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Third Annual Georgia State Lectureship September 9, 2005
by Robin Watson
Faith alone, sola fide, is heralded by mainstream Protestantism as the exclusive means by which man becomes right with God. Martin Luther said that justification by faith alone is “the doctrine by which the church stands or falls.”1 Protestants, in general, believe that “(justification-byfaith-alone-ism) was taught implicitly, but not explicitly, from the beginning of the church.”2 This has lead many Protestant scholars to conclude: “The only ‘work,’ the only action, we can perform which will please God in terms of salvation is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone for eternal life.”3 The modern product of this theology is a plan of salvation that goes something like this: “Simply pray a prayer in your heart similar to this one below if you want to be saved:” Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner deserving of hell. I know that you paid the price for my sins upon the cross. I now ask you to forgive all my sins and take me to heaven when I die. I invite you into my heart as my own personal Savior. Thank you for saving me, Amen.4 This doctrine has been preached in every corner of the world. Millions have heard it. The vast majority of those who call themselves Christians accept it as truth. But, does this make it true? Is something true simply because it is taught by scholars and believed by the majority? How would Jesus answer this question? His answer can be gleaned from His interaction with the religious scholars of His day. Jesus, on various occasions, corrected accepted Jewish doctrines with statements such as: “You are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures or the power of God” (Matt 22:29) and “Have you not read . . . ” (Matt 19:4). This shows that He did not accept all the doctrines of the scholars as truth simply because everyone else did. These “Teachers of Israel” were not always mistaken, but when they were, it was because they did not know the scriptures or the power of God. Jesus, however, never erred. He knew the scriptures and the power of God because He was God (Jn 1:1). To draw specific attention to the truth He taught, compared to the error of the scholars, Jesus would often preface his teaching with the phrase: “You have heard it said . . .” He would then quote what the rabbis taught. Then He would say, “But I say to you . . . ” and then expound the truth of God on the subject. In this manner He made a clear distinction between truth and error. With this in mind, we will use the statement: “You have heard it said . . .” - to compare the “faith alone” doctrine with what God’s word teaches. Like Jesus, we refuse to accept a doctrine simply because it is taught by religious scholars and is accepted as truth by a majority.
To fully appreciate our use of the phrase “You have heard it said . . .” one must understand what that statement meant to Christ’s audience - the Jews. First, let us consider what He didn’t say. Notice that He didn’t say, “You have read for yourselves in the Law . . .” This is important. It is one thing to hear someone tell you what God’s Law is, but quite another to read the Law for yourself. The common Jew didn’t have a copy of the written Law in his home. The written Law, or “Torah” as the Jews prefer, was usually housed in scroll form in the Temple and synagogues. It was here that one came to hear the Law read by the Rabbi or Teacher. After a portion of Law was read, there was a commentary by the rabbi as to what it meant. By the time of Christ, this teaching came not so much from “what is written in the Law,” but rather from what Jesus called “the traditions of men” (Mrk 7:7-13). The term, “traditions of men,” as it is used in the New Testament, means the oral teachings of the Jewish elders, which were reverenced by the Jews.5 These oral teachings are referred to as the “Oral Torah.” In the Pirqe Aboth, a collection of ethical sayings of Jewish rabbis, it states, “Moses received the Torah from Sinai, and he delivered it to Joshua, and Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the prophets, and the prophets delivered it to the men of the Great Synagogue.”6 These men are referred to in the Talmud as those representatives of the Law who occupied a place in the chain of tradition between the Prophets and the earliest Jewish rabbis. It is claimed that “Simon the Just was one of those who survived the Great Synagogue, and Antigonus of Soko received the Torah from him."7 Thus one rabbi after another would leave certain sayings which would be handed down and received by his successors. In this manner the sayings were preserved. It is believed that when the last one of the Great Synagogue passed away, the new leaders of the Jews were the Scribes.8 In the Pirqe Aboth we find the purpose of these men: “Be deliberate in judgment; and raise up many disciples; and make a fence to the Torah.”9 This fence the Scribes erected was composed of those sayings that had been handed down through the centuries. It was so high and so dense that the common Jew could neither see nor understand the Law except through the eyes of the rabbis. This is evident from contemporaries of Jesus such as Rabbi Hillel, who taught: “Without an Oral Tradition you will never be able to learn the Torah."10 This made the Scribes, the new rabbis, very powerful. Their words became law to the people. “As a result, the rabbi came to be looked upon as a sort of deity and was to be feared even as God.”11 Their traditions “were viewed equally with the written teachings of the Old Testament, and were regarded by them as equally authoritative on matters of belief and conduct.”12 To go against their teaching was worse than transgressing God’s Law itself. The rabbis taught: “To be against the words of the scribes is more punishable than to be against the words of the Bible.” “The voice of the rabbi is as the voice of God.”13
This mind-set brought Jesus into conflict with the Scribes on several occasions. The voice of the rabbi was not the voice of God. God was not speaking to the Jews through uninspired rabbis. He was speaking through His son Jesus (Heb 1:2). Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” (Jn 14:6). From this we understand that Jesus’ statement: “You have heard it said . . .” was not referring to what God’s word actually said but rather to the Scribes traditional interpretation of the Law. Likewise, it is within this context that we use this statement today. “You have heard it said … ” indicates that we understand that the doctrine - “man is saved by faith alone” - did not come from God, but from man. And just as the Oral Law of the Jews was passed down through the centuries to become as authoritative as scripture, so has this “tradition of men” been passed down, even to our own day, by “Protestant Rabbis” who have convinced themselves and others that their understanding of the Bible is that of God Himself. The remainder of this lecture is presented in support of our contention that the Bible teaches that man is not saved by “faith alone.”
God’s Word is Our Authority
For our authority we will look to God. Jesus didn’t get His doctrine from rabbi so-in-so. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, . . . ” He claimed, “ . . . but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (Jn 12:44-13:1). Neither did His apostles get their doctrine from the rabbis. Jesus informed his apostles that after He goes back to heaven He will send the Holy Spirit to guide them into all the truth. He further said that the Holy Spirit would not speak own His own authority but would rather speak what Jesus told Him to speak. Jesus said, “He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine . . . ” (Jn 16:12-15). Even Paul, who trained to be a rabbi himself, claimed that the gospel he preached was “not from man . . . but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal 1:11,12). From statements such as these we understand that no part of Jesus’ teaching or His apostle’s teaching was a matter of man’s private interpretation. It came from the Father Himself. We, therefore, will go to God’s word to examine the “faith alone” - or more commonly called “faith only” doctrine. But first, a definition is in order.
“Faith Alone” Defined
One popular definition of “faith alone” is the idea that God saves individuals based solely on the faith of that person, separate and apart from any work or action taken by that individual. This doctrine, also called sola fide, says that a person is saved by faith alone. An example of this definition is found in a debate that Thomas Warren had in 1953 with L.S. Ballard in which Ballard affirmed the position that “the alien sinner is saved the very moment he/she believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”14 The origin of this modern definition is most commonly attributed to Martin Luther. In his Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans, Luther made such statements as: “...faith alone makes someone just . . . ” and “ . . . faith alone makes just and brings the Spirit . . . ”15 What
Luther meant by “faith alone” is an ongoing debate. It is difficult to reconcile his seemingly contradictory statements. On the one hand he chastises those who, as he says: ... suffer no distinction among good works, but go lumbering along: if only they pray, fast, establish endowments, go to confession, and do enough, everything shall be good, although in all this they have had no faith in God's grace and approval. Indeed, they consider the works best of all, when they have done many, great and long works without any such confidence, and they look for good only after the works are done; and so they build their confidence not on divine favor, but on the works they have done . . . 16 While on the other hand he would say: But our know-it-alls, the new spirit people, claim that faith alone saves and that human works and outward forms contribute nothing to this. We answer: It is of course true that nothing in us does it except faith, as we shall hear later. But these blind leaders of the blind refuse to see that faith must have something in which it believes, that is, something it clings to, something on which to plant its feet and into which to sink its roots. 17 And at another time would say: "If you are a preacher of grace, then preach a true and not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. . . . as long as we are here [in this world] we have to sin. . . . No sin will separate us from the Lamb, even though we commit fornication and murder a thousand times a day." 18 This may all be a matter of semantics. Luther may have understood “faith alone” as including works of obedience that relied on God’s grace while rejecting works that are done to merit God’s favor. But why, then, would he say, “Be a sinner and sin boldly?” And how could one continue to fornicate and murder if, as Paul says, “those who practice such things are worthy of death” (Rom 1:32) and “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21)? Who is right: Paul or Luther? Luther was so thoroughly convinced that he was right that, in his German translation of Romans 3:28, he added the word “alone” to the text. It reads: “So halten wir nun dafür, daß der Mensch gerecht wird one des Gesetzes Werke, allein durch den Glauben.” The English translation reads: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone without the deeds of the law.”19
When confronted with his handling of the text, Martin Luther smugly admitted that he added “alone” to the Scriptures. To those who criticized him for doing this, he replied: You tell me what a great fuss the Papists are making because the word “alone” is not in the text of Paul. If your Papist makes such an unnecessary row about the word “alone,” say right out to him: “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so,” and say: “Papist and asses are one and the same thing.” I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough. I know very well that the word “alone” is not in the Latin or the Greek text, and it was not necessary for the Papists to teach me that. It is true those letters are not in it, which letters the jackasses look at, as a cow stares at a new gate . . . It shall remain in my New Testament, and if all the Popish donkeys were to get mad and beside themselves, they will not get it out.20 Didn’t God say, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” (Deut 4:2). And didn’t Jesus say, “I do exactly as the Father commanded Me” (Jn 14:31). Does Luther’s comment sound like the mind of Christ to you? It is evident from Luther’s attitude that he placed his understanding of “faith alone” above the written word of God itself. He knew “very well” that the word alone was not in the Latin or the Greek text. His justification for adding to the word of God was simply, “Dr. Martin Luther will have it so . . . I will have it so, and I order it to be so, and my will is reason enough.” And so we have Martin Luther, like the Jewish rabbis of old, being “deliberate in judgement.” As a teacher, Luther raised up many disciples, who, in turn, handed this tradition down through the centuries. Dr. Samuel Nafzger, explaining the impact that the “faith alone” doctrine has had on modern Lutherans, says: The implications of salvation "through faith alone" permeate everything we Lutherans believe and teach. For example, we believe that the conversion of sinners is a gift of God and not the result of any human effort or decision. Lutherans therefore confess in the words of Luther's explanation to the third article of the Apostle's Creed: "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel."21 Whatever Luther may have meant, the current understanding of His doctrine is that salvation is based solely on faith, separate and apart from any work or action taken by the one being saved. This permeation has lead many who hold the “faith alone” doctrine to proclaim: "Any teaching that demands a change of conduct toward either God or man for salvation is to add works or human effort to faith, and this contradicts all Scripture and is an accursed message."22 Is this true? Are the “faith alone” proclaimers right? Does demanding a change of conduct toward God or man for salvation, contradict the scriptures? Does demanding human effort or works contradict all the Scripture? Are these demands accursed of God? Lets continue and see.
“But I Say To You . . . ” - What Does God Say?
We now come to the question as to whether the doctrine of salvation by “faith alone,” as per its popular definition, is found in the Bible. According to the “faith alone” contenders: All of the following verses show that the will of the Father concerning salvation is that we believe in His Son: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31). "He who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47). "Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16b). "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Eph 2:89). In answer to the question, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent" (John 6:28-29).23 We unhesitatingly agree that these verses show that the will of the Father concerning salvation is that we believe in His Son. We wholeheartedly agree that one is save by the grace of God through faith in Jesus. We, likewise, understand that we cannot save ourselves. We also concur that salvation is totally and completely a gift of God and thus cannot be earned or merited by good works or by adherence to any legal code. This, we believe, is why scripture teaches that no one can boast about their participation in working out their own salvation (Philip. 2:12). We have read for ourselves, and believe, that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). We, therefore, completely and totally agree with the first part of their doctrine that claims that we are saved by faith. But, we fail to see in these verses any indication that we are saved by “faith alone.” The word “alone” simply is not there, specifically or inherently. We do, however, believe that the phrase “faith alone” is found in God’s word. James, the Lord’s brother, wrote, “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” (Jas 2:24). Here we find the only place in the New Testament where the two words “faith alone” are together. Here we see, the word of God, apart from human tradition, is opposed to the doctrine that man is saved by “faith alone.” It unequivocally states that man’s justification (i.e. salvation) is “not by faith alone.” So, you may have heard it said that man is saved by “faith alone,” but God says, as you can read for yourself, that man is not. Well, one might ask, how do you explain Paul’s statement that we are “saved by grace through faith, not of works . . . ”(Eph 2:8,9)? We say to them: “Context, context, context.” In Chapter one, Paul is enumerating the spiritual blessings that the Ephesians presently have as Christians. In Chapter two, He is contrasting the difference between their prior unsaved position and their current saved position in Christ. Before obeying the Gospel they were dead in sin because they lived lives of sin and disobedience. They had followed Satan, the spirit of whom still continues to work in those who disobey God. Paul then explains that this is not only true about the Ephesians, but that this is true for "all of us," who, by nature, are objects of God's wrath. But because God loves “all of us,” and because God is rich in mercy, he made us alive with Christ while we were dead in sin.
The saving of the spiritually dead is purely an act of God's grace. The dead sinners could not save themselves, only God could. Why does God save them? So that future generations might see the riches of His grace and kindness. What will they see? That salvation is by God's grace, His unmerited favor. While dead in sin, sinners could do nothing to raise themselves from spiritual death. They could not reach the heavenly realms through their own work. They had to be "in Christ" to sit in the heavenly realm of the saved. Christ did for them what they could not do through their own efforts. He kept the law of God perfectly. He was perfectly righteous. God imputed Jesus’ righteousness, the “righteousness of God,” to them when they obeyed the gospel. Salvation is, therefore, a gift. It is an act of God's grace and mercy, and not a work of sinful man. Grace is God's side of our salvation. Faith, however, is man's side. Paul says we are saved by grace "through faith." This prepositional phrase in the Greek text is dia tes pisteos. The preposition dia denotes means.24 This might also be expressed as cause25 or agency.26 The means or agent of salvation is faith.27 Faith is the agency by which sinners receive the spiritual blessings described in chapter one. These blessings are not earned, but are gifts from a gracious Benefactor. The dead sinner must believe and accept Christ’s work as God’s free gift. Man is not save by his own works. Since breaking God's law is what killed man initially, Paul’s emphasis here is simply that man cannot save himself. If he could, he would then have something to boast about. But since earned salvation is impossible, man must accept salvation as a gift of God. This does not mean, however, that works are excluded; it simply means that human works, apart from God’s grace and faith in Christ, cannot save anyone. A sinner’s works could not save him in the past, cannot save him now, and cannot save him in the future. Paul then, in verse 10, tells us why God saved us in the first place. First, to show His workmanship. What God has created, works, and reflects upon Him as creator. Secondly, we are saved to do good works. Our works reflect upon His workmanship. Finally, these works were prepared beforehand by God Himself. Now, if it is for good works that we are created, then how could works not be a part of our salvation? The bottom line is, human works alone cannot save anyone. Work without faith is dead. James said the same thing, but in reverse order. He said, “Faith without works is dead” (Jas 2:20). We, therefore, understand Paul and James to be in perfect harmony regarding faith and works as part of God’s salvation process. They are simply different sides of the same coin - obedient faith.
Saving Faith Is an Obedient Faith
God’s word contains plain, clear teaching regarding the necessity of obedient faith. Peter said that we purify our souls “by obeying the truth (1 Pet. 1:22). The writer of Hebrews informs us that, “Jesus is the author of eternal life to all who obey Him” (Heb 5:9). Paul thanked God for the salvation of lost sinners who were set free from sin when they “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” to which they were entrusted (Rom 6:17). James said, “man is justified by works, and not by faith alone” (Jas 2:24). Peter was instructed to go to the Gentile Cornelius and speak to him words by which he and his household would be saved. They first thing he said to Cornelius was, “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34,35). Jesus, himself, said, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My
Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21-27; Lk 6:46). To enter the kingdom of heaven, we must do God’s will. Obedient faith is a loving faith. Our obedience, works, commandment keeping, demonstrate our love for God. Jesus, our great example, was given commandments by the Father (Jn 12:49). He kept them by doing the work that was entailed in the commandments. Why? Lets ask Jesus why he was an obedient, commandment keeping, working man. “I do exactly as the Father commanded Me,” He explains, “So that the world may know that I love the Father” (Jn 14:31). How would the world know that He loved the Father? By Jesus doing “exactly” as the Father commanded. Does this exemplify a “faith alone” relationship? On the contrary, Jesus had a working relationship with His Father. Love works! And so will we if we love the Father. Jesus also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” and “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me”(Jn 14:15,21). The apostle John said, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 Jn 5:3). In his second epistle he said, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments” (2 John 6). How much clearer does it have to be? There is only one way man can love and please God. It is by obeying, from the heart, His commandments. This brings us to another salvation question. Can a lost sinner be saved if he doesn’t love God? Paul says, “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed” (1 Cor 16:22). HELLO! What, again, is the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-39)? What is the whole duty of man (Ecc 12:13)? If anyone does not love (obey) Jesus he will be “accursed!” Earlier we quoted the “faith alone” proponents as saying, "Any teaching that demands a change of conduct toward either God or man for salvation is to add works or human effort to faith, and this contradicts all Scripture and is an accursed message." We have just read from God’s word that obedience to His commandments is what loving God truly is. Loving God necessitates a change of conduct toward God and man. God expects sinners to put forth effort in their faith because faith without works is dead. Therefore, as you can see, demanding human effort in no way contradicts the Scriptures as they claim. It does, however, contradict their “faith alone” doctrine. Listen carefully to the apostle Paul: Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath. . .But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth. . . God . . .“will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil . . . but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good . . . for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified (Rom 2:1-13).
Please keep in mind what the “faith alone” pundits pontificate. Again, we quote: "Any teaching that demands a change of conduct toward either God or man for salvation is to add works or human effort to faith, and this contradicts all Scripture and is an accursed message." Compare this to what Paul just said. It is evident from Paul’s writing that God does expect a change of conduct toward Himself and man. This change is based on a penitent heart. A hard and impenitent hearted person despises the goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering of God. Paul says God is going to judge all mankind one day. Whether one is Jew or Gentile, black or white, male of female, slave or free, will make no difference. Paul says God’s judgement will be according to truth, not human tradition or nationality. Each individual will receive a judgement according to his deeds. Eternal life is rendered to those who patiently continued in obedience to the truth (continuing in doing good - works what is good). This obedience is evidenced by a change of conduct, which began in, and came from, a penitent heart. But, to those who are selfseeking; those with hard and impenitent hearts, who “do not obey the truth,” God will render “wrath, tribulation and anguish.” Paul revealed this same truth to the Thessalonians. He prophesied to them that when Jesus comes again, He would come “from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thess 1:7-9). Those who do not obey the gospel will be lost, punished, damned! Why would God judge according to deeds if man were saved by “faith alone?” HE WOULDN’T. Man is not saved by faith alone (Jas 2:22). For it is not, Paul continues, “the hearers of the law” that are just in God’s sight, but the “doers of the law” will be justified (Rom 2:13). This is why James says to “lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls”, and “be doers of the word, and not hearers only”, who deceive themselves (Jas 1:21,22). James continues to build upon this truth as he continues into chapter two of his epistle, where he asks: “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect” (Jas 2:20,21)? We pose these same questions to the “faith only” advocates, but they fail to receive the word. So, in the tradition of Martin Luther, who said that James was “a right strawy epistle,” which should just as well be removed from the canon of Scripture,28 (because it contradicted his doctrine) they, like him, reject inspiration in favor of their tradition. James concludes by saying, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (Jas 2:20-24). The “faith alone” advocates conclude by saying “man is saved by faith alone.” We conclude by quoting the apostle Paul, “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom 3:4). Whom will you believe: Luther or God.
Does it Really Matter Anyway
“What difference does it make anyway?” Does it really matter what we believe as long as we all believe in God? To those who hold to “faith alone” it matters. We have already noted that they believe: “Any teaching that demands a change of conduct toward either God or man for salvation
is to add works or human effort to faith, and this contradicts all Scripture and is an accursed message.” We all know that one can’t adhere to an “accursed message” and be saved. They further claim, “Faith and works are mutually exclusive with respect to the work of God in the regeneration of the lost.”29 Therefore, if you believe that you are saved by faith and works, according to them, your faith is automatically excluded, thereby excluding you from salvation. It mattered to Jesus. It was against tradition that Jesus spoke so pointedly to the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 15:2 f; Mk 7:3 f). The Pharisees charged Jesus with transgressing “the tradition of the elders.” Jesus turned on them with the question, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition”(Matt 15:2)? He continued saying, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: “This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men... for laying aside the commandment of God, you hold fast the tradition of men...all too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition...making the word of God of no effect through your traditions which you have handed down”(Mrk 7:513). It mattered to Jesus because any human doctrine that contradicts God’s word makes the word of God ineffective and produces worship that is vain and unacceptable to God. This worship is vain because it comes from lost souls who have rejected the commandments of God in order to follow their own man made traditions. That is why Jesus corrected them. He still loved them and wanted to give them an opportunity to repent and accept the truth and do the right thing. He wanted them to be saved. The choice, however, was still theirs - their way or God’s way. It matters to us because souls are hanging in the balance. If it is true that the majority of those who claim to be Christians have placed their faith in Luther’s doctrine and believe they were saved by “faith alone,” then they fall under the same condemnation as the Pharisees and are lost. If this error goes uncorrected then hundreds, if not millions, of sincere religious people will wind up in hell. How can we say we love them and not confront them with the truth? How can we say we love God if we don’t obey the greatest commandment ourselves? Conclusion Hopefully we have proven to you from God’s word that the "faith alone” doctrine is a “tradition of man” which began with Martin Luther and is, therefore, not from God. Hopefully we have proven to you from the word of God that the kind of faith that saves is a working, obedient faith, produced from a loving and penitent heart. Hopefully we have proven to you that your salvation depends on a correct understanding of what it means to be “saved by grace through faith.” Hopefully, if you have placed your hope in Luther’s doctrine of “faith alone,” you will renounce this false doctrine, repent of having placed your faith in man’s teaching, and start obeying God.
1 Dr. John Gerstner, History of the Doctrine of Justification, http://www.apuritansmind.com/Justification/GerstnerJohnJustificationHistory.htm, July 18, 2005. 2 ibid. 3 Bob Wilkin, Is Justification by Faith Alone?, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 1996 - Volume 9:17, http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1996ii/Wilkin.html, Jun 26, 2005. 4 How Does a Person Get to Heaven, http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Basics/howtobesaved.htm, August 2, 2005 5 James Orr, M.A., D.D. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia : Traditions of Men: 1915 Edition. Edited by James Orr. Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1999. 6 Charles Taylor, D.D. ed, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers: Pirqe Aboth 1:1 (Cambridge: Cambridge Universtiy Press, 1897), p. 11. 7 Synagogue, The Great, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1214&letter=S 8 F. C. Gilbert, Practical Lessons From The Experience Of Israel For The Church Of Today (South Lancaster: South Lancaster Printing Co.,1972), p. 23. 9 Taylor, Pirque Aboth 1:1, p.11. 10 Mordechai Housman, The Indispensable Oral Law, http://www.beingjewish.com/mesorah/oral-imperative.html, June 12, 2005 - A quote from the Talmud of a contemporary of Christ; Rabbi Hillel. It tells the story of a Gentile who went to Hillel the
Elder and said to him, "I want to convert, but I want to accept only the Written Torah, and not the Oral Torah. I don't wish to accept the words of the Rabbis. So teach me only the Written Torah, and not the Oral Torah." To which Hillel replied: “...you think you don't need the Rabbis' knowledge of Jewish Tradition in order to understand the words of the Torah?...Without an Oral Tradition you will never be able to learn the Torah."
11 Gilbert, p.25. 12 Orr, Traditions of Men. 13 Gilbert, p. 65. 14 Warren, Thomas B. and L.S. Ballard (1953), The Warren-Ballard Debate, (Moore, OK: National Christian Press) as quoted by Kyle Butt, Apologetics Press, Martin Luther Speaks on “Faith Only” and Baptism, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/1858, July 23, 2005. 15 Preface to the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans by Martin Luther, 1483-1546 Translated by Bro. Andrew Thornton, OSB "Vorrede auff die Epistel S. Paul: an die Romer" in _D. Martin Luther: Die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch 1545 aufs new zurericht, ed. Hans Volz and Heinz Blanke. Munich: Roger & Bernhard. 1972, vol. 2, pp. 22542268, http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/german.bible/rom-eng.txt, June 25, 2005. 16 Adolph Spaeth, L.D. Reed, Henry Eyster Jacobs, et Al., Trans. & Eds. Works of Martin Luther:A treatise on Good Works, (Philadelphia: A. J. Holman Company, 1915), Vol. 1, pp. 173-285, http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/work-02a.txt, June 25, 2005 17 Martin Luther, Luther’s Large Catechism, (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia, 1978), pp. 101-102. 18 Luther’s Epistle of August 1, 1521 to Melanchthon (This translation is taken from the official Lutheran American Edition of his complete works, vol. 42, pp. 281-82, as quoted by Fr. William Most, Defending the Faith, On the Augsburg Confession, http://www.cfpeople.org/Apologetics/page51a035.html, June 25, 2005. 19 Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, WELS Topical Q&A: Martin Luther: Luther: Romans 3:28, http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1518&cuTopic_topicID=22&cuItem_itemID=6591,Jun 9, 2005 20 Ibid. 21 Dr. Samuel Nafzger, What do Lutherans believe?, The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2219, Jun 26, 2005.
22 Ernest Reisinger, The Founders Journal, The Lordship Controversy and Repentance, http://www.founders.org/FJ14/article3.html, Jun 26, 2005. These are all quotes from the book, Handbook of Personal
Evangelism, by Dr. Ray Stamford.
23 Wilkin, http://www.faithalone.org/journal/1996ii/Wilkin.html. 24 Eadie, Ephesians, 153; Zane C. Hodges, Absolutely Free: A Biblical Reply to Lordship Salvation (Dallas: Redenciòn Viva, 1989), 219; Harold W. Hoehner, “Ephesians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament Edition, edited by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983), 624; Lincoln, Ephesians, 111; Salmond, “Ephesians,” 289. 25 Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2d ed., trans. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, rev, and augmented F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1979), s.v. dia, 180 (hereafter referred to as BAGD); Ellicott, Ephesians, 49; M.J. Harris, “Appendix,” in The New International Dictionary of New Testament T Theology, ed. Colin Brown (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978), 3:1189-90. 26 Robertson, Grammar, 582. 27 Although the object of faith is not mentioned here, Paul elsewhere writes that the Lord Jesus Christ is the object of faith (cf. Rom 3:24, 26; Gal 2:16) 28 Richardson, K. A. (2001, c1997). Vol. 36: James (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Page 36). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers. 29 Dennis Costella, Fundamental Evangelistic Association, Baptismal Regeneration and Bible Salvation, http://www.fundamentalbiblechurch.org/Tracts/fbcbaptr.htm, June 9, 2005.
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