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Defending the Faith: Theological training not required to believe in Christ

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  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 4, 2013 5:25 p.m.

    @A Scientist

    "It is extremely offensive to assert such nonsense and, in so doing, rob good people of the credit they deserve for their intelligence, insight, creativity, and good deeds.

    The sooner believers refrain from hijacking human history, human civil societies, and even human morality and intelligence, the sooner you will stop creating enemies."

    “When they are learned they think they are wise” If Aristotle would have said that scholars would have admired him for his insight but when it comes from a religious text, they treat it with contempt and call it superstition or nonsense.

    creating enemies is a two-way street.

  • jbbevan Heber City, UT
    Aug. 3, 2013 10:04 a.m.

    About 50 years ago after returning from a German Mission, I took a senior class on the ministry of Paul (while still a Sophomore). Since then Paul has been my favorite scriptural guy. The story told in the article sounds so much like Paul's dilemma with the Jewish Christians who fought him for 30 years about whether Gentiles should first become Jews before they could become Christians. One of the great debates within the 1st Century Church was over this issue. Fortunately, Paul's position carried the day - else the vast majority of Christians would not qualify to be Christians. Paul's personal experience, as a Jew growing up in a Gentile world in Tarsus, influenced his position -- just as the experience of the Congolese father influenced the teachings of his son. Perhaps such a dilemma repeats itself one way or another in every culture and in every dispensation.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 7:35 p.m.

    RE:Zoar63", we are saved by grace through faith; however our faith must be alive.
    A faith without works is dead and a dead faith is not a saving faith.” Catholic Answers. A good apple tree produces good apples.

    RE: EternalPerspective, “Saved from what”, We are saved from is really a who, God Himself. The glory of the gospel is that the One from whom we need to be saved is the very One who saves us.

    (Col 2:17)… a shadow of things to come, Christ fulfills these, Types and figures, the feasts of Israel. Tabernacles, Passover and Pentecost, were types of Christ. It’s clear from chapters 8-10 of Hebrews, that in his death, Jesus fulfilled the priesthood typology of the O. T. in his own blood, he puts an end to the sacrificial system, once and for all! We have such a high priest,. Jesus is a type= Melchizedek.

    I had a friend her husband was in the Vietnam war, She would kiss his picture=(type) every day. When he returned home safe. She still kissed his picture even though she had the real thing in front of her.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 5:19 p.m.

    "Mortal men do not have the capacity to create a single thought."

    Nonsense.

    D&C 93:2

    "And that I am the true alight that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;"

    Even more nonsense.

    It is extremely offensive to assert such nonsense and, in so doing, rob good people of the credit they deserve for their intelligence, insight, creativity, and good deeds.

    The sooner believers refrain from hijacking human history, human civil societies, and even human morality and intelligence, the sooner you will stop creating enemies.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Aug. 2, 2013 3:08 p.m.

    There are certain beliefs about God and Jesus that were clearly taught by Peter, John and Paul, but they did NOT include the agglomeration of self-contradictory assertions that constitutes the official description of the Trinity. Nor did the apostles insist that Christians believe that God had no body or passions even though Christ is God and both had a resurrected physical body and had experienced excruciating pain while expressing supernal love. Indeed, the message the apostles taught was that Christ suffered through the atonement BECAUSE he and God the Father love us. This element of the traditional creeds is clearly a later addition to the Bible, and even people in developed nations like the US who have not lacked for education are often only able to recite the formulas without really understanding what they are supposed to mean. When both laymen and ministers try to explain the creedal formulations, they often resort to analogies that have been historically denounced as heresies by the Catholic Church, such as the notion that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are merely three masks or personas assumed by God for various roles, the heresy of modalism.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 2, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    @ zoar63 – “Was not Mozart composing when he was a child? What about other child prodigies?”

    That’s your answer?

    A musical prodigy doing an essentially kinetic activity who, even as gifted as he was, had been trained in music by his father since the time he could talk? Sorry, but as analogies go I’d put that in the “apples and twinkies” category.

    But I’m all ears if you’d like to try again naming a child in history who was a brilliant writer/thinker of philosophic and political ideas like those that fertilized the genius of our Constitution.

    And religious utterances are not convincing, even ones “prophesized” to happen out of the mouths of babes. Although if we were to truly see “babes… utter marvelous things” that would certainly bolster your case.

    Until then, I’ll have to remain as incredulous as the Apostle Thomas.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 2:00 p.m.

    @zoar63
    "Mortal men do not have the capacity to create a single thought. "

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and say my thoughts about wanting a schneeballen are not divinely inspired.

    Incidentally, your concept completely goes against the idea of free will.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:59 p.m.

    Henry Drummond,

    "Jesus was living in a land occupied by Imperial Rome. It seems the whole point of his teachings was that even the mighty power of Caesar could not conquer the human soul unless you let it...."
    ______________________________

    Jesus’ appeal was on an individual level but it was also a programmatic approach for those who followed him. The kingdom of God Jesus proclaimed did not challenge Roman rule. But if it was a kingdom in which Roman rule did not matter and it existed whether Rome liked the idea or not, Rome might see that as more threatening than any political insurrection Jesus might lead. Ideas are often more to be feared than swords by those who wield power.

    “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” read the placard Pilate ordered placed above Jesus as he hung on the cross.

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:47 p.m.

    Sharrona,

    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.
    Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
    But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
    Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
    Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
    And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
    Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    (James 2:17-24)

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 2, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    @Tyler D

    "If the”God was gracious enough to share it with them” hypothesis were true, then these ideas could just as easily be expressed by a child."

    Was not Mozart composing when he was a child? What about other child prodigies?

    And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (Acts 2:17)

    16 Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things;(3 Ne 26:16)

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 2, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Jesus was living in a land occupied by Imperial Rome. It seems the whole point of his teachings was that even the mighty power of Caesar could not conquer the human soul unless you let it. He showed people how to be free by controlling their interactions with society rather than trying to overthrow it.

    I simply don't see any hint of the complex arguments about "the self" or the sophisticated cosmologies that both ancient and modern thinkers attribute to Jesus. If you really want to see how the earliest believers interpreted Jesus, I recommend a first century Christian document called "The Didache." You won't need a course in Greek Philosophy to read it and you will be amazed.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 2, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    EternalPerspective,

    "....the very same Priesthood authority mentioned throughout the Bible was required to perform the saving ordinances, which do not just "take effect" because of mere belief."
    ______________________________

    According to Paul in Galatians 3, faith is all that’s needed to be children of Abraham. Those who are baptized in Christ clothe themselves in Christ but ordinances don’t save any more than does the law of Moses which Paul sees as a bridge between Abraham and Christ and was meant to teach us about sin, a band aid solution that expired when Christ “ransomed” us. It implies that the church itself serves no redeeming purpose, social perhaps, but nothing essential to salvation.

    Paul’s theology is difficult for me to make sense of. I can’t help wondering what Jesus would have had to say about it. But it did appeal to Gentile culture in which Paul was very adept at finding recruits to whatever the movement was really about.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 2, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    You're not supposed to think about these things in any logical/critical way. It's a simple formula really.

    Just Pay, Pray, and Obey!

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    RE: EternalPerspective- Martin Luther on James 2:26, “You are saved by faith alone but saving faith is never alone; faith is pregnant with good works. i.e..

    (Rom. 3:20, 28) - "… by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin...For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law."

    (Gal 2:16) - ".. man is Not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified."

    Eph 2: 8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, “which God prepared in advance” for us to do.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 2, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Unwieldy Toaster,

    "One fun thing about the Bible and words of prophets throughout the ages is that they provide a platform for doctrinal ambiguities. Then people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences can try to resolve them via the interwebs."
    ______________________________

    We've come a long from Medieval times when the Church resisted efforts to have the Bible made available in the vernacular of the locals. The Church controlled the message then and kept the masses 'informed' by what came down from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. Those days are gone.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Aug. 2, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    Unwieldy Toaster

    The trend of endless debates has always been evident with the Bible, as with any manner of worldly philosophical or religious discussion.

    That's why anyone who is earnestly, honestly, and sincerely seeking for truth above all things the world can and has offered them should go directly to the source with God and ask Him. It is one thing to advocate a cause in a Blog, but quite another to dive in with firsthand experience to prove all things for truth or fallacy with personal immersion.

    Joseph Smith as a young boy not even 15 years old was so conflicted about the religious revival of His day in the early 1800s. Over the course of time and pondering, he was led to finally pray vocally for the first time in his life. What resulted was an incremental restoration of God's truths, authority, and Church that had been missing from the world for thousands of years. Prayer works miracles and enables the power of God to become a reality for anyone who seeks.

    For all those who doubt God or that His Church could be on the earth today, I invite you to ask of Him directly.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 2, 2013 8:39 a.m.

    @ zoar63 - “I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;”

    There are many who would agree with the notion that we are all “divine sparks” animated by the light of God (broadly conceived) – Deists like many of the Founding Fathers, Pantheists like Spinoza, many native & pagan traditions, Buddhism, Taoism, etc, etc, etc…

    But that idea does not in any way justify belief in a personal God, a God that intervenes in human affairs, the truth of doctrines, rituals, sacred books, and certainly not the idea that any one group has a monopoly on spiritual truth.

    And your understanding of how people acquire knowledge is confused to say the least. Sure, ideas often come as “sudden strokes of enlightenment” but that is always preceded by years of reading, observation, thinking, discussion, experimentation, etc.

    If the ”God was gracious enough to share it with them” hypothesis were true, then these ideas could just as easily be expressed by a child.

    I may have missed it, but I don’t recall reading any great works in college penned by anonymous five year old.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Aug. 2, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    sharrona

    In all fairness, it is good to clarify "saved". First, there is the free gift the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ gives to all, which is a perfected immortal body through the resurrection.

    But, "perfected" is the flesh only, while works done in the mortal body do follow us in the resurrection. The corruption of sins cannot become incorruption for those that remain un-repented in the resurrection.

    Therefore, for what reason would a man have to do the works of Christ by grace alone and faith alone, if he could not obtain a greater glory after the resurrection? What purpose would there be in "doing" any works of God?

    There must be a second part to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in God's plan for His children that is earned by faith and works. Perfect justice and mercy could not fit into a linear package for all believers, while those who had not heard of Christ or rejected Him in the flesh are all consigned to endless torment.

    Paul speaks of many glories after the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:40-44 KJV. How would eternal glory not be "weighted" and based on faith and works?

  • Unwieldy Toaster Bluffdale, UT
    Aug. 2, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    One fun thing about the Bible and words of prophets throughout the ages is that they provide a platform for doctrinal ambiguities. Then people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences can try to resolve them via the interwebs.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Aug. 2, 2013 6:00 a.m.

    Why would anybody devote their time, talent and lives to myths, fictional characters and beliefs that "most" people believe only because their parents did, and their parents, and their parents because somewhere along the line they were duped into believing empty promises or loaded with guilt. Makes no sense to me.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Aug. 2, 2013 4:51 a.m.

    sharrona

    KJV - James 2:26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" and 2:18, "Therefore wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead and cannot save you?"

    I assume obedience is not required to be saved by those who think grace is sufficient to save fallen man through atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ...correct?

    If God has made us in His image and we are fallen by Adam, why would God then save us by mere belief in Jesus Christ? Again, from my past comments to you, what of those who died without knowledge of the Savior, are they condemned?

    Grace without Priesthood ordinances and obedience to the laws and ordinances of God given through the Savior Jesus Christ is not in alignment with the Bible. That is why the very same Priesthood authority mentioned throughout the Bible was required to perform the saving ordinances, which do not just "take effect" because of mere belief.

    How can God be perfectly just and merciful if grace alone is sufficient? Where is the fairness...where is the logic..why care at all about our works then?

  • Unwieldy Toaster Bluffdale, UT
    Aug. 1, 2013 8:42 p.m.

    @ zoar63
    I was going to ask for a citation on this statement:

    "Mortal men do not have the capacity to create a single thought."

    But then I saw you covered it with D&C 93:2

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 1, 2013 4:44 p.m.

    Tyler D,

    Mortal men do not have the capacity to create a single thought. When a man forms an idea they first experience a sudden stroke of enlightenment which prompts them to act. So where did that enlightenment originate from. Was it Greeks, Romans, Spinoza, Hume, Smith, Voltaire, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, others? Not even close. That knowledge was known Eons before they were ever born. God was gracious enough to share it with them. “I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;” D&C 93:2

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 1, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    RE: Theological training not required to believe in Christ. True,

    “A simple farm boy can understand the *gospel, you need a priest to make to make it impossible.” Martin Luther.
    (*John 3:16 NET, For God so loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

    An Early Christian creed, "Whoever calls on the name of the LORD(YHWH) will be saved. (Romans 10:13) see (Amos 2:32)
    One of the purposes of a creeds or (articles of faith)is to constrain the ministers from preaching heretical doctrines as todays: i.e...(Modalism)=Oneness Pentecostals. (Arianism)=JW’s. Gnosticism, humans are divine souls trapped in a material world created by an imperfect god=(Christian Science, new age.)

    …there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord … "(2Peter 2:1).

    RE: Eternal perspective, …line upon line..,Isa 28:10 (KJV) a mistranslated scripture has become a catch-phrase of wisdom which was originally intended to be a mocking chide?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Aug. 1, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    @EternalPerspective – “Man, being imperfect, was inspired by God to create the Constitution of the United States.”

    Exactly how I remember it from college.

    Oh, except instead of God it was the Greeks, Romans, Spinoza, Hume, Smith, Voltaire, Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, among others…

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Aug. 1, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Red Corvette

    Man, being imperfect, was inspired by God to create the Constitution of the United States. From that, came legal precidence and the laws of this nation.

    While people might not agree with all laws at the federal, state, and local levels, to what intent did the founding fathers create the underlying provisions to any law? What happens when someone kills a man, steals a car, or any manner of actions that would break a law?

    That person loses a measure of freedom whether with time spent in court proceedings, fines, jail, and so forth. Laws, however imperfect, protect us from those who seek to take away basic liberties and freedoms.

    So, if man is imperfect and yet we have the best form of government on earth today (despite corruption), how much more would a perfectly just and merciful God create laws that govern everything from the universe on down to each individual person?

    Obedience to God's laws brings forth blessings and lasting happiness, which is something the world cannot give nor understand. When one is prepared to follow God's laws, they can receive of His knowledge, line upon line, until they know His mysteries in full.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 1, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    Not only do you not need to study theology to believe in Christ. Christian ministers would rather you didn’t. After all, religion has never been about getting people to think. It’s about getting them to believe.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Aug. 1, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    It is a beautiful thing to know anyone can come to know Christ regardless of their language, their level of education, geographical location, or customs of etiquette.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 1, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Red

    Because they have to make sure you are fully invested in it. 10 percent should be sufficient.