Saved by ____?

A friend’s Facebook status about refuting the false doctrine of purgatory reminded me of this post.  Key line from below: If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

Let’s just keep it all Jesus, all the time, OK people?

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book-of-mormon.jpgOne of the errors of Mormonism is in 2 Nephi 25:23, which reads, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” [emphasis added]

That sounds humble enough.  It makes it appear that we are saved by grace and the sacrifice of Jesus.  It sounds like the Bible, but there is a big difference.  Look more carefully and see what really saves you:

  1. You do all you can, and you are saved by grace.
  2. You don’t do all you can, so you are not saved.

So what is the difference between the two?  It is ultimately about what you do, not about what Jesus did.  In that case, it isn’t grace that saves you, it is your works.

The key word is “after,” and the phrasing is clear.  And after all, Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon is the “most perfect book in the world,” so that wording must be accurate, right?  And every Mormon I have talked to acknowledges that the works are required for salvation.

If anyone teaches a method of salvation based on Jesus Plus (i.e., his sacrifice plus your good deeds, or purgatory or whatever else) or Jesus Minus (i.e., “Jesus is one way, but other religions are just as good”) then you have a heresy on your hands.

And while this isn’t the reason that being saved by grace through faith is true, consider which is better news:

  1. Having to rely on your efforts with no assurance of salvation (Mormonism and other works-based religions)
  2. Knowing that Jesus did it all for you and you just need to repent and believe in him (Christianity alone)

This is the truly good news.  Take it from someone who has not “done all he can!”

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Yes, I’m familiar with James 2:20 (You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?).  Of course real faith will produce real deeds.  But as the Ephesians passage makes clear, it goes like this:

  • Real faith in the real Jesus = real salvation followed by real works
  • Faith in the wrong Jesus + lots of good deeds done out of pride = still spiritually dead
  • False faith + works = still spiritually dead

Courtesy of Ms. Green, here is a list of requirements to be saved in the LDS view:

Step #1:Have faith in Christ
Step #2:Be repentant
Step #3: Be baptized by the LDS Church
Step #4: Receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands from a member of the Melchizedek priesthood
Step #5: Males are ordained into the Melchizedek Priesthood
Step #6: Receive temple endowments
Step #7: Participate in celestial marriage
Step #8: Observe the word of wisdom
Step #9: Sustain the prophet
Step #10: Tithe
Step #11: Attend sacrament meetings
Step #12: Obey the church

Oddly enough, while the LDS church and Christianity preach a different Jesus and a different Gospel, on paper orthodox Christians have more in common with Mormons than with theologically liberal Christians – a high view of scripture, pro-life, pro-family, pro-Jesus is the only way, and more.

But they teach a false, works-based gospel.  I know that many will not escape from there, but I pray that few new people join.

Also see But they are so nice! and Are Mormons really Christians?  Are Christians really Christians?

 

Predictable wolves focus solely on banning guns

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie took a break from taking little girls to gay pride parades to ghoulishly capitalize on the Newtown tragedy to advance his leftist anti-gun agenda.

His “sermon” title was as deceptive as it was silly: O’ Come, O’ Come, Emmanuel: Work to End Gun Violence With Impatience.  Emmanuel means “God with us,” and Chuck and his fellow theological liberals explicitly deny the deity of Christ.  Here’s an example:

In the Christian tradition, we follow people like John the Baptist and Jesus, people who showed such impatience with the world that they were put to death for their ministry.

Chuck is still spiritually dead and has no idea why Jesus really died.  All he “knows” is that he is really sure that the Bible is wrong.

He thinks impatience will end these shootings?!  We need more guns, not less.  Note how dishonest he was in failing to mention what prevented the Oregon shootings from being far worse: A brave and wise citizen with a concealed carry weapon!

The glory-seeking cowards who perpetuate these killings quickly kill themselves once they realize someone else is about to limit their fame by taking them out first.  The killers are aided by people like Currie who make “gun free” zones the 2nd most dangerous places in America (a mother’s womb is the most dangerous place, also thanks to theological liberals).

Chuck’s “Advent” sermon was just politics barely disguised as religion.

Worst of all, radical pro-aborts like Chuck and Obama — or anyone who agrees with the Democrats’ platform — would have applauded the allegedly Constitutional and biblical right of the parents to have each of those children killed while still partially inside the mother.  And they insist that all taxpayers fund any abortions, including partial-birth abortions.  When they pretend to care about children they are just following in the footsteps of their real leader, the father of lies.

“If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists”

Great video on how the existence of morality is evidence for the existence of God.

Also listen carefully to atheists and moral relativists.  They have great difficulty going three sentences without contradicting their worldview by assuming objective morality.

Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Bitter much?

Via Merry Christmas from the Episcopal Church, the Episcopals rejoice over selling a building for $50,000 to Muslims instead of for $150,000 to Bible-believing Christians.

“I’ve had two principles throughout this,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told NPR earlier this year when speaking about Episcopal property battles. “One, that the church receive a reasonable approximation of fair market value for assets that are disposed of; and, second, that we not be in the business of setting up competitors that want to either destroy or replace the Episcopal Church.”

Oh, she has principles all right.  Straight from Satan.  Run, don’t walk, from denominations with leaders like her.  She thinks Bible-believers are her enemies but Islam isn’t!

Bitter much?

Via Merry Christmas from the Episcopal Church, the Episcopals rejoice over selling a building for $50,000 to Muslims instead of $150,000 to Bible-believing Christians.

I’ve had two principles throughout this,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told NPR earlier this year when speaking about Episcopal property battles. “One, that the church receive a reasonable approximation of fair market value for assets that are disposed of; and, second, that we not be in the business of setting up competitors that want to either destroy or replace the Episcopal Church.

Oh, she has principles all right.  Straight from Satan.  Run, don’t walk, from denominations with leaders like her.  She thinks Bible-believers are her enemies but Islam isn’t!

A great Christmas gift idea!

Resurrection iWitnessNot for me (but thanks anyway!).  As the French Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail would say, I’ve already got one.

What is it, you ask?  A copy of Resurrection iWitness by Doug Powell.  As noted on Amazon:

This book gives evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ by using the easy-to-understand Minimal Facts argument. That means it relies only on the historical facts that almost all biblical scholars (including atheistic, Jewish, and liberal) accept and shows how only the biblical story of the resurrection can account for all these agreed-upon facts.

Across 32 intensively designed pages (16 spreads acting as individual chapters) — each containing information that is physically nested and must be actively opened to discover — the reader investigates the story of Christ and weighs the evidence to determine its historical accuracy.

While a 700+ page book by N.T. Wright will obviously go into more depth, the odds of getting someone to actually read about the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus go up dramatically with this book.  At only 32 pages it is an easy read, and the artwork and interactive nature will be compelling for people.

The “minimal facts” argument is probably my favorite to use with believers and non-believers alike.  It is very compelling and easy to explain, and it quickly explodes all sorts of myths, such as how Christians are to have a “blind faith” without evidence.

It starts by quoting 1 Corinthians 15 and notes that if an enemy wants to find the weak point of Christianity we hand it to him.  Paul couldn’t be more clear: If the physical resurrection of Jesus didn’t happen, then Christianity is false, we are making the real God mad and we are to be pitied above all men.

It goes on to note key facts that even those hostile to the faith willingly concede, and then explains how alternate theories all fail in light of those facts.  Our faith is grounded in reason and evidence and we can be confident that the resurrection really happened.

Remember, Christmas is the time of year where people expect us to talk about Jesus.  Even the non-believers will listen to and hear songs about him.  Wouldn’t a book that elegantly and accurately explains why we should believe that He really lived, died and rose again make a great gift?

So buy one or a bunch (only $12.46 for a coffee table quality book) and give them away.  It will be your easiest evangelism of the year.  Be sure to have it lying around your house as a conversation starter.  Give one to your kids. This is the kind of message that our youth desperately need when they go off to college.  It really disarms critics when we politely point out why we have solid reasons for trusting in Jesus as our Savior.

P.S. Now that’s weird — the link this page didn’t show up on Facebook on my computer and on my iPhone it gave a message saying that the link was “reported as abusive by Facebook users.” Huh??!!  The worst part is that they never contacted me or explained why, and I have no idea how to figure it out. It will be interesting to see if that happens again.  This is a recommendation for a book about Jesus — as a Christmas gift! It’s one of the least offensive things I’ve published all year!

Now there are two great St. Nicholas stories!

Via Slappy holiday, it turns out that in addition to being an extremely generous person St. Nicholas (the real one) had sound doctrine regarding the deity of Jesus — and he didn’t take kindly to church leaders who disagreed.

First, the part that some people are already aware of:

Santa Claus had his origins in St. Nicholas, the fourth-century bishop of Myra in present-day Turkey. Known for his generosity and his love of children, Nicholas is said to have saved a poor family’s daughters from slavery by tossing into their window enough gold for a rich dowry, a present that landed in some shoes or, in some accounts, stockings that were hung up to dry. Thus arose the custom of hanging up stockings for St. Nicholas to fill. And somehow he transmogrified into Santa Claus, who has become for many people the secular Christmas alternative to Jesus Christ.

I avoid being a total buzzkill about it, but let’s just say I’m not a Santa fan.  I am mystified that many churches perpetuate the myths by bringing “Santa” inside the building to interact with kids — as if the distractions from Jesus that are outside the church weren’t enough.  So I’m glad when people at least refer back to the actions of the real St. Nicholas.

But on to the good news:

But there is more to the story of Nicholas of Myra. He was also a delegate to the Council of Nicea in a.d. 325, which battled the heretics who denied the deity of Christ. He was thus one of the authors of the Nicene Creed, which affirms that Jesus Christ is both true God and true man. And unlike his later manifestation, Nicholas was particularly zealous in standing up for Christ.

During the Council of Nicea, jolly old St. Nicholas got so fed up with Arius, who taught that Jesus was just a man, that he walked up and slapped him! . . . The point is, the original Santa Claus was someone who flew off the handle when he heard someone minimizing Christ.

Read it all, if nothing else but for the “naughty and Nicean” line.

We don’t need to slap laity and leaders who deny the divinity of Jesus, but kicking them out of the church would be a great start and would make the real St. Nicholas happy.

Hat tip: Slap an Arian Day, or the Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra

(Photo Credit: Drew Collins)

(Photo Credit: Drew Collins)