Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Examining A Popular Quote

UPDATED - new illustrations at the bottom
"Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone"

I think everyone who is in church nowadays has heard this quote at least once.

I have been trying to analyze it. Something - I am not sure what it is - but something doesn't logically sit right with that statement.

(Disclaimer: I do believe that most every Christian will love other Christians and have good works. Most, upon conversion, exhibit a change of life. I do believe that the world will not know we are Christians unless they can see evidence of this, that being our confession of the same, love for one another and good works. However, there are exceptions to every rule. For example, a convert who has no Bible [or even one who doesn't ever read his Bible] or a convert who has no Christian church to be with or no other Christian to disciple him... Does faith in Christ save him despite his lack of growth and fruit? I say yes... the Bible says we are saved by faith alone in Christ, His having COMPLETED the work. So in that case, his faith may very well be alone, but he would be saved anyway.)

"Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone"

This leaves no room for exception and is very unclear. I take issue with it.

This saying has two the parts:
Faith and Works
(Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone [implied is that it comes with Works]

I am trying to think of an illustrative example for this saying that will support it or oppose it. I came up with a few unsatisfactory ones:

Fire and Oxygen
"Fire alone burns, but the fire that burns is never alone." (it comes with oxygen)

Fire and Ashes
"Fire alone burns, but the fire that burns is never alone." (it comes with ashes)

Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide
"Oxygen alone gives breath, but the oxygen that gives breath is never alone." (it comes with carbon dioxide)

Does anyone have any thoughts on this or any better illustrations to either support or oppose the idea in the quote?


A couple of new illustrations! Contributions from my guests!
Supporting the quote as representing the truth of salvation by grace, Daniel: (rephrased to be consistent with my structure)
Envelope and Letter
The mailman delivers the envelope only, but the envelope is never alone.

Opposing the quote, as not representative of salvation by grace, Antonio:
Sales Agreement and Money Changing Hands
Signing a sales agreement alone (apart from any money changing hands) makes you a car owner, but the signing of a sales agreement by which you are a car-owner is never alone (apart from money changing hands).

102 Comments:

  • It is a just another way of saying that we are saved by faith and works.

    Talk to a Jehovah's Witness about justification.

    The JW won't tell you we are saved by faith and works. She will probably quote James and argue that if you really have faith, you will do works.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 10:07 AM  

  • Maybe some wannabe theologian is going to argue that God is Father, Son and Spirit, man is body, soul and spirit and salvation is by faith, repentance and perserverance.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 10:12 AM  

  • Good day, Rose! I have never heard this before, and my first thought was not of "works" but of the Holy Spirit. Yet, I see how this would logically be used in a faith vs. works context.

    What of looking at this in reverse:

    Disbelief alone damns, but the disbelief that damns is never alone.

    No conclusions, just a thought.

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/16/2007 10:41 AM  

  • Matthew,
    Do you really think so? It is just another way of saying that? Isn't it trying to *avoid* saying that we are saved by works? :~)
    I do think you are very creative in your second remark!

    Missy,
    If I know you - you will come back later with a really good illustration in regards to this. You already have given me some more to think about by reversing it. Thanks for the visit!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2007 10:57 AM  

  • I am amzed you never heard this saying before - good for you. It bothers me.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2007 10:58 AM  

  • Hello Rose,

    It seems to say that works are a necessary requirement to be saved, after all.

    It's kind of like saying:

    "Works aren't necessary for salvation. But if you don't have them you're not saved."

    or

    "Works aren't necessary for salvation. Faith is necessary for salvation. But works are necessary for faith."

    Of course, not only are our works "not necessary" for salvation, they are actually ruled out. (Eph. 2:8-9)

    Stan

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/16/2007 12:26 PM  

  • In reading this entry, I am reminded of something John F. Hart wrote in a footnote to an article,

    [Begin Quote]The popular ditty “Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone,” is attributed to the Reformed preacher John Owens. Although it is rhythmic enough to sound noteworthy, in actuality it is self-contradictory. Rephrasing the aphorism, we might say, “Faith without works saves, but the faith that saves without works is never without works.” If the faith that saves is never alone, i.e., faith and works are “inseparable,” it seems as if works will need to accompany the initial faith by which we are first born again. But that conclusion sets itself squarely against Paul and the NT teaching on justification by faith alone.[End Quote]

    http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1999i/J22-99c.htm

    Calvin suggested that faith and works are like heat and light from the sun, as Paul Helm discusses here:

    http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2007/09/analysis-6-john-calvins-stroke-of.html

    By Blogger interested spectator, at 11/16/2007 1:48 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I agree 100% with this quotation, not because it is generally attributed to John Calvin, but because it explains perfectly the position of the word of God. In fact, it is quoted by several Old Time Evangelicals. Let me substantiate my claims by giving you a couple of quotes:

    J. VERNON McGEE wrote: "James is not talking about the works of the Law. He simply says that the faith which saves you will [italic emphasis his] produce works, works of faith." Much later down the page, but still commenting on the same verse (James 2:14) and having quoted Paul from Galatians 5:6 and referring also to James, McGee continues: "Both of these men taught that faith must be a working faith. As John Calvin put it, 'Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone." Saving faith therefore is alive; professing faith is dead." [Bold emphasis mine]

    DUNCAN CAMPBELL said: "Oh, Calvin was right, and I love to quote him, although I am not an extreme Calvinist-though I'm a Highlander. Calvin said, "We are saved through faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone." [Bold emphasis mine] (The nature of God sent Revival from Psalm 85:6)

    Busy enough tonight to multiply quotes at this time, but confident enough that the statement is soundly defended by both schools within the Old Time Evangelical faith.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/16/2007 2:07 PM  

  • I dont want the Old Time Evangelical faith. I want a new and fresh understanding of God's Word.

    I hear too much about 'old paths' and the glory days of revivals and stuff.

    Church history is bunk.

    Tradition is worn out.

    We need to seek fresh insight into the Scriptures, not the tired cliches of the past.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 2:22 PM  

  • Are you feeling revolutionary today, Rose~?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 2:22 PM  

  • Matthew,
    Yes, yes, I am feeling a bit revolutionary, Matthew! :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2007 2:44 PM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    Yes McGee said a lot of those kinds of things. I think he was, like many preachers, tired of sloppy professors. This is such a coincidence - I was listening to a sermon on cassette tape a few weeks ago by J. Vernon McGee. It was old - I had it for years and I do not think I ever listened to it. It was called "justification by works – James." I happened upon it in a box of old stuff in the basement and so I thought I would give it a listen - thinking that maybe he had in view the "justification before men" idea, not being positive either way what he would say about it. (I know that he did not like the idea of “commitment salvation.”) As I listened to it I noted he said: "Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone!” That is when I was inspired to write this post and just now got around to it! Funny that you should quote him here.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2007 2:44 PM  

  • Stan,
    Thank you so much for another visit. I think your estimation of it is very interesting.

    IS,
    Thank you for the comment. John Owen, huh? GNSH seems to think it was Calvin. Well, either way - it is Reformed and sounds like it. Interesting how many of these reformed sayings and ideas have made their way into other schools of thought. Thanks for the links. I will check them out.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2007 2:50 PM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    Thanks for your visit as well, brother!
    You say the quote explains perfectly the position of the Word of God. I don't get that. I know James teaches that faith is not animated when it is alone, but does that mean that it will not save him in the sense of eternal salvation? I don't see that, especially in the light of Paul's clear teaching on the subject.

    People and life situations are complex - we shouldn't oversimplify these things unless the Bible does.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/16/2007 2:53 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 11/16/2007 4:11 PM  

  • I may be wrong, but I don't think that works are ever a logically necessary outcome of faith. Even if they were in some contents of faith, the point still has to be proved that saving faith must result in good works. IMO, James doesn't say that. He says that faith without works is dead and is useless to save a person - but James is writing to believers whose salvation is secure. I think his salvation refers to salvation from temporal wrath.

    So I think that the often quoted statement that you mentioned Rose, is simply wrong. Furthermore, it is a circumlocutory (i.e. roundabout) way of saying that anyone who does not do good works does not get into heaven. I find that notion rather disturbing to be honest.

    I wasn't sure where to post this comment!

    God bless,
    Andrew

    By Blogger Andrew, at 11/16/2007 4:14 PM  

  • Church history is bunk etc.,

    Sounds like the gospel never came to England, Matthew, until you appeared on the scene :-)

    I must be brutally honest here, even at the risk of offending people. The word Spurgeon utilised for this kind of thing was the word "Downgrade" General Booth's great prophecy seems to be falling into place:

    “In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”

    Regeneratin brings a new life - a new creation. Works are the evidence of being in Christ. Where the fruit is not found, the professor is a mere religionist, no matter how "Evangelical" his coat may be.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/16/2007 4:43 PM  

  • Rose, thank you for your confidence in me, but I must confess no clever illustration has come to me. As I was reading the comments, I thought more of the book of James and how confused it always makes me in regards to faith and deeds. Maybe it's just one singular act of obedience - like with Abraham or Rahab - that makes it a saving faith? One can't really say you have to remain obedient in deeds everytime or Abraham would never have been credited with righteousness - so how many deeds from faith are to be accomplished to save?

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/16/2007 4:50 PM  

  • Colin,

    "Works are the evidence of being in Christ."

    Indeed they are. Men have no use for an hypocrite. They will only believe in a changed life if they can see deeds to match the profession.

    But God needs no visible evidence to know who is in Christ and who is not.

    Our God has justified those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    If they dishonour His name, they are useless as a witness and will be disciplined. But nothing they can do can separate them from the life that is in Christ.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 4:55 PM  

  • Missy,
    Abraham and Rahab demonstrated their faith to men by their conduct. Through there deeds they were able to experience in this life the blessings of a redeemed life.

    The salvation by works that James speaks about is not the kind of salvation which we are used to talking about.

    The epistle of James is not about heaven and hell. It is about how to live a life that overcomes the world and which can resist temptation and trial.

    We need God's deliverance from trials and tempations, but that deliverance can only come when we walk in obediance to our Lord.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 4:58 PM  

  • I can't find on the Internet if Harry Ironside ever utilised this quote, although I suspect that he did. However, I found the following from his book on Eternal Security which at least captures the spirit of the quote. Speaking on the text about enduring to the end (Matthew 24:13)Ironside wrote:

    The writer of this question recognizes that primarily this refers to the great tribulation, but it is a principle that I believe every preacher of the Word should insist on. There is no use in people professing conversion, going forward, raising their hands, going to an inquiry room, joining the church, getting baptized, taking communion, teaching a Sunday school class, doing missionary work, giving their money for Christ’s work, and going on like this for years, and then by-and-by drifting away, turning from it all, denying the Lord that bought them, refusing absolutely the authority of Jesus Christ, and yet professing to be saved. It is endurance that proves the reality of a work of grace within the soul. That is the difference between one who is merely reformed by the teaching of Christianity and one who has been born again. You see this very clearly when you contrast Peter and Judas.

    Peter slipped and sinned grievously, but in spite of it all he endured to the end. Jesus said, “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not,” and though his outward life for a brief period was not what it should be, his faith remained, and Jesus restored him, and he went on to the end of his life until crucified for his Savior. Judas was one of the chosen, he was with the apostolic band but never was regenerated, and so when he sinned and sold his Lord, he turned away an apostate and died a suicidal death. Jesus said of him long before, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” Not, “One of you is in danger of becoming a devil,” but “One of you is a devil.” And we are told: “Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25). Peter was a backslider, Judas was an apostate, and there is a great difference between the two. If a man says, “I am saved,” let him prove it by going on. That is why I say we should not be afraid of the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer. Some say, “But I knew a man who was a wonderful Christian, and now he has given it all up and says he is still saved.” He is only deceiving himself. The next time you see him you tell him that the Bible says, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” There is no use your carrying on a profession if your life does not prove it to be real. Men can misuse any doctrine."

    Any emphasis mine

    http://bob.vandyke.net/saved.htm

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/16/2007 5:28 PM  

  • Colin, don't you know that Zane Hodges discovered sound theology?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 5:30 PM  

  • Matthew, my comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. This was one of the question I asked myself not too long ago that convinced me out of my works salvation, and eventually out of the idea that I could lose my salvation with lack of obedience.

    That being said, what indicates that James is not talking about eternal salvation - heaven and hell?

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/16/2007 5:32 PM  

  • Context.

    Heaven and hell are not subjects that James discusses.

    The epistle is a letter to person who were already born-again. James is instructing them on how to live in the light of God's word.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 5:39 PM  

  • Colin, don't you know that Zane Hodges discovered sound theology?

    I must plead ignorance. Is he related to Charles Hodge? :-)

    P/s With 2,000 years of Christian history being reduced to mere bunkum, this is your chance, Matthew, to be the Apostle to England. Go easy on the Old Time Evangelical Dragons :-)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/16/2007 5:49 PM  

  • I am of course so convinced that church history is bunk that I am doing a doctorate in it.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/16/2007 5:57 PM  

  • This may be off your topic a little, Rose, but I think it is important to understand.

    "Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone"

    NO! I disagree with this.

    "Jesus alone saves" and the Holy Spirit's work is to convince us of this.
    If we will not be convinced then we STUMBLE OVER THE STUMBLING STONE and call God a liar and blaspheme the work of the Spirit.

    We are not saved by faith alone we are saved by the object of our faith alone who is Jesus the Christ.


    Somewhere(I'm too lazy to look it up) in Galatians Paul is jumping the Galatians out about doing the works of the law for continuing salvation. He says: tell me did you receive the Spirit by your works or by hearing with faith?
    He was furious, not about them losing their salvation, he was furious that they were turning to works for a right standing or justification before God instead of continuing in faith alone in the Son. That is why many people do not bear fruit for God. They quit “continuing” in faith alone in Christ and add to themselves (and others) persevering works for assurance and therefore nullify the grace of God in their own lives and preach false messages to nullify the grace of God in their hearer’s lives.

    Does a believer want to live his life here on earth under the curse of the law by not keeping everything written in the book of the Law or do we want to live our lives here on earth being justified apart from the law by continuing in the same faith by which we received the Spirit?

    I think the people that came to the Galatians to confuse them are in a way the ancestors of the legalistic Christians today.

    By Blogger Kris, at 11/16/2007 6:08 PM  

  • If I think of faith as something I generate which obligates God to justify me, then my decision to exercise faith is what "caused" my justification. If I obligate God to justify me by exerting faith, then I am saved entirely by my own exertion of faith, and God is merely a passive enabler, and works have nothing whatsoever to do with the picture.

    If I think of faith as the inescapable response of a heart whom God draws to His Son as a willful act of God's grace according to God's choice, then faith is a response to God's working in me and not to cause of it. This makes God the cause, and justification the effect.

    The question in the second case is if a person is given grace as a gift of God's grace and in response to God's particular call, then it follows that the faith that God produced in the individual unto justification will continue unto sanctification - for both are works of God and neither are the work of men.

    Thus one might say the same mailman who brings the envelope, brings the letter in it. The mailman delivers the envelope only, but he who receives the envelope receives the letter in it as well.

    In a wedding ceremony rings are exchanged, but the exchange of rings alone does not make a wedding, but any wedding that exchanges rings also exchanges promises.

    There are dozens of ways I suppose to say it, but they all picture a God initiated justification, and not a man initiated justification, which is to say that the problem isn't in the wording, but in the presuppositions.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/16/2007 6:16 PM  

  • When push comes to shove, Reformed theology conditions eternal life on works. That they say works are necessary as the inevitable result of saving faith conclusively shows that they consider works absolutely necessary for final salvation. Their insistence that it is a "required necessary result" is meant to mask what they truly believe, for, as the long quote from Joseph Dillow from His book "The Reign of the Servant Kings" will show (see below), a necessary result for which we are responsible is the same as a condition.

    Piper says, "We are not saved by faith plus works but by a faith that works." "The faith that alone justifies is never alone." Salvation is absolutely free "but will cost you everything" (MacArthur).

    (Begin Joseph Dillow "The Reign of the Servant Kings")
    ----------
    "When Reformed Theologians use such phrases as 'faith alone saves a man, but the faith that saves is not alone,' they are in fact unconsciously speaking nonsense. Terminology like "faith plus works does not save, but a faith that works does" is simply saying that faith plus works saves. The cleverness of the prose serves to conceal the fact. Proverbial sayings like this have been passed on in the theology textbooks for centuries. They seem to have explanatory power, and they certainly left opponents of the Reformed Theology system speechless, but in reality they are not only empty of meaning but contradictory. They are simply ways of saying that true faith necessarily results in works, but it is the faith, not the resulting works, which saves. This, however, is quite confusing. If the works are a necessary result of the faith and if a man cannot be saved without them, then the works, in fact, a condition for salvation. If they are not present, the man will perish. Necessary results for which we are responsible are the same as conditions.

    A simple illustration may suffice here. "Consider the marriage requirements in this country. If a man is to get married, he must have a blood test. Now it is clear that someone could break the law or, perhaps, some state does not require this. However, the author shall create a fictional world where this is always true. Then we can say the condition of getting married is a mutual commitment to do so. Furthermore, the necessary and inevitable result of that commitment is a trip to the hospital to get a blood test. In addition, getting a blood test is a condition of getting married. A necessary result is no different than a condition! I could then observe to a friend that, “A blood test is a condition of getting married.” He may then say, “No, securing a blood test is not a condition of getting married but a necessary result of a commitment to get married.” But here now you may be able to see that the blood test is both a result and a condition."
    ----------
    (End Dillow)

    So the same with works. If works are a necessary result of saving faith, and if those works aren’t present then the person doesn’t go to heaven (showing that he was never truly saved), then those works become a condition for that salvation.

    Here is the real rub:

    If there is no works, there is no heaven.

    It could be termed : "Bear or Burn Theology" (works-contingent salvation)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/16/2007 7:26 PM  

  • Reformed Theology advocates describe the gospel message as not "faith + works = justification," but "faith = justification + works." I submit that anyone with a basic knowledge of logic can easily demonstrate that these two end up in the same place.

    In the first equation, faith alone does not lead to justification; works must be added. But in the second, once again faith alone does not lead to justification; if works do not follow, then there was no faith. This is no more than a word game. It is best seen in the old Calvinist saying: "You are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves you is never alone." Let me complete it: "You are saved by faith alone (apart from works), but the faith that saves you is never alone (apart from works)." This is internally inconsistent.

    Suppose you go to a car lot to buy a used car, and purchase a car for $5,000. If you have the $5,000, you may pay it right then. If you don’t, the salesman may arrange a loan for you to pay it back over a period of years. But does the fact that you don’t pay anything up front mean that you got the car free? Absolutely not. You are paying for it—the payment is just an inevitable result of your buying the car. To paraphrase the Classical Calvinist saying: "You are a car-owner by signing a sales agreement alone (apart from any money changing hands), but the signing of a sales agreement by which you are a car-owner is never alone (apart from money changing hands)." If the money doesn’t change hands, you lose the car (this wording reflects Arminian theology; in Calvinist theology, you never had the car in the first place!).

    So too it is foolishness to say that salvation is by faith alone, but that faith is not true faith unless it comes with works. Let’s be honest: this is salvation by works! And in unguarded moments Reformed Theologians often say exactly this.

    John Gerstner is one such theologian. He writes:

    "From the essential truth that no sinner in himself can merit salvation, the antinomian draws the erroneous conclusion that good works need not accompany faith in the saint. The question is not whether good works are necessary to salvation, but in what way they are necessary. As the inevitable outworking of saving faith, they are necessary for salvation."

    "There is a deadly and damnable heresy being widely propagated today to the effect that, if a sinner truly accepts Christ as his personal Saviour, no matter how he lives afterwards, he cannot perish. That is a satanic lie, for it is at direct variance with the teaching of the Word of truth. Something more than believing in Christ is necessary to ensure the soul's reaching heaven." (A.W. Pink as quoted by Iain H. Murray in "The Life of Arthur W. Pink" pgs 248-249)

    "...we must also own up to the fact that our final salvation is made contingent upon the subsequent obedience which comes from faith." (John Piper "TULIP: What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism...", pg 25)

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/16/2007 7:45 PM  

  • Hi Rose!

    Matthew, your comments in this thread are not only right on, they keep me in stitches! They are eloquent and spot-on.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 11/16/2007 7:45 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 11/16/2007 9:27 PM  

  • Actually, I believe the quote was from Theodore Beza, one of Calvin's successors. If I'm not mistaken, Beza took Calvin's theology more in the direction of "Reformed" theology today. It seems to me that the quote is contradictory to itself. If faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone, then faith must have another aspect to it besides simply "faith."
    To me, the issue is not so much whether faith alone saves, but what type of salvation is being addressed. If it is from James, then the salvation under discussion would be salvation from sin's destructiveness here & now.(5:19f) James ends his Epistle by giving us an example explaining what he has been saying all through the Epistle. In otehr words, the final 2 verses seem to perfectly sum up the Book.
    But I am a simple person, & these thoughts are very simplistic.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 11/16/2007 9:28 PM  

  • Hey Rose,

    I've been thinking a lot about the relationship between faith and works. Since I'm new to FG, I'm still exploring the relationship. I know faith apart from works saves, but what is the nature of that faith after we're born again? I know there's scriptures like Galatians 5:6 which talks about "faith working through love," and Romans 8:14, which talks about being led by the Spirit of God and thus being a child of God.

    Even so, the quote seems very contradictory. But I do understand why it's stated often in the Reformed tradition. They're tired of hypocrites in the church. Who isn't? But it's still a contradiction. It can't be both ways: it's either "faith alone" or "faith that is alone but it's not really alone because of x, y, z."

    Still pondering.

    By Blogger Ender, at 11/16/2007 10:31 PM  

  • True story:
    A Christian woman meets a man who is a non-Christian at her work place. She dates him, but is reluctant to become too involved because he is not a believer. He begins attending church with her. He has a 'conversion experience' and professes faith in Christ. He is examined by the pastor and church leaders and his profession is believed to be genuine and so he is baptized and joins the church. He later marries the woman. His attendance is spotty. Some months later the church becomes involved because they discover that the man is guilty of repeated spousal abuse. He stops going to church. He is also arrested for drugs. His wife leaves him. He is put under church discipline and barred from the Lord's Table. He evades their repeated attempts to meet with him and refuses to repent and so is finally is excommunicated.
    Is this man saved?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/17/2007 1:18 AM  

  • I think Horton quotes the phrase in his book critiquing Lordship Salvation and Free Grace, (Christ the Lord, Baker edited by Michael S. Horton) where he tries to balance the two positions. Unfortunately, you can't take elements from the two and combine them in a "moderate" view. Either salvation is free gift or it is not. It cannot be both. These are different gospels, and one is obviously in gross error.

    When we try to tone down either of the positions, we inevitably end up with a contaminated Free Grace position: which is what Lordship Salvation is. Remember Lou M? And we see it here as well, ad infinitum, (or is it ad nauseum):

    http://members.aol.com/mjsawyer/Lordship.html

    By Blogger Anton, at 11/17/2007 2:15 AM  

  • Just saw the previous post.

    Answer: Yes he is saved. The question is whether God's disciplining will be seen sooner or later.

    And He has reasons for both.

    By Blogger Anton, at 11/17/2007 2:24 AM  

  • Ender,
    I am glad you are "pondering". It is good that you are going straight to Scripture with an open mind. I am planning a post on this quote in the next few days at either Bluecollar or Jazzycat and I invite you to check it out.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 11/17/2007 10:42 AM  

  • Wayne,
    You said some really nasty things about me a few weeks ago on another blog. You seemed proud of having said them. I must tell you, this visit of yourrs was distasteful for me... not because of the content of your comment, but because of its lack. You come and address Ender here on my site and don't even say hello to me, not giving me the slightest of courtesy. We were once pleasant to one another and disagreed agreeably, to my recollection.

    Is this your idea of John 13:34 or 1 John 3:10? If, by some strange reasoning, you don't consider me a sister, then at least you could consider Luke 6:35 when you run into me?

    BTW, I don't get it - I have never, ever been rude to you that I can remember. I would never go to your blog and leave a comment to someone else without treating you with dignity. What is up with you? (screech?)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/17/2007 11:11 AM  

  • Rose,
    I know I may be stepping into "the none of my business" area here. But I totally agree with you about Jazzycat.
    To be totally honest when I read his comment the first thing that I thought of was Matthew 23:15

    Anyway I appreciate your time to run this blog site. I think it is noble work.

    By Blogger Kris, at 11/17/2007 11:38 AM  

  • Anonymous,

    If the man in your story never trusted Christ but only said he did to marry the woman, then of course he was never saved to begin with. (You would have to ask him to see if he lied about trusting Christ or if he actually did trust Christ as His Savior.)

    On the other hand, if he actually did trust Christ and did all those sinful things he is a "carnal" Christian, much like the Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:1-3). He is saved (i.e. justified), but not living like a Christian. Paul says these type of people will "be saved yet so as by fire" (1 Cor. 3:15). In other words, they will get to heaven because they have eternal life, but only as someone barely escaping out of a burning building. (In the context of 1 Corinthians 3, this type of person will recieve no rewards at the judgment seat of Christ.)

    Works have no bearing on initial justification (salvation from the penalty of sin) or final glorification (salvation from the presence of sin) (Rom. 4:4-5, 8:30). Works only have bearing on present sanctification (salvation from the power of sin in the Christian life) (Phil. 2:12-13, Jms. 1:21, etc.). Present sanctification has a direct relationship to future rewards in heaven (1 Cor. 3:14).

    Antonio,

    I enjoyed your comments and quote from Dillow. What page is that from in his book?

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at 11/17/2007 10:16 PM  

  • Faith alone in James does not bring deliverance. However the deliverance under discussion is not eternal life.

    If you read the example of Rahab, her physical life was delivered because of her actions. Abraham was called a friend of God because of his actions. A brother or sister is fed and clothed because of our actions.

    Chapter 5. The prayer of faith will "save" or "deliver" the sick. deliver them from what? Hell? of course not.

    If someone turns back a brother from sin, he will save a soul from death. Deliver him from hell? of course not. Its a brother, one of you. He will deliver him from some of the consequences of his sin perhaps even his physical life.

    I challenge you to read the book of James in its entirety every day for a week and see how your understanding begins to change as you understand its context. Try and read it afresh with out preconcieved notions of what is being discussed, and whenever you see saved, think deliverance and ask from what? In this context, there is no contradiction with the freeness of God's gift.

    By Blogger Trent, at 11/18/2007 1:41 PM  

  • If you ask me Rose...well, it is a good thing that this tension exists between your camp and the Lordship camp. I think it is a good thing. We need to beward of Roman theology as well as the greek philosopies that were beguiling the early Church.

    In fact a while back many in the FG camp acknowledged that even Zane Hodges admitted that some fruit will grow as even Antonio states that the second seed in the parable of the sower has life and growth it it and that some fruit will be born. Someone may want to challange then even Zane Hodges for being Roman and making a case that Zane and Antonio teach works salvation by challanging him the way Jim did once in saying that if some form of fruit must occur then how much and how little. In fact I really believe that McGee of all people had his finger correctly on the pulse of it all and was a more balanced teacher than many out there. Even Luther correctly wrestled with this text and we have every reason to. I really believe at the end of the day that you all even partially agree with the Lordships here but because of you rightly having concerns about Romanism you all sort of...and I have in the past unfairly put some of the Lordships in err. Calvins or Bezas statement is a human statement. So I think the tension that exists is a good thing, but I am not interested in exploring hew heights in religion. In fact the old paths to me are the best ones, because of the men in the past that dialogued with so many that skewed the truth and so rightly contended for truth. I think it is remiss of us to pit them against this tinee seed of seeming arrogance we seem to have to think that God has sent us here to correct everyone elses interpretation. That does not mean that we can humbly challange it and discuss it having the courage to at least admit that we have an anomaly in Scripture that we must be careful to talk about. When James says that the demons believe and tremble..we must be careful not to take the sting out of it that may alarm the conscience of a false professor yet we must be careful to encourage the other believer who may be in a slump or who has failed or one who is close to committing the sin unto death. Again...to me, this pitting one group against another and ignoring the monolith of Rome while she burns and consumes all around us is to me unhealthy.

    Comparing Jehovahs Witnesses with the Lordshipers is something that is a tragedy to me and vice versa if they do it to you. Both of these groups have done this to me over the last couple of years of blogging though.

    I do however like Matthews comment about looking to Christ in Davids last post over at your unashamed blog.

    By Blogger Only Look, at 11/18/2007 4:22 PM  

  • Andrew,
    Thank you for your comment. You are excellent at boiling these things down - it is a circumlocutory (i.e. roundabout) way of saying that anyone who does not do good works does not get into heaven.

    I wonder if any of our frineds who like thhis quote agree with you. They often say we mischaracterize them, but I can't get around that what you say right there is the obvious implication. Maybe they do not see the quote that way. Maybe one of their friendlier folks will tell us if you are right or wrong in your estimation.

    Thanks for your visit!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2007 9:45 PM  

  • Kris,
    Thank you so much for your thoughts. I think what you say about legalistic ancestry is interesting. I do appreciate your visits.


    Daniel,
    Thanks for coming over! I see your perspective. I like your postal illustration. You say:
    There are dozens of ways I suppose to say it, but they all picture a God initiated justification, and not a man initiated justification, which is to say that the problem isn't in the wording, but in the presuppositions.

    Can I just tell you, I agree with you that God has initiated our justification. I would gander that everyone here commenting on this post would agree as well.

    So what were those presuppostions? :~)

    God bless you for your kind and gracious way.

    Happy birthday - I thought you were already 41, but then I forget that I am several months older than you. ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2007 9:54 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Thank you for that quote. I remember now - you left that quote somewhere else once. It makes sense to me - this quote does seem like nonsense. Surely there are better ways of saying what needs to be said about living the Christian life as the implanted Spirit leads us and teaches us to walk in obedience to the Lord.
    Thanks for your visit! :~)

    David,
    I am a simple person too - that way of looking at James makes perfect sense to me and has cleared up so many contradictory thoughts. Thank you for telling us who the quote is from. You aren't so simple - you know a church history! God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2007 10:04 PM  

  • Welcome Ender!
    I printed out your first two posts and have read the first and started the second. (I printed them out over a week ago - that is how long it takes me to get to these things - I am too busy, 4 kids and a job) I appreciate your blog and your attitude on display here. I also like this quote: It can't be both ways: it's either "faith alone" or "faith that is alone but it's not really alone because of x, y, z.

    I think things like this have been cooked up to raise expectations on Christians.

    If a person is a pretend Christian, this sure would make a him shake in his boots and get workin to prove himself, wouldn't it? And the pity is someone who really is a Christian but then gets things mixed up thinking that he has to prove himself or else he may not really be the recipient of grace in the first place.

    Jesus is the object of our faith! To Him is where we look. Let's glory in the fact that He has done all the work of salvation and let's serve Him out of thankful hearts - not out of compulsion, guilt or manipulation.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2007 10:14 PM  

  • Anton,
    Thank you for your thoughts. And thanks for visitng! I will check out that link.

    Anonymous,
    My answer is the same as Janathan's about your hypothetical.

    Jonathan,
    Thank you for your visit. I have enjoyed your blog and have appreciated your gracious and helpful comments there. And thanks for answering anonymous. :~)

    Trent,
    Thanks for coming over! Hey, I agree about James - it is so much easier to understand now that this has been cleared up for me in the last two years. God bless.

    Only look,
    Thank you for your thoughts. The RC church is a real problem for me - (family) and I think liberals are a blight upon the face of Christianity. I suppose I argue so much with the Reformed because I have something in common with them, a ground on which to discuss things - the authority and truth of the Word of God. See ya.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2007 10:22 PM  

  • Here's a quote that clarifies how church history, i.e. English Purtianism and the Presbyterians, ever came to produce the slogan you are highlighting, Rose. The quote comes from Bozeman (you'll see the bibliographic info at the end of the quote). He is discussing early English Puritanism and the conditions of salvation that were to be met within the framework of the "covenant of works" (i.e. divine pactum). The "moralistic" connotations are glaringly similar to Roman Catholic soteriology, for good reason. Anyway here's the quote, enjoy ;-):

    Picturing Christian redemption as a complex of pardon plus moral remodeling within a cosmic monarchy whose king “hath coupled the glorie of his name . . . to the doeing of his wil,” and certain that “those who minde his commaundementes to doe them, are they to whome onlie his mercies are promised,” presbyterians thus underwrote and indeed mandated, consequent conditions in the pact. It was the Deity’s role to forgive sin and to supply regenerative will and power, and it was “our parte, to declare that we are [Christ’s], . . . by dying unto sinne, and living unto righteousnesse.” As Stephen Egerton (1555?–1621?) phrased it for his congregation at Saint Anne’s, Blackfriars, in London, the pact that carried favor also imposed a “condition of our dutie in the behalfe of our selves.” (Theodore Dwight Bozeman, “The Preceisianist Strain—–Disciplinary Religion & Antinomian Backlash In Puritanism To 1638)

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 11/18/2007 10:33 PM  

  • Bobby,
    Thank you, thank you! I am glad I posted this - I have learned so much about this quote! I appreciate your input and amm so glad you sopped by to visit. God bless you brother.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/18/2007 10:38 PM  

  • Brian, perhaps you could clarify the significant ways in which the JW position on faith and works differs from that of those who argue for Lordship Salvation?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/19/2007 3:37 AM  

  • Are you feeling justified today, Rose?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/19/2007 3:38 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/Andrew

    To say that anyone who does not do good works does not get into Heaven is an entirely different matter from saying that good works have any part in getting us into Heaven. Good works are the fruit of saving faith. To draw a parallel: A man will not get into Heaven without being born again of the Spirit of God. (John 3:3) A man who is born again of the Spirit of God will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22) which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Yet there is no one quick out of the blocks to charge that any of these virtues is in any way contributory to getting to Heaven. A man may say that he has the Spirit, but if there is no fruit, I, for one, would be very slow to believe him and would have (over a period of time) every reason to doubt his profession.

    Matthew: I have two answers for your thoughts:

    [i] The JW's actually state that their good works are meritorious and contributory to their justification - something which we Old Time Evangelicals rigorously deny. In their book, Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God (p.400) the JW's clearly state: "Jehovah God will justify, declare righteous, on the basis of their own merit all perfected humans who have withstood that final, decisive test of mankind. He will adopt and acknowledge them as his sons through Jesus Christ." On the other hand, the Old Time Evangelical position is summed up in the words of the WCF on justification:

    Those whom God effectually calleth, He also freely justifieth: not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous, not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness, but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God. (WCF ch 11 para 1)

    The two are as different as chalk from cheese.

    [ii] When all is done and done in these countless debates, you still (so far) treat those of us on our side of the fence as brethren in the Lord. I am pretty sure (although your reply can set the matter straight) that you don't go to these various Evangelical Churches round England who ask you to preach, and say: "If you believe that justification by faith invariably leads to good works then you are hardly distinguishable from the Jehovah Witnesses!"

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 9:04 AM  

  • Goodnight, thankyou.

    I was not meaning to imply that there are no significant differences, I just wanted to challenge Brian as to his assertion.

    Nevertheless, I think the difference is confused somewhat by the argument that JWS and LS people share, that is the use of James 2 to argue that true faith always results in works.

    I think the argument from James 2 is confused and misleading.

    I think the advocates of LS would do better to adopt the FG view of faith and works in James 2 and argue for perserverance on the basis of God's purposes in election.

    Re-thinking James 2 would not necessarilly result in abadoning Lordship Salvation.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/19/2007 9:16 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    "Faith alone" truly does save. Yet that fact can be diminished if we too freely try to spin slogans.

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/19/2007 9:34 AM  

  • I like "faith that has saved, is never alone" more Rose. In a sloganeering contest.

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/19/2007 9:37 AM  

  • Matthew,

    I have always argued for perseverance on the basis of God's purposes in election. (Perhaps not in these blogs, but, as you know, they are pretty piecemeal affairs and often reactionary) If I be so bold again as to quote the WCF which summarises my beliefs on these matters:

    This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof. (WCF 17 para 2)

    I agree with you that James 2 relates to our justification before men and that God does not need evidence to know whether we are born of Him. I am unsure if any one of note on our side of the fence believes that the justification referred to in James relates to justification before God. I preached through James recently and emphasised that the justification referred to here relates to our standing before men. Some one said well that Paul in his epistles relates to our justification before God (Romans 3-5) etc., while James relates to our justification before men. He likened our Paul's emphasis on justification before God to the fire in the grate (cause) while James' emphasis could be likened to the smoke coming out of the chimney (effect). Just as there is no smoke without fire, so there is (in this case) no fire without smoke. No man can produce a good work without the presence and motivation of faith (Otherwise, it is as a filthy rag; Isaiah 64:6) Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6) i.e. it shows itself in good works.

    That the JWS may argue that faith always results in works means little. They also believe in the inspiration of the Bible etc., but we do not let that put us off. That faith always results in works is the standard Evangelical belief…at least until pretty recently.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 9:41 AM  

  • Todd,

    Where does "Justification by faith alone" come in these sloganeering competitions? or "The Bible only as the sole rule of faith and practice?"?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 9:43 AM  

  • "A man may say that he has the Spirit, but if there is no fruit, I, for one, would be very slow to believe him and would have (over a period of time) every reason to doubt his profession.

    Goodnight, I think I could find many reasons this is a wise statement. But I get concerned when I ask myself, "Is a single grape enough or must I present a cornucopia of every fruit?"

    Is it simply a pass/fail or a qualitative or quantitative measurement?

    When you add works in any way to this, these are things I must consider. And when I stop to think on it, I don't consistently, if at all, exhibit any of these fruits. What does that mean?

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/19/2007 10:00 AM  

  • Hi Missy,

    As regards your justification before God, not a thing, because this is yours entirely and solely and 100% on what Christ has done on your behalf.

    As regards your sanctification, then aim for the whole basket. Thomas Watson wisely wrote that the arrow of the child of God might fall short, but it aims straight. It is little use asking me. What does God require of you? We will all cry out and say "O wretched man etc.," (Romans 7:24) but we should also aim to say: Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. - not in order to be justified, but because we are justified.

    There will be no complete sanctification until we reach Heaven and that is our glorification.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 10:10 AM  

  • Colin, the LS people do bring up James chapter 2 an awful lot.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/19/2007 10:26 AM  

  • Goodnight, so it would not matter what I do accomplish only that I try?

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/19/2007 10:33 AM  

  • True...but not in relation to our justification before God. The key passages here are Romans 3-5 and Galatians 2 etc.,

    James 2 only comes up when we argue that the faith that justifies also sanctifies.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 10:42 AM  

  • Oops! The above reply was to Matthew.

    Missy, Again, not in relation to your justification before God. As regards your sanctification, you are required by faith to do certain things and to flee other things. This is entirely practical and you may draw from books like Proverbs to instruct you on these matters. I cannot believe that someone who is seeking to obey (say) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1 Timothy 6:11) and utilising the promises of God in prayer etc., will meet with failure. As Watson said, it might not be sinlessly perfect, but it will be sincere and earnest and therefore acceptable to God who accepts us as perfect in the work of His Son.

    Regards to you both,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 10:51 AM  

  • "There will be no complete sanctification until we reach Heaven and that is our glorification."

    I quite agree and I think those LS advocates who accuse FG of denying the power of God in sanctification ought to bear this in mind.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/19/2007 11:13 AM  

  • I quite agree and I think those LS advocates who accuse FG of denying the power of God in sanctification ought to bear this in mind.

    Is the difference, Matthew, not in the fact that we (on our side of the fence) believe that sanctification will invariably lead on for the one justified by faith alone, whereas you appear to allow for it to be absent, even if without official leave?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 11:20 AM  

  • Colin (if I may?) - it appears that you do believe that MY good works have no part in getting me into heaven. It is the work of Christ that gets me into heaven. Nor do you beleive that MY good works sanctify me, that the good works of God (the Spirit?) do this.

    So, really is there any difference between your belief and anyone else's here?

    It seems that some may be assuming that the works meant by those agreeing with the quote are MY works, while it appears that you intend that these works are God's?

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/19/2007 11:26 AM  

  • Colin, let me quote that most venereable document, the Westminister confession of faith:

    III. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins;[7] and, for a time, continue therein:[8] whereby they incur God's displeasure,[9] and grieve His Holy Spirit,[10] come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts,[11] have their hearts hardened,[12] and their consciences wounded;[13] hurt and scandalize others,[14] and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.[15]

    We have hear the confession affirming that sometimes there can be a genuine lack of progress in a justified person.

    This is not taling about a few sins once a week, but a state of near, if not full apostasy.

    Westminister holds that there can be a serious temporal lack of progress.

    I hold that there can be a lack of progress that is terminated by death.

    The difference here is not the new birth or the power of God in sanctification. The real difference is that Westminister holds that the purpose of God in election entails a resumption of progress and ultimate perserverance.

    Those LS advocates who argue from the reality of the new birth or the power of God in sanctification must reject the fulness of this Westminster statement on temporal apostasy (or near-apostasy).

    The utimate question is not the power of God in sanctification but whether election entails perserverance.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/19/2007 11:29 AM  

  • Missy,

    Sanctification is God working in and through the Christian. We see this in Philippians 2:13 where we read: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. It is not an either/or situation.

    The difference seems to lie in the fact that those on my side of the fence insist that such works follow justification and bear witness to it. Christ saves His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) - not only the guilt, but also the power and that this purpose of His will be manifest in the changed life of the cinvert. Some of the others (and they can correct me if I'm wrong) do not see this as invariable and therefore are more ready to accept as justified those whose unsanctified life does not match their verbal confession of justification. This is why people like McGee etc., are more than happy to use the phrase that faith alone justifies, but the faith that justifies is never alone i.e. it is evidenced by works. It is not supported by good works or grounded in good works or dependent on good works, but evidenced by good works. This is our claim, no more and no less.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 11:40 AM  

  • And then there is somebody like me who would say that they will usually be evidenced by those things that Colin mentions, but that we need to leave room for the exception if we are going to say that faith alone truly justifies.

    People are complex beings and we cannot say what will or will not always happen in a Chritsian's life. What about someone with Alzheimers? etc...
    There would not be so many warnings to Christians about living and walking if it were guaranteed that we would all persevere in faith and holy living.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/19/2007 11:45 AM  

  • Matthew,
    I am feeling justified today because of Christ's Person and Work. Thanks for asking.

    Todd,
    Thanks for the visit! Did you sing that song yet?

    Colin,
    Good morning to you too. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/19/2007 11:47 AM  

  • Matthew,

    There is little point on quoting only part of the confession (In this case, the 3rd paragraph on Perseverance) and stating that it seems to be teaching that there can be full apostasy, when the 1st paragraph of the same section clearly teaches:

    They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally, nor finally, fall away from the state of grace: but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

    I don't think any one in the LS camp is arguing for a full sanctification in this life. To go back to Watson's brilliant illustration, we are asking that believer's shoot straight, even if they their arrow fire short. What we want and what we get our often two different things. However, there can be no excuse for any professing Christian to sit back and refuse those many commandments which point him to practical obedience towards God summarised in Romans 12:9 Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 11:54 AM  

  • Colin

    I am well aware that Westminister teaches perserverance.

    "They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally, nor finally, fall away from the state of grace: but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved."

    My point is that you cannot argue that persons will perservere because they are born-again or because they are being sanctified while at the same time holding that they may fall into serious sin or near-apostasy.

    If you allow for temporal apostasy or near-apostasy as Westminister does, you can only argue from God's purpose in election.

    Westminister is clear that being sanctified is compatible with a person being in a state of grievous sin. Hence, th simple fact of the Holy Spirit's working is not sufficent in itself to make the case against FG theology.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 11/19/2007 12:01 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You wrote: People are complex beings and we cannot say what will or will not always happen in a Christian's life. What about someone with Alzheimer's? etc...There would not be so many warnings to Christians about living and walking if it were guaranteed that we would all persevere in faith and holy living.

    I think you misunderstand the way in which God works here. God uses means to accomplish His will. If we applied your logic here to other situations, we would be concluding that there was no guarantee that Christ would be born in Bethlehem as recorded in Micah 5:2 because it was necessary that Caesar out forth a decree that everyone was to return to their own city to be taxed. It was not hit and miss. In sanctification, God gives the various commands and works in His people both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) If this cannot be guaranteed, then what can and why should it be?

    It is guaranteed that God's word shall not return unto Him void or that our labour is not in vain in the Lord, but (boys!) I have still to work hard and study and meditate upon these things and have a definite evangelistic plan and get out there on the streets and do something evangelistically . I do so, because success is guaranteed. Not perhaps in my way, but in God's way. Again, if this cannot be guaranteed, then what can and why should it be?

    A poor soul with Alzheimer's etc, is not expected to meditate upon the word etc., You have used this example before and I fail to see that it is a strong argument against my position.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 12:17 PM  

  • Hi Rose! Thanks for the B-day wish. It was not as fun turning 41 as turning 21, but I appreciated it more! :-)

    Here is another illustration:

    We are sanctified by grace through faith alone, but we are not sanctified only, for as many as are being sanctified, the same are justified also.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/19/2007 12:21 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Being sanctified is an ongoing work. It advances and declines and is linked to the Christian's walk with God. I cannot forsake prayer and Bible study etc., and expect to be walking in close fellowship with God. It is a sad fact that some believers can fall grievously. David is the obvious example. Peter is another. These things ought not to be, but they are. We expect Christians to seek the Lord afresh in confession and faith.

    I am unsure of the bigger picture here which you are drawing in relation to the FG position.

    Regards,
    (And regards to Rose too in the last post)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 12:22 PM  

  • Daniel, that is not an ilustration! ;~)

    (I am with you on that 41 thing.)

    I want to tell you I appreciate you so much, Daniel. I hope you go easier on your sisters now.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/19/2007 12:25 PM  

  • Colin, thank you for your patience. So, if there is no evidence, then the assumption of justification is not true? Again, I can't help but consider the measurement of the evidence. Is it a comparative measurement of my works today vs. yesterday? How can I know?

    Rose, thank you for the forum - and immediately knowing where my mind would go next. :)

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/19/2007 12:42 PM  

  • Rose, I don't have a lot to do with my sisters anymore. My older sister I see once a year at Christmas, and my younger sister I have seen her less than five times in the last ten years. My youngest sister is pretty messed up. Long story there. Suffice to say that I don't see them enough to be kindly to them.

    By Blogger Daniel, at 11/19/2007 1:35 PM  

  • Missy,

    If a man is not a new creature, then he can hardly claim to be in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) While there is a degree of growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18) yet I don't think that we should be trying to see where we were 24 hours ago and see if we are further on today. As said, particularly with Matthew, there may be cold periods when we have slipped back, but we should never rest content with anything less than seeking to go on with God. I must return to Watson's statement again, because it is so fundamental to the subject: Desire to aim straight. If you fall short, let it at least be said that you aimed straight. If you have no desire even to aim straight and your attitude to spiritual things is basically "so what?" - then there can be no comfort drawn from the Bible, except in a return to God.

    If there are periods of retrospection, be very, very careful to remember that your justification is entirely in Jesus Christ and His perfect work. Our state will fluctuate - our standing cannot. We are accepted in Him i.e. Christ (Ephesians 1:6) and complete in Him (Colossians 2:10)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/19/2007 1:37 PM  

  • Daniel,
    I am sorry for that.
    I am certain the Lord would use you for good in their lives with your gifts.
    You know I have been reading the comments at the BC blog. I promised the administrator of that blog that I would not comment there anymore, so I want to say something to you here. I surely never mean to defame John MacArthur or any other Christian. It is the teaching, not the person, that is in question. I do not doubt that he is a brother in Christ. I think of Mark and Wayne as brothers in Christ too. I am not willfully ignorant of their position. It is not that I do not understand the "correction" that has been offered. I take issue with the biblical reasoning. This is all.

    Many godly people have taken issue with points of doctrine and differed thorugh the ages. Does it mean one has his eyes blinded? I would not say that you, in your camp, have your eyes blinded - willfully or otherwise. If Mark has zeal for his position, I also have zeal for my position. Both sides of this thing have biblical reasons for "contending" for what they are sure is the biblical position. I am sure Mark feels his stance is just as biblical as Matthew believes his is. None of us needs to see malice, blindness, obtuseness or deliberate baiting from the other view.

    Mark comes across as though he is angry because he has explained his differences with my understanding of these Scriptures and if I still see what I feel is a glaring problem with it, then I am impossible to *correct.* That knife cuts two ways. Maybe I could say that I think he is deliberately or otherwise blinded to the fact that what he is teaching about this will bring about phonies in the church, always trying to prove themselves that they are saved by outward appearance. I could say that he is obtuse for not seeing this fact. But why would I do that? Am I his teacher? NO. The Word of God will bear these things out and when we get to glory there will be no more arguing about it.
    I will see you there.

    You are usually not patronizing and that is what I appreciate about you, brother.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/19/2007 1:55 PM  

  • Daniel,
    One more thing, OK? :~)
    You and I have discussed theology of salvation before at length. You thought my view was "saving yourself." Remember? You believe that faith is a gift and that we are regenerated prior to faith, if I remember correctly. I believe that the Word of God goes out, the HS convicts the hearer and it is then in that person's court whether they cast themselves upon Christ or resist the Spirit. They exercise faith and then they are born again. You call that "saving yourself." I know why you call it that. It is because, in your framework, you can't get around that being the logical conclusion of the things that I articulate about this. You see a problem in my view. I have tried to "correct" you that I do not believe people "save themselves." Are you being "obtuse"? No, of course not. Are you blinded about it? No.

    In the same way, it doesn't make sense to me and some commenting here that the things in LS and Reformed theology that we are discussing don't have the same logical conclusions that have now been called "mischaracterizations" by your camp.

    We see this thing differently and we need to allow others to draw the "logical conclusions" that they will. It doesn't mean they are blind or ignorant. God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/19/2007 2:53 PM  

  • Thanks Rose...well we could always go with the old slave preacher John Jasper..."If you is what you was then you aint"

    It is good to work on the ground we all agree on. Amen and to learn from men of the past but not hang everything there. I like this quote by Spurgeon:

    "All the fathers and the doctors, and divines, and confessors, put together, cannot add a word to the faith once delivered unto the saints: yea, I venture to say, that the unanimous assent of all the saints in heaven and earth would not suffice to make a single doctrine binding upon conscience unless Jesus had so determinded. In vain do men say, "So did the early Church" - the early Church has no supremacy over us. It is to no purpose to quote Origen or Augustine: quote the inspired apostles, and the doctrine is established, but not otherwise. In the church of God it is never sufficient to say, "So thinks Martin Luther." Who was Martin Luther? A servant of Jesusm Christ and nothing more. It is not sufficient to say, "So teacheth John Calvin," for who is John Calvin? Hath he shed his blood for you, or is he your master? His opinion is to be respected as the opinion of your fellow servant, but in no respect as a doctor or authoritative teacher in the church - for Christ alone is Rabbi, and we are to call no man Master upon the earth. CH Spurgeon, The Head Of The Church

    By Blogger Only Look, at 11/19/2007 9:05 PM  

  • The bottom line for me on this quote:

    It starts off great.

    "Faith alone saves..."

    (of course faith doesn't save, but the object of faith Jesus, through faith... we all know this)

    However, genetic fallacis aside... and apart from any other consideration...

    "BUT" is the problem with the quote.
    "BUT" is a qualifier that casts limits and modifications to the correct first part of the quote.

    Case closed.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/20/2007 9:18 AM  

  • Rose,
    It's very encouraging to see how well Mr. Spurgeon covers mere men and their quotes.

    I'm finally starting to like that hymn that you mentioned to me. The melody anyway. I always have liked the words. So it can't be long now. Thanks for bringing that one up(ahhh...there, I can finally say it).

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/20/2007 9:26 AM  

  • Hold on Rose,hold on

    You're moving too fast for your own good, too early in the morning :-)

    You may open this case up again.

    Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, BUT fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:19)

    "But" doesn't qualify (at least in the sense of denying) but it does give us a bit more information. The Bible is full of them:

    Here's another and a better example:

    For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, BUT by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

    Is there a denial here that we have been liberated? No, but such liberty is further explained that it is not a liberty to do what we want, but to serve each other by love. Likewise in Calvin's widely used quote: "Faith alone justifies, but [here's another bit of further information] it is a faith that is not alone i.e. it evidences itself in works."

    I'm afraid you'll need to find some use for those nails! This coffin lid's not for closin'.

    P/s Good morning, Rose

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/20/2007 9:36 AM  

  • Also very encouraging to see your closing remark Rose.

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/20/2007 9:37 AM  

  • Colin, those two quotes you give...
    each one has a negative before the BUT. This is the difference. The first part of the verse says something that is NOT...
    then we see a BUT...
    and then we see what IS.

    In the quotation under examination here, we see a definite statement about something being ALONE sufficient...
    and then "BUT"...
    with more added to the 'alone'.

    Colin Maxwell, I do enjoy you. You like to argue (which I confess I do too) but you do it so delightfully and lovingly. :~)
    God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/20/2007 10:06 AM  

  • Thank you, Todd!
    I appreciated Spurgeon's quote also. I will look for that song!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/20/2007 10:07 AM  

  • Oh, and I deleted the rest of my remark to you so as not to suppose to further discuss this thing after it has long been talked out.

    But you're right, the "but" throws the door wide open to adding to "faith alone".

    The quote is useful in helping to explain "fruit" as a by-product of faith. But then, standing alone and without the necessary explanation of fruit, the quote is vague and even counterproductive to the understanding of salvation.

    Colin,

    Regardless of whether the word "but" in the quote qualifies(which in spirit it does), it does not as you said, "give us a bit more information". It gives us a fill-in-the-blank statement that, without an able teacher on hand, can be dangerously abused.

    It's a precious little slogan that has been used to cause many people to stumble after having it launched at them in an erroneous legalistic way.

    See Colin, one like you might say "ie. it evidences itself in works". Isn't that exactly what a catholic would say? Yes it is. Therefore, your words are not getting it done. Nor does the quote.

    And truly, you are a flambouyant follower of John Calvin. Isn't that bound to sort of get in your way here with regards to objectivity?

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/20/2007 10:23 AM  

  • OK Rose, Inside 60 seconds with my Online Bible search engine and the word "But" and working from Revelation backwards:

    I had many things to write, BUT I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: (3 John 13)

    There is no negativity here. What we do have is a positive (I had many things to write) but I will not communicate these things with mere ink and pen, but... (yes...a negativity, yet only in the sense that I will not rest content with a mere mere letter) BUT I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face... (v14)

    Calvin's quote with its "But" is showing to us that faith brings us much more than mere justification. It also brings us other things, like sanctification also.

    To be honest, I don't like arguing. Although I do love a good close debate between friends.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/20/2007 10:29 AM  

  • Although I do love a good close debate between friends.

    That is what I like too, not the nasty arguing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/20/2007 10:34 AM  

  • Todd,
    Flamboyant? :-) Wherein am I "ostentatious" and "showy" (first meaning of this word in the Oxford Dictionary?
    I only agree with Calvin when he agrees with the Bible - otherwise I reject his views. I happen to agree with his quote here but only because I see it as being intensely Biblical.

    Can you supply us a quote to show that this is exactly what a Catholic would say? (I am a stickler for proof in these things.) On the other hand, I am more apt to say that the Romanist says that faith alone does not justify (1517 and all that) but rather that good works bring merit with them. I substantiate my point with a quote from their 1994 catechism:

    1477 This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints. ... In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time co-operated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.

    Rose: That is what I like too, not the nasty arguing. So where does my last posting leave the position of the "But" - Is the case still closed?

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/20/2007 10:52 AM  

  • Silly lit student that I am, never once did I analyze the grammatical structure of this statement!

    It is odd - "alone... but" - "alone" being an expressly finite number of one and "but" in opposition to that completely shatters the meaning of "alone" where it would now mean more than one.

    By Blogger Missy, at 11/20/2007 11:24 AM  

  • Missy,

    An expanded sentence would read: When it comes to justification, it is by faith alone and nothing else - not the evidences or the fruits of this faith. But this justifying faith does have evidence and fruit and therefore it is not alone in merely justifying us, but the same faith which justifies us also leads us to live for Jesus Christ as evidence that we have been justified by Him. Rather wooden, I agree, and not as nicely packaged as the original.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/20/2007 11:35 AM  

  • Colin,
    The flambouyant comes from our discussion here (http://rosesreasonings.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-does-one-believe-and-another-doesnt.html#links)where you take the banner of Calvinism upon yourself.(Sorry, maybe someone could tell me how to insert a link into blogger comments).

    In my opinion, your website could be described as flambouyantly partisan in the trappings of your home page. To the extent of being fairly alienating to a mere Chrisian like myself.

    What you are "more apt to say"...

    On the other hand, I am more apt to say that the Romanist says that faith alone does not justify (1517 and all that) but rather that good works bring merit with them."

    ...is what some folks of the catholic persuasion will say and is what the "quote" opens the door for, thus rendering the "But" in need of proper qualification lest it be subject to vaguery and misapplication. I don't think there is any question that it can be misinterpreted by the "legalistically" minded.

    As "a stickler for proof of these things" can you prove to me that Calvin originated the quote? Now I'm just being argumentative. But it appears not to be conclusive judging from the comments above. Not that it matters.

    Anyway, in spite of your inordinate passion for Calvin(don't forget to look back at the comments of that link I left above),don't think I don't appreciate your authentic passion for the Lord too Colin.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/20/2007 11:53 AM  

  • Colin,
    I want to talk about it some more - but on the new post. Thanks, brother.

    Hi Missy!
    Hi Todd!

    Hope you all will join in if you want to.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 11/20/2007 11:59 AM  

  • Colin,
    I enjoy your earnestness, but truly, by saying this:

    But this justifying faith does have evidence and fruit and therefore it is not alone in merely justifying us,

    ...you've just very sloppily said that mere faith does not justify us alone. Do you see that? or is it just me? I'm sorry to butt in on a discussion between you and Missy. I probably should have not. I just wanted to point out how it appears to me.

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/20/2007 12:03 PM  

  • Rose,
    I'm off to my half-day of work today. Thanks again for hosting the nourishing discussion as well as your patience.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/20/2007 12:26 PM  

  • Todd,

    I fail to see how honestly identifying myself as a Calvinist, for the purposes of clarification, is being ostentatious or showy. I think you have picked the wrong adjective here. It appears more of being a putdown than anything else. Certainly, you are the first to accuse me of it.

    I have never claimed that Calvin originated the quote. What I did say is that the quote is generally attributed to Calvin and supplied two quotes from other men (both non Calvinists) who both quoted him. (Although it was the quote itself more than the fact that Calvin is accredited with it that interested me.) Others on this page have attributed it to both Beza and John Owen has been credited with it. So I see little point in going off on a wild goose chase to try and prove something that I have never claimed and especially seeing that you admit to be argumentative and that it doesn't matter.

    I supplied you with a quote whereby the Romanist claims that there is merit in good works. I have yet to meet a Romanist (and I am a missionary in a country which is overwhelmingly Romanist) who has yet played down the role of good works to being but the evidence of justification and nothing more. If you can produce me a solid quote to the contrary, then you might have a point, although I can still point to their official documents.

    In your latest post, you but half quote me when I write: but the same faith which justifies us also leads us to live for Jesus Christ as evidence that we have been justified by Him, because I finish the quote with these words: but the same faith which justifies us also leads us to live for Jesus Christ as evidence that we have been justified by Him. You then, on the basis of a trncated quote, accuse me of being very sloppy. I quote: ...you've just very sloppily said that mere faith does not justify us alone. Do you see that? or is it just me? I'm sorry to butt in on a discussion between you and Missy. I probably should have not. I just wanted to point out how it appears to me To answer your question, I think it is "just you". I'm sorry, but I'm unsure of your agenda in these posts. I cannot claim the same degree of pleasure in discussing these things with you as I do the others.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/20/2007 1:26 PM  

  • Colin,

    Thank goodness I haven't wasted my time here then by repeating what others have already told you.

    Also,I think an interesting source for a quote by a catholic on "justification by faith alone-yea or nay" would be the recently resigned president of the Amer. Ev. Society(or whoever he was) who said that he is returning now to the catholic church because of their recent doctrinal change in stance toward "justification by faith alone". How does that suffice for something as good as a quote by a former catholic and now re-converted catholic about their doctrine? Indeed, some of their official doctrine may have changed recently, but for the last two millenia they've had a problem with "faith alone". I thought that was common knowledge?

    My "agenda in these posts" is to try and understand why some Christians disagree on what appears to be obvious factual information. Necessarily, there will occassionally be unpleasant fall-out since disagreement is warned against in the bible.

    I'm almost certain I will never get comfortable with a Christian generally labeling themselves as a certain 'type of Christian' by using a man's name. Especially when it fits the description you give here:

    I only agree with Calvin when he agrees with the Bible - otherwise I reject his views.

    Why would one want to be 'of' any man, much less one some of whose views you've said disagree with the bible. Don't be 'of' that sort of man or any man Colin. Don't expect other Christians to stomach that. Oh I know it's fashionable and has been sanctioned by many a church father but I'm here to tell you to grow out of it. And I believe I'm only echoing what the apostle Paul has said.

    Paul here is referring to the persistence of those who, in his earlier letter to the Corinthians, he chides for saying that they are 'of' this man or 'of' that man.

    2Co 10:12 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.

    Unfortunately, for the pleasant tone of discussion,I see you as committing this error.

    Surely my feelings here, which lead me to describe you as flambouyant in your ardency for your Calvinism, have their roots in our discussion last spring to which I linked to in an earlier comment. Revisiting that discussion will surely illustrate what I mean. And hopefully it supports my worry, originally, over your lack of objectivity concerning anything Calvin. But whether you find pleasure in discussing things with me or not, maybe we've allowed Paul to do a little teaching here. That could be time well spent.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at 11/20/2007 8:49 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Todd!

    Todd: Some folk have hang ups over titles. Personally I don't. I see them as a necessary evil in a less than ideal world. Like many who hold my views, I have inherited a title and one little word can save a whole paragraph of explanation. As for expecting other people to stomach it as you somewhat dramatically (flamboyantly?) put it, many of the contributors here, both for and against Calvinism, use the title almost naturally and give little evidence of needing to run to the bathroom every other line.

    Re: Rome's position. I can only keep to her official documents and my own experience of discussing these things with her people here in Cork. Your reference to some view by other of someone or other is not enough for me to work on. If Rome comes to a Scriptural position on justification by faith alone without the deeds of the law, I will be the first to rejoice and hope that she will come to Scriptural views on other vital matters also.

    Anyway, thanks for all your worry for me and for digging up old posts so that you can continue your concern. I see Rose has opened up another post and so I'll concentrate my thoughts on the present rather than the past.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at 11/21/2007 4:28 AM  

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