Some Baptists that I have spoken to have quoted Romans 10 as their defense for “faith alone”. I am not sure how to respond to this. I am sure that it is out of context and means something different. Please respond.
It is indeed taken terribly out of context. They are stating all you have to do is say with your lips that Jesus is Christ? How terribly in conflict they have interpreted that verse against the rest of Scripture, especially James 2:24 and Matthew 7:21.
But if you read the sentences around that verse, Paul is clearly talking to the Romans (i.e. Gentiles), who were previously considered outsiders to the faith…i.e. those who did not practice “the law”. He is convincing them that salvation does not come from works of the law (the Mosaic law practiced by Jews). In short, he is telling them that salvation is available for Jews and Gentiles alike via belief in Christ. If you read on, Paul says they must also “trust” God and “call on Him” and he clearly connects what we do with our salvation in many other of his letters and chapters.
As well, having “faith” entails following Christ, not just a semantic declaration. What good is that? Even demons recognize Jesus as the Christ (Luke 8:27-31). Often when faith is use alone in Scripture, it must therefore be understood as a synecdoche—an abbreviated form of a more complex idea of “faith working through love in Christ”.
Ask him what it means “to believe”. Does it mean simply to believe that “yes”, Jesus raised from the dead. Or does it mean I believe all that Jesus taught on Salvation and that I will follow what he taught as closely as possible.
For instance, Jesus taught that we must forgive one another. Do I believe that I must forgive those who injure me? Jesus taught that we need to help out the needy. Do I believe that I must help out the needy? Jesus taught that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. Do I believe that I am doing that in the Eucharist?
What is believe…
Yes, we are saved by faith alone. This is orthodox Catholic belief. Anyone who says differently misunderstands the concept.
Faith working through love.
Faith working through love is what “belief” is all about.
Also check out the book “Where is That in the Bible?” by Patrick Madrid.
D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:
Ver. 9. Thou shalt be saved. To confess the Lord Jesus, and to call upon the name of the Lord, (ver. 13.) is not barely the professing of a belief in the person of Christ: but moreover implies a belief of his whole doctrine, and an obedience to his law; without which the calling of him Lord will save no man. (St. Matthew vii. 21.) (Challoner) — This passage must be understood like many others of this apostle, of a faith accompanied by a good-will ready to perform what faith says must be practised; as it is required in this very place, that what we believe in the heart, we should confess with our mouth. (Estius)
There is evidence that two of the “pillars” of the Church, Sts. Peter and James (Gal. 2:9) were seeking to properly interpret Paul’s epistles. Peter noted that he was writing of the “same things” that Paul did (2 Pet. 3:14) while emphasizing the importance of supplementing one’s faith with many virtues and also the necessity of active charity to complete one’s faith. James on the other hand never mentions Paul at all by name but there is evidence that he sought to provide a proper interpretation of Romans 2-4 in his epistle. This position is supported by two factors. The first is that James (like Peter) wrote his epistle AFTER Paul wrote his epistles. Second, the themes addressed in James and Romans respectively are so similar. Note the following parallels between the two epistles:
The thing which gets Catholicism a bad name as a religion of works is the piling up of “merits”, as if they were pennies in the piggy bank, saving up for the price of a ticket into heaven.
The thing that gets Catholicism a bad name are those who bear false witness contrary to the 8th commandment, and I’m sure God takes their fear, pride and ignorance into consideration before they look Him in the face.
Uh… there is another thing that gets Catholicism a bad name.
Bad Catholics. :crying: