Can we drop "alone" from faith and grace?

To my protestant brothers and sisters…

If I say that I am save by Grace through Faith - am I saying anything different than if I say Grace alone through Faith alone???

What is the significance of that term…Alone???

It strikes me as repetitive and unnecessary and more of a barrier than a help to understanding one another. I would be happy, and I think it would be constructive to conversation, if this unnecessary term were dropped.

And to my Catholic brothers and sisters…Let us allow the protestants to speak for themselves. Of course if you are a convert and wish to share your insights…or you wish to relate what a protestant friend has shared with you on the matter - that’s fine

Peace
James

A Lutheran friend shared they use the word “alone” to make it explicitly clear their Lutheran Faith does not teach works righteousness in any way.

Mary.

=JRKH;11045273]To my protestant brothers and sisters…

If I say that I am save by Grace through Faith - am I saying anything different than if I say Grace alone through Faith alone???

What is the significance of that term…Alone???

It strikes me as repetitive and unnecessary and more of a barrier than a help to understanding one another. I would be happy, and I think it would be constructive to conversation, if this unnecessary term were dropped.

The significance of the usage of the term “alone” is to affirm that nothing else in involved. So, when we say salvation is by grace alone, we are clear that salvation is only by grace. When we say we are justified by faith alone, it is our intent to make clear, especially against the Pelagians and semi-Pelagians, that only faith justifies. When we say Christ alone, we recognize that the only savior is Christ, the second person of the Trinity.

Now, I am secure enough in my faith that I can agree to say, it is by grace through faith in the works of Christ that we are saved.

On the other hand, I guess the reverse question is can Catholics give up the phrase “faith and works”, which from our perspective, is also a barrier.

Perhaps, James, the language we can agree on is from Galatians 5, that we are justified by faith, and more specifically a faith that works through love

Peace

And also with you,
Jon

The wall as he says in his Letter to the Ephesians between Israel and the Gentiles, was no longer necessary: it is Christ who protects us from polytheism and all of its deviations; it is Christ who unites us with and in the one God; it is Christ who guarantees our true identity within the diversity of cultures. The wall is no longer necessary; our common identity within the diversity of cultures is Christ, and it is he who makes us just. Being just simply means being with Christ and in Christ. And this suffices. Further observances are no longer necessary. For this reason Luther’s phrase: “faith alone” is true, if it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. Faith is looking at Christ, entrusting oneself to Christ, being united to Christ, conformed to Christ, to his life. And the form, the life of Christ, is love; hence to believe is to conform to Christ and to enter into his love

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2008/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20081119_en.html

Grace alone is something that you** have to **say.

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/ORANGE.htm

:thumbsup:

Jon

Jon…I think you make good points here…but I would suggest that if one had a good understanding of what “grace” and “faith” mean and entail…the term alone would be unnecessary and if one does NOT have a good understanding of the terms, then “alone” can aggravate the misunderstanding…

Now, I am secure enough in my faith that I can agree to say, it is by grace through faith in the works of Christ that we are saved.

Amen

On the other hand, I guess the reverse question is can Catholics give up the phrase “faith and works”, which from our perspective, is also a barrier.

I tend to agree for the same reason as above…If one has a good understanding of what it means to have faith, then “and works” is superfluous.

Perhaps, James, the language we can agree on is from Galatians 5, that we are justified by faith, and more specifically a faith that works through love

Agreed…Heartily…
It actually saddens me that in so many of the conversations like the one that prompted this thread Love is never even mentioned. In fact…shouldn’t a “Sola” Christian find it odd that there is no “Sola” Agape??

I guess that is another question…Why is Agape (or the Latin equivalent) not even mentioned in the Solas?
hhmmmm:shrug:

And also with you,
Jon

Some days, reading CAF can be terribly frustrating. Today is not one of those days. :slight_smile:

Pope Benedict XVI is one great, great man. Thank you for sharing that excerpt, capablanca911.

I find the bold kind of confusing.

How can Faith Alone, be accurate in light of something that takes effort to do (be charitable, be loving)? Doesn’t that contradict the ‘alone’ part?

I think there needs to be an ‘And’ where people put an ‘Or’ in these arguments.

For instance -

Is knowing about and believing in Christ (faith), and not acting on what is taught, all we need to do?

Or do we need to act on what is taught?

Trick questions - A: no to both as separate questions.

Yes to both as one question - Know and share the Word, AND act according to Jesus’s teachings, no?

My one post for today and I hope to make it a good one. :stuck_out_tongue:

When I was raised Southern Baptist, we believed that by only the Grace of God can one even have the chance to partake in the salvation of Christ. Through that Grace we obtain Faith in God through the Blood of Christ. Once we have such Faith, we are called to be obedient to God (works). I believe every single Christian faith can affirm such belief. We get divided by the lingo and a “he said she said” battle of wits and theology. Now the once saved always saved camp will differ with such beliefs, but they still arrive at salvation the same way.

ffg,
You sort of hit on what i suggested above to Jon about “alone” being unnecessary if one truly understands what faith means…and “alone” can be confusing if one does not fully understand…
If one truly believes in Christ (repented and accepted Christ and baptism) - then the actions follow for belief in Christ is belief in His teachings and a desire to follow Him and abide in Him and our actions must reflect that belief - that grace - that faith.

I just don’t see the purpose for the term “alone” in the majority of our modern day conversations. :shrug:

Peace
James

Perhaps an analogy will help?

Firefighters are at a burning building. One guy does crowd control, 4 guys are on some hoses, and one guy named Mr. Faith goes in to rescue you.

Where you saved by Mr. Faith alone? Well, if you mean was he the only one that went into the building to drag you away from destruction, yes. If you mean was he the only one that showed up, no. If you mean that he himself alone without the rest of the firetime setting the conditions of his success could save you, no. We have to do stuff (by grace) that enables faith to do the saving (tears of repentence snuff out the flames of our sins, helping the poor by giving away our money is taking the fire axe to our own idols that we make of the material world, to keep them from burning up in the fire as well).

Further reading on this topic here:

vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/documents/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_31101999_cath-luth-joint-declaration_en.html

If anybody thinks that’s a bad analogy, feel free to sound off!

I think where the difference in viewpoint comes is that for us, faith is the only way we access justification. Works do not add to justification. OTOH, that doesn’t mean that we need not act on what we are taught. On the contrary, out of grateful joy for the regeneration we receive through Christ Jesus, we by necessity must do what He has commanded, to care for our fellow man.

Jon

Nice analogy…I had a different one running around my head yesterday…

I say that I get from point A to point B in my car…My car alone is how I get from point A to Point B…A simple enough statement and most people would understand it…
YET…
The Car contains many component parts the absence of any one of which would render the car useless to take one from A to B.
Just for the sake of illustration let’s say that the Car is “faith” engine is “belief” that fuel is grace and that the drive chain and tires are “works”…
The fuel feeds the engine just as grace feeds belief…the engine feeds the tires just as belief feeds action.
We can easily say that the car works by “fuel alone” by “engine alone”…but without the “tires alone”…one goes nowhere…

We can also make the composite statement that we bet there by “Car alone”…and that is going to take in a whole lot of things…

Not the most perfect analogy…but oh well…

Peace
James

[quote=MaryT777] A Lutheran friend shared they use the word “alone” to make it explicitly clear their Lutheran Faith does not teach works righteousness in any way.

Mary.
[/quote]

Some experts claim that Luther added the word “alone” in his translation even though it was no where in the text.

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Yeah, analogies are sometimes troublesome.

I have no problem realizing all the Holy Spirit does to bring someone to saving faith. The faith and works of my parents to have me baptized a month and a day after I was born. The work and faith of teachers and other adults in my youth. These, within the analogy, are the guys holding the hoses, etc. In all these ways, the Holy Spirit uses His tools to bring me to saving faith.
In turn, Christ commands us to help the least of His children. I’ve acted on faith to be sure my children were baptized, raised in the faith, and confirmed, as an example. Also moved by faith, I regularly avail myself of the sacraments of Absolution and the Eucharist. These are the actions of the justified.

Jon

REV 14:13 - And I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow them.

From what I remember, works are the only thing that follows you…

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Yes, that’s often said and has been addressed by the Lutherans on the forum before.

Here’s the best reasoning for why we shouldn’t be too upset about “faith alone”

beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2006/02/luther-added-word-alone-to-romans-328.html

For my dear Catholic friends, skip over the naughty bits where you see Luther getting rather testy and go to the part where Origin, Basil, John Chrysostom and Cyril of Alexandria used the same phrasing.

My $.02:

“Faith alone” is comforting - for no amount of good works can possibly justify our salvation. We can only offer God bits of dross made of His own creation - that will never suffice.

Where does the theological virtue of hope fit in with all of this? The Bible does say that hope saves.

By virtue (for lack of a better word) of his lack of authority, Martin Luther added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28, and HE EVEN ADMITS TO IT:

I know very well that in Romans 3 the word solum is not in the Greek or Latin text —
the papists did not have to teach me that. It is fact that the letters s-o-l-a are not there.

It is my Testament and my translation, and it shall remain mine.

I’m not even going to bring up the rest of Martin Luther’s arrogance, I will just direct people to the writings of this monk who felt he had the right to write the Bible however he wishes:
bible-researcher.com/luther01.html

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