Skip to comments.Sola Fide; Do Calvinists Actually Read the Christian Bible?
Posted on 02/27/2011 8:08:19 PM PST by Natural Law
Faith Without Works? Do Calvinists Actually Read the Christian Bible? Is anyone as mystified as I am at this contradictory and unbiblical Calvinist Sola Fide idea that faith without works is sufficient for salvation? How can Calvinists reject James Chapter 2 which states that; What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? (James 2:14) and "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26). To do so is antithetical to Scripture.
The Calvinist rejection of James is at best substitutional, permitting Calvinists to conclude that works naturally follow from and are only a result of true faith thus requiring no conscious commitment or consideration. The result is a negation of the call to Beatitude and a rejection of the obligations of the Second Greatest Commandment issued by Jesus Himself.
Borrowing from Hinduism many fringe Calvinists actually practice a form of the Brahiminst caste system in which they profess that their own Salvation was secure from the beginning of time and no obligation exists toward the less fortunate and needy because God rejected their election from the beginning of time.
The substitution of actual, contextual Scripture for the more flattering personal interpretations is a return to the Gnostic heresies that the Church successfully rejected more than a thousand years earlier. They attempt to seek truth through Scripture on their own despite the admonition of Peter who stated; But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation (2 Peter 1:20).
Faith alone is insufficient. Adam and Eve had faith yet fell. They spoke directly with God yet succumbed to sin. What about Paul, whom many Calvinists give greater credence than Jesus, when he says; "And if I should have prophesy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13: 2).
Perhaps the citations some will more closely identify with; the demons whom Jesus expelled.
"And behold they [the demons] cried out saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matt 8: 29).
The demons had faith certainly equal to that of the Calvinists. Not only do they profess that Jesus is the Son of God, but they also have a profound knowledge of Scripture and profess belief in the final judgment. Peter didnt profess that Christ is the Son of God in Matthew 16:16-- eight chapters later. Why didnt Jesus didn't make the demons the rock on which He built His Church? He required Works to build His Church.
no. They read Calvin.
Why cant people understand that true faith and belief will cause someone to act. Its not the act that saves but the act proves that one has faith.
The Christian church is built upon the fundamental truth that Peter confessed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is The Rock.
Time for another cage match!
I’m not a Calvinist, but I think the idea is that a Christian does good works because he has faith and is already saved and would therefore want to do them, and is not doing good works to earn the approval of God in order to merit salvation.
It just shows your intolerance and hatred towards other Christian religions, that is not exactly an endearing trait that would want any Protestant to be even interested in such hateful religion, as Catholicism, if you are its representative.
Not to mention that you are deliberately misrepresenting Calvinism.
Thank God for Luther and Calvin, who reformed the Catholic religion, so it's not the only option for Christians.
I was trying to think of a way to put it and you pretty much got it. I had a conversation with a friend the other day about this. She was asking if anyone moved a mountain or walked on water with just faith. My answer is, yes, every single day. People of industrious nature transform mountains through industry and build enterprise that crosses across waters. Faith isn't just a magic word or two you say, nor is it a Peter Pan wish; if you really wish hard enough.... Faith is the will to act and the belief through action you can and you do. Works are the result of faith and faith is evidence through works. Without action, faith is just an empty word that accomplishes nothing.
this is hit and run because it is late:
Saved by grace through faith, so that no man can boast that his works saved him. Man is incapable of being saved on the basis of his works, but the works are evidence of the salvation. We still sin and need forgiveness even after we are saved.
What works did the thief on the cross have? His faith and belief in Christ gained him salvation.
I’m afraid that Martin Luther declared that James was “an Epistle of Straw,” and threw it out of his version of the Bible, precisely because James so clearly disagreed with his views.
No, its not empty. Look at what I said again. True faith causes one to act. We are saved by Gods grace through faith in Him. If, in fact, that faith is true there will be action. So faith really isnt an empty word. The acts or lack of them will only show whether that faith was in fact true faith. People might say they have faith but if there are no actions it is evident they really didnt have true faith.
How many works, exactly, is enough to save you?
Is it faith plus works that saves, or are works merely the outward manifestation of the faith?
That is not my objective.
So what IS your objective with this hateful post against a protestant religion?
Do you think other Catholics will applaud you?
You are just demonstrating your hatred and intolerance.
Actually, I am responding to it. One need only spend a little time in the Religion Forum to experience the menopausal shrieks against "Rome" and the damning criticism of every Catholic doctrine before one begins to question the underlying beliefs and motives of the anti-Catholics. Please convince me that they are the exception and do not represent the bulk of Calvinist Protestantism.
James 2: 17-26
So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone might say, You have faith and I have works. Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God.
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route?
For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Pot — kettle — black
How many hateful posts are posted by Protestants about Catholicism.
Ask your Protestant brothers and sisters for the answer to that question.
Nonsense straw man I see from time-to-time. First of all, of course demons believe Jesus exists, duh, they were there, remember? They're demons not stupid. They have no need for faith because they see what exists in their dimension. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Secondly, Jesus did not come into the world to die for demons, they are doomed with no chance to escape their end. They already made their choice. Jesus came for mankind and he died for mankind.
Thirdly, Calvinists, like most other Christians, rely on faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ to be saved. The false idea that they have an elite "Brahmin" caste system is so inane that it hardly deserves an answer. There is something called foreknowledge. God is outside of time, therefore he has already seen the end scene and, as he is omnipotent and omniscient, it is logical that whatever he permits he allows for his own purposes. He can do that, you know, he's God.
Finally, I'm not Calvinist, but I can tell a hit job when I see it.
Actually - they read James IN CONTEXT. It isn’t works that brings salvation - God’s Word elsewhere clearly points that out:
Ephesians 2:8-10 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are Gods workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Salvation is not, and cannot be of our own works. If salvation were the result, even in part, to any work we can do - we would be able to boast (brag). It would take away from God’ and the Glory HE alone deserves for calling us to Him, and for ultimately giving us the gift of faith to accept salvation. If I pay anything for a “gift”, then it is no longer a gift. But what are we doing with that gift? If nothing, then did we every really receive it?
But if you continue in that passage from Ephesians as I posted) - we were created (and called to salvation) in order to do good works. WE do them out of faith and because of our faith, not to win God’s favor, and again - not to “earn” our salvation.
Read in context and in line with the rest of scripture (scripture interprets scripture, and cannot conflict or contradict itself - which an interpretation of James as saying we are saved by works would be): James is comparing “types” of faith. Real saving faith, and a faith that doesn’t go beyond “head knowledge”. (James 2:19 shows this - devils “believe” and tremble... they believe / they know and don’t deny God exists - but they are not “saved” because they don’t have “saving” faith.
But back to the passage in question... Saving faith, by its nature and purpose ordained by God, produces good works (productive vine, as Jesus called in). The unproductive vine risks being “cut off” - taken out of this world.
Further - Jesus said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments, and do the will of the Father. That is what we were created for, called out, and saved to accomplish. And we do his will out of love and obedience, because he saved us.
I once heard it put this way - and it is so simple: Genuine, SAVING faith is “belief that makes you move”.
Excellent question. Good works can never pay the penalty for sin and sin is what separates us from God.
The wages of sin is DEATH. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:23)
Yeah, I’m quite familiar with James. It confirms what I was saying. Actually, the very verses you use do.
So, it’s a revenge thread? Classy. /sarc
But here’s the rub. What is meant by “works”? Certainly not Tithing. That is a Jewish thing. Not going to church. It takes no faith to go to church regularly. Not giving to the poor since many people give to the poor for very selfish reasons. And none of the above necessarily has anything whatsoever to do with faith, yet faith and works are joined at the hip.
Look at the examples in James: Almost killing your son. A prostitute risking her life to help spies. How many Christians do you know that take REAL risks in the name of faith?
I am amazed how often people talk of works without really explaining what works they are talking about.
>>Let’s let the Bible answer that:<<
So, if I use the scripture you quoted, it looks like you are going with “one”, since the examples given there are one per saint.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
“It just shows your intolerance and hatred towards other Christian religions...”
That’s a whiny way to argue the point. As a Calvinist, I don’t see intolerance and hatred in his post, but ignorance of the Calvinist position. There is no problem or disagreement with James. James is explaining what saving faith looks like - true faith produces good works.
Here is the Catholic position from Trent: If anyone shall say that the good works of the man justified are in such a way the gift of God that they are not also the good merits of him who is justified, or that the one justified by the good works . . . does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of eternal life (if he should die in grace), and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema. (1)
Good works do not mean one merits eternal life.
(1) Norman L. Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals : Agreements and Differences (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1995), 227.
Sounds like a Mormon writing.
There are three books which provide us with a soteriology, a doctrine of salvation. They are John, Romans and Galatians. Each of them clearly states faith alone without works(see Rom. 11:6, for example).
These three books set up the way of salvation for the unbeliever. James, then, is speaking to people already saved, urging his readers to prove that they do actually have faith by demonstrating it with works.
Try to add James to a plan of soteriology, and you commit the Galatian error.
I thought we were talking about Calvin, not Luther.
Hey, Natural. Even Martin Luther characterized James as an “epistle of straw”. If that doesn’t convince you try John 6:29.
The US was founded by people who were the great losers of the 30 years wars in Europe 1619-1649 between the catholic and protestant kings of Europe.
America at the time of the revolution was mostly Calvinist. the Scottish Presbyterians were Calvinist as were the English puritans, the dutch German and Swedish reformed churches were all Calvinist as were the french hugonauts.
baptist and Methodists became the majority by the 1840’s but at the time of the revolution they were still a minority. The English Anglicans as today take on the image of the majority. at the time of the revolution in the USA that was the Calvinists.
Catholics did not arrive in numbers in the USA until the Irish potato famine of 1845.
George III called the American revolution the Presbyterian parson’s war. The founding documents of the USA were written mostly by Calvinists. The officer corp of the US revolutionary army were mostly Calvinists. (at the battle of Yorktown most of the officers of American army were Presbyterian elders.)
The wars of the 16th century were essentially property wars. They were mostly fought in Germany where catholic properties had been confiscated by German princes. (The disuputes in the episcopal church today over church property caused by the church embrace of homosexual pastors—is a pale echo of the force that caused the fires of the 18th century wars.) 2/3 rds of the population of Germany were killed during those wars. It was a time in Germany similar to that of 1914-1945)
Those wars didn’t just defeat the Calvinists in Europe. They also embarrassed the catholic church so profoundly that papal power went into permanent decline.
The enlightenment came as a reaction to the religious wars of the 17th century. The enlightenment was basically about the elevation of state power.
In the centuries since state power has steadily advanced in Europe and America until the actual christian community including both Catholics and protestants in Europe is quite small. The protestant churches in Europe especially have been eviscerated. The reason for this is that beginning in the revolutions in 1848—they embraced the arian heresy.
In the USA the mainline protestant churches also embraced the arian heresy. However, the broad evangelical churches in America did not. This is why Christianity remains a force (but still a declining force)in the USA today but not in Europe.
I am not familiar with internal catholic theological disputes but I would wager a bet that the reason for the catholic church being so medieval in Mexico and other parts of Latin America is because sections of the catholic church have embraced the arian heresy.
At the time of the moslem expansion in the 8th century north Africa, Asia minor and much of the middle east were christian. however, they were arian. they immediately folded when confronted with the moslem armies.
Spain was sold out by arian bishops there who let in the moors to do their fighting.
It looks like much the same process is at work today.
Get a grip guys. There are better fish to fry than sola fide
You are just demonstrating your hatred and intolerance.//
Actually, I am responding to it. One need only spend a little time in the Religion Forum to experience the menopausal shrieks against “Rome”...
The proper action would be to respond in the existing thread rather than add this silly little straw man vanity post. And really, until Rome renounces the “anathemas” from Trent, you can cry me a river about the so-called “menopausal shrieks.” I doubt any of them are worse than the OFFICIAL POSITION of your church.
It's admittedly tough to spell. I've only mastered it because I have a little 17th century Huguenot ancestry out of Virginia, surname Faure.
Yours is an excellent historical summary, one of the better ones I've seen on the topic on FR of late, but "Hugonauts" sounds as if Chavez down in Venezuela's started a space program, lol.
#1 -James is dealing with people who profess to be Christians, and yet they don't evidence the reality of their faith by their works [deeds]. He's not talking to non-Christians. Over, and over again... people will say they have faith and they don't have works, and James is saying that real faith always produces works.
Paul clearly teaches that we are justified by faith and not by works (Rom. 1:17; Romans 3:28). ...James declares, 'Was not Abraham our father justified by works' (2:21). ...James and Paul would be contradictory if they were speaking about the same thing, but there are many indications in the text that they are not. Paul is speaking about justification before God, while James is talking about justification before humans.
This is indicated by the fact that James stressed that we should 'show' (2:18) our faith. It must be something that can be seen by others in 'works' (2:18-20). You see God doesn't need to be 'shown' anything. He already knows everything about us even to the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. But human beings need to be shown.
Further, James acknowledged that Abraham was justified before God by faith, not works, when he said, 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousnes' (James 2:23). When he adds that Abraham was 'justified by works' (v. 21), he is speaking of what Abraham did that could be seen by people, namely offer his son Isaac on the altar (vs. 21-22).
...Paul is stressing the root of justification (faith); James is stressing the fruit of justification (works). ...works as the proof of faith.
#2 - The Bible contradicts the RC interpretation many times over. Or have you not read Titus 3:5 which says, Not by works of righteousness [deeds].....but according to HIS mercy he saved us.." You cannot add anything to God's mercy. When you do you rob Him of His glory and power.
Galatians 2:16 which says, "....for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Galatians 2:21 which says, "....for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."
Ephesians 2:8 which says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves...."
Romans 1:17 which says, "...The just shall live by faith."
Romans 3:20 which says, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight:...
Romans 3:28 which says, "... man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
Romans 3:10 - "There is NONE righteous...."
And finally the verse you forgot in your James treatise that its faith + works mantra which is James 2:10 - "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
#3 - If you want to use the James passage to prove faith plus works, then you'd better understand you have to be 100% perfect. You can't fail or sin even ONE TIME throughout your ENTIRE LIFE. Reading the words of Christ back in Matthew that even includes your thought life - Jesus said if you've ever had even a lustful thought you've committed adultery, or if you've ever gotten angry with someone you've already murdered Him as far as God is concerned. Good luck with the 100% perfection requirement in James 2:10.
I'd go so far as to suggest that with this 'hit and run post' you've put up late at night filled with hate and vitriol towards protestants that you've already screwed the pooch in achieving God's requirement of 100% perfection. I don't care how many sacraments and works you do from here on out. It doesn't matter anymore.
You catholics are simply intolerant to Grace Saints whom are saved by God’s WORD and the faith OF Christ Jesus in heaven, not in the flesh anymore, and whom are CALLED before the foundation of the world. It is clearly apparent, this intolerance, since you all so freely level “heritic” labels upon true Bible Saints. The same way the Pharisees and Sadducees accused Jesus as having a demon, so you also likewise accuse Saints, thus persecuting both Christ and true Saints-Believers. You do NOT demonstrate “christian” love nor charity: but only the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matthew 16:12. If you had the true Christ, you would not act like them in Matthew 16:12.
Great post. Thank you.
Faith is the work of the Father.
(28) Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
(29) Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
(23) But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
(22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
(23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
A smidgen more faith than no faith whatsoever is adequate for saving faith.
(3) For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
(4) Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
(5) But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
(6) Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
(7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
(8) Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
(16) Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
We could take this line of reasoning further and still miss the gospel.
One can qualify faith as being inadequate if it lacks works,..then one could qualify works if they are not Divinely guided works,..even many good works are classified as fruit of iniquity in Matt 7:21-23.
The only work God recognizes for righteousness is Christ’s work on the Cross, in payment for all sin.
Our faith is the same as His, which then is counted for righteousness.
(21) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
(22) Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
(23) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
(24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
We responded with the same thought, independently of one another, except perhaps that we also are members of the same body.
Indicative of a work of the Father through the Holy Spirit. GB.
The thought was to discern the work of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It’s an interesting and maturing study.
So, it all boils down to John 3:16?
Actually, the act proves nothing because those acts are also performed by the non-elect.
The actual and real gospel today for the Church of Grace believes is 1 Cor. 15:3-5. Because the gospel message 1 Cor. 15:3-5 CONTAINS is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. John 3:16 does not contain the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ [Messiah]. John 3:16 is primarily for the Jewish believers in the four Gospels; but of course, Catholics are unable to advance beyond the four Gospels, hence, acting just like the Pharisees and Saducees in Matthew 16:12.
I like to tell friends that there were no Christians in the crowds Jesus addressed. At least, none in the sense that one is a Christian after his death and resurrection.
I am a Messianic Jew.. not a Cavinist.