Help refuting sola fide


I have read this defending sola fide:

For what I understood, the article implies you can be with “faith only” because although a portions of the Book of James says faith required works, it’s still “faith only” because when you do as you please and you have faith, then what pleases you is in accord with God, so you do works by being with faith only. So maybe this means, works are not necessary because faith only makes you do works. But then, you did works after all. It’s pretty twisted logic if you ask me. Maybe their point is the works must be done instinctively not with willpower. Do you really believe it doesn’t require any willpower?

Logically, Jesus and the Apostles commanded and taught a lot, if it’s faith only, then they just bothered about absolutely useless things. I think the commands and teachings are there to be followed, which is works(do you think so?).

There’s also that “once saved, always saved” doctrine. But there’s are things like this:

Matthew 6:14-15
"For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Matthew 7:21
"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Maybe I’ll say more later.


This argument is often made as a way to reconcile the issue of faith and works. To me it starts to become a matter of semantics and hair splitting.

My view is this - that their is danger in going too far in either direction. Both of which really boil down to not having a true and permanent change of heart.
One the one hand the Sola Fide view - taken to an extreme can become a license to act sinfully relying solely on ones faith to get them to heaven. In such a case the person’s heart is not changed. They continue in sin…and St John tells us this is not the path to heaven.

The other extreme is to rely too much on “works” - keeping the letter of the law - without embracing the spirit of it. In this case too there is not a true conversion of the heart.

I think most of us fall in the middle somewhere. Recognizing the need for repentance, the change of heart - and we struggle to fulfill the promise of faith. In the end, no matter how one describes the relationship of faith and works…they are both necessary (in a normative sense).

The thing to remember - and is often overlooked in such discussions - is that the greatest and most important requirement of all is Agape. All else is built upon Agape. Without Agape…belief and works are worthless.

I don’t think I really answered your question…but maybe something here will help…




Jimmy Akin has posted a discussion (link below) of the contrasting meanings that the word “faith” has acquired in Catholic and Protestant use. His starting point is the phrase “faith, hope, and charity.” He says that Catholic writers, when they use the word “faith,” tend to bear in mind that Paul is using the three words to discriminate between three different things, with the result that “faith” (in the Catholic sense) is separate from hope and charity, which are also separate from one another. In Protestant use, however, “faith” is commonly understood as a shorthand expression (I’m paraphrasing Jimmy Akin here) for faith-hope-charity taken as a single virtue. If I’ve understood him correctly, his argument boils down to this: Yes, justification is by faith alone if you’re using “faith” in the Protestant sense, but not if you’re using it in the Catholic sense.


To add to what 's been said, beginning with St Paul:
**"…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”**
1 Cor 13

"Faith may indeed exist, but without love it avails nothing". St Augustine

"At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love". St John of the Cross

**"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments".** Matt 22:36-40

Man’s justice is defined primarily by love, not by faith. Faith, as a response to Gods call-to grace- is the beginning of our justice, it’s root and foundation as Trent put it. But if it doesn’t lead to love, the image of God that we’re to be transformed into, it has produced nothing. Love is the right and proper motivation for good works, which relflect our love of neighbor (reference Matt 25:31-46), and for authentic obedience of God. Faith restores communion between man and God, apart from Whom we can do nothing (John 15:5). This vital relationship provides the means for God to do His work in us. The New Covenant is about real change, as James mentioned in his post above, made possible by grace.


this video by steve ray might be helpful.

the words faith and alone aren’t found together anywhere in scripture except James, where it states we are not justified by faith alone.

therefore Justification by faith alone is not biblical.

it’s why luther tried to throw the book of james out of the bible and called it an Epistle of straw. he also added the word alone to Romans 3:28… Hmmmm I wonder why :rolleyes:
possibly to support his doctrine of sola fide?


I think it is necessary and enlightening to distinguish between Modern Protestants who are using a creative definition of “Faith Alone” to try to make it fit the many passages in the Bible that flatly contradict how Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism, used the term “Faith Alone.” For Martin Luther, as he stated, a person could commit adultery a thousand times a day and it would not effect his salvation.

Scott Hahn explains it best. Martin Luther based his understanding of Romans within the framework of a court room. For Catholics, it is within the context of a family. We have a heavenly Father who raises up good sons.

See more at

     **JUSTIFICATION  Preliminary Issue - **         
     **[The Greatness of God]("")**

*]A fundamental difference between Catholics and many Protestants including Lutherans and Calvinists is the nature of grace and what it means to be saved. In order to emphasize God’s glory Calvin mistakenly thought it was necessary to claim that man was only and always completely evil, hence his doctrine of the Total Depravity Man. This short article demonstrates that in order to give God full credit for His greatness we must acknowledge His love for us and its working within us.


An in-depth look at what the Book of Romans teaches on Justification




Here’s the thing. Why would a guy with Faith be looking for a loophole to not have to do Works? I mean isn’t that like a guy who tells his beloved that he loves him/her only to then make excuses about why he can’t get off the couch to help bring in the groceries? :shrug:


The Bible says Faith alone can’t save you, so it can’t be faith “alone”! It is very clear. The Bible says “Know, O’ man, that Faith Alone is dead” (Jas 2:20)


The Sola Fides doctrine grew out of a reaction to what appeared to be strict legalism in the Catholic Church. And of course, it is not the effort of man that washes, sanctifies or justifies. So a good starting point is that; recognize that works alone do not save.

Indeed, the Catholic position is that it is by grace alone that we are saved. Grace sanctifies, it justifies, it washes us clean, it transforms us. And both Faith and Works are graces, gifts from God above.

We agree with the underlying principle that drives the Sola Fides doctrine: namely, that salvation is a Divine action, not a human action.

So, the question to pose to those who hold to Sola Fides is this: is Faith a Divine action or a human action? It’s an important question, because Faith, in the Protestant formula (profess Jesus as your personal lord and saviour) is really a human activity. And if that’s true, then it stands on the same ground as works.


[quote=MrSnaith]So, the question to pose to those who hold to Sola Fides is this: is Faith a Divine action or a human action? It’s an important question, because Faith, in the Protestant formula (profess Jesus as your personal lord and saviour) is really a human activity. And if that’s true, then it stands on the same ground as works.

A very good point! :thumbsup: However, it is NOT a Protestant formula but an Evangelical one. I consider them quite distinct, although Evangelicals may disagree with me. :shrug: Still it is the Evangelicals that seem to revel most in these kind of debates, so it is a good rejoinder when discussing with them.

As was said in an earlier post, Protestants and Catholics are often talking past each other on this topic because of the way Catholics separate Faith from Hope and Charity, whereas Protestants tend to consider Faith Hope and Charity all rolled into one: Faith. So to Protestants, Having Faith means having Hope and Charity (and therefore works) as well.


The Catholic Church does not and has never taught that works alone save. That is a complete straw man argument. The Bible teaches what The Church which founded by Jesus Christ before a single word of the New Testament was written, has always taught. Neither Faith Alone nor Works Alone save.


Yes of course.

I tend to shy away from accusing everyone who makes this argument of setting up a strawman, however, because for a lot of these people, it’s just what they’ve been taught we think. Yes, it’s not true, and they’re trying to refute something we don’t even believe, but I usually give the benefit of the doubt.


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