Friday, December 04, 2009

Sola Fide for LP

This entry is a continuation from:

> LP: Hopefully someone notices that
> flooding comments is not enough to
> deliver the proof of the point.

sw: The objective reader will notice that I have merely responded to your points, point by point, which necessitates breaking into multiple comments in order to get around the limit Blogger puts upon the comments section.
sw: The objective reader will also see that it is you who is manipulating the text of James 2 in order to make your point - and rather than a point-by-point response this time, I will focus upon your manipulation and misinterpretation - not to mention your contradicting yourself.

> LP: Some of your exposition is fine but
> you make a category mistake in saying
> that James was referring to both types
> of faith in Jas 2:24.
sw: How can I possibly be wrong about that?!  St. James himself contrasts the difference between a living/saving faith and a dead faith!

> LP: I am asserting though some of your
> expositions are fine, the conclusion you
> make that faith + works = justification
> is wrong, you are the one making a non
> siquitor.

sw: Well, let us examine this again, and let us examine the consistency of your own words.

> LP: Your latching on Jas 2:24 and
> thinking there - Lutherans are wrong, at
> first blush might convince, but words
> have meaning and they find their
> meaning in context.

sw: I've stuck with the context to prove the meaning and refute your misrepresentation.

>> sw: Sorry LP, but you're simply wrong
>> here. The faith being spoken of is the
>> same throughout James 2 -
>> ... No LP, it is faith which works
>> which justifies.

> LP: Notice your double talk?
sw: No, I see no double talk there.  You're simply attempting (and failing) to use the argument I used against RC Sproul and Lutheranism against me.  There is no double-speak in what I said above!  James 2 is all about faith in Jesus Christ.  You can have faith in Jesus Christ and no works and that faith will not save you; you can have faith in Jesus Christ with works and then you may be saved!  It's the same faith in both situations.  When St. James speaks of the demons having faith - they have that same faith!  They too believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead - but they have no good works! 

> LP: You are correct, in the bolded line,
> hence, faith which does not work does
> not justify which is what Jas 2:24 is
> saying.
sw: Yes, that is what I am saying - and since a faith without works does not justify, the concept of being saved by faith alone is categorically a lie.

> LP: My point is that you made a
> category mistake in lumping all of faith
> (simply because you saw the word -
> faith, alone etc) in that faith described
> in Jas 2:24. Because if you are correct,
> then James is also rebuking the one
> who has a living faith, a textual absurdity.
sw: No LP, what is it which makes faith "living?"  It is WORKS!  I also did not merely latch on to verse 24!  I refer to the entire context, so let me quote it again for you here:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
(James 2:17-26 KJV)
sw: I've bolded all the sections in the context which pertain to what I'm saying, and it is clearly not just verse 24!  The REAL POINT of James 2 is that you must have faith AND works for justification, for faith alone is dead.

> LP: My second point. You would have
> heard the Lutheran principle - Scripture
> interprets Scripture.

sw: And talk about absurdities!  Any logically minded person knows that no book interprets itself! Scripture presents the Word of God to His People.  EVERYONE who reads Scripture interprets on some level!  However, that was NOT one of your points NOR is it pertinent to THIS discussion!  If you would like to engage in a sola scriptura discussion/debate, I would be more than happy to oblige, let us not be distracted by such diversionary tactics in THIS discussion of sola fide.

> LP: In your equation:
> faith + works = justification,
> I asked you what these works are - you
> do not know what they are. You demure
> on this one and are Nike - JUST DO IT
> (SOMETHING). But you do not know
> what IT is, to say the least.
sw: First off, it's not my equation, it is St. James' equation!
sw: Secondly, I answered you with examples.  If you have faith first, then ANY good works may suffice!  USING that faith is what is important!  Feeding the poor, clothing the naked, aiding a fallen neighbor, loving one another... the point is there is no set list, for it would be unending.  You want a cookie cutter god, not a loving God who accepts the free will good works of men done in faith.  The True God does not generate a list of minimum requirements, it is an open commandment.  If you have a true and living faith, it will be evidenced by your works for it is the works which perfect the faith (James 2:22).

> LP: Your equation , faith + works
> = justification, is an RC doctrinal
> equation an not necessarily the
> equation St James is making(.) You
> contradict St. Paul and make
> St James contradict St Paul who
> said.. Here is proof:
> Here is the ESV
> 8For(Q) by grace you have been
> saved(R) through faith. And this
> is(S) not your own doing;(T) it
> is the gift of God, 9(U) not a
> result of works,(V) so that no
> one may boast
. 10For(W) we
> are his workmanship,(X) created in
> Christ Jesus(Y) for good works,(Z)
> which God prepared beforehand,(AA)
> that we should walk in them.

> In the above salvation is not a result
> of works(.)  In your equation ,
> faith + works = justification , makes
> works a cause of salvation.

sw: First off, no - works are NOT the cause of salvation - but they are a necessary component to the equation!  Faith alone cannot save, nor can works alone save.  Protestants, like you, seem to always remove faith from the equation when you challenge Catholicism.  You're constantly making the Catholic equation to be works = salvation and the Protestant equation is faith = salvation - when I am saying NEITHER of those equations are true!  Faith alone is no different than the faith of the devils - it is faith + works = justification and justification leads to salvation IF one perseveres in that saving faith (which necessarily includes works).

> LP: I suggest to you that you got
> your conclusion wrong, here is the
> right equation if you may...
> faith = justification + works.
> Faith (not assent, or mere belief) in
> Christ, results in justification, results
> also in works - Eph 2:10.

sw: Notice, you're jumping context!  St. James, which is the context we're discussing, does not ever put the "equation" into the syntax you've used - in fact, that syntax would contradict what St. James clearly stated.  So let's look at Eph. 2:10 in context:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

sw: Saved by faith is the clear statement from St. Paul in Ephesians, but in order to not be in contradiction with St. James we need to ask what KIND of faith is St. Paul talking about?  Clearly it is "saving/living" faith, and therefore good works necessarily accompany that faith.  But St. Paul also clearly states "not of works" - is there a contradiction here?  No!  One only need to look at the very next verse (context, context, context) to see he's talking about works of the Law, which can be demonstrated throughout the references Protestants typically cite for support of sola fide.  St. Paul opposes works of the Law - not the good works which are necessary for "living/saving" faith.  So let's look at verses 11-13:
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (NKJV)

sw: So the context explains that it is not through acts like circumcision which save us, but it is through faith, and as we've already demonstrated, that faith must have good works along with it (so it is never alone if it's "living/saving" faith) for justification which leads to salvation.

> LP: Hence, in this equation, we do not
> need to know works because it will
> automatically happen.
sw: The debate is not over whether or not the works are automatic, but as to whether or not they always accompany a "living/saving" faith.  They do, causa finita est.

> LP: It is not a factor and no one can
> boast, but in your equation since in it
> works is the cause of justification along
> with faith, boasting is possible, because
> you can say - I HAVE DONE SOMETHING.
sw: Nice try, but as St. James says: "2:18 But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works."  Is St. James using the "boasting" St. Paul speaks against, or have you misinterpreted St. Paul?  I suggest it is the latter, otherwise you're espousing that Sts. James and Paul oppose each other.
> LP: This is the reason that Abraham did
> not even know that by offering Isaac, he
> was proven to be righteous.
sw: Whether or not Abraham knew it is irrelevant - he was justified by his works, period.  That is what St. James tells us.  No amount of rationalization can take away the plain text.

> LP: In my equation, you cannot ask me
> the question what are these good works
> so that one might be saved. It is not a
> factor, it happens but it is not a cause
> of my salvation.

sw: Your equation is based upon your imputation of Calvinistic or perhaps Lutheran thought into the text of St. James.  St. James does not lay it out the way you have, whereas what I have presented is verbatim from his epistle.

> LP: Hence, my question to you - which
> you evade, if Jesus died on the Cross
> what was he doing there if you are to
> supply something so that you may be
> saved. You called this black white fallacy.
> But you wave your hand at this by simply
> labelling my point without offering any
> reason why my question is invalid and
> not reasonable to ask. Rather I believe
> my question is very reasonable.

sw: I can tolerate a lot, but one thing I have a problem tolerating is absolute falsehood and/or one bearing false witness as you have just done.  I will quote my words again to save the readers from having to go back to the original comment, though that too is linked if anyone wishes to see it in the original context:
>> sw: FAITH comes FIRST
>> LP, then in order for that FAITH
>> to be LIVING FAITH it must
>> have WORKS. What FAITH are we
>> talking about here, LP? It is FAITH
>> in God that He sent His only
>> begotten Son to die on that cross
>> for us and that whosoever
>> believes in Him shall not perish,
>> but have everlasting life.

sw: In my next comment

> sw: The point was (which DID
answer your question) is that
> If you have not faith in the cross,
> then no amount of works justifies.
> THEN comes the "dead faith" which
> St. James speaks - for even the
> demons have faith that Jesus died
> on the cross - but what they lack
> is GOOD WORKS!  In summary, IF
> you have faith in the cross AND do
> good works with that faith, then
> you have living faith which does
> justify.  Doing works without faith
> will not avail you anything.
> Pagans and other non-believers do
> "good" things all the time, but such
> without faith is nothing in the eyes
> of God, according to Scripture.
> Faith then must PRECEDE and
> ACCOMPANY good works.  So
> without the cross, the works are
> meaningless.  So you HAVE been
> answered, TWICE now - and sola
> fide is proven (again) to be a lie.
sw: And repeating myself again makes it now THREE TIMES you've been answered on this AND my answer has been explained - so you're definitely bearing false witness.  You may not LIKE the answer given or the explanation, but to say I have evaded your question (which I have not) and have not provided any explanation (which I have done).  Again, the reason your question falls into the black/white fallacy is you asked: "If that (works + faith) is acceptable to God, then what was Jesus doing on the cross, since you can do something, and that would be alright?"  The logical end to your statement is: "Jesus dying on the cross makes everything else we can do unacceptable to God."  To be pleasing to God it's either entirely the cross or nothing.  That's black and white and not true.   I reiterate MY point - NOTHING is pleasing to God without faith in the cross FIRST.  THEN, if that faith is a living/saving faith, works will necessarily accompany the faith.  A living/saving faith is NEVER alone.  Sola fide is a lie.

> LP: Well I have much more to say,
> I am not deluded to thinking you are
> convinced. Since this is your blog
> obviously you have the last word.

sw: First off, I do not require the "last word" here just because it is my blog.  The fact is you continue to end your comments with questions or statements that I have not answered your question(s).  If I did not answer, you would accuse me of avoiding the question! 
sw: Second, I asked you a direct question in my last comment, and you have not only evaded it, you've ignored it entirely.  I ask again to save you from having to go back to the original:

sw: One more thing, which I've asked before - but I haven't asked of you yet, have you ever asked yourself why the absolutely ONLY PLACE in Scripture where the words "faith" and "alone" are used together is in NEGATION of sola fide?  Either way, what is your answer to this?


  1. So many words have been spoken my friend, I am happy to let the reader ( I believe you do have some) judge.

    You know where to find me.

    As time permits, I will deal with your comments in my blog.


  2. I trust that when you post your response(s) to your blog, you will come back here and inform me/us that you have done so.

    I hope the words which came from my keyboard have given you something to think about and if the path leads you back to Rome - that you do not hesitate to take it.

    God be with you in your journey, LP.

    In JMJ,

  3. Scott,

    I hope the words which came from my keyboard have given you something to think about and if the path leads you back to Rome - that you do not hesitate to take it.

    I say the same thing to you in terms of Lutheranism, that you take a closer look at what you are disagreeing with it.

    There is a time to speak and a time to be silent, even Christ after a while stopped answering the people in the Sanhedrin.

    There are so many things I wish to correct but time does not permit me.

    God be with you in your journey, LP.

    You too.


  4. Fair enough LP, I hope you're having a blessed Advent Season. Perhaps, rather than trying to tackle that whole document I posted, and since there are "so many things" you wish to correct - pick one - and I'll start a new blog entry to dialog with you on that one point.

    In JMJ,


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