Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Faith Without Works - and also Faith Without Charity

Some of our Christian brothers and sisters call Latter-day Saints non-Christian because we don't believe in various doctrines that were developed long after New Testament times, such as the modern concept of the Trinity (three persons in one Being of one immaterial substance without body, parts, or passions) or post-Biblical formulations such as "salvation by faith alone." I have previously discussed the irony of condemning us for not believing in the Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone when the only reference to faith alone in the Bible actually says that salvation is NOT by faith alone or faith only. That's from James (James 2:24), who notes that faith without works is dead (James 2:14).

My thought for the day on this issue comes from 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul speaks of charity. Note particularly verses 2 and 13:
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
If faith alone really were sufficient for salvation, I would ask how one could have all faith - real faith that can move mountains - and still be nothing if charity is lacking? I would also ask why charity would be said to be the greater than faith? Wouldn't it be safer to say salvation is by charity alone, or at least by charity plus faith alone? But then the faith isn't very alone anymore.

There are passages in the New Testament where Christ is asked what one must do to gain eternal life. His responses never came close to teaching "faith alone." Rather, he spoke of following God through obedience to commandments and through taking care of others (charity).

By the way, for an interesting Protestant discussion of the meaning of James 2:14, "faith without works is dead," see "Can Faith Without Works Save?" by Bob Wilkin at FaithAlone.org. I find much of his discussion to be persuasive and helpful in understanding that oft-maligned verse, James 2:14. But their statement on how one achieves salvation is something that strikes me as rather incomplete in light of the teachings of Christ in the Bible. But that's just my LDS-oriented opinion, of course. The fact that I disagree doesn't mean I think my fellow Christians who share that view should be condemned as cultists or non-Christians.


Kurt said...

jericho brown, by their fruits shall ye know them, and your web page is laden with low hanging fruit.

Jeff, if they didnt complain about our "works-based salvation" they would just complain about something else. They have decided we are wrong, so now they are just looking for reasons why. Show them to be wrong on this point, and they will just find something else to condemn us for.

Quinn McCoy Hansen said...

Mr. Brown makes a near good point. However through a misreading, perhaps since I don't know you I don't know what you have studied concerning Mormonism, one is lead to believe that Mormons believe all others a cults.

This is not the whole picture. It is a mere over simplification of a Mormon belief: Mormonism is the one true church on the earth. From this people tend to believe that all other are devilish, and thus cults.

However, the main problem is understanding that Mormon doctrine teaches that all the others are wrong in that they are not complete, i.e, they lack something important to salvation. Therefore, there is not hilarity in the idea that Mormons don't consider others to cultist. As such, other Christian religions are Good, but not complete, as well as other religions in the world.

Anonymous said...


Have you nothing better to do with your time than to consistently insult and belittle people that believe differently than you? Your tactics to "reach out" to us have been laden with insult, profanity, and vulgarity. Use empathy for a moment-- if you were approached by a person saying such things, would you think that such a person was from God? Or even that such a person knew something about God worth listening to? As best I can tell, you are here to create problems. I am not saying all this as a lecture entirely. I am an open-minded person that listens to all sides, but your actions turn me off immediately to anything you might have to say. Quit being a jerk.


Charles said...

The whole Cult or Christian thread is a horse that has been beaten, turned to glue, used to hold more horses together (post mortem) and beaten them as well.

The general Christian community believes that Mormonism is wrong because of some doctrinal issues, fine. But to assert that we do not believe in Christ is absurd. Why must a person adhere to "your view" of what it is to be Christian? Isn't it enough to believe Christ atoned for our sins and he is our savior?

As for the original post, my thoughts are that faith can be of two types. Passive faith or simply believing something is far different from Active Faith where faith is being excercised in one's actions.

Charity is is more of a specific type of action. It is the pure love of Christ. Charity cannot exist without action. Therfore Faith is required but actions, including charity are also part of that requirement.

The reason faith still takes on such an emphasis is that works without faith is lame. If faith without works is dead then works (presumably good works) is nearly dead as well (lame).

Someone can do good works throughout their lives but when compared to one who does good works in faith and for the right reasons, the latter will be more richly blessed, I believe.

Anonymous said...


We will not see things the same way. You look at things and see falsehoods and contradictions. I look at the same things and see uniformity, harmony, and pure truth. The passage "seek and ye shall find" holds strong. You are seeking reasons to dismiss the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members. I am seeking truth and understanding where it is to be found. Please do not assume that I am a poor fool, ignorant of other's belief systems. I've studied many. I remain here.

As for your question, "Is it not possible to practice good, kind living without believing lies?"

Your actions have been answering your own question for you.

I request that you start treating us and our beliefs with respect. It is possible to disagree with, without stomping on, someone else's beliefs.

If you wish to have a respectful conversation, I believe you will find a number of people at this site willing to discuss in depth whatever topics you please.


Mormanity said...

Any comment with a link to an inappropriate site will be deleted. I would encourage JB to post anonymously.

Mormanity said...

The first comment in this discussion has been deleted for the above-stated reason.

Silver Boh said...

it is his blog and he has the right to take anything off it that he finds offensive, that isn't mormon doctrine, just his right.