Little Known Propaganda: 11 – Attack Faith Alone Doctrine

8 Feb

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10

FACT #ll. Mormon leaders have consistently attacked the Biblical doctrine of Salvation by God’s Grace through Faith alone.

In Apostle James Talmage’s book, The Articles of Faith, twice he refers to justification by Faith alone as a “pernicious doctrine,” and further declares:

“The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith alone has exercised an influence for evil.” (pp. 107, 480)

The Bible responds:

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5: 1)

 

Once again the author seems to misunderstand what the term ‘little known’ means. Our rejection of the doctrine of salvation by faith alone is well known and has been for many decades. So, what we have here is another attempt to sensationalize something for the shock value that such an inclusion would involve. This is increased by the author’s insistence that this doctrine is ‘Biblical.’ Of course, what this really means is that it is the doctrine the author believes in, but by using the term Biblical they seek to suggest to the mind of the reader that anyone who disagrees with them must also reject the Bible, at least in part.

Now, this is completely false, as we do not reject the Bible, nor do we believe that it teaches that salvation can be obtained through faith alone. The many admonitions to be baptized, as well as the many commandments given in the scriptures attest to the fact that our actions have an impact on our eternal salvation.

 

Of course, most Christians seem to realize this instinctively, while at the same time trying to deny it. In all my experience the most common belief that Christians have is referred to as ‘Living Faith.’ According to this doctrine, as it has been explained to me, in order for one’s faith to be sufficient to ensure salvation it must produce righteous works. So, a person who claims faith but lives in wickedness doesn’t have a Living Faith, as proven by their works.

In espousing, or even allowing for this understanding of the doctrine the rest of the Christian world is actually advocating for LDS doctrine. Nowhere in LDS doctrine is it taught that our works ensure our salvation. Rather, our works prove our faith, and our faith secures the Grace of God, and that Grace then acts in us to bring us to salvation.

This is what James taught in his epistle to the saints.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2: 14, 17-18)

In other words, if your faith is not proven through your works than it is meaningless and salvation will elude you.

Now, this is LDS doctrine, despite what those outside the church may claim. In the Fourth Article of Faith we state our doctrine that the very first principle in the gospel is faith. Faith must come first or nothing else matters. In the “Lecture on Faith” Joseph Smith declared that faith is “the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness.” (first lecture, first paragraph).

So, how do we attain salvation? It is through the power of faith. This is no mere belief, for James, again, points out that “the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2: 19) But the devils have not learned to walk and act in faith. James also provides examples of those who have learned to walk and act in faith. He speaks of Abraham and how he was “justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar” and that “by works was faith made perfect.” (2: 21-22). He also uses the example of Rahab, the harlot, who acted in faith when she hid the spies of Israel.

Faith is required for salvation, and no one without faith will be truly saved. For this reason it is said that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11: 6), for God is only truly pleased when we are saved.

All of this is clearly taught in the Bible. Paul teaches that “the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Romans 2: 13) and that God “…will render to every man according to his deeds…Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil…But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good…” (2: 6-10). To deny that our works, or deeds, have an effect on our eternal salvation is to truly deny the Bible. However, to deny that it all begins and ends with our faith is also to deny the Bible. Only through faith can we be saved, but not until our faith has been tested and proved through our works.

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2 Responses to “Little Known Propaganda: 11 – Attack Faith Alone Doctrine”

  1. shematwater February 8, 2017 at 5:05 am #

    Response to CleanCut
    Once again, the biggest problem with CleanCut’s answer here is that it gives no references or evidence of what he claims. What he says is basically true, but he doesn’t back it up and so one is left only with his claim as to its accuracy.
    He is correct in stating that we do not believe that our works save us in any way. This is taught clearly in Mosiah chapter 2, which CleanCut alludes to, but does not quote or even cite. So the allusion looses all real effect.
    In all it just seems that he was a little lazy in his response, likely due to frustration over having to respond to the point so frequently.

  2. shematwater February 8, 2017 at 5:05 am #

    Reply to DAMON
    Damon here makes a very obvious mistake is assuming that he has more authority in interpreting the Book of Mormon and LDS doctrine than the church itself. His statement that “The Book of Mormon teaches against Mormon doctrine” shows a high level of arrogance on his part.
    Of course the Book of Mormon does not teach against LDS doctrine. There is nothing in LDS doctrine that is in any way contradicted in the Book of Mormon. The problem here is that Damon, and well as so many others, has no real understanding of LDS doctrine, and then they try to understand the Book of Mormon through the lens of their own doctrine. These two things compound the errors in their understanding and lead to erroneous and, in my opinion, some of the most ridiculous claims that he or other anti-Mormons have made. I will not go into detail here, but no one who claims that Book of Mormon contradicts LDS doctrine can honestly claim to understand either one.
    Damon does quote the very misunderstood passage that tells us that “by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” 2 Nephi 25:23 I do not have time to go into the full nuances of what this verse actually means, as that would require a detail treatise on Grace, which is a very complex subject in itself. Suffice it to say that most people put things in the wrong order when reading this verse. They assume that the verse is telling us that Grace comes after all we can do, and that is not the case. Grace comes first, and comes through faith, and then, through the powers of faith and Grace we do all we can to be saved. We are saved after all we can do, but it is through grace that we are enabled to do it.

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