The following is a debate that I had with a friend who called himself “SolaFide” who wanted to challenge me based from his namesake, SolaFide or “Faith Alone”. I was deployed to Iraq when this debate took place. An interesting story concerning this debate took place in my RCIA class which was being held in Baghdad, I asked the Division Chapel’s Chaplain’s Assistant to play the part of SolaFide and I played myself.
We took opposite sites at the front of the chapel and the RCIA sat in the pews ready for a good debate. As the debate unfolded, the Chaplain’s Assistance, a Baptist, played his role, but was soon to find himself agreeing with me as this debate went to it’s end. That was a great sign for the many in the RCIA who were coming from a strong Protestant background that the Catholic Faith is the true Faith.
In this dialogue I will use OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved) to represent SolaFide and CD to represent myself (Catholic Defender).
OSAS I affirm that faith is the sole instrumental means by which sinners are justified before God. My opponent will try to persuade us that this is not case. However, this will be an impossible task because the Scriptural evidence is too strongly against him. Allow me to present some basic facts that my opponent will not be able to overturn.
Whenever the justification of sinners is mentioned before God, faith is always mentioned as at least one of the means and in most cases it is the only means mentioned. What this communicates to us is that faith is the sin qua non of justification, that is without it there is no justification. Now my opponent will probably agree that faith is necessary, but he will deny that it is sufficient without Baptism. However, this is clearly demonstrated to be false by the numerous Scriptural passages that speak of individuals being justified who have not received the sign and seal of Baptism. For example, our Lord says the following:
John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
What could be clearer? Whoever hears my words and believes has eternal life. There is no other means mentioned besides belief/faith, which proves it is by faith alone. Furthermore, this is not an isolated case. The Apostle Paul says basically the same thing:
Galatians 3:2-3 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
Notice the Apostle asks the rhetorical question that Jesus answered. Do you receive the Spirit by “believing what you heard” or some other means? Of course the answer is by believing what you heard, which is exactly what Jesus said is the means for attaining eternal life. However, here the Apostle Paul speaks of it being the means by which one receives the Holy Spirit which is synonymous with eternal life! Once again we have our Lord confirming this truth when dealing with a tax collector. The tax collector expressed his faith by asking God for mercy and forgiveness and we hear the following dominical pronouncement:
Luke 18:14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. …”
So in these three cases it is proven that faith alone is the sufficient instrumental means for our justification. However, there is more. In the book of Romans where the Apostle Paul gives his most systematic defense of justification he makes the point that both Jews and Gentiles are alike in that they are both under sin and in need of a Savior. He then makes the following statement:
Romans 3:30 Since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
The point being made is that Jews/circumcised and Gentiles/uncircumcised are justified in the same way through the same faith, because there is only one God. So if my opponent makes the argument that there is a different instrumental means of justification for the Old Covenant people and the New Covenant people then he is directly contradicting the Apostle’s argument. Therefore, he must explain how his position jives with the inspired Apostle. The Apostle Paul continues and makes the following statement in reference to Abraham’s justification and therefore the justification of us all. He says:
Romans 4:5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
So we see the argument of the Apostle is that Jews and Gentiles and Abraham and all believers are justified in the same way and that is by/through faith. Can my opponent say the same thing about his position? If not, it has to be rejected as unbiblical.
Now my opponent may attempt to argue because there are a few verses that mention baptism in reference to justification/salvation or washing away of sins then it must actually do those things. The error in this logic is easily seen by looking at the Sacrament of the Old Testament, Circumcision, which Baptism replaced. Circumcision under the Old Testament was called the Covenant. However, everyone knows it was not really the Covenant, but instead it was the sign of the Covenant. Likewise, under the New Testament we read that Baptism save us, but in the same way it is not Baptism that saves us, but Baptism is the sign of what saves us. So what is going on here? Well, this is what you call a metonymy or sacramental language. Since the sign and the thing signified are so closely related the name and effects of the one is attributed to the other.
In closing, we must see if my opponent will remain consistent with his interpretation of Scripture or if special pleading will be his primary tool.
CD Tell me what is wrong with the following:
“I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Then another scroll was opened, the book of life. The dead were judged according to their faith, by what was written in the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then Death and Hades gave up their dead. All the dead were judged according to their faith”.
Did you guess it? I purposely exchanged “deeds” for “faith” to show that we will be held accountable to our deeds and works.
My opponent and I have two elemental differences in our understanding of “faith” which will bear itself out in this debate. Of the importance of faith, we hold much in common. However, when you take a closer look, the differences become clear.
My opponent would have you believe that all you need to have is faith in Jesus Christ and believe in Him and you shall be saved. While we agree on the importance of faith, we disagree on the absolute aspect of faith or “SolaFide”.
Ephesians 2:8 say, “For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you, so no one may boast”. It is by God’s grace that He gives you faith in which the good deeds you do come from Him. God established the means of grace through the sacraments:
“But when the kindness and generous love of God our Savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of His mercy, He SAVES us through the BATH of REBIRTH and RENEWAL by the Holy Spirit… So that we might be JUSTIFIED by HIS GRACE and become heirs in hope of eternal life”. St. Paul is clearly writing this with what Jesus proclaimed to Nicodemus (John 3:5) in mind. (Of course it is only coincidence that it happens to be found in Titus 3:5).
St. John echoes this point home stating, “As for you, the anointing that you received from Him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But His anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in Him.
SolaFide by definition means to uphold the teaching of “Faith Alone” which justify a person to eternal life. My friends, we need faith to be sure, but St John emphasizes this point, “If you consider that He (Jesus) is righteous, you also know that everyone who ACTS in righteousness is begotten by Him”.
St. John tells us basically what this means: “I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life”.
What did he write us?
“If we say ‘we are without sin’, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”. “If we say, ‘we have not sinned’, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us”. “Whoever says, ‘I know Him’, but does not keep His Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”. “Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother is still in darkness”. “If anyone loves the world or the things of the world the love of the Father is not in him”.
“If” you’re able to follow all the “ifs” you will then know how to follow God. That takes us back to the issue of faith. By not living up to the “ifs” we are liable to judgment. It is by God’s grace and forgiveness and mercy that we receive, then we can say, “And the victory that conquers the world is our faith”, “for we walk by faith and not by sight”.
We will have to face judgment and be held accountable to our deeds (Matthew 25:31-46, James 2:24). This is communicated many times in the New Testament. So along with faith, we must have His Grace and good works which all comes from Him. Then we can live the virtues of our Faith; Faith, Hope, and Love, which the greatest of these is Love.
I do want to make a final point in my opening statement; my opponent will present scripture that will address the listener to believe in the gospel. In reaffirming the statement, it goes much deeper than what John 3:16 is saying. To believe is to follow and obey the teachings of Christ. It is an active participation as opposed to a passive relationship with the Lord. Do not believe that you can bury your faith in the backyard so when the Master returns, you can give it back to Him. Rather, store up heavenly treasure that “no moth and decay destroys, and thieves break in and steal”.
OSAS Actually it is Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul who says this:
John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life
Acts 16: 31 31They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
So is his objection really with me or Jesus and His Apostles, because they both say what he is denying is true.
My opponent also spends a lot of time talking about works, but I don’t deny the necessity of works in salvation. I deny that works are the instrumental means of justification. Works are necessary as evidences of our new creation and justification. My opponent quotes Eph. 2:8-10 which refutes his position and supports mines. Notice what it says:
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. .
First, notice it says we are “saved, through faith” something my opponent denies is the case in his opening. Second, notice it says we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works”. So the good works comes after we are already “created in Christ Jesus”(i.e. saved ). As I said previously they are evidences of our new creation and justification, which was achieved through faith. Finally, this explains the role of works. Every believer does good works, not because they are justified by them, but because God has changed the individual and works in them to will and to do. God’s work is always efficacious and therefore the justified one will always produce these works.
I explained the use of sacramental language in my opening post which deals with my opponent’s use of the passages that speak of baptism in reference to salvation.
I also affirm the justified one will follow and obey the teachings of Christ. A justifying faith is not only trusting for the moment of justification, but instead it is a lifelong trusting that God grants us.
I also affirm our good works will be judged at the eschaton, but they are not judged to determine who makes it to heaven or hell. Instead these good works serve as vindication of God and those He has justified.
CD “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”. For the mature person, faith is the passage way by which we express our hope and longing for. What does St. Paul mean when he says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved”?
Look at the whole text: “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household were baptized, she offered us an invitation, ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,’ and she prevailed on us”.
Then following this, Sts Paul and Silas were at Philippi casting out demons and preaching when they were picked up by the authorities who jailed them. There was an earthquake and the power of God freed the Apostle, but the Jailer, seeing that he did not flee asked St. Paul what he must do to be saved. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved.”
Ok, what transpires, “so they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to everyone in the house. He took them in at that hour of the night and bathed their wound; then he and all his family were baptized”.
Baptism was important to the households of Lydia and the Jailer. Furthermore, these baptisms are not treated as symbolic but a very important piece to the whole text “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved”. They were all baptized and all saved.
This demonstrates my point, yes, you quote a an important passage, however, it does not say what you interpret it to mean. When you say “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”, what do you mean by that? SolaFide does not answer this because he can’t without opening himself up. The Oneness crowd say they believe in Acts 16:31, so do the Mormons, the JW’s, The Way International, and everyone else. What is the bottom line? To believe in Jesus, you must pick up your cross and follow Him, you must obey His Commandments, His Teachings, His Church. You must repent of your sins and yes, be baptized. Just a note, both the households of the Jailer and Lydia were baptized into the same Church! The Catholic Church!
OSAS That is it. He says Baptism is important. Of course Baptism is important. So is the Lord’s Supper, so is doing good works, so is obedience, etc. However, being important does not equate to it being the means by which we are justified! My opponent then quotes the text that says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you and your household will be saved”. That should settle the issue, but instead he adds his own words, “They were all baptized and all saved”. This is nowhere to be found in the text! Furthermore the command to be baptized following a profession of faith is typical, because it is the visible sign and seal of our entrance into the visible church, but not the means to our justification. My opponent makes the following comment:
Here is my answer. I mean I trust in the works and promises of the Triune God on my behalf, primarily the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ in my stead. This faith is the instrumental means by which God justifies me, but He doesn’t leave me there. He has also changed me through the new birth. Through the indwelling and power of the Holy Spirit my desires and actions are changed. I seek to glorify Him by doing all that He commands and continuing to “believe” in Him, but He gets all the glory, because it is really all His work. With all that said it is not these other things that justify me, but instead as the Scriptures says, “to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked” That is faith alone.
CD “For Christ also suffered for the sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that He might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, He was brought to life in the spirit. In it He also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. THIS PREFIQURED BAPTISM, WHICH SAVES YOU NOW.”
My opponent will concede that baptism is indeed important, but his conclusion, “That should settle the issue, but instead he adds his own words, “They were all baptized and all saved”. This is nowhere to be found in the text”! I maintain that is the text. They were all “baptized” and “saved” based on believing in the instruction given and the action taken by both households. St. Luke writes of St. Paul’s Baptism, “So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him (St. Paul), he said, ‘Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit’. Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength”. SolaFide appeals to the Faith and its importance to justification. Rightfully so, it is very important, however, Faith without works “is dead”.
Notice that my opponent adds “alone’” to the text which is his interpretation. That is “extra” biblical. “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our Profession of Faith”! Other newer translations may read “confession”, but it means the same thing. We profess our faith in Jesus Christ more often than anyone else that I am aware off. What a great gift to have this faith; believe this faith, to walk this faith. This is a free gift. Though our sins may be as scarlet, our souls become white as snow. This coming Easter Vigil, millions around the world will embrace this great Faith of ours, and will be Baptized (and like the households of the Jailer, Lydia, and St. Paul) their sins are forgiven and they will receive the Holy Spirit.
OSAS If in Rom. 4:1-5 faith alone is “extra biblical”, could you tell us what Abraham was doing besides believing in Gen. 15:1-6 in order to receive justification at that point?
CD ( Actually it was Romans 3:28 that Luther added “alone”) “Abram’s faith in God’s promise was regarded as an act of righteousness, i.e., as expressing the “right” attitude of man toward God. In turn, God credited this to Abraham, i.e., gave him the title to the fulfillment of God’s promises. St. Paul makes Abraham’s faith a model for that of Catholics (Romans 4:1-25; Gal 3:3-9).
Abraham did not work to earn the promise of the Covenant; he was justified in his faith in God’s promise. “What can be more fair than to admit everyone into divine presence on the basis of forgiveness grasped by faith”.
We are no longer under the “law of circumcision” but a “New and Everlasting Covenant” planting the law of grace into the whole world. Abraham received the “sign of circumcision as a seal on the righteousness received through faith while he was uncircumcised”. We of the New Covenant receive grace through the sign and seal of Baptism which our sins are forgiven and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. A Sacrament is an outward sign of inward grace that we receive through faith. Neither Abraham, nor us did anything to receive the free gift. Salvation is a free gift from God, you do not earn it.
The issue is not really faith, which is to be understood. The real difference is you’re defending of faith as “SolaFide” or faith alone. I speak of Grace, Faith, and Good works as proceeding from one to another and they are interconnected. Their importance places us within the New and Everlasting Covenant. Baptism is necessary for Salvation because this is the sign and seal of the Holy Spirit. He transmits His sanctifying grace through them. That is why the households of Lydia, the Jailer, and St. Paul were baptized.
Faith also needs to be nourished or it can be drowned out through disobedience, those who heard the word of God but allowed the Devil to steal them away, those who recieved the word with joy, only to fall away because of trials, and yet still others are choked because of worldly anxieties and riches and pleasures of this life.
OSAS My opponent did not name one other thing Abraham was doing besides believing God at this justification. That proves faith alone! A later circumcision does not change that fact.
CD This does not prove “faith alone”, you have not disproved “Grace” and “Good works” that are part of the New Covenant. Do you think that Faith was all that was necessary to follow God under this Covenant of circumcision? Do you think Abraham would have thought that if one of his servants or people were to reject him that this would have been tolerated? God told Abraham, “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you that you and your descendants after you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised”. What almost happened to Moses (Exodus 4:24)? They needed just a little more than faith in this scene. Zipporah saved his life? Was this your rebuttal?
OSAS Yes, it was my rebuttal. We are only limited to 200 chars and I was at the limit. It was your turn to ask a question, not rebut However, since you did rebut I get the last word before you ask a question.
You seem to be confused on the different types of means/causes of justification. I don’t want to disprove “grace” or “good works” under the New Covenant because I believe in both of them. The debate is supposed to be over the instrumental means of our justification. You are all over the place while I’m standing right here waiting on you to enter the real debate on the real issue. It is your turn to ask a question.
CD You say you “believe” and have “faith” in the Lord Jesus Christ. Can you believe and have faith when at the same time you deny his Church’s teachings?
OSAS I don’t deny His church teachings. You error is that every time you see Church you think of the Bishop in Rome and those Bishops in communion with Him. However, this is a not a biblical definition of the church. Furthermore, the Word of God is the highest authority that we will all have to give an account for obeying and disobeying.
CD So, for you, are you saying that the bible is the pillar and foundation of truth? Furthermore, if, from your own mind, the Catholic Church is not the biblical church, where and what is the biblical church?
OSAS No the church is that, the Scriptures are part of the truth that the pillar and foundation should be holding up. There are many biblical churches. Biblical churches are those that adhere to Scriptures as their highest authority, because they are God speaking. They also rightly preach the Gospel and administer the sacraments.
CD The Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth, from the scripture, Jesus founded only one Church, the Apostles called for no divisions. St. Paul instructs the Church to hang on to the traditions given it through the oral tradition and the written word. This is the basis of our faith.
You are correct, within Protestantism there are “many biblical churches” all beginning in the 16th century. 90% of them are under 100 years old. They “rightly teach the gospel” according to whom? Who is the authentic interpreter of scripture? In fact, who decides what is scripture? In order to have faith, what do you put your faith in?
St. Paul believed – he addressed Jesus as “Lord” and asked what Jesus wanted him to do, but he was later told to be baptized for the forgiveness of his sins. Why would Jesus send him to Ananias, to be baptized if he already believed and that’s all that is needed.
OSAS First, no where is Paul told to be baptized for the forgiveness of his sins, you are reading your theology into the text. Second, based on Paul’s teaching in Romans 4:5-8 it is clear that he believed forgiveness of sins took place when one put faith in Christ(i.e. credited with righteousness). Third, I’ve never argued anywhere at anytime that only faith is needed for the entire Christian life. Faith is the sole instrumental means for justification. So your entire question is based on a straw man.
CD That is why St. Paul teaches, “I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bonds of peace: one body and one spirit, as you were also called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism”. St. Paul, himself was called from this One Lord, to this “one faith, one baptism”! The straw man is yours.
Through your “instrumental means for justification” are you now saying that both faith and baptism are necessary? If so, then your not really following “SolaFide” as you recognize that you do need more than faith i.e., Grace, faith, and good works.
OSAS No faith and baptism are not necessary for justification, but faith, baptism, prayer, Lord’s Supper, worship, and many other things are necessary for the entire Christ life.
CD There is a connection between the waters of the Baptism of Moses and those of the time of Noah. The Israelites passed through the sea and were saved just as Noah and his family were saved from the flood. They both prefigure Baptism. The waters of Baptism saves a sinner from their sin through the washing away of the sin. You say baptism if important, do you mean that without it, you cannot be saved?
OSAS No, I do not mean that without Baptism you cannot be saved and neither do you, because you rightfully acknowledge that one maybe saved without it.
Romans 3:30 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
Paul is making the argument at the end of Romans 3 and it continues on in Romans 4 that both Jews and Gentiles are justified by the same means (i.e. faith). However, your position is that we are justified by baptism. Therefore, how are the Jews justified by the same means if we are justified by baptism and they are not?
CD It is faith in the established Covenant. The Jews were saved through the justification process of the Old Covenant. God’s intent was always that men would follow Him from their heart and not the law. The New Covenant continues to a broader definition because our understanding is made know through Jesus Christ. Faith itself is not the issue, the issue is that you include “alone” when the text does not say that. “Are we then annulling the law by this faith? Of course not! On the contrary, we are supporting the law”.
I find it interesting that you push “SolaFide”, yet you exhibit little faith or no faith in the New Covenant? Why is that?
OSAS As we all know the text does not have to say “faith alone” any more than no text says “grace alone” or “Christ alone” yet you affirm them. However, if both Jew and Gentiles are justified in the same way by faith then it logically means New Covenant believers cannot be justified by baptism or faith and baptism unless the Apostle’s statement is not true.
Luke 18:13-14 13″But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14″I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.
Jesus says the sinful tax collector went home justified after he expressed his faith by asking for mercy. If this man was not justified by faith alone, please tell us what other action was taken for his justification?
CD This sinner left with a changed life, a changed heart, and a changed mind. The “sinner” went home justified because of the changed person who then goes and leads a life of faith, hope, and love. None of this makes any sense without living the life of grace.
OSAS Jesus says the sinful tax collector went home justified after he expressed his faith by asking for mercy. If this man was not justified by faith alone, please tell us what other action was taken for his justification?
CD “Create for me a clean heart oh God”. We must humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. Our whole life should be that of a cheerful heart, one who humbles ourselves and places ourselves with respect to God and our fellow man. We should lift up the holy standards of God from our minds, our tongues, and our hearts. In truth, the sin of presumption masking behind those who believe they are justified by self-righteousness; this story teaches that the “fundamental attitude of the Christian disciple must be the recognition of sinfulness and complete dependence on God’s graciousness”. It does not lead to SolaFide, but a life humbly reaching out for mercy, another free gift of forgiveness.
OSAS Once again, when I ask my opponent a simple questions he rambles on about all kinds of things without answering the question. This happened when I asked him about Abraham in Gen. 15. All that is expressed is faith in God and the person is justified. If this is not faith alone then simply point out what other action was taking place. Simple questions.
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
CD, I have asked you about Gen. 15 and Luke 18. You have not given me direct answers on any of these, but instead you ramble on about all other types of things. So please give me a direct answer to this question.
Jesus say, whoever hears and believes has eternal life. It is true based on your position that hearing and believing is enough for one to have eternal life?
CD First of all, Gen. 15 and Luke 18 do not proclaim “Faith Alone”, I’ve never spoke against faith or the importance of it, but God is sovereign. Through His grace and with the gift of our faith in what He proclaims, we are obedient in faith to do the will of the Father.
Whoever hears and believes has eternal life. If a person who believes is obedient in faith, most certainly. He who hears you hears me so the message of the Church is clear. Jesus said, “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”. If you are faithful to what you have heard and believe, then you would indeed belong to the Faith of the Apostles, the Catholic Church. Through her teaching authority proclaiming His voice and through His sacraments we are touched by His divine grace.
OSAS Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
In the above the Apostle Paul is concerned that the Galatians are being bewitched. He says he only wants to ask them one question, which demonstrates the importance of the question. Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or hearing with faith. So would you say one can receive the Holy Spirit by hearing with faith or is something else also necessary?
CD “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”.
You call that rambling? I had to chuckle over that one my brother, now that is rambling Also, you will render an account for every careless word you say, by your words you will be aquitted or by your word you will be condmned. The Lucian example you pose illistrates the importance of a repentful heart.
In the above the Apostle Paul is concerned that the Galatians are being bewitched. He says he only wants to ask them one question, which demonstrates the importance of the question. Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or hearing with faith. So would you say one can receive the Holy Spirit by hearing with faith or is something else also necessary?
St. Paul is addressing a problem he has had with former Jewish Christians who are imposing the “law” on Gentile converts. This question was settled at the Council of Jerusalem. However, there were those who tried to put the “law” of Moses on them which includes circumcision. You are building a straw man here that St. Paul does not create. “Did you recieve the Spirit by works of the law or hearing with faith” tells us they recieved baptism due to the faith they recieved. They do not need to revert back to the law because through their faith, they are the children of Abraham. St. Paul finishes all this point with, “For all of you who WERE baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ… And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise”. I will add that you will be held accountable to your deeds.
OSAS Of course they received baptism, but they also partook of the Lord’s Supper. But why/when did they receive the Holy Spirit is the issue, because that shows when they were justified. So mentioning that they receive Baptism later has no relevance to the point that was made. God gives an individual the gift of faith and they believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, however they are not baptized until a month later. Is the individual justified and their sins are forgiven when they receive the gift of faith and believe or does it happen a month later when they are baptized?
CD Well, lets take a look: “I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard”?
St Paul knows the answer to this question as he says: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ”. Notice he didn’t say, For all you you who heard the good news and believed into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ, he said “baptized” for a reason. To show that they indeed clothed themselves with Christ through their baptism.
Jesus said the reason he was born was that his would hear His voice. You have made the issue of hearing and believing, that point I made is very valid. “But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”.
Nothing has changed, through the RCIA program, we are still doing the same thing, except most people today have to wait longer than a month, sometimes it is a year. For the group that I am teaching here, this scripture passage is about right. That is cool as people are recieving this great grace here in the land of Abraham!
Only God knows the heart, if one of my guys go out on patrol and is killed before the Easter Vigil, then I believe that the Baptism of desire would be in order.
Your whole argument is to convince everyone that SolaFide is the absolute truth for justification. Can a man be saved if his “faith” is dead without repentance?
OSAS No, because it would not be justifying faith as given by God. God does not give a faith which is dead and void of repentance. James speaks of this type of faith and says even demons have it.
CD Everyone of us is given the opportunity to believe, we are given one human lifetime. Some of us longer than others, but we all have one human lifetime to make the decision to follow God. You are basically saying some are destined to Heaven and others are destined to hell. That is the root of Solafide as you maintain that only those “saved” by a common sinner’s prayer will enter heaven. Those who rely upon a “sacrament” are missing the target and thus are not saved unless they pray this “sinner’s prayer.
Jesus said “But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved”, many will not make it because they buried their faith in the back yard and placed it in the trust of false prophets and false doctrines. The road to damnation is wide because their are many roads that lead there. The road straight and narrow is the Catholic Church which had passed the Faith for nearly 2,000 years. It will persevere until Jesus returns at the end of the age.
OSAS I want to thank “Catholic Defender” for having this discussion. I consider myself a guess here and your allowing me to air my beliefs unimpeded is appreciated. Overall I think we stayed in the bounds of respectful dialogue even though we were direct at points. This is very good and I was pleased to be a part of it.
Finally, the Scriptures are clear. God justifies the ungodly who are not working, but believing ( Romans 4:5). Let every man be a liar, but God’s word is true!
CD My opponent criticized me of rambling when in reality, he can’t prove “Faith Alone. We both agree on the importance of faith, but the Catholic Church recognizes the importance of God’s grace and our living the faith. It is Grace + Faith + Works. There is a difference from the works of the law in the Old Testament and the works of faith brought forward in the New Testament. SolaFide brought forward as example that people needed to accept Jesus Christ and believe in Him. I raised the point that Jesus Himself said that the reason he was born was to testify to the truth. “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”. That is a valid point to make if you’re going to say you must believe in Him. Jesus said, “He that hears you hears me”. That is not rambling, but points to the importance of our faith in Him, we hear His voice.
I was asked if people who accepted Jesus a month before they were baptized, would they still be saved if they died without baptism. I answered the question from an example that I’m directly involved in right now and answered yes, through “Baptism of desire”. That is a valid answer and it was direct to the question given. That was not rambling. The other example dealt with the issue of the Church. He gave his opinion of what he called “Bible Churches” that “rightly divided” the bible. I responded to that. That was not rambling.
St. Paul addressed issues of faith as opposed to the Law of Moses that false apostles were trying to pass off on the faithful. Paul makes it quite clear that is not through the “law” but through faith in the promise of the Covenant. This did not prove faith alone as I was able to show that SolaFide took passages out of context to reach his personal observations. I pointed out that Grace through faith equaled good works as a process.
My opponent called baptism, communion, good works as important to the life of a Christian, but I exhibited many examples to show they were important and necessary. Faith and Good works are intertwined together. Faith without good works is dead and you can’t bury your faith in the back yard and expect to bear good fruit. On the contrary, the Lord was very clear what happens in this situation. I will add here that the “instrumental faith” concept was not known by St. Paul, that it is extra-biblical.
I will maintain that I never lost focus, especially after rereading it a few times. Actually, the story of Abraham is one of my favorites. Faith is very important. I will not argue against that, however, it is not “faith Alone”.