Faith Versus Works in Mormonism

One of the common conversations that Mormons will have with Christians surrounds the concept of being saved by grace through faith alone. You will find that, depending on the LDS Member you are speaking with, you will get many different viewpoints on this subject. One of the viewpoints that puzzles me the most are the LDS who insist that Mormonism does NOT teach that works are required for salvation.

Let’s look at a couple of things that I believe will firmly establish that the LDS Church DOES IN FACT teach that works are necessary for salvation. In addition, I think you will find that living the works they believe are required is virtually impossible. 

First, a key Book of Mormon Scripture Moroni 10:32 says:

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you…”

The LDS member who is seeking Christ’s grace must do two things BEFORE grace kicks in…

1)  Deny yourselves of ALL ungodliness (in otherwords stop sinning entirely!!)

2)  Love God with all your might, mind and strength

I ask those LDS Members who are reading this… how many of you have denied yourselves of ALL ungodliness?  Have you lied?  Had an impure thought?  Thought poorly about your neighbor?  Gossiped?  Gotten angry at your spouse?  Children? Neighbor?  Have you sworn?   If so, then you have NOT denied yourselves of ALL ungodliness and according to your church’s theology Christ’s grace does not apply to you!!

Let’s look at another point… the third article of faith of the LDS Church says:

“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS and ordinances of the Gospel.” (emphasis mine)

Those who are not familiar with the Mormon Church might ask… what laws are they talking about?  There are several laws that the LDS Church teaches… the law of Chastity, law of Tithing, etc.  There is one law that is not discussed that much which is taught in the temple.  It is called the Law of Consecration and says…

“…you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.”

In order to be saved under LDS Theology you must be “obedient to the laws of the gospel” and this law says that one must consecrate (give) their time and talents NOT to God…. but to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  In order to consecrate your time there are an awful lot of things (WORKS!!) that you must do…

  1.  Do your Home Teaching
  2.  Visiting Teaching
  3.  Magnify your calling
  4.  Attend all your church meetings
  5.  Missionary work
  6.  Go to the temple
  7.  Genealogy work
  8.  Build up your food storage
  9.  Pay a full tithe
  10.  Partake of the sacrament weekly

Etc, etc, etc

Are you doing ALL of these things?  Have you fully consecrated your time and talents to the Mormon Church?  If not, Christ’s grace has not kicked in.

My question is this… can ANYONE possibly do all of this? Can anyone of us say that we have denied ourselves of ALL ungodliness? Can any Mormon say they have fully consecrated themselves to the LDS Church?  NO!! 

That is one of the reasons I truly love the real Grace of Jesus Christ.  It is not based upon my own worthiness… it is a gift from  Christ!!  “For God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8   Praise be to my Lord, Savior and God, Jesus Christ!!

Darrell

  • Tyler

    “That is one of the reasons I truly love the real Grace of Jesus Christ. It is not based upon my own worthiness… it is a gift from Christ!! “For God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 Praise be to my Lord, Savior and God, Jesus Christ!!”

    I just wish your God would demonstrate a little love towards the billions of people who have never heard His message. The God I know gives them a chance as well. Or is fire and brimstone really just a warm embrace given because they never knew Him in this life?

  • Tyler,

    Thanks for your comment.

    In order to understand this correctly one first needs to understand something VERY IMPORTANT… we are ALL unworthy of God and Heaven. There is not one person on the face of the earth who deserves to go to heaven. Romans 1:20 tells us “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been CLEARLY SEEN, being understood from what has been made, so that MEN ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE.”. No one is without excuse. God has shown everyone who He is through His creation and we are all without excuse. We are all sinners and are unworthy of Him. Therefore, there is not one person on the face of the earth who will be able to stand before God and say “I don’t deserve what You are giving me.”

    Having said that the wonderful thing about God is He is also perfectly loving. He has told us that there is not one person on the face of the earth who earnestly seeks Him who will not be rewarded (Hebrews 11:6). Therefore, NO ONE who is supposed to be in Heaven will go to Hell. It is not going to happen. God is perfect and will not allow it to happen.

    God is not going to be sitting in Heaven at the end of time going “Oh my goodness… where is George!! He is supposed to be here!” All those who seek God will be rewarded. The problem is not all EARNESTLY seek Him. People get wrapped up in so many different things.

    1) Selfishness
    2) Pride
    3) Worldiness
    4) RELIGION!! – this is a bigee – some are so concerned with religious observance that they really don’t seek God.
    5) False teachings and Religions – One of Satan’s favorite tools!

    Etc, etc, etc.

    That is why I do what I do… I want to help those who are seeking God find Him. Praise be to God that He has assured us that all who seek Him will find Him!

    Have a good night!

    Darrell

  • Tyler

    Okay,
    So to add to your list, what about geographical location, as I have tried to discuss (although to no avail) with you before. China, Indonesia, the middle east, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    Unfortunately, no logical argument could possibly reconcile this doctrinal inconsistency.

  • Brad

    Tyler, you’re operating under the premise that there are people who have not had the light of Christ revealed to them. What is your basis for believing that? You have to define your basis first, before your inherent question can be properly tackled.

    At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to differing beliefs (and interpretations) of the Bible, but this will at least help illustrate some of them.

  • Tyler

    It’s simple. Everyone has free will and choice, right? Everyone can choose to follow God or the devil in this life, according to your beliefs. The problem is that in order to follow either one of these, a person must be taught about them. I frequently refer to the people of China, as Darrell knows, because they are a perfect example of people who have lived and died without ever knowing the Grace of Jesus Christ. This is simply because they are not allowed to be taught the truth. Of the 1.3 billion people in China, the highest estimates (at least according to Jessica Shelley, although I don’t believe it is anywhere near this number) are that 130 million people (.1% of the population) are familiar with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is all underground. The rest of the people either haven’t heard of Jesus or only know that he is a religious figure. How can they they then follow Him?

    There are similar situations in the aforementioned countries, and many others that simply do not allow people to know the Gospel, not to mention the Gospel that coincides with your particular interpretation.

    Simply put, according to your beliefs, billions of people will burn in hell for not knowing about Jesus Christ.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Tyler,
    Darrell and I don’t believe anyone will “burn in hell” only because they don’t know about Christ. God judges people based on what they know. It would be grossly unjust for God to condemn a person for something they could not possibly know. However, every person does know something about God, and the question for each person is this:”What are you doing with that knowledge? Are you seeking more or are you suppressing it?” Scripture promises God will reward those who respond to the light they’re given. Since God is perfectly just and created us as free creatures, we can be assured that only those who wish it will be separated from Him for eternity.

    By the way, I’m sure this was an innocent mistake, but 130 million people is 10% of a 1.3 billion people population, not 0.1%.

  • Tyler

    Yep sorry, I typed too fast.

    Now are you saying that a person who doesn’t accept Christ in this life will still have a chance at being with God in the hereafter?

  • Bill Pratt

    Tyler,
    I honestly don’t know. There are several different views on this subject within Christianity.

    Some people believe that the honest seeker will hear the gospel, one way or another – whether it’s through a missionary, a vision, a dream, or a Bible. God will somehow get the information to that person to make an informed decision. There are many examples of this occurring in history.

    Others believe that there are people in this world whom God will save because they believe He exists, they have repented of their sin, and they know that his grace is the only way they can be saved from their sin (this seems to be how non-Jewish people in the OT times were saved).

    Still others believe that since God is omniscient, He could have arranged the times and places for each individual such that if a person would respond to the gospel, they will live in a time and place where they will hear it. Those who don’t hear the gospel are those whom God knew would not respond. That’s certainly possible, but I don’t know if it’s true.

    Again, the Bible clearly states that Christ is the only way to heaven (John 14:6), so his atoning death and resurrection had to happen or none of us would spend eternity with God. But how that atoning death is applied to each individual is a matter of debate among Christians.

    The one clear and unambiguous way the Bible tells us to get to heaven is to profess Jesus as the Son of God who died for our sins, and was resurrected. That is the gospel at its simplest: the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If we put our trust in Him, we can’t go wrong. How God deals with those who don’t hear about Jesus is not something we can know for sure, but it’s not something I worry about because I know God is the ultimate standard of justice, so He will not act unjustly toward anyone. Once I understood that fact, this issue disappeared for me.

  • Well said Bill. This issue works the same for me. Once you grasp the greatness of God… the fact that He is both perfectly JUST and perfectly MERCIFUL, the issue dissappears. God will work it out. Heck, if He can hear 2 billion prayers all at the same time I think He can handle this! He has told us in His Word that anyone who earnestly seeks Him will be rewarded. We don’t have to worry about it.

    Now, having said that, the bigger issue revolves around those who receive His word but reject it. Christ was clear about what will happen to them. He spoke vehemently against those who refuse to see Him for who He is. So the real issue is what we will do with the message once we receive it. There are eternal consequences for that decision.

    Darrell

  • Tyler

    I have been out of town and busy with family events for the last couple of weeks so I haven’t responded much. During the Christmas season I took some time to refresh my understanding of the faith vs. works doctrine. While I think this is an issue with a conclusion (between both Christians and Mormons) ultimately based on perception, bias, and dissimilar lexicons, there are a few verses which must be addressed. It would be wrong for me to assert the notion that the Bible clearly and unequivocally directs it’s reader to believe that works alone are necessary for salvation. The opposite is also true. We cannot pretend that the Bible and specifically these verses (listed below) advocate a system of belief that eliminates the need for active discipleship. Here are a few examples (caps intended to delineate textual interpretation, not to shout :))

    Matthew 16:25-27:
    “25For whoever wants to save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.”
    VERSE 27 IS EXTREMELY CLEAR.

    1 Timothy 2:9-15
    “9I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
    11A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But women[a] will be saved[b] through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
    WOMEN (MY ASSUMPTION IS THAT MEN RECEIVE THE SAME TREATMENT FROM GOD) WILL BE SAVED IF THEY CONTINUE IN FAITH. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY HAVE TO DO, NOT JUST PROFESS, FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES IN ORDER TO BE SAVED.

    1 Timothy 6:17-19
    “17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
    THE PHRASING IN VERSE 19 DENOTES THE NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO RECEIVE. TO ‘LAY UP TREASURE . . . SO THAT THEY MAY TAKE HOLD OF THE LIFE THAT IS TRULY LIFE,’ SEEMS TO CLEARLY INDICATE THAT DEEDS DONE IN THIS LIFE WILL BE REWARDED IN HEAVEN.

    2 Timothy 4:14
    “14Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.”
    THE LORD REWARDS GOOD DEEDS (WORKS), AND REPAYS FOR BAD DEEDS (WORKS). IT IS SOMEWHAT SILLY TO ASSUME THAT BAD WORKS ARE CURRENCY FOR PUNISHMENT BUT GOOD WORKS AVAIL NOTHING.

    2 Timothy 3:17
    “16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
    THIS DOES NOT INDICATE THAT EVERY GOOD WORK IS NECESSARY SALVATION BUT THAT SCRIPTURE EQUIPS US FOR WORKS. THUS, THEY ARE VALUED TO GOD.

    Titus 1:16
    “16They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”
    ACTIONS REPRESENT TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. THIS SEEMS TO AGREE WITH YOUR BELIEVE THAT WORKS FOLLOW CONVICTION. WE ARE MERELY DISAGREEING ABOUT THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG HERE. EITHER WAY, WORKS ARE A NECESSARY PART OF OUR EARTHLY EXISTENCE IN ORDER FOR US TO RETURN TO GOD.

    Titus 2:7
    “7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness”
    A SIMPLE EXHORTATION TO LIVE THE GOSPEL. THIS WOULD BE UNNECESSARY IF ‘DOING’ WERE SUPERFLUOUS.

    Titus 2:14
    “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
    SELF-EXPLANATORY (DOING GOOD IS IMPORTANT)

    Titus 3:8
    “8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”
    SELF-EXPLANATORY (DOING GOOD IS IMPORTANT)

    Hebrews 6:6
    “6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”
    EVEN PEOPLE WHO ONCE KNOW JESUS CAN FALL AWAY. REPENTANCE IS NECESSARY FOR THESE PEOPLE. IN OTHER WORDS, WE CHANGE OUR WAYS AND ASK GOD TO FORGIVE US IN ORDER TO BE SAVED. AND THAT IS A WORK. HOW CAN YOU DENY THAT REPENTANCE IS NECESSARY OR THAT REPENTANCE IS NOT A WORK IN ITSELF?

    Hebrews 10:24
    “24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
    WHY WOULD WE DO THAT IF GOOD DEEDS WERE NONESSENTIAL?

    ALL OF JAMES 2, ESPECIALLY:
    “14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
    18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
    19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
    20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
    25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
    IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONTRAST THIS CHAPTER WITH THE PAULINE REFERENCES TO WORKS. THE TWO MEN WERE NOT SPEAKING OF THE SAME KIND OF WORKS. PAUL REFERS TO THE ‘WORKS OF THE LAW (SEE ROMANS 9:32, GALATIANS 2:16, GALATIANS 3:2,5, AND 10, ETC).’ HE CONDEMNS A BELIEF THAT THE WORKS AND ORDINANCES OF THE MOSAIC LAW ARE SALVIFIC IN THEMSELVES. AS A FORMER STRICT ADHERENT TO THE LAW HIMSELF, HE ALWAYS MADE IT CLEAR TO HIS AUDIENCE (LARGELY JEWS) THAT THERE WAS A NEW LAW. HE SPECIFIED THAT THE RITES AND ORDINANCES OF BEFORE WERE TO BE DONE AWAY WITH AS SALVIFIC WORKS IN CHRIST (CLEAR IN ROMANS 9:31-32). HOWEVER, AT NO TIME DID HE SAY THAT WE ARE TO DISREGARD DISCIPLESHIP IN LIEU OF VERBAL PROCLAMATION. THE SABBATH DAY WAS TO BE HONORED, REPENTANCE WAS TO BE THE METHOD FOR ACCESS TO THE LORD’S GRACE, AND FOLLOWERS WERE TO BE BAPTIZED, RECEIVE THE HOLY GHOST, ETC. SO IT WILL NOT SUFFICE WHEN WE READ EPHESIANS 2:9, TO SIMPLY SAY, ‘OKAY, WORKS DON’T MEAN ANYTHING AT ALL. GOD ASKS US TO DO NOTHING BUT BELIEVE IN HIM.’ HE ASKS US TO FOLLOW HIM, BY LIVING HIS GOSPEL. EITHER WAY, LDS DOCTRINE IS IN AGREEMENT WITH YOUR BELIEF THAT OUR WORKS WILL NOT SAVE US. WE BELIEVE THAT THE SIMPLE THINGS THAT GOD ASKS US TO DO GO HAND IN HAND WITH THE SAVIOR’S WORDS TO THE YOUNG MAN IN MATTHEW 19:20-21:
    20″All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
    21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    Revelation 2:5
    “5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
    REPENTANCE IS A WORK (IF YOU DEFINE IT AS SUCH) THAT IS NECESSARY.

    Revelation 2:26
    “26To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—”
    WE MUST DO, NOT JUST BELIEVE

    Revelation 3:2-3
    “2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”
    A CLEAR, INDISPUTABLE DECLARATION THAT OBEDIENCE TO THE GOSPEL AND REPENTANCE ARE NECESSARY. ALSO THAT DEEDS SHOULD BE ‘COMPLETE IN THE SIGHT OF’ GOD.

    Revelation 3:4-6
    “4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
    A REFERENCE TO WORTHINESS (A TERM AND IDEA OFT LAMBASTED BY THE MORMON DETRACTOR) THROUGH ‘OVERCOMING.’ THIS DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE NOTION OF SALVATION THROUGH DECLARATION IN AN INSTANT. WORTHINESS APPEARS PROCESSUAL.

    Revelation 3:15
    “15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!”
    DEEDS MATTER

    Revelation 20:11-15
    “11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
    THIS IS CLEAR AND SIMPLE: THE DEAD ARE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. THEY ARE JUDGED WORTHY OF CHRIST’S ATONEMENT. THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT THEIR WORKS SAVE THEM, IT SIMPLY MEANS THAT WITHOUT SOME DEGREE OF ACTIVE DISCIPLESHIP, CHRIST WILL NOT SAVE THEM. WE QUALIFY FOR HIS GRACE AS WE BELIEVE AND FOLLOW.

    Many (most) of the scriptures cited above are in my eyes indisputable. Others are subject to interpretation. I am interested in how you reconcile your belief that works are unnecessary with these verses. If you feel so inclined, you could respond to them.

    To your original post- the laundry list of ‘necessary items’ is a bit misleading. For someone who lived in the church for so long I am surprised that you didn’t understand this correctly. It is true that we are asked to consecrate everything that we have and are to the church (which is completely and entirely synonymous in our eyes with the Lord. Where else would we consecrate these things? We can’t send packages to heaven, Darrell :)). But this does not mean that:
    1. If I don’t regularly do my home teaching,
    2. If I don’t regularly do my visiting teaching,
    3. If I don’t fully magnify my calling,
    4. If I don’t attend all my church meetings,
    5. If I don’t do my 2 years of missionary work,
    6. If I don’t go to the temple regularly,
    7. If I don’t complete my genealogy work,
    8. If I don’t build up my food storage,
    9. If I don’t pay a full tithe,
    10.If I don’t partake of the sacrament weekly,
    that ‘God’s grace has not fully kicked in.’ These are not rites like the Mosaic Law. They are guidelines. In fact, these have always been viewed as guidelines to help us on our journey. They provide opportunities for us to serve others as Christ did, become self-sufficient in order to help others as Christ would, renew covenants and recommit to follow Christ in a manner pleasing to Him (this helps us grow grace by grace and become closer to Him), and be selfless as Jesus is. These are all instruments that helps us in our journey of discipleship. If they were vital to salvation, nobody in the church would have any chance for redemption. We simply do our best. Where we fall short (and it is trillions of miles short, might I add), Christ makes up the difference. I view it as us taking the first step on a path that is nearly endless. By taking that step we demonstrate our desire to be with Him. Then He carries us.

    The ‘works’ you refer to in Mormonism are goals and guidelines, not salvific rites. And might I add that you should know that, which makes this post especially deceptive.

  • Tyler

    Bill,
    The issue can’t disappear that easily for me. You see, I have been fortunate in my life to know many people who have virtually no chance of ever hearing the gospel, or even knowing that there is a need or any kind of salvation. I met a group of Mapuche (native Chilean tribe), as well as an extremely secluded group who live in Puerto Eden in the extreme Chilean south. These people have lived in seclusion all of their lives and have had almost no contact with the outside world. There is also this Brazilian tribe:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7426794.stm

    Not to mention the many groups that predate Christianity or who by virtue of geographical misfortune never heard anything in any way shape or form about the Judaeo-Christian deity. According to any of the three possibilities you mentioned, all of these people will not receive salvation. And yes, that means literally burning in hell. Am I wrong?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Tyler,
    Welcome back. It seems like you are wanting me very badly to condemn someone, anyone, to hell so that you can point to Christians and say, “Ah Ha! Look how cruel their doctrines are!” But the only people whom I have some confidence will not go to heaven are those that directly reject the gospel once they understand it. Aside from that, I will not condemn anyone.

    It is possible that the Chileans you mention will hear the gospel. In fact, I hope you shared it with them! You don’t know what will happen to these people. You don’t know their minds and hearts. You don’t know whether God has spoken to them in dreams or visions. Why are you so convinced God can’t reach them? Is God unable to operate in Chile?

    In my comments, I allowed for the possibility of people never hearing of Jesus reaching heaven. I just don’t know, because the Bible doesn’t discuss this topic very much. However, Romans 1:18-20 clearly states that every single person knows who God is through the creation. So, if you are claiming that a people group has absolutely no idea of who or what God is, you are directly contradicting the Bible (which I think you wouldn’t knowingly do). These people you saw have an innate knowledge of God, and they will either respond to the calling of the Holy Spirit or they will not. If they do, God will reward their diligence.

    God promises, in Rev 7:9, that people from every nation, tribe, people, and language will be with Him for eternity, so I feel confident that the people you have met will be represented in heaven. I don’t know how many of them, but they will be represented. God is just and He will never allow anyone go to hell who shouldn’t be there.

  • Tyler

    Bill,
    I wish I spoke Mapudungun so I could communicate with the Mapuche(!), let alone share the gospel with them. But then again, wouldn’t my LDS version of the gospel fall short of bringing them to the salvation of God?

    Romans 1:18-20 does not specify that ALL MEN know about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It merely states that the godless and wicked men that suppress truth (vs 18) are without excuse as to the correct nature of God. It says nothing of people who have no knowledge in any way shape or form of him (Guarani, Cherokee, Lakota, Navajo, etc). You are placing requirements on the text that do not exist. Your interpretation of scripture should not be understood as authoritative.

    I do want to apologize for the threadjack. I believe that the original post contains important issues to be discussed and my desire is not to avoid that discussion. I think perhaps the side discussion between Bill and I would be best reserved for another post? Perhaps a delightful one fully dedicated to the error of the LDS ways?

    I only say this so as to not detract from the proper attention that the initial post deserves.

  • Bill Pratt

    Tyler,
    I must not have made myself clear. I did not say that Romans 1:18-20 specifies that all men know the gospel of Christ. I said that Romans 1:18-20 states that every person knows who God is through the creation. This is the God known through the natural world and does not include knowledge of Jesus. It is a simple and basic concept of God as a powerful creator of the universe. This is the knowledge that all men will be judged on. Again, knowledge of Jesus does not come from the natural world, and so Romans 1:18-20 is not referring to Jesus.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  • Tyler

    Right, but would you agree that a knowledge of Jesus is necessary for salvation? Can these people be saved with that innate knowledge alone? Or are you saying that because these people know ‘who God is through the creation,’ that they will be led to Christ?
    Oh, and of course God operates in Chile. His truth is alive and well there, just not AT ALL in the remotest of areas that I visited.

  • Tyler,

    Thank you for your response. I hope you had a good time over Christmas. I know it can be nice to get away for a little while. Although, sometimes stepping back into the reality of the daily grind of work can be difficult!!

    I do not dispute any of the verses you cited. I do believe that you are misinterpreting them. Those who receive the gift of salvation will be REWARDED AND JUDGED based upon our works. However, this reward and judgement is separate from salvation. Salvation gets us into Heaven and gives us eternity with God. The rewards we RECEIVE in Heaven will be based upon what we did with our lives after receiving the gift of salvation. The Bible teaches these two separate judgements.

    1) The judgement of non-believers. No salvation. Eternal damnation. Believers are exempt from this. They have already received salvation.

    2) The judgement of believers in Heaven. Receive rewards based upon our works. It is also taught that we then give these rewards back to Christ.

    Whether or not we receive salvation (judgement #1) IS NOT based upon works… it is entirely based upon faith.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 “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.”

    If it were based upon our human works than WE WOULD BE ABLE TO BOAST. In addition, a gift is given FREELY and is not based upon us having to work to get it. If it were based upon work IT WOULD NOT BE A GIFT. I love this verse in Romans that spells this out so clearly…

    Romans 4:4-5 “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

    Our FAITH is credited as righteousness and saves us. If works were part of the equation it would not be a gift. Two more verses that support this…

    Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by FAITH in this grace in which we now stand.”

    Faith gets us the grace… not denying ourselves of all ungodliness as Moroni 10:32 claims (see further comments below).

    Galations 3:14 “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by FAITH we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”

    There are several others that say the same thing but I am sure you get the point. It is faith that assures us of salvation NOT WHAT WE DO. Will works follow a true faith… ABSOLUTELY. I will submit to you that if someone professes to have faith but lives a life of debauchery that I, for one, highly doubt their profession of faith. James makes it clear that good works are EVIDENCE OF faith and will logically follow a real faith. However, our salvation HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WORKS… it is all based upon faith. If it were based upon the works WE WOULD BE TAKING THE GLORY AWAY FROM GOD. We would be able to take credit for our own salvation (boast)… it would not be a gift “it would be an obligation”.

    As for the original point of this post… Moroni 10:32 says…

    “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and IF ye shall DENY YOURSELVES OF ALL UNGODLINESS, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, THEN is his grace sufficient for you…”

    This is a classic “if/then” statement. Christ’s grace is not sufficient for you UNTIL you deny yourself of ALL UNGODLINESS. So there is no way that you can claim that…

    “Where we fall short (and it is trillions of miles short, might I add), Christ makes up the difference. ”

    That does not fly UNLESS you have acheived the point where you have denied yourself of all ungodliness. Otherwise, according to LDS teaching, Christ’s grace does not apply to you.

    You can try to equivocate on this point all you want. I don’t blame you for trying. The first time I really realized what the BOM was saying it scared me and I tried to equivocate as well. Unfortunately, The Book of Mormon is very clear.

    Darrell

  • Bill Pratt

    No, I personally would not agree that a knowledge of Jesus is necessary for salvation. As I said in previous posts, there are many views on this topic within Christianity, but you seem to be asking for my opinion, so I’ll give it. Personally, I believe that God will only judge people on what they know and how they responded to what they know. It is possible that God will reveal Christ to those who seek him, but I don’t know that He does that for everyone in that situation.

    It is clear that people were saved in the OT without knowledge of Christ. It is clear that God will reward those who seek Him. It is clear that people from all nations, tribes, and langauges will be in heaven. From these points, I arrive at my position.

    I want to say again, though, that my position, as stated above, is not a dogmatic position. I truly wish I knew, for sure, how God will determine every single person’s salvation, but He does not reveal that to us. Even though I believe that God may save those who haven’t heard of Christ, I don’t want to bet anyone’s soul on it, and so I am a strong supporter of missionaries around the world. The NT clearly teaches that believing on Christ is definitely the primary and preferred way that God reconciles mankind to Himself. In addition, the joy of knowing Christ is a precious gift that I want as many people on this earth to have as possible. And, as I said before, nobody is saved without Christ’s atoning death and resurrection.

  • Tyler

    “You can try to equivocate on this point all you want. I don’t blame you for trying. The first time I really realized what the BOM was saying it scared me and I tried to equivocate as well. Unfortunately, The Book of Mormon is very clear.”
    Darrell, could you be more condescending and arrogant? As if I was just learning what the Book of Mormon says. As if you were doing some service here with this blog in teaching us what we already know, only with a confused spin. I honestly think that you have not read any of my comments. You get a general feel for what they are saying and then retort, saying only what you think is important.
    And again, Mormonism never teaches that salvation is granted in an instant. It is a process of denying ourselves of all ungodliness. We strive for righteousness. But we do not believe that we can attain perfection or purity on our own. We just do our best to follow Christ.

    Well, my friends, I think we have come to a point where I can’t see the virtue in much more discussion. The fact is, we interpret things differently and are likely to continue that way forever. We have different understandings of what the same scriptures mean. When you read works, you see an entirely different concept than I do.
    I came to this conclusion after 8 years of discussing these doctrines with a southern baptist friend of mine. We never agree on things we both deem essential. Where the relationship soured is that, I felt that for the decency and sincerity that this man demonstrates as he follows what he believes is God’s truth, he will be with Him in heaven. That sweet note is only embittered by the fact that he believes with all certainty that, notwithstanding my similar devotion and sincerity, I will be relegated to hell. And this for understanding God and His Son differently than he. My assumption is that you both feel the same. Otherwise, why post so many things on the follies of Mormonism.

  • Tyler,

    I sense from your response that I may have offended you. One of the disadvantages of conversing over a blog is that you cannot get a feel for tone of voice, facial expressions and other non-verbal cues. Therefore, it is easy to misconstrue an individual’s intent. My intent has never been to condescend or offend. If I came across in that manner I apologize. My intent, quite simply, is to address errors in teaching to help bring the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others. You seem to be taking this personally. This is a theological discussion and I am not attacking you personally. The errors of the LDS teachings have millions of people trapped and it is my hope to be able to help free people from their bondage. When I came to a knowledge of the grace of Christ the joy that came into my life was amazing. I want others to share in that joy.

    You said…

    “Mormonism never teaches that salvation is granted in an instant. It is a process of denying ourselves of all ungodliness.”

    You have hit the nail on the head with that statement. That is the point I have been making this entire post. Mormonism teaches that in order to receive salvation one must go through a lifelong process of “work” and in the end they must “deny themselves of all ungodliness”. Unfortunately, that process is UNACHEIVABLE. There is no way that any individual can live up the the “if/then” condition given in Moroni 10:32.

    Towards the end of my time as a Mormon I asked several LDS a question… “If you were to die today do you believe you would go to the Celestial Kingdom?”. I was really shocked at the answers I got. Not one individual answered yes. Almost every single one of them said something to the effect of “Well, I hope so. I have worked really hard. So I hope I am worthy. But I am not sure.”. That is so sad because that is NOT what the Bible teaches.

    We are taught in the Bible that once we accept Christ we are going to heaven when we die. Our salvation has been guaranteed NOT because of what we do but because of what Christ has done for us.

    Ephesians 3:12 says “In him and through faith in him we may apprach God with freedom and confidence.”

    Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence…”

    If we have faith in Jesus Christ, we can be confident that when we die we will go to be with God. We do not need to worry about a “process” of salvation. Salvation is ready for the taking… it is a gift given to us by Jesus Christ. Not based upon works of our own…. but based soley upon what He has done for us.

    Darrell

  • Tyler

    Darrell,
    That is the third time now you have tried to dismiss your irritating arrogance off as misinterpreted tone due to non-direct communication. That’s just silly. If you really are trying to help LDS see the light, try to be helpful and humble, as opposed to and condescending and patronizing.

    I am troubled by the way you leave no alternative interpretation to the Bible. The verses you cited above do not clearly indicate the conclusion at which you arrive. You make statements such as:
    “That is so sad because that is NOT what the Bible teaches. We are taught in the Bible that once we accept Christ we are going to heaven when we die. Our salvation has been guaranteed NOT because of what we do but because of what Christ has done for us.”
    Again, this assumption is based on INTERPRETATION! That is the problem. Left with the Bible alone we get confusion as to it’s true meaning. I love the Bible and by my understanding of it (and I have studied it far more than you assume) I am following Christ the way he asks. Yet by your interpretation I am clearly wrong and confused, a person who must be shown the light or who will not attain salvation. What of the Catholics? Eastern and Oriental Orthodox? Anglicans? Lutherans? Methodists? Pentecostals? Anabaptists? Quakers? All of these groups follow a different Biblical interpretation. Left with the Bible alone, the world is stuck in confusion. Thank God for sending Prophets today, as he did in times past.

    As for our discussion, I have grown tired of this blog. Bill Pratt seems to be the cooler head here, with calm and collected arguments. While I don’t agree with his conclusions, I appreciate his non-combative candor. Darrell, good luck to you. I hope you use your current methods with all LDS with with you come in contact, as I don’t believe they are effective.

  • Tyler,

    I am sorry you feel the way you do about me. You are attributing attitudes to me that are not accurate. Nevertheless, you are free to feel as you wish. Perhaps it is time to end our discussions.

    Feel free to hang around the blog. If your feelings ever change and you wish to continue discussions in a civil manner, feel free to jump in. I wish you the best in your quest for truth. God bless.

    Darrell

  • “No, I personally would not agree that a knowledge of Jesus is necessary for salvation. ”

    Wrong! Bible doesn’t say that!

  • “No, I personally would not agree that a knowledge of Jesus is necessary for salvation. ”

    By this one sentence the very purpose of Christ death and resurrection is defeated. The works of so many missionaries and their martyrdom will be rendered useles. Accepting Jesus as your personal savior is salvation.