being, “ – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works…” from Ephesians 2:8-9.

    Shem said: “As to the whole apple analogy, if the apple is going to repesent good works, then could one not say that in planting the apple, or in doing the works, the tree grows. Naaman planted the seed when he obeyed the word of God directed to him, and from that seed sprouted a great tree of faith that produced many works.”

    Yup. Apple trees come from apple seeds, don’t they? No doubt about it. But one thing an apple has never been able to accomplish. An apple has never been able to bring the dead apple tree back to life. Just as works will never be able to acquire saving faith.

  63. 63 shematwater
    May 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Your right. We do have different definitions. To me there is only faith. I make no destinction between “saving faith” and “nonsaving faith.” Faith is faith. Salvation is salvation. While one is needed to make the other they are not the same thing. Just as one needs a cucumber to make a pickle, but the pickle is not a cucumber.
    To me the use of faith and salvation as synonomous is just confusing, and I really don’t see them as being used this way in the bible. I see this use as a more modern invention to reconsile the various Biblical references to both.

    To me, and according to LDS doctrine, one must have faith to be saved. The way you gain this faith does not really matter. Thus I will hold to my interpretation of the Bible, one shared by my church.

    What you define as “saving Faith” to me is a combination of Faith and Works. We must believe and we must do. When the two are combined we are justified unto salvation, just as James tells us. From what you have said it really seems you agree with this, as according to you one does not have saving faith unless they have the works. The only real difference is that I am putting the choice in our control, and you seem to be taking it out of our control.

    Of course, you asked me how things are according to the Bible. Quite honestly I remain with my first response to this.
    “It all depends on where you look, and how you look. As such, where I see the Bible saying one thing, you may see it saying another. As such, to ask what the Bible says does not really help to clarify.”
    In other words, this is what I see the Bible as teaching. You see it as teaching what you have described. I am fine with that. There is no way to prove either of us right from the Bible. The only proof comes from God in direct revelation, not through mortal interpretation.

  64. 64 RLO
    May 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Shem;

    So then, are you saying that “faith” can be obtained either by grace, or by works? You have yet to definitively answer this question.

  65. 65 RLO
    May 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Seth said, “I make no destinction between ‘saving faith’ and ‘nonsaving faith.'”

    So you make no distinction between a faith in the proper object, and a faith in an improper object? One person placing their faith in Christ is no different than another person placing their faith in the brown wax that comes out of their ears?

    I find this absurd.

  66. 66 RLO
    May 19, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    excuse me, Shem, not Seth

  67. 67 shematwater
    May 20, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    RLO

    You do not understand me. One can have faith in many things. Faith is the governing principle that all things move by. I go to bed at night because I have faith that I will not die in my sleep.
    However, for the purpose of this discussion I was limiting my definition of faith to faith in Christ. I believe that two people can both have faith in Christ. But it is he who obeys Christ that is saved, not simply he who believes. This is what James is talking about in the second chapter. He even admits that the devils believe in Christ. They have faith, but they lack the works. Likewise, a man can have faith, but if he hath not works his faith cannot save him. The two are separate ideas, but both must be combined in order to obtain salvation.
    What you define as “Saving Faith” is merely this joining of Faith and Works.

    As to your question “are you saying that “faith” can be obtained either by grace, or by works?” you are again not understanding. In all truth I never mentioned Grace at all.
    The two methods of obtaining faith are hearing the word and doing the word. Either way works. We do not gain faith through grace, at least not directly. The Grace of God gives us faith only in the sense that it is through his grace we are given the opportunity to hear and do his word.
    Going back to my examples: The Grace of God provided the Philip would be there to teach the Eunuch the word. Through this hearing of the word he believed. The Grace of God provided Naaman’s wife with the servant girl who directed him to Elisha. Through his obedience to the word he believed.

    It is all a process.
    Step 1: The Grace of God gives us the opportunity.
    Step 2: Through either hearing or doing the word (as provided by Grace) we obtain faith.
    Step 3: We act on this faith to produce Good Works.
    Step 4: Our works make our faith perfect, and thus we obtain salvation.

    On cannot start the process in the middle. Like a ladder, one must start with the first rung and so proceed to the last. Grace must work first, then we must work, after which salvation is granted.

  68. 68 RLO
    May 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Shem says: “Grace must work first, then we must work, after which salvation is granted.”

    Yet Paul writes: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

    Do you see the glaring inconsistency between these two statements?

    Shem: ” … we must work …”
    Paul: ” … not by works …”

    Believe as you will, but your beliefs simply fly in the face of God’s truth.

  69. 69 shematwater
    May 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    RLO

    There is no inconsistency. Grace must work first. We must be given that opportunity. Our works can do nothing without it.

    Thus all things are by the grace of God, and not by our works. We cannot boast for we could not have made it on our own. We have been given the opportunity to make it, and yes, we must work. But no matter what work we do it all comes down to that first step that we all need.

    No man can boast because no man can create the opportunity from their own works. Thus it is not of works.

  70. 70 RLO
    May 20, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    The Ephesians passages does say, “For it is by grace you have been saved…
    It does not say, “For it is by grace you have been given an opportunity to be saved…”

    But you say: ” … We have been given the opportunity to make it, and yes, WE MUST WORK … ”

    and you say, ” … Step 2: Through either hearing or DOING the word (as provided by Grace) we obtain faith … ”

    and you say, ” … The two methods of obtaining faith are hearing the word and DOING the word. Either way WORKS … ”

    so, clearly you believe that faith is acquired by your works. Right?

    Yet the Ephesians passages tells us that faith is a gift of God. ” – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – ”

    So why are you trying to work for something that is God’s free gift? What an insult to the gift giver that you insist on trying to earn his free gift, rather than thankfully receiving his free gift.

  71. 71 shematwater
    May 20, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    RLO

    Now you are getting into even more complex areas of doctrine.

    Suffice it to say that I am not working for the free gift that Christ has given me. I am working for the reward he has promised the faithful. They are very separate things.

    The grace of God gives all men the free gift of the Resurrection, regardless of anything. It also gives the free gift of salvation, or entrance into heaven, to all men who have not commited the unpardonable sin (as Christ tells us in Matt 12: 31). These are the free gifts of the Atonement. The Grace of God has worked on all of us, and we will all be admitted into heaven (most of us).
    However, once we are in heaven Christ has promised to award us according to our works (Rev 22: 12). This is what I am working for. Not the free gift, but the reward that is contingent upon our works.

    It is possible for a person to receive the grace of God (step one) and never progress any further. This man will still enter heaven, but without reward. It is possible for a person to stop their progression on any of the steps I have listed. They will still enter heaven, but will not receive the full reward. It is those who progress through all the steps that receive the full reward or salvation. But all will receive the general salvation of the atonement.

  72. 72 RLO
    May 21, 2010 at 1:24 am

    Okay let’s set aside the issue of “salvation” for the meantime, since it is obvious we hold radically divergent views on this topic. And for the moment we’ll try to stick to the topic of faith.

    As I pointed out in my previous post, you have expressed that your faith comes from your works, while in contrast, the faith of Ephesians 2:8-9 comes as a gift of God, and not by one’s works.

    Would you like to comment on this?

  73. 73 shematwater
    May 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Well, the gift spoken of in Ephesians is not faith, but Grace.

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”

    The topic of these verses in Salvation, not Faith. It is by grace we are saved, and this is a free gift. It is gained through faith, not through works, lest any man should boast.

    The gift is given to all men, which is grace (step one) Once the gift is given we must aquire faith (step two). It is after these two steps that we are enabled to obtain salvation. As works cannot give us this opportunity, it is not by works that we are saved, but by grace. Only after we have obtained the gift can we obtain the faith (which is not the gift).

  74. 74 shematwater
    May 22, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Excuse me. I miss typed. Grace is not gained throug faith, it is enhanced by faith, and not by works.

  75. 75 RLO
    May 23, 2010 at 12:41 am

    So in Ephesians 2:8, your interpretation of the passage is that the word “this” (KJV “that”) as it appears in the clause,

    “… and ‘this’ (‘that’) not from (of) yourselves …”

    as well as the word “it” as it appears in the clause,

    “… ‘it’ is the gift of God …”

    your interpretation is that all of these words – “this,” “that,” and “it,” – are all referring, not to “faith,” but to “grace”? Am I correct? Is this what you are saying?

    And am I to understand by your last sentence, (as well as other previous statements) that you are saying faith is not a gift from God?

  76. 76 shematwater
    May 25, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    RLO

    I am saying that Ephesians 2: 8-9 is refering to grace, yes.

    I am not saying that Faith is not a gift, I am giving a different understanding of how it is a gift. One cannot have Faith until the gift of grace is given. Once this is given faith can be obtained. Thus, in a way faith is a gift, for the means by which it is gained is a gift.

    Now, you can also look at it in this way. The gift of grace is to give each person the “seed” of faith. However, a seed by itself does nothing. It must be planted, nurtured, and cared for. Thus, while it is a gift, the effects of Faith is not a gift, but something that must be earned through diligent effort.

    I am sorry for the inconvenience. I am stepping out of the blogging world for a few weeks. Personal events will prevent me from replying to any more posts. I hope I have been a blessing in helping oyu to understand the beliefs of another religion, and thank you for the enjoyable conversation that we have shared.

    I hope to see you on another blog in a few weeks.

  77. 77 JTSmith
    June 11, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Hmmm… Well I interpret eph 2:8,9 to say that you must have faith to receive the Lords gracious gift of salvation. So the real question is what is faith? and the real gift is both Faith and Grace, because you need one to have the other. You must have FAITH to receive grace. Now I’m not really sure where works comes in to play other than you do works through faith and yes there is heavenly rewards and it is clear those in this forum have accepted Him as their savior and that really isn’t the question.

    Well, how about we look at some of the many times Yeshua has given recognition for peoples faith. a couple that comes to my mind is the Canaanite women or the woman that touched the Lords robe.

    Mat 15:21-28
    21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”
    23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
    24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
    25The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
    26He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
    27″Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
    28Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

    Mark5:21-34
    25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
    30At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
    31″You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”
    32But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

    A cross reference to Eph 2:8,9

    Romans 5:2
    2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[a] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

    The real question should be the difference of who the two parties (Christian vs LDS) think Jesus is and what their Truth is about Him. The underlying doctrines they hold. There is no doubt in my mind that a Mormons love Jesus and accept Him as their savior. The real question is what is the Truth? Who is Yeshua? Is his sacrifice sufficient and is God’s Holy Bible sufficient? Why does the Bible give no reference to the Mormon faith if they truly are God’s “true” church and why has none of the Mormon Prophets [Matthew (7:15-29)] prophesies come to pass? Why do Israeli origin look nothing like old American Indians nor do they have any DNA resemblance? And why is there no history of them coming to America other than Mormon claims. If Jesus, appeared to the civilizations in America wouldn’t there be some ancient drawings or writings?

    John 8:31-36
    31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
    33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants[a] and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
    34Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    All we really need to know of our savior is found in the Holy Bible. Men’s interpretations will always be twisted to fit their own agenda. Which is why Paul tells us to question everything and read the scriptures daily. There is no need for extra sources. Set your self free and prayerfully pray to Jesus about your “truth” in him. Fellowship is a good thing, but we don’t need prophets anymore(Read Hebrews 1). We can go straight to Abba father God ourselves through his son Jesus Christ, Yeshua. Are you learning of the True Jesus? Ask Him yourself, He will correct where you need correcting.


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