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Faith and works and salvation


Bernard Gui

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Polycarp, died around 150AD, bishop of Smyrna possibly ordained by John, Christian martyr, defender of the

faith. Wrote a Paul-like epistle to the church in Philippi.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/polycarp.html

He taught salvation by grace:

Though you never saw Him for yourselves, yet you believe in Him in a glory of joy

beyond all words...well knowing that it is by His grace you are saved, not of your own

doing but by the will of God through Jesus Christ.

...put your trust in Him who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory

and a seat at His own right hand. All things in heaven and earth have been made subject to him;

everything that breathes pays Him homage; He comes to judge the living and the dead, and

God will require His blood at the hands of any who refuse Him allegiance.

The score so far: Evangelicals 30, Mormons 15.

But then comes the game-changer, the "after all we can do," the "if....".

And He that raised Him from the dead will raise us also, if we do His will and live by His

commandments, and cherish the things he cherished - if, that is to say, we keep ourselves

from wrongdoing, overreaching, penny-pinching, tale-telling, and prevaricating...

The score is now Evangelicals 30, Mormons 40.

After a discussion of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the evil of the love of money, Polycarp

uses the forbidden word, "earn," when speaking about rewards in the world to come.

To please Him in this present world is to earn the world to come, for we have His

promise that He will raise us from the grave; and if we prove ourselves good citizens of

his here, we shall reign with him hereafter, if we have faith.

The score is now Mormons - game, set, and match. Faith and works are inextricably linked,

and man has a required part to play in his own salvation. Polycarp agrees with Nephi: we are saved by grace after

all we can do.

Comments?

Bernard

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The score is now Mormons - game, set, and match. Faith and works are inextricably linked,

and man has a required part to play in his own salvation. Polycarp agrees with Nephi: we are saved by grace after

all we can do.

Comments?

Bernard

Oh come on, you have just taken him out of context.

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Oh come on, you have just taken him out of context.

Sorry. I won't do it again.

Bernard

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One has to be careful about proof-texting the Patristics to come up with Sola Fides. James Buchanan in his book, The Doctrine of Justification, used such quotes to "prove" that the earliest Christian view on salvation was closer to (Reformed) Protestantism than Catholicism (his book was, in part, a screed against Catholic theology [though his comments could be used against LDS views, too]). However, usually when the Patristics used phrases "faith alone" or like-phrases, they often meant it within the context of the works of the Law, not all types of works.

A good, non-LDS treatment can be found at the following Webpages:

http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/page5.html

and

http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/fathers.html

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However, usually when the Patristics used phrases "faith alone" or like-phrases, they often meant it within the context of the works of the Law, not all types of works.

Which, of course, is how most LDS interpret works...works of the Law.

Bernard

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However, usually when the Patristics used phrases "faith alone" or like-phrases, they often meant it within the context of the works of the Law, not all types of works.

By "works of the Law" do you mean works of the Law of Moses?

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Polycarp, died around 150AD, bishop of Smyrna possibly ordained by John, Christian martyr, defender of the

faith. Wrote a Paul-like epistle to the church in Philippi.

http://www.earlychri...m/polycarp.html

He taught salvation by grace:

The score so far: Evangelicals 30, Mormons 15.

But then comes the game-changer, the "after all we can do," the "if....".

The score is now Evangelicals 30, Mormons 40.

After a discussion of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and the evil of the love of money, Polycarp

uses the forbidden word, "earn," when speaking about rewards in the world to come.

The score is now Mormons - game, set, and match. Faith and works are inextricably linked,

and man has a required part to play in his own salvation. Polycarp agrees with Nephi: we are saved by grace after

all we can do.

Comments?

Bernard

SINCE PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO BE GETTING THIS, I'M GOING TO PUT THIS IN ALL CAPS. I'M NOT YELLING, ALTHOUGH MAYBE I SHOULD.

IT IS THE MORMONS WHO REALLY ARE THE ONES THAT BELIEVE IN SALVATION BY GRACE BECAUSE MORMONS BELIEVE THAT CHRIST'S ATONEMENT SAVED US ALL NO MATTER WHAT I.E. WE WILL ALL BE RAISED TO UNFATHOMABLE GLORY DESPITE WHAT WE DO OR DON'T DO(unless you commit the unpardonable sin and even they will be resurrected to a lack of glory). IT IS THE ONES THAT CLAIM THAT WE ARE THE ONES THAT TEACH A WORKS BASED SALVATION THAT ACTUALLY DO BECAUSE IN THEIR TEACHING OF SALVATION YOU DO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO BE SAVED WHETHER IT BE BELIEVING, HAVING FAITH, SAYING THE SINNERS PRAYER OR WHATEVER.

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== IT IS THE ONES THAT CLAIM THAT WE ARE THE ONES THAT TEACH A WORKS BASED SALVATION THAT ACTUALLY DO BECAUSE IN THEIR TEACHING OF SALVATION YOU DO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO BE SAVED WHETHER IT BE BELIEVING, HAVING FAITH, SAYING THE SINNERS PRAYER OR WHATEVER. ==

There are some, namely Calvinists, who believe that we, of our own nature, cannot have genuine faith and repent, etc., and such has to be given to us by God, so they would claim that such is not a "work" but would fall under the rubric of the "gift" spoken of in Ephesians 2:8-10.

I do agree, however, that the charge against LDS theology of works-based salvation (legalism) is without any real merit (excuse the soteriological pun).

Robert B.

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== IT IS THE ONES THAT CLAIM THAT WE ARE THE ONES THAT TEACH A WORKS BASED SALVATION THAT ACTUALLY DO BECAUSE IN THEIR TEACHING OF SALVATION YOU DO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO BE SAVED WHETHER IT BE BELIEVING, HAVING FAITH, SAYING THE SINNERS PRAYER OR WHATEVER. ==

There are some, namely Calvinists, who believe that we, of our own nature, cannot have genuine faith and repent, etc., and such has to be given to us by God, so they would claim that such is not a "work" but would fall under the rubric of the "gift" spoken of in Ephesians 2:8-10.

I do agree, however, that the charge against LDS theology of works-based salvation (legalism) is without any real merit (excuse the soteriological pun).

Robert B.

No matter where the ability to do it comes from, it's still something that someone must do to be saved.

I've had these conversations with those who speak in that matter, and have had some that have tried to prove that God chooses his teachers pets to save. People who think like that I try to get away from as fast as I can.

I would add this p.s. to my former statement:

IT IS BY THE GRACE OF GOD THAT ANY SALVATION IS POSSIBLE WHETHER BEING SAVED FROM THE GRAVE AND RAISED TO A LACK OF GLORY OR WHETHER IT IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ETERNAL LIFE IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM.

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Lehi,

Excellent post. All I will add is that Paul is castigating those who believe that, through their works, independent of the grace of God and a covenantal relationship with Him, they can put him into debt (Rom 4:1-8--note the use of "wage"). However, that is not a blanket statement against all works or works being salvific in any sense. If that is the case, one will have to engage in all types of mental gymnastics and eisegesis to get around final judgment passages in Paul and elsewhere, such as John 5, where good works are the criteria, not just of one's eternal rewards, but one's eternal destiny.

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Thanks to all for the comments and discussion.

Add this to the mix these gems mined from the writings of Early Church Fathers:

Ignatius, 3rd Bishop of Antioch, circa 100 CE

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-polycarp-lightfoot.html

Reward compared with a soldier's pay

---To Polycarp

6:2 Please the Captain in whose army ye serve, from

whom also ye will receive your pay. Let none of you be

found a deserter. Let your baptism abide with you as

your shield; your faith as your helmet; your love as

your spear; your patience as your body armour. Let

your works be your deposits, that ye may receive your

assets due to you.

Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-smyrnaeans-lightfoot.html

The reward of endurance

9:2 May all things therefore abound unto you in grace, for ye are worthy. Ye refreshed me in all

things, and Jesus Christ shall refresh you. In my absence and in my presence ye cherished me. May God

recompense you; for whose sake if ye endure all things, ye shall attain unto Him.

The Epistle of Barnabas, circa 125CE

The conclusion of his comparison of the Way of Life (specific acts of the Christian walk)

with the Way of Darkness (specific characteristics of those who follow "the Dark Lord).

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-roberts.html

XXI It is well, therefore, that he who has learned the judgments of the Lord, as many as

have been written, should walk in them. For he who keepeth these shall be glorified in

the kingdom of God; but he who chooseth other things shall be destroyed with his works.

Our faith is in vain unless we resist Satan now

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-hoole.html

4:9-16 Let us, therefore, give heed unto the last days; for the whole time of our

faith will profit us nothing unless now, in the season of iniquity and among the stumbling-blocks that are

coming, we resist as becometh the sons of God, that the evil one may not have entrance

unawares. Let us fly all vanity and hate perfectly the deeds of the evil way. Do not, entering into your own

houses, dwell alone, as though ye were already justified, but coming together, inquire one with

another concerning the common advantage. For the scripture saith, Woe unto them that are

wise in their own conceit and learned in their own eyes. Let us be spiritual: let us be a perfect temple

unto God. So far as in you lieth, let us practise the fear of God, and strive to keep his commandments, that

we may be glad in his ordinances. The Lord shall judge the world without respect

of persons; each shall receive according as he hath done; if he be good, righteousness shall go before

him, but if he be evil, the reward of wickedness shall be before him. Let us give heed that we do not, as being

already elect, take rest, and sleep in our sins, lest the ruler of wickedness, getting the mastery over us,

thrust us from the kingdom of the Lord. And, moreover, my brethren, consider this. When

ye see that after so many signs and wonders that have happened in Israel, even then they have been

abandoned, let us take heed lest, as it is written, many of us be called but few chosen.

Didache, circa 75CE

The importance of perseverence to the end

http://ivanlewis.com/Didache/didache.html

16:1-2 Guard your lives. Keep your menorahs (lamps) burning, and ever prepared, for the hour is not known.

Gather together frequently, pursuing that which will benefit your souls, otherwise the entire time of your faith

will be nearly worthless if you have not persevered to the end.

In conclusion, we LDS will agree with our Evangelical friends that salvation does not come

simply by a verbal profession. In our own ways, we emphasize the importance of following

Christ, but in the end we are seeking the same thing. I feel confident that my understanding

of faith and works and salvation is compatible with the Early Church Fathers' views.

Bernard

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==In conclusion, we LDS will agree with our Evangelical friends that salvation does not come simply by a verbal profession==

How true. Even Romans 10:9, that oft-abused text, does not support such, as Paul is using Deut 30:6-16, which stresses obedience, not simply a verbal profession.

One of the reasons why Paul is so easy to wrench out of context is that the many are simply ignorant of the Old Testament, and as Paul used the OT a lot (e.g., see Richard Hay's *Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul*), many fail to see Paul's message, instead, read him anachronistically and eisegetically.

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And those that do misunderstand Paul, which Peter himself said that his epistles were at times difficult to understand, wrest the scriptures to their own destruction.

Not too many people even read the Bible, those that come here saying that we are wrong, and leave a few misunderstood scriptures...

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==Not too many people even read the Bible, those that come here saying that we are wrong, and leave a few misunderstood scriptures... ==

It really saddens me that people don't read the Bible. Apart from being my favourite book, one *has* to read it. And yes, there are many critics who condemn the Church and its teachings as being anti-biblical, notwithstanding not having read that great text from cover to cover themselves (of course, I am not saying that *all* critics from a Evangelical or Catholic background are guilty of such; just that many are, though many LDS are ignorant of the contents of the Bible, too, alas).

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==Not too many people even read the Bible, those that come here saying that we are wrong, and leave a few misunderstood scriptures... ==

It really saddens me that people don't read the Bible. Apart from being my favourite book, one *has* to read it. And yes, there are many critics who condemn the Church and its teachings as being anti-biblical, notwithstanding not having read that great text from cover to cover themselves (of course, I am not saying that *all* critics from a Evangelical or Catholic background are guilty of such; just that many are, though many LDS are ignorant of the contents of the Bible, too, alas).

Yeah, that's why I'm reading it now, now for the fourth time, and my second time in Spanish. I am in the book of Galatians now. With the background of repeated temple attendance, I am understanding a lot better the New Testament...

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==In conclusion, we LDS will agree with our Evangelical friends that salvation does not come simply by a verbal profession==

How true. Even Romans 10:9, that oft-abused text, does not support such, as Paul is using Deut 30:6-16, which stresses obedience, not simply a verbal profession.

It is crystal clear that when Paul speaks of works he means the works of the Law of Moses, not the works

of the gospel as commanded by Jesus himself. When Evangelical critics get heartburn from "saved by grace after all

we can do," they object to our honest desire and will to follow the Savior. They share the same desires.

I have never understood why this puts us out of their camp.

Bernard

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Bump

For Rob Bowman, if you are following this thread (which was created to solicit your comments)...

Bernard

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Catholic scholar Hans Kung has even suggested that the Pelagian affair caused Augustine to replace the earlier deification theory with the doctrine of grace; Orthodox scholar Paul Evdokimov agrees. (Hans Kung, Justification. The Doctrine of Karl Barth and a Catholic Reflection; Westminster Press 1981; 1st German 1957)

Why aren't others teaching deification (theosis) or becoming gods by grace?

The subject of deification has attracted the attention of scholars from various Christian traditions, from the beginning, both East and West; in fact, probably least of all from LDS scholars. And for good reason: the Latter-day Saints do not defend their belief in the exaltation and deification of humankind on the basis of what the early Church Fathers wrote. They do so on the basis of what a modern prophet has taught. The reason they cite the early Fathers is not for the purpose of defending their own doctrines, but rather for the purpose of asking their detractors why they are not themselves teaching the doctrine (or dogma, for such it was for the earliest Christians). (Edward T. Jones,

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Bump for Rob Bowman

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