Thursday, March 08, 2007

St. Clement & JBFA

In the First Letter of St. Clement to The Corinthians we have these words on Chapter 32


Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him.129 For from him130 have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.131 From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven."132 All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


As can be seen from this quote St. Clement believed and taught JBFA as well. Clearly he says we are not justified by ourselves, this completely negates anything in us - our good works or following or "doing" any commandments, even works brought about by the "purity" of heart.

Now some will jump and probably point out to me - hey look at Chapters 33-35 where he talks about works, as if St. Clement just contradicted himself! Yes he does talk about works, but Chapter 32 as preamble eliminates any works as source of justification instead it speaks of faith through which God has justified all men and I quote but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Chapters 33-35 should be read in context - and what surrounds the discussion. Proof of this is in looking at Chapter 36 where all gifts are given by God to us for the sake Christ.

St. Clement in my thinking was following the Apostle Paul in his exposition like that in Romans. After discussing the free grace of God in justifying us in Christ in Romans 3,4,5, St. Paul talks about holiness , and good works in Romans 6. To me this is one example of a convincing evidence that what the Reformers taught was not new, but was believed by the early Christians before.

I noticed that St. Clement quotes a lot from the writings of OT and NT, and this was writen in Koine Greek, I hope to read it in that language for practice one day.

38 comments:

Jeff Tan said...

Good luck with koine Greek. 3 years ago Philip and I talked about learning Greek.. :P

Catholic perspective (my own):

I note from St. Clement that he does not say "by faith alone" but rather "by faith". Same as did St. Paul. There is no question that we are justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Likewise we truly are justified by faith. But faith alone without works is.. subject to St. James' uncompromising rebuke. At the same time, we cannot be justified by works alone, for we must have faith to be justified.

At the same time again, neither faith nor works are worth anything to God without each other. And both are gifts, i.e., by grace: the inspiration to faith and the inspiration to good works. It's also interesting how this duality of faith and works is analogical to the duality of God and man as they come together in the Incarnation and in the Eucharist. In all three cases, a dichotomy ruins everything. By the power of the Holy Spirit, there is unity so that the whole is so much more than the individuality of each part. Not that God by his very self is not complete, but that the Incarnation where God and man become one is uniquely significant to man.

As in other matters, it isn't either/or but both/and: our justification must have both faith and works. Or perhaps in another way we might say that faith is not faith without works, just as good works without faith is not good works.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

As you know none has to specify the word "alone" in order to derive that meaning - the same way the word "Trinity" is not mentioned in the Bible but it is still there as a teaching concept. By the way do you guys not reason that way for example when it comes to say - papal infallibility/supremacy by appealing to concepts that are not specifically mentioned but claimed to be taught?

If one be honest to the text and not to one's tradition, I after reading what I highlighted for the life of me can not but conclude that Clement after eliminating any possibility of having in us any basis for being justified , and note the words he used "ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart", (he used "works" and eliminated this) can not conclude that faith is the sole means for being justified.


I do not know if you are aware that the Reformers taught that the faith that justifies us is no alone but it produces works I can give you specifics of this in our confessions of faith---HOWEVER, the works produced by that saving faith - IS NOT THE BASIS FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION. This complies with Clement too and James Chapter 2. I highlighted this so that we are not confused in our position.

L P Cruz said...

In addition, sure we can have either/or in our theology in places where it says so - like Jesus being both God-Man. But when such is taken in matters of justification (how a man is made right with God) the result is confusion - the talking on both sides of your lips happens.

We do not deny we are justified by works - but let me qualify - we are justified by the works of another - Christ and not of ourselves. If you note, again, thus jives with Clements statements.

Jeff Tan said...

"do you guys not reason that way for example when it comes to say - papal infallibility/supremacy by appealing to concepts that are not specifically mentioned but claimed to be taught?"

Not quite. We do point out explicit words from the Lord about the giving of the keys and the divine binding/loosing authority to Peter, for example, or again the same authority (sans keys) to the twelve. We point out explicit words from St. Peter about the succession of office (Judas to Matthias), or from St. Paul about his anointing of St. Timothy, and the latter's authority as bishop passed on from St. Paul.

""ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart", (he used "works" and eliminated this) can not conclude that faith is the sole means for being justified."

Well we do not say that any of those (including works) justify us of their own either. What we do say (and you do agree, but we wrangle with nuances), that we are justified by faith which is not complete without works. As St. James tells us in James 2, "See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." Now we do not use St. James to say that works by themselves will of any intrinsic worth justify us, because we know we are saved by grace alone through faith. But we do say that claiming sola fide to the exclusion of works as a necessary component of justifying faith is.. simply wrong. And I know that Protestants agree, because you would say along with St. James that, "just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead." What saves us is a living faith, and all our works and actions and thoughts are contradictory to a living faith if they are not ordered according to love, and love cannot but urge us into action for the sake of the object of that love.

"I do not know if you are aware that the Reformers taught that the faith that justifies us is no alone but it produces works"

I know, which is why the wrangling still amazes me. In the life of devoted Christians, Protestant or Catholic, you will not find them claiming that they have faith if they are not willing to behave accordingly by loving God and neighbor as the Lord teaches.

So why are we wrangling over this? Never mind finding a Catholic claiming that he is justified by works alone: fault him first and foremost for turning his back on God if he has lost faith by assent and profession "I don't believe in that stuff anymore; I think God is just a disinterested, impersonal;" 'watchmaker'" or by embracing sin and giving worship to the world, wealth, power, fame, etc.

Now if you do find a Catholic whose works speak for themselves in terms of faith and love, e.g., Mother Theresa, then what's the problem? Does someone like that seem hell-bent on earning his/her way to Heaven by works alone? You may ask, of course, and if he thinks his/her works alone justify him, then tell him he is wrong, and that all he hopes for will be/have been granted by God only by grace through faith. If this person is a faithful Catholic, however, he will not deny what you say about faith, but he will point out, as I would, that he cannot imagine how he can claim to have any sort of faith worth talking about if he doesn't also have the works that Christ demands of his followers.

"HOWEVER, the works produced by that saving faith - IS NOT THE BASIS FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION."

I KNOW THAT, i.e., WE ARE NOT JUSTIFIED BY WORKS ALONE, BUT AS WE ALSO AGREE "that the faith that justifies us is not alone but it produces works" AS YOU SAID, THEN WHY ARE WE STILL ARGUING ABOUT THIS? ;-)

"We do not deny we are justified by works - but let me qualify - we are justified by the works of another - Christ and not of ourselves."

Ah but that's not what St. James said when he talks about works. He truly is talking about *our* works, but not works apart from faith, but works that are the fruits of faith because these are not *our* works apart from Christ but *our* (Christ and ours) works together, sharing as we do in his divine life. Catholic theology NEVER considers Christian (good) works as being purely human works, because such purely human works have been dealt with centuries ago when Pelagianism was condemned as a heresy. No, while we are often guilty of taking it for granted, we are baptized into God's family, and we no longer have a purely human spirit but now have God's own Holy Spirit. We are no longer purely human in body but share in the divinity of his Body (both being in his mystical Body and partaking of his divine Body in the Eucharist). Ours is no longer a human shell but a temple of the Holy Spirit. Our thoughts and inspirations are no longer of this world but of the Holy Spirit. Our lives are no longer futile but are enriched with the divine life that God shares with us in Christ. So, no, none of whatever works we accomplish are ever ours. Both the inspiration, free will, and actualization of those works are permeated with God's holiness by pure grace (unmerited).

So.. when Catholic theology talks about works by a Christian, they are not purely human works, but are Christian works: the Incarnation extends to those works because our body is only an actualization of God's inspiration and empowerment. So, yes, they are *Christ's* works in truth, because Christ acts in us in the works that we perform.

Can we agree on those points? The way I see it, we are talking past each other in terminology and phraseology, but not in substance. In substance, we remain 99% compatible, yes, even in matters of justification, faith and works.

L P Cruz said...

Dear Jeff,


I read your post and you have managed to confuse me, and rightly so when faith and works are mixed, confusion does ensue. In one sense you say you agree and in another you disagree - and in the same sense! Hence, I am confused by your position. Now I do not think I am confused about mine, because I completely deny any works as basis although, works happen.

If you say you agree with us - then why do you object to sola fide of the Prots?

You said this *our* (Christ and ours) works together justifies you correct? Therefore you deny what Jesus said - it is finished and this too in Heb 10:10. There is still something for you to do and since Jesus has to be there - then there is still something Jesus has not finished.

We have the following terms to define, what is "faith" spoken about by Paul say in Eph 2:8-9? Here clearly "works" not included whether wrought in holiness or from God (see Clement again). What Clement denies is what you affirm, I hope you also admit this then.



I have a treatment of James 2 here it is http://extranos.blogspot.com/2005/11/james-2-vs-faith-alone-sola-fide.html

The faith that James speaks about is not the faith Paul speaks about for James speaks about the faith of the devil - he is saying that faith which is assent is not faith like in believing something exists. Paul clearly excludes works of anykind in Eph 2:8-9 and

Now leaving this topic of James, I like to ask you this simple question from your perspective, and I know you are able to answer this very basic and trivial question....

What works that come from faith should you (with the help of the Lord) have/do such that it would justify you ie. what happens to Abraham and Rehab should happen to you or a person too? Please name them for me.




Lastly, we do not have the same starting point - that of authority !If my authority is Scripture alone and your authority is Magisterium, Scripture and Tradition how can we meet, we got different starting points. Why? Because you will allow something not from Scripture in the discussion which I would not allow.

The question for you is this, Scripture Alone as authority... was this the theological method of early Christians?

I believe it was, if we agree also to this then we can proceed further.

Jeff Tan said...

"you have managed to confuse me"

Sorry! :-)

"*our* (Christ and ours) works together justifies you correct?"

Actually when I read that again, I must say it is confusing. I do not believe that anything of *mine* justifies me, before or after baptism in which we are adopted as sons and daughters of God. I instead refer to what is accomplished in me *by the Holy Spirit* (not me; in me). And yes, good works, the fruits of salvation work *in* me, *by* the Holy Spirit.

I think I shall have to get my terminology in order. I'm re-reading the joint declaration on justification. It's actually very good reading, and it helps me understand the terminological nuances. Something else I'm reading is this article on what justification means from the Catholic perspective.

As for the epistle of St. James, there is a terminological difference, but the moral they teach is the same: faith and works go hand-in-hand, without saying that our works will save us (because they won't).

I think we are talking past each other concerning faith and works.

1. You are concerned with those who believe that their works merit their salvation. They don't, and I agree with you.

2. I am concerned with those who believe that they do not need to "show forth" those good works of love. And I think you agree with me here. Note that "I can do all things in Him who strengthens me." God, being the author of all that is good, is the author of good works, also. It is only that the sin that remains in us (the fallen nature) is in constant battle with the righteousness of Christ in us, so that we can and frequently do resist the Holy Spirit. What Christian should say that they may safely and wantonly resist the Lord's commands to love our neighbor as ourselves? While these works are not the reason for our salvation, they are required of us -- and willfully refusing the Holy Spirit in effecting good works in us is inviting peril to our faith and ultimately our salvation.

So you are concerned about the role of works in our justification. I am concerned with the role of works in our living faith (after having been justified in baptism). So we are really dealing with good works in different senses. Very Catholic and Lutheran. :-P

But take heart. While many Catholics do fall into the error of pelagianism, the official Catholic doctrine says it plain enough that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ. I learned this not through Protestant literature but from Catholic ones.

We can jointly worry about the errors in both extremes then.

"Paul clearly excludes works of any kind"

As a cause of justification, amen. As something expected of us, well.. we know that St. Paul does expect such fruits of us, too..

"What works that come from faith should you (with the help of the Lord) have/do such that it would justify you"

First I think it's more accurate to say that those works come from love, but that those works complete our faith. Second, what do you mean by justification? If you mean the justification of baptism, there is no work for that -- particularly when you think about infant baptism. ;-) But what sort of justification was St. James talking about which he claims involves works? Given those references to Abraham which, along with reference from Hebrews, totals three occasions of being justified, this would be the process of growing in righteousness. What works for those? Love. Love of God and love of neighbor. Clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned. Forgiveness.

Regarding Scripture alone, you're right, we are different in that regard. I do put my trust in all three, but why do we trust our slightly different authorities? Because our trust is ultimately in Jesus Christ. Is my trust in Magisterium and Tradition not Scriptural? Doesn't Scripture agree in Magisterial authority and the traditions of the Apostles?

Note also that in the first generation of Christianity, you wouldn't have the same Scriptures that you would today. A Christian at that time would have to believe in the existing Scripture from the OT, in the Magisterium of the Apostles, and the traditions that they teach both by letter and mouth. Three. Not any one alone. And to be clear: three that agree with one another.

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

Firstly on justification - you asked what I meant by that - if you would study further justification as understood by us is this - how may God consider man in right relationship with Him? How does God declare the person - ok? How does God declare you righteous or without blemish/sin.

OK now, you clarified - you then deny that you are justified by something that is in you but you said this which is still confusing...
I instead refer to what is accomplished in me *by the Holy Spirit* (not me; in me). And yes, good works, the fruits of salvation work *in* me, *by* the Holy Spirit.

Again IMHO, this is not going on full swing... and still confusing. If you are justified by works which was accomplished in you by the Holy Spirit then you are still going to be justified by works even if it was done by the HS in you. Read again Clement if you will but if this does not strike home , read Rom 3:27-28. You contradict Paul here because you are saying you are justified by works , and yes, I understand you will immediately add - but that works is the work of the HS within me (you will say)! This is not what Paul says, because you can still boast, because you were wise to have allowed the HS to let him work in you - your allowing him to work is still a basis of boasting, because you were wise in letting Him do that (see again Clement) - perhaps you may not blatantly do that, but that possibility is open. Yet according to Paul such possibility is excluded.

I think you are right in your concerns but first things first. My concern is first in the list rather than yours. First let us define how one is considered by God as innocent/without guile/sin then we can talk about what follows ie practice.

You said this...
While many Catholics do fall into the error of pelagianism, the official Catholic doctrine says it plain enough that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ

There is one word missing in the above quote -- the word "alone" either after the word "faith" or after the word "Christ". Had the RCC said this "that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone" we can go home, and forget the cows. Affirm this without exception Jeff then we can move forward, then I will believe you when you say we are in agreement really.

For as theologians from both sides have always described it - RCC and orthodox Prots do agree --- yes they do agree in SOLA GRATIA, but they do not agree in SOLA FIDE and what it implies.

Now concerning the joint declaration -- if you ask the Lutheran formulators - they would say - we got the RCC to cpmpromise to us, yet when you as the RCC formulators they would say - no, we got the Lutheran heretics to agree to us. Not realy Jeff, the joint declaration was a political document for a cease fire - it was not a treaty of peace, just cease fire.

Now in James you claim that the works that would justify us and the works that one should have is Love, ie Love for God and neighbor -- now do you have love for God and neighbor i.e. is this happening? I do not mean to judge, it is meant to be a reflective question for further contemplation, to lead us to the honest conclusion - is this happening in my life? Do I judge myself as having such a thing - do I love God and neighbor? Is doing this at times ok, what about when you slip? How would you rate yourself?

The faith that James is speaking about is not the same faith that Paul is speaking about - for the faith that James is criticizing is belief like that of believing and confessing that God exists which the demons can affirm. Such belief is always dead because that faith has no contrition that precedes it.

You also said this A Christian at that time would have to believe in the existing Scripture from the OT, in the Magisterium of the Apostles, and the traditions that they teach both by letter and mouth. But we are not now living at a time when the Apostles were still alive talking to us - their message and teaching have been inscripturated in the NT, you seem to ignore the method of Augustine found in
"I am not bound by the authority of this epistle for I do not hold the writings of Cyprian as canonical, but I consider them according to the canonical, and I accept whatever in them agrees with the authority of the divine Scriptures with his approval, but what does not agree I reject with his permission." (Contra Cresconium, Book 2, Chapter 32, cited in Examen I, p. 174)

Your method was not followed at least by this early Christian - ie Augustine.

Exist~Dissolve said...

I think the primary confusion that arises for most Protestants in re: justification by faith is that the entire discussion has been wrenched from Paul and James' contexts and has been forced into the Luther/Catholic polemics of the 16th century and following.

To most Protestants, "works," in the Pauline conversation, has come to mean "doing something" or "doing anything." Is this what Paul is talking about, however? If one reads the relevant portions of Paul's discussion of JBF, it is clear that Paul's argument is not against "doing" per se, but is rather more polemically aimed at the blithe assumptions of his Jewish antagonists who argued that being made right with God proceeded necessarily through the Jewish cultus of worship. Paul, however, rejects this assertion, pointing primarily to the example of Abraham as proof that justification is not tied to ritualistic participation within the Jewish cultus.

However, what is often missed and now distorted is the actual example of Abraham that Paul utilizes. What was the nature of Abraham's faith that resulted in his justification? Was it an abstract "faith" in Yahweh? Perhaps. But more specifically, Abraham's faith was identified with that which Abraham did in response to God's call. Abraham left his homeland to follow God. Abraham took Isaac to the mountain. Etc. The entirety of the example of Abraham is wrapped up in the active response of Abraham to the calling of God, NOT in some action-castrated metaphysical assent to the nature of the divine.

Therefore, when Paul conjures the example of Abraham, it is hardly likely that this could come divorced from the "action story" that was the life of Abraham. So then, Paul is not arguing that "actions" have nothing to do with justification (if the story of Abraham is right, actions have everything to do with it, for by them one will be justified and reconciled to God, or condemned); rather, the entire force of his argument is directed against the exclusivity of the Jews who believed that they had a "corner" on justification with God by means of their national identity and cultus of worship. In fact, the method of Paul's line of thinking is to dismantle such exclusivity in order to make room for the faith of the Gentiles.

Now obviously, the point of this is not to say that one must do "this" or "that" to be reconciled to God; such would be simply the replacement of one hegemony (like the Jewish cultus of worship) for another. It was this kind of thinking against which Luther attempted to teach, but his good intentions were misconstrued horribly by those who followed him, so much that today the artificial bifurcation of "faith" and "action" is seen as an important point of doctrine!

While there is certainly no proscribed list of actions that will "ensure" one's justification, it is equally absurd to say that what one does has nothing to do with one's justification. As embodied persons, what we do is as important as what we believe, for it is impossible that one could have belief in that which one does not do.

Therefore, the concept of JBFA is only meaningful if the artificial and improper bifurcation between "faith" and "action" is eliminated.

If you are interested, I have outlined these thoughts in more detail in this post.

Deviant Monk said...

LP Cruz-

There is one word missing in the above quote -- the word "alone" either after the word "faith" or after the word "Christ". Had the RCC said this "that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone" we can go home, and forget the cows. Affirm this without exception Jeff then we can move forward, then I will believe you when you say we are in agreement really.

The only problem with this solution is that 1. No where in the scriptures (or even the Clement quote you have provided, as Jeff has already pointed out) is faith spoken of in the sense of sola fide, that is, separated ontologically from works, as ED has expanded upon. 2. Not only does that idea not appear anywhere, but James even specifically speaks against such an idea, in that he says 'a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.' It continually amazes me that such an explicit statement is made to take a back seat to Paul when, as ED has already pointed out, Paul isn't talking about action, but about adherence to a cultic system. In Galatians, this becomes painfully evident as the entire epistle is written to correct those who were thinking of going back to trying to be justified by the law.

As Paul so eloquently states concerning faith- the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Re: Clement of Rome. This statement needs to have a little more context. For instance, in Chapter 30 Clement says this:

Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. "For God," saith [the Scripture], "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words. For [the Scripture] saith, "He that speaketh much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech deem himself righteous?

Also, in Chapter 31 he says this:

For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith?Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen, cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice. Jacob, through reason of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.

It is directly following this that he launches into the section you quoted. Thus, the implication is that it is not simply that one does good things to be justified, but that works and faith are so indelibly linked as to be the same thing. Hence, his allusion to Abraham offering Isaac.

Thus, it seems quite the stretch to say that Clement subscribed to sola fide.

Again IMHO, this is not going on full swing... and still confusing. If you are justified by works which was accomplished in you by the Holy Spirit then you are still going to be justified by works even if it was done by the HS in you. Read again Clement if you will but if this does not strike home , read Rom 3:27-28. You contradict Paul here because you are saying you are justified by works , and yes, I understand you will immediately add - but that works is the work of the HS within me (you will say)! This is not what Paul says, because you can still boast, because you were wise to have allowed the HS to let him work in you - your allowing him to work is still a basis of boasting, because you were wise in letting Him do that (see again Clement) - perhaps you may not blatantly do that, but that possibility is open. Yet according to Paul such possibility is excluded.

Except, as ED has pointed out, Paul isn't talking about 'action'. He is talking about being justified by identification with the Jewish cultus. That is why in verse 29 he asks if God is the God of the Jews only, and not of the Gentiles. In fact, he clearly contextualizes the whole statement by stating that God justifies both the circumcised and the uncircumcised by the same faith.

L P Cruz said...

Exists-Dissolve,

You said this It was this kind of thinking against which Luther attempted to teach, but his good intentions were misconstrued horribly by those who followed him, so much that today the artificial bifurcation of "faith" and "action" is seen as an important point of doctrine!

Who do you mean by "those who followed him"? The question in view is justification received by faith or by works. We note already that true faith mentioned in the Bible produces works. The question is which part of this phenomenon receives the justification or the grounds of it? Rom 3:26-27. Note the word "excluded".

Deviant Monk,

I point to you again Rom 3:26-27, note the word excluded. If you confine the exclusion of works in terms of Jewish Cultus, that is precarious because the term Law includes moral law as well.

As to Clement, first a minor point but an important one - note that in your quotation Clement was not directly linking justfication with faith, (he was describing that faith produces actions and of course we agree with that), but in the section I quoted he does.

For we are not arguing that faith produces works - we all agree with that and Protestants agree with that, the question is this once again - in the phenomenon,.... which receives justification faith or faith + works (ie the one produced by faith)?

So following you understanding of St. James, so could you enumerate for me what those works are that should cause you to be justified?
St. James stated certain actions that Abraham did so what is it for your case - you in person? I do not mean any disrespect, but I want to know from a practical standpoint for after all we are talking about one's eternal destiny and future here.

If it is Love please tell me if you are doing it. I accept that you like to be humble about this but modestly in honestly you may say so - judge yourself if you are in that work or not.

Exist~Dissolve said...

Who do you mean by "those who followed him"?

The groups to whom I am referring are those within the Protestant tradition who have manufactured an entirely artificial bifurcation between faith and action, faith and works. As I have argued briefly in my comment above, Paul's polemics against "works" is not against the role of "action" in the justification of the believer (as if faith were a disembodied reality), but rather was rather directed against the exclusivism of the Jewish cultus of worship that asserted that justification with God could only come through becoming a Jew.

The question in view is justification received by faith or by works.

If one reads the Pauline and Jamesian texts apart from the hegemony of JBFA, it is clear that this is a non-sequitur argument. Paul sees no bifurcation between faith and "works," but only between faith/works (envisioned by Paul as an embodied reality) and the exclusivism of the Jewish religious system.

We note already that true faith mentioned in the Bible produces works. The question is which part of this phenomenon receives the justification or the grounds of it? Rom 3:26-27. Note the word "excluded".

Yes, this passage supports my argument. Again, Paul is talking about the error of the exclusivism of the Jewish cultus, arguing that justification proceeds apart from identification with a particular system of religion. Rather, to Paul, it comes through faithfulness to the will of God and being joined, by faith (as an embodied action), with Christ.

L P Cruz said...

ED,

Firstly you said those within the Protestant tradition who have manufactured an entirely artificial bifurcation between faith and action who are these protestants?

Perhpas you should rebutt (I do not know if that is what you are aiming at) some Confessional statements of some Protestants you have in mind. Give something specific and we can discuss - choose one I am familiar with Book Of Concord, Heidelberg Catechism or Westminster Confession of Faith, the you have identified the generic Protestants.

Absolutely neither do we think that Paul and James are contradicting each other for we believe that James is also teaching JBFA too. I say this because James is not referring to the same faith as what Paul is referring to... Do you have objection to this? James is opposing a false profession of the mouth that one has the faith which Paul speaks about.

Here is an example from a Roman Catholic priest...Roman Catholic Scholar Luke Timothy Johnson translates this verse:

“Was not our father Abraham shown to be righteous on the basis of deeds when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
(see Johnson, The Letter of James: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, p. 237)

Hence coming to James 2:24, it may be translated....You do see then that man is shown to be righteous out of works and not out of mere belief. Tell me if this is not valid translation of this verse.


I deny that Paul was limiting that the works he mentioned to the ceremonial Law.

But for the sake of argument, I will allow say that you are correct - man is saved by faith plus works -- that is your position correct?

Because it is your thesis that works justify as well, then it is your burden to tell what these works are...

Tell me please what works are these - or what actions are these that you need to perform -- would they be the sacraments ?- would they be Love God and Love of Neighbor. Are they negated by bad works -- for example if it is Love for God is it negated when you do not think of God, or by other sins?

Which works or actions of yours is your hope pinned on?

Exist~Dissolve said...

Firstly you said those within the Protestant tradition who have manufactured an entirely artificial bifurcation between faith and action who are these protestants

Actually, I have in mind those who would say something like this: "Which works or actions of yours is your hope pinned on?"

As I have said in my original comment, I am not saying that one is justified by "faith" and "works" as if each were an isolated entity of which one must have an equal share. This kind of thinking (which you seem to be advocating) creates a division between "faith" as assent and "action" as a way of life. However, the biblical picture of faith suggests no bifurcation, and the faith that is spoken of is a wholistic reality that necessarily engages the entire, embodied person. In the simplest way, that which one does is what one believes, and visa versa. The two (belief and action) cannot be separated, either phenomenologically or logically. To do so is to obfuscate the meaning of faith entirely.

Perhpas you should rebutt (I do not know if that is what you are aiming at) some Confessional statements of some Protestants you have in mind. Give something specific and we can discuss - choose one I am familiar with Book Of Concord, Heidelberg Catechism or Westminster Confession of Faith, the you have identified the generic Protestants.

The entire complex of JBFA illustrates my point, for the "alonenesss" of the faith spoken of is based upon an improper and completely artificial bifurcation of faith and action, a bifurcation that has absolutely no basis in Scripture, especially within the Pauline texts.

Absolutely neither do we think that Paul and James are contradicting each other for we believe that James is also teaching JBFA too. I say this because James is not referring to the same faith as what Paul is referring to... Do you have objection to this? James is opposing a false profession of the mouth that one has the faith which Paul speaks about.

I would argue that they are speaking about the same faith, however, they are speaking of different "works". As before, Paul is arguing from the standpoint of polemics against the exclusivity complex of the Jewish claims to justification. James has a different audience in mind, but the two speak of the same faith, and speak of Abraham in the same way: his justification came through faith, which in each of their usages is equated with obedience to doing the will of God.

Hence coming to James 2:24, it may be translated....You do see then that man is shown to be righteous out of works and not out of mere belief. Tell me if this is not valid translation of this verse.

You are still injecting a separation of belief and action into this verse. To believe something is to do it, and to do something is to believe it; the two cannot be parsed out as separate realities. In fact, I would argue that the only difference between the two is purely phenomenological.

I deny that Paul was limiting that the works he mentioned to the ceremonial Law.

I'm not necessarily saying that the complex of his argument can be reduced to it either. As I said in my original post, I am not advocating that there is a "list" of actions that one must do to be justified with God. As you would rightly agree, such would simply be the replacement of the false paradigms of the Jewish cultus with another. What I am arguing is that Paul is not arguing for a disembodied, action-castrated "faith." All he is doing by arguing against works is contradicting the Jews (and any like them) who would suggest that the action of faith is revealed in the constructs of human religion. Rather, to Paul, the action-orientation of faith is based entirely upon obedience to the will of God, revealed in his frequent conjuring of the example of Abraham.

But for the sake of argument, I will allow say that you are correct - man is saved by faith plus works -- that is your position correct?

Not even close. You continue to separate out the two. I do not see them as separate realiites. Humans are justified by faith/action, for as I have said now many times, what one believes cannot be bifurcted from what one does, any more than that which one does can be independent of what one believes. Neither has logical priority, and I would even argue that a seeming phenomenological priority is artificial.

Because it is your thesis that works justify as well, then it is your burden to tell what these works are...

But I have maintained that there is no "list" of works that one must do to be justified, even as the cultus of Jewish worship was unable to justify its participants. Again, you continue to separate what one believes from what one does, a separation which I believe cannot be maintained in a philosophically tenable way. So then, it is not that "works" are as good as "faith" to justify, as if there were multiple options. Rather, faith and action are inextricably linked, forming a holistic reality that demarcates the life of faith actualized in obedience to the will of God.

Tell me please what works are these - or what actions are these that you need to perform -- would they be the sacraments ?- would they be Love God and Love of Neighbor. Are they negated by bad works -- for example if it is Love for God is it negated when you do not think of God, or by other sins?

Again, I am not speaking of lists.

Which works or actions of yours is your hope pinned on?

Refer to my explanations above.

L P Cruz said...

ED (or whatever is your real name)

I want to take you seriously but at this rate, I am not encouraged to do so...

You continue to evade the question , St. James named the actions which caused Abraham and Rahab to be "justified", if you can not name them then you have nothing to speak about.

Like Jeff, you are unable to answer the question but it was not I who is affirming that faith + works are the same and they both saved - you do. It is incumbent upon you to explain yourself further since it is you who claim the affirmative.

In my mind - theology is the art of making distinctions....

You are lumping works and faith together whereas with me, I am distinguishing them though not detaching them. Your description of what I am doing is wrong. I am not separating them, what I am doing is distinguishing them, I hope this is clear. That is a category mistake and you build your critique on a false premise so I guess you need to rework your position.

You said there is no list but if there is no list then how are you able to say that we are justififed by faith + works (where does the works come in). All I am asking is the simple question of what you affirm - what works are these?

All I am asking is an example which St. James gave, why? Because St. James gave them. So ok I will compromise, do not give me a list.

I am now making concession, I hope you see that this is a generous move, could you please just name one work which comes from faith or connected to faith that will cause you to be justified, as you understood St. James speaking. Jeff vaguely gave Love do you agree with that?

My contention is that St. James 2:2 4 has been misread by you (IMHO). So I deny what you affirm that you limit the Law mentioned by Paul to ceremonial Law only.

BTW your position is not new to me, I heard your limiting the Law mentioned by Paul to ceremonial law before.

The Law mentioned in Romans Chapter 2:14 - 15 is collective - moral and ceremonial, this controls the context of what follows. Hence, I reject the suggestion of this limitation.

Lastly in your view when Jesus said Mt 5:17, I have come to fulfill the Law - do you believe Jesus fulfilled all of the Law or just the ceremonial Laws? Also for what did he fulfill such laws -for you or for himself?

Deviant Monk said...

LP Cruz-

I point to you again Rom 3:26-27, note the word excluded. If you confine the exclusion of works in terms of Jewish Cultus, that is precarious because the term Law includes moral law as well.

word excluded? I'm sorry, but I don't understand your meaning.

Re:the moral nature of the law. Of course the law had a moral nature, but my point is that Paul is not talking about the moral nature of the law- the fact that he is mentioning Jews and Gentiles, circumcision and uncircumcision clearly places the context of Paul's thought within that of the jewish cultus-, i.e., being circumcised, following the food requirements, etc. Paul has already dealt with this in chapter 3 where he shows that people are only truly 'Jewish' if they have a circumcision done by the Spirit. As he moves into Chapter 4, he more fully develops this idea- in fact, his entire point is that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised, thus locating justification outside of the jewish cultus. That he isn't talking about the moral nature of the law is evident from his assertion that Abraham is the father of all who walk in the footsteps of Abraham's faith, whether they are circumcised or not.

As to Clement, first a minor point but an important one - note that in your quotation Clement was not directly linking justfication with faith, (he was describing that faith produces actions and of course we agree with that), but in the section I quoted he does.

If we're going to go over semantics, Paul never directly speaks of faith being 'alone', yet you are insistent upon using it, even though James explicitly speaks of it as being a wrong idea.

Nevertheless, I still don't understand your point. He is linking justification explicitly with works, so I don't see how his not linking it with faith in that particular section helps out your argument. That he is showing that faith produces works is certainly a novel way to interpret him clearly saying one is justified by one's works, and not one's words.

So, either Clement is pretty audaciously contradicting himself within the space of a few paragraphs, or he doesn't make the distinction between faith and works that sola fide does.

For we are not arguing that faith produces works - we all agree with that and Protestants agree with that, the question is this once again - in the phenomenon,.... which receives justification faith or faith + works (ie the one produced by faith)?

I don't believe that such a distinction between faith and works can be meaningfully made. James certainly argues that faith without works is dead- that doesn't mean just less effective or deficient- it essentially means non-existent. By using the example of the demons who believe in God, definitively dispels the notion that faith can be an abstracted belief or assent apart from action. In fact, his argument about wishing the hungry to be fed without giving them food would indicate that in his understanding, faith is only real and actual if it is accompanied by action. His example of Abraham proves this.

So following you understanding of St. James, so could you enumerate for me what those works are that should cause you to be justified?

Ah yes, nothing like missing the point and asking for a laundry list of do's and don'ts.

I will go with what Jesus said, since both Paul and James echo it.


If it is Love please tell me if you are doing it. I accept that you like to be humble about this but modestly in honestly you may say so - judge yourself if you are in that work or not.

Jesus' command was to love God with everything and to love my neighbor as myself- God will be the judge of that.

Exist~Dissolve said...

I want to take you seriously but at this rate, I am not encouraged to do so...

You continue to evade the question , St. James named the actions which caused Abraham and Rahab to be "justified", if you can not name them then you have nothing to speak about.


But as I have maintained from the beginning, Abraham and Rahab were justified on the basis of doing "this" work or "that" work, as if their justification could be reduced to a set of specific actions that could be routinized for all people (which is precisely the kind of "works" against which Paul argues). Rather, they were justified because in belief and action--the two never being separated or prior to one another--they were faithful to the will of God. So then, the works which are justifying are those which are in keeping with the will of God. And moreover, to do the will of God is precisely the definition of faith.

Like Jeff, you are unable to answer the question

No, I have answered it several times now. You do not seem to be willing to accept the answer that I am giving, and continue to misrepresent the view of faith/works that I am offering.

but it was not I who is affirming that faith + works are the same and they both saved - you do. It is incumbent upon you to explain yourself further since it is you who claim the affirmative.

But that's just it, it don't see it as "faith + works," both-and. I have maintained from the beginning that they are indelibly related to one another, as belief is driven by action, and visa versa. There is no way in which to meaningfully parse out that which belongs to belief, and that which belongs to action. As embodied persons, the two cannot be separated, and the only meaningful distinction would be on the level of phenomenology, and even there I would argue against a bifurcation.

In my mind - theology is the art of making distinctions....

Sure, if the distinction is meaningful. However, in re: faith and works in the context of the greater Pauline and Jamesian conversation, I don't think the "distinction" between faith and works is.

You are lumping works and faith together whereas with me, I am distinguishing them though not detaching them.

Again, I don't see that the propriety of distinguishing between the two is self-evident. You assume that the differentiation is necessary, yet you have not shown this through your argumentation, resorting rather to an attempt to place the onus of proof on me. Why is that? How is your position so self-evident that you feel I am the one that must explain?

Your description of what I am doing is wrong. I am not separating them, what I am doing is distinguishing them, I hope this is clear. That is a category mistake and you build your critique on a false premise so I guess you need to rework your position.

You say that you are not separating them, but the language you deploy to argue for your position entirely betrays this assertion. For example, immediately following this paragraph, you ask "where does the works come in?". If you truly did not separate faith and works, this question would be entirely antithetical to your position. However, by the very language of this question, you reveal that you do, indeed, maintain a specific bifurcation between the two--otherwise, you would not ask such a non-sequitur question.

You said there is no list but if there is no list then how are you able to say that we are justififed by faith + works (where does the works come in). All I am asking is the simple question of what you affirm - what works are these?


The "works" are the same as the "faith"--to do the will of God. As the entire tenor of Scripture illustrates, God justifies those who participate within the will of God. After all, it must be admitted that faith is truly an existential phenomenon, for it engages the entirety of the person. Therefore, to speak of belief in isolation from action, or with priority over action, is to utterly deny the embodiedness of the human person, thus rendering "faith" entirely useless to the same.

All I am asking is an example which St. James gave, why? Because St. James gave them. So ok I will compromise, do not give me a list.

It's very simple. Take Paul's example. He asserts his polemics against the Judaizers who believed that justification came through the Jewish cultus. In opposition to this, Paul illustrates that Abraham was justified with God entirely apart from the Jewish system of religion, based entirely upon his obedience and participation within the will of God.

James is not dealing with Judaizers. Rather, he is speaking to people who bifurcated "belief" and "action," thinking that they were justified on the basis of their belief irrespective of what they--as embodied persons--did. James then conjures THE EXACT SAME example as Paul, showing that Abraham's "faith" was not a disembodied assent to the divine, but rather a life of faithfulness to the will of God.

So then, both Paul and James speak of the same faith, a life of belief/action in response to the will of God. The only difference in their positions is their audience. Paul had to deconstruct the false "works" of the Judaizers, and James had to reinforce the indelible bond between belief and embodied action.

I am now making concession, I hope you see that this is a generous move, could you please just name one work which comes from faith or connected to faith that will cause you to be justified, as you understood St. James speaking.

Here again you illustrate the inherent bifurcation between belief and action which demarcates your theological methodology. I do not see "faith" as "connected" to "actions." In my thinking, the both are so interrelated that one cannot speak of either point in isolation from one another. Belief is action, and action is belief.

Jeff vaguely gave Love do you agree with that?

To love God, others and self is certainly apart of doing the will of God, thus of faith.

My contention is that St. James 2:2 4 has been misread by you (IMHO).

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but perhaps you could elaborate on where the disagreement arises.

So I deny what you affirm that you limit the Law mentioned by Paul to ceremonial Law only.

My argument has absolutely nothing to do with the arbitrary distinctions in the various "laws." My broader point is that Paul is arguing against a kind of "faith" that is believed to be inherited or achieved by participation within the complexes of human religious systems. To Paul, as well as James, justification comes through doing the will of God.

BTW your position is not new to me, I heard your limiting the Law mentioned by Paul to ceremonial law before.

Not true, you are misrepresenting my position.

The Law mentioned in Romans Chapter 2:14 - 15 is collective - moral and ceremonial, this controls the context of what follows. Hence, I reject the suggestion of this limitation.

That's fine, being as I am not making such a limitation.

Lastly in your view when Jesus said Mt 5:17, I have come to fulfill the Law - do you believe Jesus fulfilled all of the Law or just the ceremonial Laws? Also for what did he fulfill such laws -for you or for himself?

Christ fulfilled the law of God, to love God with all of one's being, and to love others. Whatever points of human constructs of religion might be related to this were fulfilled therein.

Exist~Dissolve said...

BTW, the first paragraph of my last comment should say "Abraham and Rahab were NOT..."

Just for clarification.

L P Cruz said...

Deviant,

1. You asked about "excluded" in Rom 3:26-27, 27Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. I should have been clear, boasting is excluded because of the principle of faith. In contrast, boasting can happen by the principle of works, since boasting is excluded and this is linked with works, works is excluded too. That is the point I am making, works of the law is excluded.

2. Again, I do not think that each time you see Paul in Romans mentioning the Law you mean to limit it to the Jewish cultic regulation, no for prior to all discussion we should go first to Rom 2:17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth-- 21you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. 24For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."

Clearly you see here and this is prior to Romans 4, that when Paul uses the word Law he means the whole of the Law (moral and ceremonial). For, he speaks about stealing and adultery these are violations of the 10 commandments - the moral law.

When Paul uses circumcision in Romans 4, of course it is part of the Law but by no means should it be limited there, he was using it as an example, the part is used to point to the whole in context.

3. Yes we need to go to semantics, because semantics is everything - hence, exegesis of the Fathers is not an option, the same way that exegesis of Scripture is necessary, if we want to go to the bottom of the truth.

4. I am not yet prepared to say that Clement contradicted himself, I do not buy that yet, as I have not studied all of what he said - however, Clement being human like the other Fathers may be guilty of contradicting himself - his words are not inspired ie not part of scripture.

5. I do not have to use the word "alone" in order to make my words include that meaning in my statements. I can use the word "only", for example - in the statement - I went to church without anyone else. Here I meant I went to church alone but I did not use that word.

6. To the contrary in my quote of clement - he is disassociating works from justification, please read again my quote of Chapter 32.

7. To the contrary St. James was making a distinction see James 2:24, however as I said to E-D, James was speaking of a different faith - a dead faith.

8. I do not have to wait for God to judge me if I love God or neighbor at the day of judgement - I confess now that I am guilty - hands down, I have not done his command to Love God and Love Neighbor perfectly and because of this imperfection - I deserve his punishment - I acknowledge that now, though my acknowledgement does not stop there because according to his promise, what I could not do, Jesus did for me (and you too).

L P Cruz said...

E-D,

Firstly you answered my quetion on Mt 5:17 thus Christ fulfilled the law of God, to love God with all of one's being, and to love others. Whatever points of human constructs of religion might be related to this were fulfilled therein

But you did not answer the follow up question - did he fulfill the law of God for himself, or for you?

Now, I am trying to understand your position, it seems to me that you do not subscribe to the RC Catechism, I do not think faith and works are synonymous and are the same term in RCC terminology and theology.

The problem as I see it is that you do not see the distinction of the terms, when this happens this is equivoction - you have changed the meaning of the term and you can prove whatever you want with it.

So can you see why I can am having difficulty taking your position seriously? You are engaging in reductionistic exercise, which to me is a nonsense procedure.

You reduce faith to action and action to faith. My point is that it is St. James who is making distinction yet they are indeed related but distinction has been made by him.

To illustrate a train has an engine and a carriage. When one refers to a train it refers to both its engine and its carriage in the normal sense. But note that you can distinguish the parts but keep them connected.

Something does not sit well in such reductions of belief=action etc. One is the cause of the other --and always! You can not act and say you believe later. Yet before you act you act out what you believe, hence belief is the antecedent action is the consequent.

B->A, but if I have an A it does not imply I have B necessarily. Otherwise you will conclude that every movie where actors act out are acting their conviction - now this is silly! Similarly in spiritual life - your system will not have any notion of hypocrites.

I know you know this being an educated man, but that is the blunder the reductionism I believe is being made by your position.

Let us face it, Prots and RCC theologians have gone over this before and I do not think on the RCC part has done the reduction that you have done. Please refer me to the RC Catechism, then I stand corrected but give me a reference.

If you assert something from the RC Catechism to counter my Protestant position we can talk further but right I no longer have the time.

If you wish to be zealous for the RCC (correct me if you are not one) then at least be an orthodox RC like Jeff. I can work with that.


So for my last attempt on my part. Very well then -- what actions in accord to the will of God should one perform to be justified?

I do believe that my question is a fair question. I am even using your own terms and you would not even answer the question of whose language I have adopted from you, so how can we go anywhere with such a position?

Exist~Dissolve said...

Firstly you answered my quetion on Mt 5:17 thus But you did not answer the follow up question - did he fulfill the law of God for himself, or for you?

I presume that you are attempting to get into the arena of imputation of righteousness. Let me answer by saying this: In that Christ has fulfilled the law of God, so too are we enabled to fulfill the law of God. I do not believe in the imputation of righteousness; rather, I believe that Christ came to recreate us in the image of God that we might be reconciled to God in our very beings, not merely through the proximate nature of Christ's righteousness.

Now, I am trying to understand your position, it seems to me that you do not subscribe to the RC Catechism,

Well, that depends upon how one defines "subscription" to the catechism. On the one hand, I see the RC catechism as helpful and, more importantly, entirely orthodox. On the other hand, I am not Catholic, so my subscription to it is obviously limited.

I do not think faith and works are synonymous and are the same term in RCC terminology and theology.

My argument is not that they are thus in RCC terminology and theology.

The problem as I see it is that you do not see the distinction of the terms, when this happens this is equivoction - you have changed the meaning of the term and you can prove whatever you want with it.

I hardly see how your argument is immune from this critique. As I mentioned before, you have yet to show why a non-equivocation of terms in necessary or self-evident. Therefore, the basis of your disagreement with my conclusions is not in some transcendent, objective definition of terms, but rather the way in which your hermeneutical approach has decided to deploy them. Obviously, the same is true in my case--I simply wish to have a level playing field, without one side or the other arguing from the false plane of "objective" meaning in language.

So can you see why I can am having difficulty taking your position seriously? You are engaging in reductionistic exercise, which to me is a nonsense procedure.

Hopefully you can imagine that your expansionistic enterprise is equally non-sequitur from my perspective.

You reduce faith to action and action to faith. My point is that it is St. James who is making distinction yet they are indeed related but distinction has been made by him.

My argument has nothing to do with "reducing" one to the other, which suggestion smacks of the bifurcation of faith and action which I have been arguing against. After all, one can only be "reduced" to the other if one presumes that the two are separate entities capable of distinction and, subsequently, reduction. I harbor no such presupposition, as I have argued above.

To illustrate a train has an engine and a carriage. When one refers to a train it refers to both its engine and its carriage in the normal sense. But note that you can distinguish the parts but keep them connected.

Yes, but a train is not meaningful (at least in the definition you have given above) without the engine and carriage. Therefore, although each (engine, carriage) may be potentially differentiated on the level of phenomenology, they are fundamentally one, for the discussion of one apart from the other (in the context of the train) is meaningless.

Something does not sit well in such reductions of belief=action etc. One is the cause of the other --and always! You can not act and say you believe later. Yet before you act you act out what you believe, hence belief is the antecedent action is the consequent.

I completely disagree. I would argue that very few human actions occur as the causal result of determining to act on a belief. Human action and belief is much more fluid than that, both occurring concomitantly with one another. Your view would require that all beliefs be established before action can occur. However, this is entirely unrealistic, as beliefs are continually shaped, manufactured, and altered on the basis of action.

B->A, but if I have an A it does not imply I have B necessarily.

I hardly see how this is a necessary conclusion.

Otherwise you will conclude that every movie where actors act out are acting their conviction - now this is silly!

Again, the language you utilize here obfuscates the point I am trying to make. You are importing your conception of the causal reign of belief over action (e.g., actors "acting out their convictions") into an example by which you are trying to rebut my argument. However, as I ascribe to no such logical or causal priority, the example is literally without meaning to my methodology.

Similarly in spiritual life - your system will not have any notion of hypocrites.

Even if I were to adopt your assumptions about the logical and causal priority of belief over action, a cursory review of Machavellian ethics would be sufficient to rebut your example.

I know you know this being an educated man, but that is the blunder the reductionism I believe is being made by your position.

I respectfully disagree.

So for my last attempt on my part. Very well then -- what actions in accord to the will of God should one perform to be justified?

Another request for lists. Have I not been over this enough times by now?

Deviant Monk said...

1. You asked about "excluded" in Rom 3:26-27, 27Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. I should have been clear, boasting is excluded because of the principle of faith. In contrast, boasting can happen by the principle of works, since boasting is excluded and this is linked with works, works is excluded too. That is the point I am making, works of the law is excluded.

I agree- boasting is excluded. But what is Paul referencing? Certainly not action of any kind. He has already set the stage in chapter 2 that the participation in the jewish cultus, that is, circumcision, as he seems to have in view from his myriad of comments about it in particular. The boasting Paul is talking about has nothing to do with action in general, but rather with the Jews relationship with God. In chapter 2 he already anticipates this, by observing that the Jews whom he had in mind depended upon the law and bragged about their special relationship with God. The fact that he especially focuses on circumcision indicates that such is his focus; and in fact, Paul also dealt with this issue at the council of jerusalem, and also in the book of Galatians. The issue isn't trying to be justified by actions- the issue is making circumcision (meaning the Jewish cultus) the basis, the pre-req for justification. That of course is why immediately after the verses you quote he talks again about circumcision and linking that with the 'law' that he is talking about.

Clearly you see here and this is prior to Romans 4, that when Paul uses the word Law he means the whole of the Law (moral and ceremonial). For, he speaks about stealing and adultery these are violations of the 10 commandments - the moral law.

You are still missing the point- Paul focuses very specifically on circumcision, even right after these verses as well. His point is that if you don't have faith, it doesn't matter if you a circumcised. As he says- A person is only a Jew if they are inwardly. That he is beginning to primarily develop the idea of the inefficacy of observing the jewish cultus to receive justification is evident from the opening of chapter 3, where he asks what advantage there is in being circumcised or being a Jew? And this argument continues to be developed as he uses the example of Abraham to show that Abraham was justified before he was circumcised.

3. Yes we need to go to semantics, because semantics is everything - hence, exegesis of the Fathers is not an option, the same way that exegesis of Scripture is necessary, if we want to go to the bottom of the truth.

Ok, then the actual semantics of Clement is that one is justified by works. Which I have already said.

4. I am not yet prepared to say that Clement contradicted himself, I do not buy that yet, as I have not studied all of what he said - however, Clement being human like the other Fathers may be guilty of contradicting himself - his words are not inspired ie not part of scripture.

Alright.

5. I do not have to use the word "alone" in order to make my words include that meaning in my statements. I can use the word "only", for example - in the statement - I went to church without anyone else. Here I meant I went to church alone but I did not use that word.

I would not affirm that you would have to use the word 'alone' to mean 'alone.' But since 1.Paul never uses the word in reference to faith (which seems to be why Luther interpolated it) 2.James explicitly denounces that one is justified by faith alone, it seems reasonable to conclude that the meaning you are trying to find simply isn't there.

6. To the contrary in my quote of clement - he is disassociating works from justification, please read again my quote of Chapter 32.

I have read it many times. Apparently we will simply have to disagree. To me it seems pretty self-evident that he is speaking in the same kind of language as Paul- if you try to be justified apart from faith, you can't be.

7. To the contrary St. James was making a distinction see James 2:24, however as I said to E-D, James was speaking of a different faith - a dead faith.

So you are saying faith without works cannot justify?

L P Cruz said...

E-D.

Thanks for letting me know of your position - since you do not believe in imputted righteousness, you must believe in your own righteousness (that was a logical conclusion) and so good luck on your enterprise.

It is also good to know that you are not an RC zealot because I would worry for my friend Jeff, since your position is neither Prot nor RC. Both make distinctions as far as faith and works are concerned. My RC friends would not hesitate to say - works justify and here are the works --- sacraments , Love (as Jeff said). Your position does not want to identify any. Jeff, can breath a sigh of relief that you are not one of them.

What is of fundamental issue for our progress is that we both agree that logical fallacies are to be avoided. You don't. You see no necessity to be non-equivocal in discussion.

From a contradiction one can prove anything. Your position allows play of language - reduction of concepts to belief=action, action=belief. I do not buy into that reductionism willy nilly - if you can show from the Bible may be so but as it stand in our starting point of the text you threw at me James 2:14-25 St James does make distinction relating by analogy - body/faith, life/works so himself was making distinction.



It is no concern to me if you can re-butt me with Machiavellian argumentation. It will be a concern if you can rebutt me from a Biblical text. That would be a grave concern! At the moment you offer none, so where to go?

If you have any questions for me in the future I am happy to consider answering them the best I know how.

Cheers,

LPC

L P Cruz said...

Deviant.

On the offensive term "alone".

I shall answer you from the Apology o f Augsburg (part of our confession) Article IV(II) which contains the Biblical passages Rom 3:28. Eph 2:8-9.

To wit...

73] The particle alone offends some, although even Paul says, Rom. 3, 28: We conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Again, Eph. 2, 8: It is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. Again, Rom. 3, 24: Being justified freely. If the exclusive alone displeases, let them remove from Paul also the exclusives freely, not of works, it is the gift, etc. For these also are [very strong] exclusives. It is, however, the opinion of merit that we exclude. We do not exclude the Word or Sacraments, as the adversaries falsely charge us. For we have said above that faith is conceived from the Word, and we honor the ministry of the Word in the highest degree. 74] Love also and works must follow faith. Wherefore, they are not excluded so as not to follow, but confidence in the merit of love or of works is excluded in justification. And this we will clearly show.


Let me clarify that for us, faith is trust - when Paul speaks of this, we understand it to mean to rest/depend on the work of Christ. We believe it is not assent to historical information like believe that God exists or believe that Jesus walked this earth or believe that he is Lord - that will not save you. It is trust that the death of Christ was for YOU personally for your own sins, that is what is called saving faith.


To answer your question in two parts- according to Romans 3:28 faith alone in the works of Christ justify.

However, that faith according to James 2:14-24 will work if it was the faith spoken of by Paul (which we believe we are speaking about).

Faith alone justifies but the faith that justifies is never alone it is accompanied by works. Yet the works that accompany faith is not the one that receives justification.

Let us not quibble about works. First quibble about if you have the faith then lets see if it has works. Get faith right first the we can quibble if it is genuine or not.

Hence I will quote Clement to you again unless you refuse to see it...
And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Notice that for Clement the works which was even produced by holiness of our own hearts do not qualify to justify us.

You are welcome now to quote Clement as well which you believe rebutts this.

At the very least, I can claim, if you do present his own quote - him contradicting himself, which is not impossible since he was a mere man, but do give the context of your quote and let us see.

Deviant Monk said...

LDC-

On the offensive term "alone".

I shall answer you from the Apology o f Augsburg (part of our confession) Article IV(II) which contains the Biblical passages Rom 3:28. Eph 2:8-9.

To wit...

73] The particle alone offends some, although even Paul says, Rom. 3, 28: We conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Again, Eph. 2, 8: It is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. Again, Rom. 3, 24: Being justified freely. If the exclusive alone displeases, let them remove from Paul also the exclusives freely, not of works, it is the gift, etc. For these also are [very strong] exclusives. It is, however, the opinion of merit that we exclude. We do not exclude the Word or Sacraments, as the adversaries falsely charge us. For we have said above that faith is conceived from the Word, and we honor the ministry of the Word in the highest degree. 74] Love also and works must follow faith. Wherefore, they are not excluded so as not to follow, but confidence in the merit of love or of works is excluded in justification. And this we will clearly show.


I have numerous problems with this argument.

1. To argue that 'alone' exists on the same level as 'freely', 'not of works', 'it is the gift' is flawed. First of all, the words it is being compared to are actually found within the scriptures in reference to faith. 'Alone is not.'

2. To argue that it exists on the same level betrays the underlying presupposition that is brought to the scriptures through this argument that sola fide is indeed the correct understanding of justification.

3. Thus to say that the other words/phrases should be thrown out as well because they are categorically lumped into the same presuppositional category as that of 'alone' in reference to faith is logically flawed.

Let me clarify that for us, faith is trust - when Paul speaks of this, we understand it to mean to rest/depend on the work of Christ. We believe it is not assent to historical information like believe that God exists or believe that Jesus walked this earth or believe that he is Lord - that will not save you. It is trust that the death of Christ was for YOU personally for your own sins, that is what is called saving faith.

Ok, please describe for me how 'trust' in the realm of sola fide differs from intellectual assent.

Faith alone justifies but the faith that justifies is never alone it is accompanied by works. Yet the works that accompany faith is not the one that receives justification.

Yes, I've heard this cliche before, and I still don't buy it. If the faith that justifies is infallibly never alone, how is that any different than affirming that one is justified by works? After all, practically speaking, the evidential nature of works is ultimately going to be your litmus test of whether you have faith or not. So, unless you want to assert that one could hypothetically have faith without works, I don't see how you are going to get around it.

Practically speaking, if you are going to affirm that faith is always infallibly accompanied by works, then what is the point of even asserting that one is justified by faith alone, if the practical reality is that you are going to determine whether faith is true or not by the evidence of works?

After all, that is what you essentially state:

Let us not quibble about works. First quibble about if you have the faith then lets see if it has works. Get faith right first the we can quibble if it is genuine or not.

This seems to be the same kind of argument that James is arguing against. After all, he says quite explicitly that he will show you faith by what he does (in opposition to those who felt they could have faith without works- in fact, his very statement is both a challenge and denial that they could.)

Hence I will quote Clement to you again unless you refuse to see it...
And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Notice that for Clement the works which was even produced by holiness of our own hearts do not qualify to justify us.

You are welcome now to quote Clement as well which you believe rebutts this.


I have already quoted Clement in rebuttal earlier, and given some context for that. If you want more, please let me know.

By the initial qualifier of 'by ourselves', he seems to be arguing that one cannot merit the grace of justification. That is, apart from faith, everything else is worthless. He is speaking more of the folly of self-reliance. Indeed, in reference to obtaining the blessings of God, that is, life immortal, he says the following:

How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God! Life in immortality, splendour in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence,144 faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! And all these fall under the cognizance of our understandings [now]; what then shall those things be which are prepared for such as wait for Him? The Creator and Father of all worlds,145 the Most Holy, alone knows their amount and their beauty. Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those that wait for Him, in order that we may share in His promised gifts. But how, beloved, shall this be done? If our understanding be fixed by faith rewards God; if we earnestly seek the things which are pleasing and acceptable to Him; if we do the things which are in harmony with His blameless will; and if we follow the way of truth, casting away from us all unrighteousness and iniquity, along with all covetousness, strife, evil practices, deceit, whispering, and evil-speaking, all hatred of God, pride and haughtiness, vainglory and ambition

Notice that for Clement there is the necessity of: 1. faith fixed on God 2. earnestly seeking that which pleases God 3. doing that which in harmony with God's will 4. following the way of truth.

Thus it seems that even here he seems to be excluding an understanding of sola fide.

At the very least, I can claim, if you do present his own quote - him contradicting himself, which is not impossible since he was a mere man, but do give the context of your quote and let us see.

I'm wondering- if you claim a contradiction, would that not call into question your original thesis? You said:

To me this is one example of a convincing evidence that what the Reformers taught was not new, but was believed by the early Christians before.

If Clement is contradicting himself (which would seem to indicate that he doesn't really advocate JBFA enough to be consistent about it) then it would seem that there's really not that much convincing evidence.

L P Cruz said...

Deviant,

You said this...To argue that 'alone' exists on the same level as 'freely', 'not of works', 'it is the gift' is flawed. First of all, the words it is being compared to are actually found within the scriptures in reference to faith. 'Alone is not.'

Could you give me an example of this? Could you confirm unequivocally that you are referring to James 2:24 here? If so, I have already stated tha the faith that James 2:24 is talking about is "mental assent" - like believing that God exists.

You can believe and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and King and you can believe that God is creator of the universe but what you have is still the 'faith' of the devil - it will not do you any good -according to St. James.

I gave you an example "I came to church by myself" - does that not mean I came to church alone? I have demonstrated that the word "alone" need not be used but the meaning is still there.

You said it[what I quoted from my Confession] betrays, how so? Rather, it is properly handling the text as it is.

What logicall flaw was committed? Was it a category mistake? Could you categorize it in terms of logical fallacy because you have not demonstrated any wrong syllogism at all etc.

You asked Ok, please describe for me how 'trust' in the realm of sola fide differs from intellectual assent.

First before talking about faith - let us talk about unbelief - in effect unbelief is calling God a liar... I qoute 1 John 510Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I will now do better than describe I will suggest a litmust test... do you rely,put your hope in, depend on the testimony of Scripture that the death of Jesus Christ was payment for all your sin?

If so - that is the saving faith that Paul and James is speaking about.

On the other hand if you also believe that there are things you " you must do to pay for you sins", you just contradicted yourself, not only that you have contradicted God too! Decide which is which are you convinced of.

You asked If the faith that justifies is infallibly never alone, how is that any different than affirming that one is justified by works?

It is different because, the analogy is a train = engine + carriage.

When the train moves, it is the engine that is the source of the movement, since it pulls the carriage, the carriage follows - necessarily. A train engine that moves but does not drag a carriage is senseless of course, why it will just by burning fuel for no reason.

This is no other than the statement in modal logic. If Faith then necessarily Works. F-> []W. This statement is not the same as F<->W which you are making.

One is the cause of the other. Here this is where you and Exists-Dissolve are in a blunderous situation because you guys reduce concepts and collapse them together. My expeience is that such a mode renders one susceptible to mysticism. That is what mystical teachers do.

Although you are opposed to the Protestant view you are not by any means Roman Catholic either (E-D admitted already he is not)! My quess is that you are into another religion but certainly not Christian.

As to Clement quote you just sited you said Thus it seems that even here he seems to be excluding an understanding of sola fide.

You quoted chapter 35, which was after chapter 32. Firstly this is the way St Paul do it in Romans, after discussing justification, he goes to sanctification. Same with Clement.


If in the quoted Clement said that "works" causes justification or even to that effect of expounding the nature of justication then I would believe your assertion. But rather he mentions nothing about justification instead in your quote Clement speaks about the gifts of God - it does not speak of the causes of justification. The context is good works that it has rewards of good things.

I regret that you do selective readings....

Notice that after the end of Chapter 32 which is prior to Chapter 35 that you quoted he says this...but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. faith is the basis of justification and simply put you have what you believe in.

Perhaps you should not jump quickly to Chapter 35 but linger on Chapter 33 a bit longer then you will get the context of Chapter 35 better.

He says What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work

And here is another that I can bring to show that the context of what you quoted is misplaced...
He says We see,137 then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.

He said this after he said "faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men"

As I said, the best you can do is to show from Clement that he also believed in being justified by works. If you do - then I can not use Clement as additional withness to JBFA.

However, I can use him as a fellow who as a Father of the Church, is just that --- a man who is also confused in his writing and capable of contradicting himself.

In addition, Clement contradicting himself does not negate JBFA because there are evidence from Scripture we can hammer on that supports that. I could not use Clement as a witness, that is all that the best you can do. The best you can do is to show him an irrelevant witness - an unrealianble witness - that is all.

But you have not yet done that either...

Deviant Monk said...

Could you give me an example of this? Could you confirm unequivocally that you are referring to James 2:24 here? If so, I have already stated tha the faith that James 2:24 is talking about is "mental assent" - like believing that God exists.

I not entirely sure what you are asking for here.

My point was, in reference to the Augsburg Apology, that 'alone' is not on the same level as the other words and phrases, that level of course being that the latter are actually in the scriptures, while 'alone' is not. Of course James uses the word by completely arguing against sola fide; that is, that one can be justified by faith alone.

You have said that the meaning for 'alone' can be there without the word actually being there. I have not denied this. My argument has been that such a meaning is absent, so to use the word 'alone', as it is understood by sola fide, is completely inapparopriate.

You said it[what I quoted from my Confession] betrays, how so? Rather, it is properly handling the text as it is.

I said that is betrays the underlying presupposition of sola fide; that is, that sola fide is the hermeneutical matrix employed. That it lumps a non-bilbical understanding of justification (that is, alone) with the biblical descriptions (freely, apart from works, etc.) and says that if you do not acknowledge the former it is tantamount to a denial of the latter is why I said what I did.

What logicall flaw was committed? Was it a category mistake? Could you categorize it in terms of logical fallacy because you have not demonstrated any wrong syllogism at all etc.

Category A- non biblical words
'alone'

Category B- biblical words
'freely'
'apart from works'
'it is a gift'

Assumption: Category B carries the same meaning as understood by Category A

Argument: If Category A is thrown out, so should Category B.

The obvious problem with this argument is that of a categorical error- Category A is being used to arbitrate the meaning of Category B. However, within Protestantism's own principle of sola scriptura, this seems rather dubious, since Category B, as it is deemed inspired by God, would thus have to be the authoritative lens. To use Category A to qualify Category B, as Luther did through his interpolation of 'alone', would seem to violate the very principle of sola scriptura through which sola fide is supposedly derived. However, it would appear that even the scriptures are made subservient to the hermeneutical framework of sola fide.

You may hopefully disagree with Luther's rather brazen interpolation. However, even the insistence upon sola fide even in light of James' quite explicit denial of it begs the question as to how perspicuous sola fide really is within the scriptures.

First before talking about faith - let us talk about unbelief - in effect unbelief is calling God a liar... I qoute 1 John 510Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I will now do better than describe I will suggest a litmust test... do you rely,put your hope in, depend on the testimony of Scripture that the death of Jesus Christ was payment for all your sin?

If so - that is the saving faith that Paul and James is speaking about.


If you are going to invoke John, perhaps a better litmus test would ebt he one he employs: "We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says "I know him" but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

So how does 'relying on', 'putting you hope in' and 'depending on' manifest itself beyond that of intellectual assertion?

On the other hand if you also believe that there are things you " you must do to pay for you sins", you just contradicted yourself, not only that you have contradicted God too! Decide which is which are you convinced of.

I'm not entirely sure what this is in reference to, but ok.

It is different because, the analogy is a train = engine + carriage.

When the train moves, it is the engine that is the source of the movement, since it pulls the carriage, the carriage follows - necessarily. A train engine that moves but does not drag a carriage is senseless of course, why it will just by burning fuel for no reason.


So if justification is the train, then, as you have just admitted, justification = engine (faith) + works. (carriage) So much for sola fide.

One is the cause of the other. Here this is where you and Exists-Dissolve are in a blunderous situation because you guys reduce concepts and collapse them together.

James speaks of faith being made complete by actions, and that it is dead without it. If faith is the cause of action per your understanding of it, these statements seem to be rather silly., for it would follow that faith wouldn't require action to not be dead or to be complete. But that James explicitly speaks of faith and actions working together would seem to indicate more of a symbiotic relationship than you seem to allow.

Although you are opposed to the Protestant view you are not by any means Roman Catholic either (E-D admitted already he is not)! My quess is that you are into another religion but certainly not Christian.

lol...that's interesting. On what basis do you presume me to be "certainly not Christian"?

And why even bring this up?

You quoted chapter 35, which was after chapter 32. Firstly this is the way St Paul do it in Romans, after discussing justification, he goes to sanctification. Same with Clement.

That Clement (or Paul for that matter) makes such a hard and fast distinction between justification and sanctification is certainly debatable.

f in the quoted Clement said that "works" causes justification or even to that effect of expounding the nature of justication then I would believe your assertion. But rather he mentions nothing about justification instead in your quote Clement speaks about the gifts of God - it does not speak of the causes of justification. The context is good works that it has rewards of good things.

He begins by speaking doing all the things which pertain to holiness. He then quotes the scriptures to show that God gives grace to the humble. He then instructs his readers to clothe themselves with humility, the implication being that such is the means of receiving grace. Here is where he speaks of being justified by works, and not words.

He then goes on to expound- these works are not something you can boast about, because the works themselves find their root in humility, rather than pride. That your works justify you is evident from his speaking of others telling of one's good deeds, and using the example of the righteous forefathers.

Finally, moving into Chapter 31 he shows that obtaining God's blessing is by working righteousness through faith.

It seems reasonable to conclude that he is speaking of works as a cause of justification.

I regret that you do selective readings....

I hope you intended this also as a self-critique...

Notice that after the end of Chapter 32 which is prior to Chapter 35 that you quoted he says this...but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. faith is the basis of justification and simply put you have what you believe in.

Perhaps you should not jump quickly to Chapter 35 but linger on Chapter 33 a bit longer then you will get the context of Chapter 35 better.

He says What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work

And here is another that I can bring to show that the context of what you quoted is misplaced...
He says We see,137 then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.

He said this after he said "faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men"


I can quote right back at you as well. He specifically links do God's will and following the way of truth together with faith and belief as the means of obtaining God's gifts, all of which flow from justification.

I'm not quite understanding your use of the other quotations, since they seem far more in accord with my perspective than with yours. Yes, Clement speaks of justification coming from faith, and not by ourselves or by our wisdom or understanding or godliness or works wrought in holiness of heart. But as is clear from the preceding context, he is clear that faith is not understood as apart from works. The qualifiers he is making rather seem to be more directly related to his previous discussion on humility, and that one must have humility to obtain grace from God. Faith is wrapped up in this humility, and doesn't have the pride to assume that the righteousness it works is its own, but flows from the grace of God. That is why he says our praise should be in God, and not in ourselves.

Clement certainly isn't arguing for a post-reformation understanding of sola fide. You may feel he is thus contradictory in his understanding of justification, but only if an sola fide understanding of justification is forced upon his words.

As I said, the best you can do is to show from Clement that he also believed in being justified by works. If you do - then I can not use Clement as additional withness to JBFA.

However, I can use him as a fellow who as a Father of the Church, is just that --- a man who is also confused in his writing and capable of contradicting himself.


very well.

In addition, Clement contradicting himself does not negate JBFA because there are evidence from Scripture we can hammer on that supports that. I could not use Clement as a witness, that is all that the best you can do. The best you can do is to show him an irrelevant witness - an unrealianble witness - that is all.

I would not imagine nor argue that an inability to invoke Clement necessarily negates JFBA. However, it would seriously call into question the historical legitimacy of sola fide before the Reformation.

Deviant Monk said...

In addition, Clement contradicting himself does not negate JBFA because there are evidence from Scripture we can hammer on that supports that.

I have offered evidence from the scriptures that contradicts JFBA. So if Clement is arguing that one is not justified by faith alone, then my position would seem to be the stronger one.

L P Cruz said...

Deviant,


You wrote a lot here and time does not permit me to reply to all your points but I will highlight only a few.

You categorization of "alone" is in error. You said that it is a non-biblical word - but you admitted that it was used by St. James since he himself used the word alone in James 2:24.

Hence, your bias has created a straw-man on the apologie's assertion.

The point is that all of these words - "alone, freely, apart from works, is a gift" are Biblical words and depending on the context they are used may imply the same thing. That is the point.

You deny this but you just deny without sound arguments. Your classification is wrong.

Also you said Justification = faith + works , hey mate, that was your equation, not mine!

Can you show me where I made such an assertion?

Again a straw-man - you represented me in your mind, because of a predisposed bias.

Again, faith is the means to receive justifcation, that is what JBFA means - please study this further I do not think you are familiar with confessional Protestant thinking. It does not deny there is works, but works is not the means to receive justifcation.

To help you understand what we mean let us talk about a fridge magnet. I have a fridge magnet which has two parts - the magnet and the plaster image of a pig. The plaster is attached to the magnet.

Which one gets attached to the fridge door? If you use the plaster it won't work, rather it is the magnet that attaches to the fridge metal door. Which one receives the attachment - the magnet(Faith), but that magnet has the plaster (Works).

True faith will work but it is faith that receives justification by grace, not works that is produced by it.

Proper distinction is necessary, not separation but distinction as I urged before.


If you read James 2:14-26, James is not saying that works is the means for justifcation, rather works confirms faith and hence confirms justification.

Devian you said thsi and the Bible said this This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

Are you this person? What is your assesment of yourself? If you say God is the judge, so you are in a quandry --what if he judge that your good works is not enough since you out do your good works by your sin.


I bring up that your position is neither Catholic nor Protestant because Catholics do not collapse your categories, they agree with Prots that distinctions are made. The RCs do point that works merrit, which are the Sacraments, - you aint got none of these.

BUt as I side, if Clement is saying even to the effect that you are justified by your works - please quote to me a passage and I will examine - but you just make assetions - lets go to the text which we can exegete.

At least you have not given me a text from him that he contradicted himself. Perhaps in other of his writings? Let me know if you found one.

If you read Romans of St. Paul he speaks of good works too prior to Romans 3,4,5 (in Romans 2). Hence, Clement is following the pattern of Paul.

In summary,

a.)the start of your argument in not classifying "alone" as also a biblical word is flawed, hence your syllogism is flawed like deck of cards.

b.) you said this I have offered evidence from the scriptures that contradicts JFBA This is handwaving and use of magic wands to dismiss the proofs presented to you. St James was not speaking of the same faith astaught by St. Paul further you have not shown that at least Clement was contraditing himself because there is no quote on justifcation that works is the means for it. I am still waiting for an actual quote we can exegete.

Deviant Monk said...

You categorization of "alone" is in error. You said that it is a non-biblical word - but you admitted that it was used by St. James since he himself used the word alone in James 2:24.

Hence, your bias has created a straw-man on the apologie's assertion.


I certainly qualified my use of it- you'll notice I said that using it in the sense that sola fide understands it is inappropriate, and that James' use of it is antithetical to the sola fide understanding of it. It seems reasonable that a word used antithetically compared to other words and phrases as understood by sola fide constitutes a categorical distinction.

You may claim a straw-man based upon bias, but surely the Apology itself is liable to the same critique.

The point is that all of these words - "alone, freely, apart from works, is a gift" are Biblical words and depending on the context they are used may imply the same thing. That is the point.

'alone', as employed by James re:justification is antithetical to the meanings imposed upon the other words and phrases by sola fide; thus, my argument is that it is contextually inappropriate to use the word 'alone', as understood by sola fide, in regards to justification by faith.

You deny this but you just deny without sound arguments. Your classification is wrong.

I disagree.

Also you said Justification = faith + works , hey mate, that was your equation, not mine!

Can you show me where I made such an assertion?


How about your analogy? It is different because, the analogy is a train = engine + carriage.

If I misunderstand your meaning in this, I apologize. I was under the impression that you were trying to use this to demonstrate justification.


Again a straw-man - you represented me in your mind, because of a predisposed bias.

No, I was simply trying to interact with your equation, since you are the one who posted it.

And let's be honest- you have just as many predisposed biases, so let's perhaps leave off the tired and useless rhetoric of strawmen and misrepresentation.

Again, faith is the means to receive justifcation, that is what JBFA means - please study this further I do not think you are familiar with confessional Protestant thinking. It does not deny there is works, but works is not the means to receive justifcation.

I am well aware of the understanding of confessional protestantism re:justification and its relation to works. I have not denied (to my knowledge) that it has a place for works. My argument has been that its understanding of justification is incorrect.

To help you understand what we mean let us talk about a fridge magnet. I have a fridge magnet which has two parts - the magnet and the plaster image of a pig. The plaster is attached to the magnet.

Which one gets attached to the fridge door? If you use the plaster it won't work, rather it is the magnet that attaches to the fridge metal door. Which one receives the attachment - the magnet(Faith), but that magnet has the plaster (Works).


What exactly is the point of this? I understand your position on the relationship of faith and works. I have been arguing that such is an incorrect understanding of justification.

True faith will work but it is faith that receives justification by grace, not works that is produced by it.

Again, I am wondering how this is practically any different than saying that one is justified by faith and works, since the actual manifestation of this is that one's works are going to be the determining factor of whether one has faith or not.

If you read James 2:14-26, James is not saying that works is the means for justifcation, rather works confirms faith and hence confirms justification.

That James is saying that works simply confirms faith is an interesting interpretation, but one that I certainly don't believe expresses the meaning in those passages. Judging such an interpretation in light of the scriptures finds it wanting.

I bring up that your position is neither Catholic nor Protestant because Catholics do not collapse your categories, they agree with Prots that distinctions are made. The RCs do point that works merrit, which are the Sacraments, - you aint got none of these.

Ok...so how is this relevant to our discussion?

BUt as I side, if Clement is saying even to the effect that you are justified by your works - please quote to me a passage and I will examine

I have. Several times.

but you just make assetions - lets go to the text which we can exegete.

I have offered a couple of quotes, and have attempted to relate them to my argument. I hardly see how this constitutes just making assertions.

At least you have not given me a text from him that he contradicted himself.

I don't believe Clement to be contradicting himself, because, as I have argued, he isn't making the argument that justification come from faith as understood by a post-reformational understanding of sola fide.

Perhaps in other of his writings? Let me know if you found one.

As far as I am aware, Clement only has one writing. The other extant Clementine literature is spurious.

If you read Romans of St. Paul he speaks of good works too prior to Romans 3,4,5 (in Romans 2). Hence, Clement is following the pattern of Paul.

Just because Clement may be following Paul does not necessitate that he is arguing for sola fide; my argument would also be and has been that even Paul doesn't support sola fide. Therefore, as far as my interpretation of the scriptures of Paul are concerned, Clement's following of these would support my position.

Naturally, you feel the same way in regards to your position. That's fine. You are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine. As I said before, I stack sola fide up against the scriptures and find it to be contradictory. You will do the same with my position. That's the nature of the thing.

the start of your argument in not classifying "alone" as also a biblical word is flawed, hence your syllogism is flawed like deck of cards.

I'm not sure what the idiom is supposed to mean, but you should go back and look at the qualifications I made.

This is handwaving and use of magic wands to dismiss the proofs presented to you.

How are you not liable to the same critique, as I have offered proofs to you, in regards to both the scriptures and Clement, and you still say yourself that "there are evidence from the Scripture we can hammer on that supports that" (JBFA). It would seem to be the same argument that, as you have said, attempts to dismiss the proofs given.

I have given you plenty of scriptural arguments re:justification throughout the course of our discussion. You disagree with me- that's fine. You believe the scriptures teach sola fide, I believe they don't.

St James was not speaking of the same faith astaught by St. Paul further you have not shown that at least Clement was contraditing himself because there is no quote on justifcation that works is the means for it.

Except the quote that says we are justified by our works.

I am still waiting for an actual quote we can exegete.

I have already given you a couple of them. Do I need to recopy and paste them?

L P Cruz said...

Deviant,

I will answer in reverse...

You said I have already given you a couple of them. Do I need to recopy and paste them?

No need to repost because what you quoted were not explicit teaching that man is justified by works... your quotes are irrelevant - the quotes you made do not teach justification is by works, if they do then Clement contradicted himself, there is no other way but to conclude this.

You saidOk...so how is this relevant to our discussion?

It is relevant because there are only two conflicting positions that know full well the meaning of the words - justification, faith, works, alone etc namely the historic Protestant view vs the Roman Catholic view (includes Eastern Orthodoxy).

Eastern Orthodoxy does not have formal statements but RCs and historic Prots do so we are really just talking about 2 positions and yours is not one of them, ie your position is not in the debate though you tried to argue with me.

You have no answer to my question...you said Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did."

Are you this person? What is your assesment of yourself? If you say God is the judge? Of course we may not judge others, but we can certainly judge ourselves. SO how do you fair? Then now, what if God judge that your good works is not enough since you sometimes out do some of your good works by your sin -i.e. bad words, thought and deed.

The RCs are self respecting theologians - they will not deny to you that you do penance, go to the Eucharist, give alms, indulgences etc for these merit good favour with God - these are the good works the RC claims. You have no such claim except some vague generic good work you have to do as you suggest. If you do not know what these good works are - then how can you do them so you can merit Justification ? Hence, in this respect the RC can be taken seriously because they provide an answer unfortunately your position can't be taken seriously because you are not aligned with them.

On the other hand if you do align with them and thus be a RC then we got some where to go in our discussion.

Let me repeat my position
True faith will work but it is faith that receives justification of God by grace, not works that is produced by it.


Hence, my fridge magnet analogy is the same - what attaches to the fridge (justification) is the magnet(faith) that magnet has with it plaster (works) [or produces a plaster if you can imagine the semi -imaginary situation].

Again as I said (which you continually deny despite explanation on how to understand James 2:24) that St. James is not talking about the same faith as what Rom 3:23 is speaking about, for in St James we are being taught about a deaf faith, ie mental assent, not trust as in Rom 3:23.

You should go all the way and be a Roman Catholic because you are almost there except you do not wish to identify these good works. Hence, half way RC, which is not RC in the full sense. But why don't you be one?

I do have a bias. I am convinced of certain things - I do have a position but the issue is this - is my position enlightened by Scripture? I believe so - I can provide some scholars whose interpretation of James 2:24 is the same as mine. See this http://www.opc.org/new_horizons/NH05/02a.html
from a Presbyterian perspective.

In fact I will play a game if you care - tell me a good work that you can think of and I can tell you that such a good work is covered by God's Law - the Torah.

It is relevant because of Rom 3:23.

It is evident that we disagree. You do not believe in my position, as you said that is fine. I for one believe that I have explained to you the hope that is in me. I have been in your position before, I was taught it but since that is rejected by you I can only pray in time you will see more clearly.



Cheers,


LPC

L P Cruz said...

PS Deviant Monk,

If you are an RC why not argue the way they argue with Prot and practice the RC spirituality all the way, go to mass, go to novenas, go to confession, pray the rosary - but above all be orthodox RC and talk and get the categories they make - found in the RC Catechism, etc, You are already one but you are not talking all the way as they do - so be a good one. Comply with the magisterium of the RCC.

Gojira said...

Hi LP,

I see that you have met the brothers Pagan, Exist-Dissolve and Deviant Monk, both who make their own religion as they go, and one in honor of a goddess.

L P Cruz said...

Hi Gojira,

Thanks for dropping by bro.

Yes, I detected that they have their own version of some syncretistic variety of Christian spirituality. Yet, it is not within the 3 major streams of Christianity - RC, Prot or EO, so I do not know what it is - it is certainly not traditional Christianity.

I think they want to convert me to their own religion or cult - I say this not with glee but that is what Christians of these major streams would call their version of their own "Christianity".

The issues they presented to me on James 2:24 is passe already amongst scholars, that is why the RC at least will tell you what those good works are, in this respect it does not put you into a quandry - they at least say - do the sacraments and it will be OK. On the other hand, Deviant, E-D can not name them, and can not even say if they are "walking like Jesus".

Thanks,

LPC

Gojira said...

Hi Bro.! :-)

Neither of those two are RC's; they are wayward Wesleyans who try to blend in whatever they find appealing at the fruit stand.

I thought you did exceptionally well in rebutting them. As you have noticed, they are very good at strawmen and misrepresentation. And no, they couldn't answer you.

L P Cruz said...

Thank you Gojira,

I do hope they come to faith in the work of Christ alone. I am sad that they wish to persist in presenting their works to God for their credit.

Peace,

LPC

Jeff Tan said...

"do the sacraments and it will be OK"

Er, Lito, I know we put emphasis on sacraments as means (not source) of grace, but to say that they are the only good works required of us as Christians? That's not what I have been taught.

At the same time, none of the sacraments are to be taken at ritual value alone. For example, there is no sacramental value in confessing your sins without contrition/repentance. There is no sacramental value in partaking of the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin (deliberate consent, grave and with full knowledge). There is no sacramental value in matrimony if entered into fraudulently, e.g., already married to someone else.

But again, the sacraments alone are not enough, even if they are the normative (but not exhaustive) outward signs of inward grace.

Just clarifying..

L P Cruz said...

Jeff,

Do not the sacraments merit us something if the conditions are met in RC teaching?
So how would you position yourself in relation to Deviant's comments? Hence, where would you agree and where would you defer from him?

Jeff Tan said...

Oh the sacraments are means for us (outward signs) of something marvelous and precious by divine grace. But the cause for the gift is always the Giver Himself, and it is always by grace alone, not any obligation on His part to pay us for our trouble.

I'll have to read through Deviant's posts before I can comment though. I must confess laziness here.. time has become so short lately. :(