Faith Alone


#1

If one believes in the notion of “Faith Alone” doesn’t that necessitate a belief in “Once Saved Always Saved,” which then would demand an acceptance of “Predestination”?

Let me explain. If by faith alone, it is meant that after, having accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior there is nothing we can “do” apart from the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to enter heaven. Than it would only stand to reason, there is nothing we can “do” apart form the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to lose heaven. Thus, “Once Saved Always Saved.” And, if we truly believe there is nothing we can “do” to enter or lose heaven, then the mere acceptance of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is something we can not “do” Thus the choice we make to accept or not accept Jesus is not of our own free will, but rather one that has been predestined for us to make from the beginning of time.

Any thoughts?


#2

Well, I can’t see anything wrong with your logic, but then, i’m not really an interested party…
oh well…
oh! Welcome to the CAF!


#3

While I certainly have problems with most all of the theories underlying your reasoning, I am not certain that I understand taking the step from “once saved always saved” to predestination. While “once saved” does not appear to be scriptural, I don’t see why if I could not “get out” of heaven by my successive actions that this would necessarily mean that my initial decision must be predestined.


#4

cjbauere

You have set out this line of reasoning with an emphasis on the logical steps toward the conclusion.

There are two ways in which your line of reasoning is vulnerable:

[LIST=1]
*]The premises may be false.
*]The connection between premises and the conclusion may be a non sequitur.[/LIST]


#5

Yeah I agree with Gene. Predestination doesn’t necessarily follow from “once saved always saved.” I see what you mean by our free will being eliminated if we could never get ‘unsaved.’ But that doesn’t mean that we never had an initial choice.

Here’s a question I have about the sola fide debate: How do catholics define a “work.” Is it accurate to say that catholicism calls a work “any act of the will that is aligned with God’s will?”


#6

But wouldn’t that intial choice not be a choice at all, but just a fulfilling of a predetermined path?

I view a “work” as a cooperation with God’s grace, in action.


#7

Certainly the underlying premise is false, ie, Sola fide, but if you accept SF, then this chain seems to be logical.


#8

I don’t know if most Protestants hold that Predestination follows from Sola Fide (logically speaking, it should PREcede it!), but it does seem to me that the additional error of “eternal security” does.

That they might feel they are predestined because of eternal security rising from Sola Fide might be more the thread of their thinking. Which is why Sola Fide (which itself arises from Sola Scriptura/private interpretation) is a pernicious belief to begin with. One error begets another, then another, then…
:juggle:


#9

Absolutely not. The majority of Protestants, all of whom accept the doctrine of Sola Fide, reject OSAS.

[quote=cjbaure]which then would demand an acceptance of “Predestination”?

[/quote]

No, I dont see this being a “necessary” outcome of OSAS. One topic addresses the means to salvation, the other deals with the permanancy of salvation. Separate issues.

[quote=cjbaure]Let me explain. If by faith alone, it is meant that after, having accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior there is nothing we can “do” apart from the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to enter heaven. Than it would only stand to reason, there is nothing we can “do” apart form the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to lose heaven. Thus, “Once Saved Always Saved.”
[/quote]

If you choose to define “faith alone” in this manner, then, of course OSAS follows. Not everyone defines “faith alone” in this manner, however, and that is why your original premise is flawed.

[quote=cjbaure]And, if we truly believe there is nothing we can “do” to enter or lose heaven, then the mere acceptance of Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior is something we can not “do”
[/quote]

This is logically flawed because you never said there was nothing we could do prior to accepting Christ, you simply said that *after *one accepted Christ there was nothing that could “do” to “undo” one’s salvation. Different concepts.

[quote=cjbaure]Thus the choice we make to accept or not accept Jesus is not of our own free will, but rather one that has been predestined for us to make from the beginning of time.
Any thoughts?
[/quote]

Here are my thoughts:

Whether or not what you propose is true is, at best, irrelevent.
There is nothing we can do with the information. In fact, if it is true, then even our opinion of it’s truthfullness is predestined and,therefore, unreliable. That’s the best outcome if it’s true, mind you.
At worst, if it is untrue, it could lead some to a false sense of security in their destiny to glorification which might hinder them from striving for the holiness without which no one will see God.
I recommend that you read through the entire " The Golden Chain of Salvation" thread in the apologetics forum if you wish to hear some articulate discussions on both sides of the debate.


#10

I think you’ve introduced something new here. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. Why would the initial choice be predetermined?


#11

I think that what he means is this: if no human “work” can help us to be saved, presumably that includes the human work of making an initial choice for Christ.

If one accepts “faith alone,” then one requires an initial act of faith–an acceptance of Christ. That is something that we “do.” A work. But, because no work can save us (according to ‘faith alone,’ even that initial work must be God’s, not ours. If it is God’s work, then we had no choice in the accepting of Christ, thus predestination.

That is how I see his argument.


#12

Yes, thank you.


#13

I just had a long email debate with that very line of reasoning. I didn’t realize that is what he was trying to say.

My “opponent” introduced an interesting idea (i think, accidentally). It’s a kind of soft predestination that sill allows for free will (only in the negative). Here’s how it goes:

We all have the choice to accept or reject God
We all always choose to reject God, even thought the other option is still available.

In spite of our choice to always reject God, God overrides some wills and saves some people.

This avoids the problem of evil that strict predestination encounters, yet still keeps the idea that we have no part in our own salvation.

It still obviously destroys our autonomy and person hood, but it avoids the problem of evil (as far as I can tell).


#14

We all have the choice to accept or reject God
We all always choose to reject God, even thought the other option is still available.

In spite of our choice to always reject God, God overrides some wills and saves some people.

That doesn’t sound like free will to me.

We always have a choice, but we will always choose to reject God? Sounds like no choice exists. Then God has to override our will, in effect forcing us to accept salvation. This sounds like we are mere robots.


#15
  1. Free will is technically still around for the first two statements.

There’s nothing logically wrong with the idea that people would freely and always choose one option instead of the other. But the argument only works from a human, temporal perspective.

Crude analogy time:
Imagine you get 15 coin flips (say, 30 years of life choices)
It’s possible that the coin lands tails up all 15 times.
In other words, there is nothing about having 2 choices (possibilities) that necessitates both will happen.

It’s possible that out of our 2 possibilities, no one ever choses to follow God.

  1. Free will wouldn’t be around for the last statement, the part where God snatches up the unwilling anyway. but from a human, temporal perspective, the free will was around long enough to skirt the “problem of evil” that predestination usually encounters. Humans first chose to actualize the potential for evil, then once evil is actualized by us (thus not created by God) God takes away the free will and brings some people to heaven.

Like I said before, the end result would still encounter all the other problems that eliminating free will causes, just not the problem of Evil

That being said, the entire thing only works if we look at free will temporally (a chronological sequence of choices). It’s much better to look at free will extra temporally. Then you avoid the problem of God’s omniscience. I won’t write anything about that now because this is already too long.


#16

Hmmmm the “faith alone” question is one always debated between Catholics and Protestants, and I’d have to say is one that is also deeply imbeded in scripture.

The story of Lazarus the begger outside the rich man’s home is an example. Lazarus lived a life of incredible need outside the rich man’s mansion, and the rich man never bothered to give the poor man warmth or food. In the end, it is Lazarus who ends up in heavan, and the rich man who is condemned.

Here we can see that works also plays a part in our final “destination.” For me I see it in this way: If we truly believe in God, and ultimately Jesus Christ, we would act in ways that show that. We would not seek to offend God by acting in ways that would displease him, and we would seek his favor by leading a life in accordance to what Jesus taught.

So yes, works are a PART of our faith. The way we live morally (choosing not to use contraception, not drink in excess, or not stealing etc) is a piece, as well as extending ourselves to others in the sense of the Beatitudes.

It is important to remember that these acts could never “win” us a free passage to heaven. We can never be “good enough” through our works. So while our faith makes us enthusiastic to please God by living a certain way, it is by God’s Grace alone that we might obtain this final destination.

So I could go on to explain more of this topic (as has been addressed by other posts) but I’ll leave you with this: How can one honestly profess: I believe in Jesus Christ, the son of God, and then go out and purposefully engage in things displeasing to him? Is it just lip service at that point?


#17

I agree with everything you’ve said. It seems like an accurate description of salvation.

The person who started this thread was making the point that the very idea of Free Will implies we participate in our own salvation, whether through the act of damning ourselves or cooperating with God.

This cooperation with God is the catholic idea of a ‘work.’

So in other words, if one wants to say that humans can choose to follow God (as many protestants do), then one must agree that ‘works’ are part of salvation. The works don’t earn it of course, but God lets us participate, which greatly glorifies him.


#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.