Works Theology

In the past few blogs, we have been discussing the importance of not just believing in Jesus but in taking action to put into practice the teachings of Jesus.  Now some will undoubtedly say what I am advocating is works theology.

Paul Copan makes the statement that there is more to religion than morality [1] and he is right.  However, he then goes on to state that moral improvement may not even be connected to religion. [2]  While it is true that one can be moral and not be religious, does that mean morality and religion are not connected?  What is the purpose of the 10 commandments?  Why did Jesus constantly talk about how we should live and give us the Golden Rule?  I simply cannot see how a Christian can say that Christianity and morality are not linked.  But it is not surprising.  Our theology states that the only thing that is important is belief; that is the only way of salvation.  So Christians sit around and debate theology and fail to put into practice what Jesus taught.  And anyone who dares to insist that our actions are important to salvation is branded a heretic because they advocate works theology.

Throughout the history of Christianity, various individuals have emphasized the importance of our actions in regards to our salvation (see my blogs dated July 12, 17, and 24, 2011).  Another example is Kant.  Will Durant in discussing Kant’s views on religion states:

Churches and dogmas have value only in so far as they assist the moral development of the race.  When mere creeds or ceremonies usurp priority over moral excellence as a test of religion, religion has disappeared. [3]

Kant asserts that the real church is a community of diverse people who are united by adherence to a common moral law, not a community that is bound by a set of theological beliefs and rituals.  [4]

We Christians, like the rest of the human race, want to take the easy way out.  It is easier to perform certain rituals or to discuss and debate theology than it is to put into practice what Christ taught us.


[1]   Paul Copan, “True for You But Not for Me”, Minneapolis, MN:  Bethany House, 2009, p. 141.

[2]   Copan, p. 141.

[3]   Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, New York:  Simon and Schuster, 1933, p. 212.

[4]   Durant, p. 212.

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