Have you asked that before? Have you heard it asked? Or perhaps, this is the first time you’ve heard it, and now are you asking yourself this very question?
Well, this question was certainly asked by a few last night during my Facebook activity.
I saw a post on my wall that was quoting the Bible, a post that caught my attention, and at that same moment, I connected that Biblical verse to a verse in the Book of Mormon that shared the same theme. Curious what posting a similar verse from Restoration scripture would cause, whether it be a question or curiosity, I decided to experiment and comment, using this Book of Mormon verse.
Now, a little commentary for the readers to try to picture the situation here, this person who had posted the Bible quote was a highly respected colleague, a person I associated with and recognized for his faith and his courageous defense of Christ among his peers. He’s someone I long looked up to, someone who definitely wasn’t only looked up to by me. I knew for a fact, he was the role model for several people.
When he got my comment he asked me if it was a verse from the Book of Mormon, and when I replied in the affirmative, I found the comment deleted.
His reasoning for such a response, as generally deleting someone’s post would be regarded negative, was in fact not negative. He wanted to assure me that he wasn’t deleting it out of hate or disrespect. I respected the fact he made the effort to let me know it wasn’t for negative intentions. However, his reasoning for deleting the Book of Mormon was something that ended up troubling me the entire day, till today as I have decided to express this to readers (as this happened yesterday). He said he deleted the Book of Mormon quote because he is a Christian.
My vagueness and lack of names and details is to spare identity. My goal isn’t to single out one person on my friends list, but to single out his philosophy, one which is negative in nature and is unfortunately shared by many people worldwide.
One I think, should at least have a voice against it, to help those actually unaware of the damage such philosophy is doing and continues to do.
Are Mormons Christians? Is using the Book of Mormon, allowing it to stand as another witness of Jesus Christ, incentive enough to separate the Latter-Day Saint faith, a faith centered in the Atonement and the Savior Himself, from others who profess Christ as their Savior but may have minor variations of religious opinion due to various amounts of spiritual light?
I will speak from a personal standpoint, rigid and stubborn as is my natural trait from my family, that God NEVER intended that the profession of faith be bound to an object, even a book as profound, prepared and inspiring as the Bible. This is my opinion backed by personal testimony of revealed truth through the Holy Ghost. Profession of faith should be lead by expression and example of a lifestyle.
There is no Biblical principle that promotes that one who believes other books to be given of God is not a Christian. I state that point to be as clear as the night sky in San Marcos, Honduras (which is exceptionally clear, for those who haven’t ever seen it).
I do invite readers to try and show me where that idea can be expressed by the Bible. Because it isn’t in there. And if you are going to use the same verses that I know you are going to use, be prepared to have those verses better explained.
There are Church leaders of other faiths who spend hours drilling into their congregation that outside the words of the Bible there is no salvation. And I feel that such rigor in teaching has caused the general idea of mainstream Christianity to teach that salvation is tied to the Bible, that the Savior and His words are somehow united where His words save just as much as He does.
That was never meant to be the case.
Faith is an active principle, one that must be demonstrated by works. The idea that reading to believe is the only action necessary to save is error, and one promoted for many centuries, one God intended to remove through the addition of the Book of Mormon as a much-needed guide to expound the Bible’s principle of faith without works is dead.
The Bible is a guide. It is to be used to expound church doctrine and practice. But it doesn’t represent the Savior. It is a collection of books of His personal ministry and that of His chosen servants who spoke as His mouthpieces that were added to and subtracted from for almost three centuries before it was officially canonized, so believing in an open canon could not cancel salvation, because that would mean the disciples before Christ and during the years before the Bible was canonized as it is today would all be condemned for not believing in infallibility.
The Bible never declared that salvation lies on the principle that the Bible is infallible. Once again, an open challenge to readers. If you can show me where the Bible says “The Bible is infallible and you must believe that to be saved”, (remember, the Bible is a collection of books. One book vouching for itself has no lasting intention nor power to bind all the books together in one cohesive document.) then I will admit the mistake of my opinion. Till then, salvation is in Christ alone, and I read any revelation that comes from Him, ancient or modern, that will help improve me to the point that profession of faith is in my life, not in the books I read.
Latter-Day Saints honor the Bible and strive to live by its principles. We believe it to be the word of God. We love it, we study it, and proclaim it to be remarkably accurate. But we do not believe that the Bible alone is the word of God. Paul taught:
“the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.”
Thus returning to the point I wish to establish in this post. The Bible is not what God intended to be an expression of faith. It is a guide to help us express the faith by helping us model our lives after Christ. That was the intention of all the authors of the collection of books in the Old and New Testament.
I AM A CHRISTIAN. Because I believe in Christ, have taken His name upon myself in a promise made to God, and do what I can so that His example is reflected in my life. I do what I can so the sacrifice He made is given opportunity to work its effects for my eternal benefit.
But the Bible does not guarantee salvation, nor does it represent Christ to us. It teaches us of Him, it is not Him.
– Jeremy Unitt
First Quote: 1st Corinthians 4:20
Comment and share, if you feel to do so, and let me know if there’s anything you would like clarified!
Further discussion is encouraged to take place on the Facebook page, as messaging format is easier, sparse ideas and commentary should be directed to this post.