Thursday, May 26, 2011

Faith and Miracles in the Book of Mormon

Ether 12:11-12 [BOM]
“11Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.
12For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.”
I rarely even know where to start in all this. But I’m in the home stretch now. Almost done with Ether, then only the short book of Moroni. I’ll be glad to be finished with this leg of the project.
But what I’m led to believe here is God needs our faith to do miracles. One might read portions of Matthew in such a manner. Say perhaps the 13th chapter of Matthew:
“And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, [54] and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? [55] Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? [56] And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" [57] And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." [58] And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.” (Matthew 13:53-58 (ESV)
But it is obvious from the text that he did do mighty works among them, just not many. This was judgment, not inability. Time after time Jesus does miracles despite faith or lack of it. He does reward faith often with a Miracle. But his first miracle, that of making wine, was not done for any great faith. The Miracle of the incarnation, the resurrection, the list could go on of miracles done despite the lack of faith. Some of these miracles even have the effect of creating faith. Faith is the fruit of the miracle, much more than miracle is a fruit of faith.


Scottydog said...

The idea that WE offer OUR faith to God, rather than God providing our faith TO us is not unique to Mormonism. If you ever want to have fun, ask a Baptist to give you a Bible verse to show how faith is a choice, rather than gift given us, as in Heb 12:2a "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith."

I know many devout Baptists who are great Christians, but one Baptist minister told me ruefully that they were also the biggest source of converts to Mormonism. Sad.

Bror Erickson said...

It would be interesting to see if there were actually statistics showing baptists to be the biggest converts. It would also be interesting to see what the reasons were.
They tend to share a lot in common. I have to almost laugh at baptist attempts to convert Mormons. A lot of legalism being thrown around in those. Very little gospel. And then emotional appeals. The trinity divides them, but then get a baptist to try explain the Trinity to you once.

goodreader said...

I have a Lutheran neighbor who shared with me that a couple Mormon elders had been coming to her house for Bible study "The Book of Mormon and the Bible are similar or say the same thing" I told her to tell me the next time they came over. So she did. They never came back. :-) Anyway they like works so I mentioned Ephesians 2:8 and one of them said Yes I know that verse "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, AFTER works," at which point I stopped him, got out my Bible and showed him it said NOT BY works. It wasn't much longer they stayed.

goodreader said...

I know someone, who in the midst of horrible depression, was going to a Baptist youth pastor for counseling. One of the activities given this person was to make a list of all the good things done during the week. The depression was also an indication of "unforgiven or unrepented sin". Another Baptist story - a member of one of the local Baptist congregations thought Lutherans were a cult.

goodreader said...

A Lutheran (ELCA, but Momons are could at stumping anyone) told me 2 elders had been coming to her house for Bible study - "Our Bibles say the same thing" so I told her to tell me the next time they were there. After some convesation they mentioned works so I asked how about Ephesians 2:8&9? "I know that verse said the most experienced elder 'For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God AFTER works'" at which point I stopped him, showed them the verse that said NOT BY works. They didn't stay much longer and never came back. Mission accomplished and maybe the younger of the two will look more closely at the Bible and question what he's been fed.