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A Restoration of Paul’s Understanding of Faith as a Relationship of Action

TitleA Restoration of Paul’s Understanding of Faith as a Relationship of Action
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsEllis, Godfrey J.
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
KeywordsFaith; Grace; Paul the Apostle

Brent Schmidt builds on his earlier book on relational grace by tackling the topic of relational faith. For those interested in historical trends in religious thought, this book provides intimate details of Greek and Latin terms and the gradual corruption of the original Pauline concept of faith by Augustine and other early and influential thinkers and theologians. Leading the reader through the conceptual reworking of the idea of faith by examining both well-known and lesser-known reformers, but somewhat skirting the faith-works debate, Schmidt ends up nevertheless convincingly demonstrating two facts. First, that faith as concrete action, not just as abstract belief, is a distinguishing doctrinal foundation that is consistently preached by leaders of the Church today. Second, Joseph Smith’s concept of faith as a covenantal relationship built on mutual trust was not a latter-day invention. Instead, it is a restoration of the concept of faith as originally understood by members of the church at the time of Paul.

Review of Brent J. Schmidt, Relational Faith: The Transformation and Restoration of Pistis as Knowledge, Trust, Confidence, and Covenantal Faithfulness (Provo, UT: BYU Studies, 2022). 356 pages, $21.95 (softcover).