Monday, June 16, 2014


A Lesson From The Mormons

James Faulconer:
With some regularity we use the words faith and belief interchangeably. We speak of those who profess a certain faith. We often call such people believers, making it appear that professing faith and having belief are the same. Our language isn't precise in these matters and normally it doesn't need to be.

But that imprecision can mislead us. Faith rather than belief is central to Christianity. But if we equate the two, then our difficulties with belief can become crises of faith. Not seeing the difference between faith and belief can have deadly spiritual consequences.

As the New Testament uses the Greek word that we translate faith (pistis), it means "trust or fidelity." A person of faith is a person who trusts and who can be trusted. If I trust in Jesus Christ to redeem me from the fallen state of human being, then I am a person of faith. If I trust in him, then I also am trustworthy: I can be trusted to work at living the life he calls me to.

In that relationship of trust, I will certainly have beliefs. I don't know what it would mean to trust in Jesus if I don't believe that he exists and is divine. Nevertheless my trust and my beliefs aren't the same thing. And many of my beliefs, perhaps even most of them, can waver or even fail with little effect on my faith.
That's a Mormon talking there folks. Now, I see three possible reactions to such teaching.

One. We scoff and say "Well, Mormons ought to have trouble with what they profess to believe." Look I'll agree that some Mormon belief is a bit strange to my orthodox Christian eyes and ears, but God even used an ass to teach a lesson so I am not sure I would be so fast to dismiss.

Second. we could listen and take a way from this the fact that our theology is only a secondary concern in our lives. This would be a good thing.

Third. We draw a conclusion that if a) theology is secondary and b) Mormons have at least something to value to offer that maybe we ought to start to consider them cousins if not brothers.

Might be a different world.


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