The Reformed doctrine of faith alone

The Reformed Doctrine of “faith alone” is a cornerstone of protestant theology. This cornerstone, however, is put in place by inserting into Scripture a term that does not exist, building on it a man-made theology, such as the sinners prayer, God’s sovereign choice of salvation apart from one’s free-will and interpreting the word “works” to refer to either God’s commands or to anything that a person might do (otherwise).

One advocate of faith alone theology wrote, “I won’t defend the truth of justification by faith alone in detail, but it’s clearly taught, for example, in Romans 3:28: ‘A person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.’ Or, as Paul teaches in Romans 4:5, ‘God justifies the ungodly.’ Both Abraham and David were justified by faith and not by works (Rom. 4:1–8; Gal. 3:6–9).” [1]

It is my intent, in this article and the next, to address these passages, noticing the context and how it does not support to teaching “faith alone” and, finally, give some attention to James 2.

This is no small matter. Continue reading

#doctrine, #faith-alone

Public Discussion on Water Baptism – May 27 & 28, 2016

This advertisement is via an email announcement being made by the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, TX:

On Friday and Saturday night, Jack Honeycutt of the Willette church of Christ will be discussing the essentiality of baptism for the remission of sins with Michael Brawner, a Missionary Baptist Preacher. Jack will affirm the proposition, “The Scriptures teach, ‘a person must be baptized in water as a requirement for salvation.'” Michael Brawner will affirm the proposition, “The Scriptures teach, ‘a person’s last requirement for soul salvation is faith only in Jesus Christ, coming from the heart.'”

GBN will broadcast the event live, with pre-event coverage beginning at 5:30pm CDT each evening. Mike Hixson and Bart Warren will host GBN’s coverage of the event. The event can be viewed on our GBN cable stations, as well as on our website.

Recently, Jack Honeycutt was in the studio and talked about some of the events leading up to the public discussion.The recording of this interview is available also by clicking here.

#baptist-church, #church-of-christ, #faith-alone, #purpose-of-water-baptism, #religious-debates

The “faith alone” folks declare that baptism is…

The “faith alone” folks declare that baptism is a work of merit and therefore it cannot be linked to salvation. I agree that is it is a work of merit, than what they say is so. But let’s let God decide if it is a work of merit. In Titus 3:5 Paul wrote, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.” The apostle groups “washing”, his word for baptism here, with that which does not earn righteousness. No wonder to be born again, you must be born of water and the Spirit. The “faith onlys” would very much like to dispense with the water and remove the washing, but the Lord put it in there. So who are you going to believe, the “faith onlys” or the apostle Paul? This is Just-A-Minute.

#faith-alone, #just-a-minute, #merit, #works-of-righteousness

Jesus said “whoever believes in me will never…

Jesus said, “whoever believes in me, will never perish, but have everlasting life.” I believe that. But I also know that there were two ways of understanding it. One is the “faith only” way. Believe and with nothing else you are saved regardless. Another is that believe not only includes mental acceptance but other things that Jesus also included in the word “believe” and connected with salvation. For instance, the scriptures also say Jesus is the author of salvation to all who obey Him. Is obedience necessary? This verse seems to say so. Jesus also says, he who endures to the end shall be saved. What of those who believe but do not endure to the end? Taking John 3:16 by itself could mean either one, but when compared to all Jesus taught, I believe it includes much more. This is Just-A-Minute.

#faith-alone, #faith-only, #just-a-minute, #obedience

The math is the same

What’s the difference between a person who says they believe in God but they don’t live like it and a person who says they don’t believe in God and they live like it?

The answer is: nothing. The math is the same no matter how you look at it. It’s six in one hand, and half a dozen in the other.

This is why the scriptures place such an emphasis on a living faith. So go out and live today in such a way that the world sees that your spiritual heart is alive and well in the words of Jesus Christ (Luke 6:46).

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)

#faith-alone, #faith-and-works

FAITH and WORKS

 

A good study of the New Testament helps us to see there is a role for works and a role for faith. Without faith as the underlying foundation in place, the role for works would be useless. The significance of this point is found in relationship to the apostle Paul, James, and many in the denominational world.

Paul, in the context of his letter to Rome, argued that man is justified by faith apart from works (Romans 3:28). In this con-text, it is important to know exactly what Paul had in mind with the word works. It seems that some in the denominational world, reacting to Catholic teachings with regard to works, insert the word alone after faith, thereby giving us the unbiblical doctrine of salvation by faith alone.

One can turn the pages of the New Testament forward from Matthew to Revelation, start again and do the same, and not find anywhere where it is taught by the Lord (or any who represent Him) that man is saved by faith alone. What he will find, however, is that man is saved by faith apart from works (as Paul declared); the word works as used by Paul in Romans is associated with the Law of Moses. In other words, Paul is making clear that justification is by faith apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

In comparison with what Paul said, James said that man’s works bring about God’s declaration of “righteous” (James 2:22-23). The word “works” as used by James (2:14-26) is not the same as the way Paul uses it.

How do we balance the two ideas? To begin, we see there is a difference between the two men in how the word works is used. Let us not misunderstand what Paul had in mind when he said what he did in Romans. If one would be pleasing to God, under the old covenant, then faithful obedience to the Law of Moses was paramount (crucial). Without the foundation of faith in place, obedience to anything the Lord said would not actually be obedience at all, but a mere doing, acting, or complying with some outward requirement, not properly brought about as a result of loving God. This in no way pleases the Lord!

Note how these two ideas play a crucial role in one’s salvation. In Genesis 15, the Lord declared Abraham righteous as a result of his faith (Genesis 15:6), and in Genesis 22:12, the Lord said with regard to Abraham’s work (and faith) “now I know…” The idea is this: faith has a starting point, but obedience to the Lord’s will and deeds (works) of charity bring that faith to a completion, a goal. Thus, when the Scripture says that Abraham was justified by his works, it was in relation to doing the Lord’s will.

When you hear (or read) of a denominational teaching like justified by faith alone, you can be sure that it is not from Scripture, but one’s personal theology (opinion). Yet, the Scriptures teach that, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11). One can’t go wrong doing such things as this. RT

 

#denominations, #faith, #faith-alone, #james, #paul, #works

Faith Toward God is not Faith Alone

Many teach that sola fide is the ‘end all, be all’ with God and faith, but Hebrews 5:12-6:3 teaches that the important faith to God is the faith that’s only the beginning of people coming to Him. Read 2 Peter 1:3-10 and you’ll find that faith is not the whole flight of stairs to Heaven – it’s only one of the steps that make up the stairs! A vital step for sure, but only one of the vital steps.

Faith toward God is not faith alone. Faith is meant to be a lifestyle – not a one moment decision! Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” God’s word plainly says the just shall live by faith, but it never says they will live by just faith!

Because of erroneous teaching many people do not understand what it means to believe/have faith toward God. They read verses like Romans 13:11 and say, ‘See, salvation was brought to Paul and the Romans when they believed and so it can to me too.” But to pretend that ‘believed’ only means a mental/heart acknowledgement (faith alone) is to ignore what Paul and the Roman Christians did to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). They all heard the word of God (Romans 10:17), they all repented of their sins (Romans 2:4), they all confessed the faith in their hearts (Romans 10:6-11) and they all were baptized for the remission of their sins (Romans 6:1-4). Did you notice all the scripture references came from the same source – the Romans (along with Paul) who ‘believed‘ back in Romans 13:11 did more than “just believe.”

Faith toward God is powerful and wonderful, but faith alone falls short of both!

#faith, #faith-alone, #justification-by-faith, #milk-of-the-word, #romans, #salvation