Faith Alone???

I have a friend that was a seminary student (possibly going back). When I would share new or challenging ideas with him he’d ask, “What does that look like?”, to get me to paint a picture - it’s a great question.

I was thinking about the idea of Faith Alone, and “What does that look like?”, and realized it does not look like anything different.

It’s only “faith, working through love” Gal. 5:6 - that actually looks like something. The deeper I get in to Catholic teaching, the funnier some of the old protestant ideas look.

How about a never-ending multiple-car pile-up on a 16-lane expressway? :smiley:

So Luther said “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone”.

So he actually said we are not saved by faith alone lol

Pope Benedict XVI on the subjects of Faith and Works in St. Paul (scroll down)

Plus earlier one:

Yes, I’ll stand by the Bible; James 2:17

**So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Says it all to me.

That said Luther considered James to be an Epistle of straw. That passage proves faith alone as doctrine is wrong.


I really feel like Catholics and Protestants are saying the same thing about this, just speaking different languages.

I agree - there is a lot of overlap. At first my old Baptists pastor would draw the line in the sand - No Works! And then if you talk long enough it would come around to something like, real faith will produce works.

Great comment on Luther too - and only in two sentences:thumbsup:!

What do you think about this?

Does John make a good point there?:slight_smile:

If you mean to paint a literal picture of faith alone, I would suggest painting your expired friend in a small room without doors or windows demanding entrance to heaven.

If you mean to paint a literal picture of faith as viewed in Catholicism, paint your friend receiving communion in a crowded Mass with friends, family, and other members of the faithful small and large.

Faith cannot exist without hope and charity. If one has faith alone, he merely has knowledge of communion with God, but no communion. With hope and charity he has a faith formed in charity in communion with Jesus Christ. This is seen in three sets of verses, Hebrews 11:1; 1 Corinthians 13:13 and Matthew 22:37-40.

Faith cannot not live ALONE; James 2:17.


Actually, what Luther said was,
** We say that justification is effective without works, not that faith is without works. For that faith which lacks fruit is not an efficacious but a reigned faith. Without works is ambiguous, then. For that reason this argument settles nothing. It is one thing that faith justifies without works; it is another thing that faith exists without works. **

It is by grace through faith that we are justified, according to Luther, and that faith must be a faith that works through love.

Except that this isn’t what he said. He said that, when compared to Paul’s epistles, James is an epistle of straw. He was using a comparative based on his belief that James simply drives the law, and not gospel. Now, he further says that he praises James because it does drive the law, but Luther felt that a book written by an apostle would focus on gospel more than James did.

Hi Jon.

As you know, this is what Jesus says:

Matthew 4:4New International Version (NIV)

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[a]”

So it’s ALL important.

Trying to marginalize James’ epistle, to any degree, is unacceptable, imo.

I do realize the canon was not officially closed then, even by the RCC. But it’s a bit revealing to me that he actually wanted to throw out NT books as well.

Hi Jon.

So are you also saying that Luther did not make the quote I provided? Or just offering this as further clarification as to what he supposedly meant?

It is by grace through faith that we are justified, according to Luther, and that faith must be a faith that works through love.

Right, Galatians 5:6. :slight_smile: Something we can all agree on.

He never says he wants to throw a book out. He is clear that he is only talking about his personal view of the value to him.

** “Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it and consider it a good book, because it sets up no doctrines of men but vigorously promulgates the law of God. However, to state my own opinion about it, though without prejudice to anyone, I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle,…” **

Luther’s opinion is formed in a vacuum. He references “the ancients”, which probably includes Eusebius and others who considered James antilegomena - disputed. Is commentary is clearly his own opinion, and he says so. No where does he say in his commentary that James should be “thrown out”. In fact, he physically includes it, just like he does all of the antilegomena books.


=Lenten_ashes;14678123]Hi Jon.

So are you also saying that Luther did not make the quote I provided? Or just offering this as further clarification as to what he supposedly meant?

A clarification. What I’m saying is that Luther never denies the importance of works, but he never includes it as a way of accessing justification.
One of the things I’m uncomfortable with is the interchanging of justification with being saved. I guess that’s because I recognize that the justified can reject grace through their free will. I don’t think Luther would disagree with that.

Right, Galatians 5:6. :slight_smile: Something we can all agree on.

Yes, and more than that, what Luther and Pope Benedict XVI seem to agree on, considering Luther’s commentary on Galatians 5:6, and Benedict’s comment about Luther’s faith alone if…


Hi Jon.

Thanks. I’ve seen that quote before.

And his personal opinion was that “Jimmy” should be thrown into the stove because it’s a troublesome epistle embraced by and relied upon by the “papists”.

On a phone so cant link right now but i know you have seen it before.

That certainly sounds like he wanted it removed from the canon…yet kept it thanks to the urging of fellow reformers.

Here’s the quote:

That epistle of James gives us much trouble, for the papists embrace it alone and leave out all the rest. Up to this point I have been accustomed just to deal with and interpret it according to the sense of the rest of Scriptures. For you will judge that none of it must be set forth contrary to manifest Holy Scripture. Accordingly, if they will not admit my interpretations, then I shall make rubble also of it. I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kalenberg did.

He says he ALMOST feels like throwing Jimmy in the fire, and references “the priest in Kalenberg”, who put statues in the fire to warm a room for a duchess. It was a metaphor to express his frustration with Rome for not seeing James in the light of Paul, etc. his frustration is with Rome, not James.

There is a temptation by some to take Luther’s hyperbole as literal.

Cause James clearly states, “See how a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

Here’s a link to a recent article on the errors of Martin Luther

Before we spend a lot of time on the part about Luther,

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Protestant revolt and the planned “commemoration” of the event by the Modernists in Rome, it serves as an opportune time to review Luther’s errors and heresies on justification, as well as the immediate fruits that they produced (Mt. 7:20). We will see that Luther’s teaching on justification by faith alone (sola fide) is not simply “faith without works,” as some imagine, but is instead rooted in an entirely different notion of faith, which is believed to justify and save man without requiring obedience to the moral law. We will also see that his errors were rooted in a disdain for the holy justice of God and His moral Law, combined with a consequent distortion of Divine mercy – very similar to the errors infecting many high ranking prelates today.

Specifically and by name, who are the “modernists in Rome”?


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