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?
One 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:
- You do all you can, and you are saved by grace.
- 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:
- Having to rely on your efforts with no assurance of salvation (Mormonism and other works-based religions)
- 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?