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Old Apr 23, '10, 6:24 am
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mikeledes mikeledes is offline
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Default Faith Alone: A Question for Protestants to Reflect On.

A question I have for Protestants is... if sola fide is so fundamental to the Christian gospel, why is it that Paul NEVER uses the words ¨faith alone?" Adding "alone" to faith is not a very complicated procedure. He had plenty of opportunities to use it, ESPECIALLY in Romans 4. In fact, the ONLY place in the Bible we find the words faith alone is in James 2:24:

24You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

And the reason is obvious. We are not justified by faith alone. While Paul says that we are justified by faith apart from the works of the Law, that is not the same thing as faith alone. The Bible conditions justification not only on faith, but also on repentance:

Acts 2:38

38Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 3:19

19"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Mark 1:15

15and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Luke 24:47

47and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Acts 20:21

21solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 7:10

10For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Its believe AND repent for the forgiveness of sins, for justification, and not believe alone for justification. If man cannot be justified without repentance, then repentance is as essential to justification as faith, and hence the command to repent AND believe. Moreover, repentance logically presupposes what is called in Catholic theology amor initialis, or the beginning of the love of God. Can a man turn to God for forgiveness of sins and yet not love Him? Can a man simultaneously feel sorrow for his sins and repent and not love God? There are no vacuums in the spiritual world. This love is not ancilliary to justification, it is essential IN ORDER TO BE justified. If man cannot repent without the love of God, then the love of God is also as essential to justification as faith. So man is not justified by faith alone.

When Paul says man is justified by faith, he assumes that united to this faith are the love of God and repentance and the Christians hearing his letters would have known that. If he meant faith alone he would have said faith alone. It's not like he lacked opportunities to do so. Again, "faith alone" is so crucial to the Christian Gospel and yet Paul never uses "faith alone?" That is very strange indeed. The fact that Paul doesn't say man is justified by faith and repentance or faith and love does not mean that faith is the sole condition for justification. That's like taking Luke 24:47, which only mentions repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and claim that we are justified by repentance alone. Repentance presupposes faith and faith logically must be united with repentance for justification. Every passage must be read within the broader context of Divine Revelation.

Every time Paul uses faith, he means faith, love, and repentace. Let us not fall into the error of the Oneness Pentecostals! Because it says in Acts "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus," they argue that there is only ONE person in the Godhead, namely Jesus (i.e. Jesus only). Not realizing that the formula used in the Book of Acts is just a shorthand version of baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, justified by faith is a shorthand version of justified by faith, love, and repentance. The proponents of "Faith Alone" practically commit the same exegetical error as the Jesus Only Pentecostals. They both assume that because something is not mentioned , that what is mentioned is alone (i.e. faith only, Jesus only). So since faith is the only condition mentioned in many passages in Scripture, then faith must be the sole condition and since Jesus is the only person explicitly mentioned in the baptismal formula of the Book of Acts, then He is the ONLY person in the Godhead. And yet when we interpret those passages within the broader context of Divine Revelation, we find that they are both wrong.

So Paul never uses faith alone because he never meant faith alone. For in addition to faith, the love of God and repentance are also necessary for justification. And that is why the Catholic Church teaches that man is justified by fides caritate formata (faith formed by love) and not sola fide (faith alone).

God Bless,
Michael
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Last edited by mikeledes; Apr 23, '10 at 6:34 am.
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Old Apr 24, '10, 6:05 pm
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mikeledes mikeledes is offline
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Default Re: Faith Alone: A Question for Protestants to Reflect On.

To illustrate my point, here is what the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord of the Lutheran Churches states:

In like manner, too, in justification before God faith relies neither upon contrition nor upon love or other virtues, but upon Christ alone, and in Him upon His complete obedience by which He has fulfilled the Law for us, which [obedience] is imputed to believers for righteousness.

Moreover, neither contrition nor love or any other virtue, but faith alone is the sole means and instrument by which and through which we can receive and accept the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, which are offered us in the promise of the Gospel.


This is in direct contradiction to what the Bible says regarding the necessity of contrition/repentance for justification:

Isaiah 55:7

Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the LORD,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.


2 Corinthians 7:10

10For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Luke 13:5

5"I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Luke 24:47

47and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Repentance is not ancilliary to salvation, it is a necessary condition for justification. In addition, repentance is not the same thing as faith, and the Bible makes that clear:

Mark 1:15

15and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

Acts 20:21

21solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 6:1

1Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God

Faith and repentance (contrition) are required for justification, not faith alone.

God Bless,
Michael
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Old Mar 8, '12, 11:15 am
bberry bberry is offline
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Default Re: Faith Alone: A Question for Protestants to Reflect On.

"The Apostles decisively rejected any separation between the commitment of the heart and the actions which express or prove it (cf. 1 Jn 2:3-6)." (P.JPII Veritatis Splendor 1993)
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Old Apr 11, '12, 4:17 am
FAUSLYASCES FAUSLYASCES is offline
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