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Author Topic: Salvation by Faith Alone?  (Read 5672 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 07, 2007, 04:07:15 PM »

This thread was split from the following discussion:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13812.0.html

--YtterbiumAnalyst


I'm only going to reply to a couple of these for the moment, but I might return later and address others.  Anyway, thanks for sharing this to spur discussion!

1. Salvation is, on the human side, by faith alone in Christ alone. Not by works.

One of the problems that I think we run into with this idea of salvation by faith alone is that it's set up in opposition to a view that salvation is earned by works, which is definitely not the Orthodox view.  Works, however, are an outgrowth and result of faith, so where there are no works, there is probably little or no true faith.  True faith in Christ naturally leads us to engage in His work on earth.  While there are always exceptions, such as deathbed conversions (where there is no time afterwards to engage in work) or a physical condition (which prevents one from engaging in work), they are not indicative of works being in opposition to faith.  They're both parts of the same thing and trying to understand the two as separate and distinct from each other is the problem here.   

Quote
2. Believers baptism, by immersion. No formula required.

This, however, is opposition to the Scriptural witness.  First, Christ Himself told the disciples to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Not doing so in that manner is tantamount to saying, "We don't have to do as Christ specifically told us to."  Second, as for believers' baptism, in the Acts of the Apostles, we see entire households baptized on the instructions of the head of household, children included.  This also doesn't square with the idea of a belivers' baptism.
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2007, 04:23:13 PM »

I'm only going to reply to a couple of these for the moment, but I might return later and address others.  Anyway, thanks for sharing this to spur discussion!

One of the problems that I think we run into with this idea of salvation by faith alone is that it's set up in opposition to a view that salvation is earned by works, which is definitely not the Orthodox view.  Works, however, are an outgrowth and result of faith, so where there are no works, there is probably little or no true faith.  True faith in Christ naturally leads us to engage in His work on earth.  While there are always exceptions, such as deathbed conversions (where there is no time afterwards to engage in work) or a physical condition (which prevents one from engaging in work), they are not indicative of works being in opposition to faith.  They're both parts of the same thing and trying to understand the two as separate and distinct from each other is the problem here.   


I agree with Veniamin. As one Ukrainian priest put it, "how do you know that what science says is true? You know it when you see its results. How do you know that faith is there? You know when it produces good works. Like science without any tangible results is not really science, faith without any good works is not really faith." Of course, by "good works" we mean not merely going to church and doing prostrations, but, first and foremost, repentance, "metanoia," re-thinking about everything in one's life.
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2007, 12:01:32 AM »

I agree with Veniamin. As one Ukrainian priest put it, "how do you know that what science says is true? You know it when you see its results. How do you know that faith is there? You know when it produces good works. Like science without any tangible results is not really science, faith without any good works is not really faith." Of course, by "good works" we mean not merely going to church and doing prostrations, but, first and foremost, repentance, "metanoia," re-thinking about everything in one's life.

Grace and Peace,

Doesn't God judge hearts? What need does God have with works? Isn't works for us? The Good Thief didn't have any works and yet he would be with our Lord in Paradise... I understand works 'establish' the presence of our faith but such an presence assumes a means to 'establish' that faith through works.
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2007, 12:11:12 AM »

The Good Thief didn't have any works
Oh yes he did.
He rebuked the other thief for mocking a suffering innocent, he publicly confessed Christ and prayed for his salvation. These three (rebuking, confessing and praying) are all "works" according to Orthodox Christianity.
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2007, 07:06:16 PM »

Before we begin this, may we please have a consensus that baptism is not the point of this thread and if it is to be discussed, should be done in a separate thread for that purpose?

What say ye?
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2007, 09:58:52 AM »

Sure, why not? I've done a search, and I can't find a thread specifically about believers' baptism, so feel free to start one.
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2007, 05:25:11 PM »

For most Protestants, justification = salvation and sanctification = growing in Christ (works, etc.). The reality is that they are not distinct from one another. Both are part of salvation...
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2007, 07:41:29 PM »

For most Protestants, justification = salvation and sanctification = growing in Christ (works, etc.). The reality is that they are not distinct from one another. Both are part of salvation...

They are part of salvation, but they are distinct.  However, most Protestants have gone one step further and have totally divorced sanctification from justification.  They are more concerned that God has all the responsibility for one's salvation that they tend to ignore one's growth in the spiritual life.  That is why such disciplines as fasting (even before the Eucharist), rules of prayer (even before the Eucharist), confession, etc. have pretty much been excised. 
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2007, 02:11:20 AM »

I am not sure of the correct technical way of expressing this but, in my personal (Catholic) opinion, salvation comes about through both faith and good works. Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven."
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2007, 02:40:45 AM »

This thread was split from the following discussion:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13812.0.html

--YtterbiumAnalyst


One of the problems that I think we run into with this idea of salvation by faith alone is that it's set up in opposition to a view that salvation is earned by works, which is definitely not the Orthodox view.  Works, however, are an outgrowth and result of faith, so where there are no works, there is probably little or no true faith.  True faith in Christ naturally leads us to engage in His work on earth.  While there are always exceptions, such as deathbed conversions (where there is no time afterwards to engage in work) or a physical condition (which prevents one from engaging in work), they are not indicative of works being in opposition to faith.  They're both parts of the same thing and trying to understand the two as separate and distinct from each other is the problem here.   

The highlighted section of your quote is almost EXACTLY what I believe. It confirms that salvation is by faith alone.
However, I would say that where there are no works there is no true faith. That kind of faith is dead faith, and dead faith is essentially no faith at all -- merely a form.

But it is important to draw the distinction that works do not save. Faith does. As you said, works are the outgrowth and result of faith. That assumes faith is the cause or source -- first. Works validate faith. But they do not provide it. One can do all the works and still not have faith and they are not saved. Works do not earn right standing with God. One can have mere intellectual assent or belief and not be saved. But if one has faith, real, living faith, works will produce accordingly. Therefore works do not save, they are an evidence of the faith that saves. It is still faith, and only faith, that saves.

And of course, only Christ can save. So saving faith must be placed in Christ the Savior. Wink

Only faith in Christ alone assures one of salvation -- by faith alone in Christ alone.
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2007, 02:42:49 AM »

Oh yes he did.
He rebuked the other thief for mocking a suffering innocent, he publicly confessed Christ and prayed for his salvation. These three (rebuking, confessing and praying) are all "works" according to Orthodox Christianity.

I agree. But the works were the product of His faith. The faith produced the works, and the faith saved. The same works, without faith, would not save because works do not earn right standing with God. Faith saves. Why? because Faith works (pun intended). laugh
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2007, 03:55:08 AM »

I could be wrong, but have we digressed into semantics here and are simply saying the same things?  I mean, I cannot simply do 'works' hoping to get into Paradise while at the same time NOT believing Christ's words.  But, on the other side of the coin, as it were, I cannot say 'I believe' and then do whatever I please.  It seems to me that one cannot have one without the other, which is what St. James seems to be saying, yes?
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2007, 04:00:45 AM »

I agree. But the works were the product of His faith. The faith produced the works, and the faith saved. The same works, without faith, would not save because works do not earn right standing with God. Faith saves. Why? because Faith works (pun intended). laugh

Cleopas,

So, if a=faith and b=works and c=salvation, you appear to be saying that a + b= c.
And a + 0 not equal to c, therefore, 1) works are needed for salvation and 2)
faith alone is not enough.

Then, we have Jesus saying

Matthew 7:21 "Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven."

not to mention

Rev 21:12b "Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life.  And the dead were judged according to their works"  (NKJV).

Can we agree that salvation by faith alone is false, at least under normal circumstances?  
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2007, 04:23:10 AM »

Cleopas,

So, if a=faith and b=works and c=salvation, you appear to be saying that a + b= c.
And a + 0 not equal to c, therefore, 1) works are needed for salvation and 2)
faith alone is not enough.

Actually, he's saying a=>b,a=>c;

so if we assume for the sake of a proof !b, we can logically conclude not a !a.

However, though a=>c we cannot conclude that !a=>!c, that would be logically incorrect.

!a=> that the statement a=>c is trivially correct.

So while no works would logically imply no faith, no faith does not logically imply no salvation; unless he changes his statement from an 'if' to an 'iff' statement. Wink

Of course, this may be the intent of saying salvation by 'faith alone', but this statement has long confused me; doesn't it logically imply that divine grace has absolutely no role in salvation, only faith? Isn't that pelagianism and, for all intents and purposes, tantamount to a doctrine of salvation by works alone? Grin
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2007, 04:35:29 AM »

Actually, he's saying a=>b,a=>c;

so if we assume for the sake of a proof !b, we can logically conclude not a !a.

However, though a=>c we cannot conclude that !a=>!c, that would be logically incorrect.

!a=> that the statement a=>c is trivially correct.

So while no works would logically imply no faith, no faith does not logically imply no salvation; unless he changes his statement from an 'if' to an 'iff' statement. Wink

Of course, this may be the intent of saying salvation by 'faith alone', but this statement has long confused me; doesn't it logically imply that divine grace has absolutely no role in salvation, only faith? Isn't that pelagianism and, for all intents and purposes, tantamount to a doctrine of salvation by works alone? Grin
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2007, 04:46:29 AM »

Actually, he's saying a=>b,a=>c;
Okay.

Quote
so if we assume for the sake of a proof !b, we can logically conclude not a !a.
Huh  Does the exclamation point mean not?  If so, how can a be !a  Huh

Quote
However, though a=>c we cannot conclude that !a=>!c, that would be logically incorrect.

!a=> that the statement a=>c is trivially correct.

You lost me with that last statement.  Please explain (I find logic interesting).

Quote
So while no works would logically imply no faith, no faith does not logically imply no salvation; unless he changes his statement from an 'if' to an 'iff' statement. Wink

What's an 'iff' statement?

Quote
Of course, this may be the intent of saying salvation by 'faith alone', but this statement has long confused me; doesn't it logically imply that divine grace has absolutely no role in salvation, only faith?
Excellent point.  How are sola fide and sola gratia compatable?

I know I brought it up Embarrassed, but I don't believe in any formula for salvation.

How does this fit into the mix?

Matthew 19: 25b, 26:  [His disciples said,] "Who then can be saved?"  Jesus looked at them
and said to them, "With men, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (NKJV).

 
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2007, 04:48:13 AM »

Actually, he's saying a=>b,a=>c;

so if we assume for the sake of a proof !b, we can logically conclude not a !a.

However, though a=>c we cannot conclude that !a=>!c, that would be logically incorrect.

!a=> that the statement a=>c is trivially correct.

So while no works would logically imply no faith, no faith does not logically imply no salvation; unless he changes his statement from an 'if' to an 'iff' statement. Wink

Of course, this may be the intent of saying salvation by 'faith alone', but this statement has long confused me; doesn't it logically imply that divine grace has absolutely no role in salvation, only faith? Isn't that pelagianism and, for all intents and purposes, tantamount to a doctrine of salvation by works alone? Grin


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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2007, 04:51:01 AM »

Carefull, GiC's a master logician; sounds like 'magician' except there's no rabits or magic tricks.  Only the the feeling that you've been cut by Occam's Razor. Wink
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2007, 05:02:26 AM »

I could be wrong, but have we digressed into semantics here and are simply saying the same things?

It does seem like semantics, at least on the surface, doesn't it?

Quote
I mean, I cannot simply do 'works' hoping to get into Paradise while at the same time NOT believing Christ's words.

Yes. But then one cannot do works while at the same time believing in Christ in the hopes of entering Paradise either. Work's do not provide the means to enter paradise. Faith does. Work's are the product of faith. They are not in addition to faith. At least not in any saving sense. It is not of work's lest man should boast. It is of grace. All man can do is have faith in the work of Christ. By grace (on God's part) are we saved through faith (that's our part). Those who are thus saved consequently produce the fruit or works of saving faith.

Quote
But, on the other side of the coin, as it were, I cannot say 'I believe' and then do whatever I please.  It seems to me that one cannot have one without the other, which is what St. James seems to be saying, yes?

Agreed. Just as one cannot work their way into Paradise. One cannot merely believe, mentally assent, as do the devils, and be ushered into Paradise. One must trust in Christ. If one really and truly trusts in the work of Christ then he will act on that trust accordingly ... thus trust produces action. That is faith produces works. Abraham believed God, he more than had a head knowledge, he placed his trust in God, and therefore he offered his only Son of promise to God. His work was the evidence of his faith. It flowed from his faith.

If I say I trust my father to and he says he'll pick me up at a certain time and take me to dinner then I will be ready and waiting for him at that time. If I find another way to ensure I get where I want to go then I do not trust my father.  Crude example, but I hope clear enough to clarify my intent. It's the same with salvation. If I trust in Christ for salvation I will respond or produce evidence of that trust -- works.

It is not faith plus works. It is faith that works. Any other kind of works is an attempt to earn, and does not save. Any other kind of faith is not saving faith.
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2007, 06:56:55 AM »

It does seem like semantics, at least on the surface, doesn't it?


Due respect, Cleopas, it does.

Quote
It is not faith plus works. It is faith that works.

If you insist on faith alone, it should logically be just that.  What if you have faith that doesn't work?  The fact that you qualify faith in the second sentence above makes faith, well, qualified, thus, not alone.

Plus, as I showed above there are Scriptures that say faith is not alone-- it needs works to be alive.
Your defense of faith alone is not from the entirety of Scripture alone; it is a Protestant tradition.

Respectfully submitted.

 
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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2007, 07:09:56 AM »

Due respect, Cleopas, it does.

If you insist on faith alone, it should logically be just that.  What if you have faith that doesn't work?  The fact that you qualify faith in the second sentence above makes faith, well, qualified, thus, not alone.

Plus, as I showed above there are Scriptures that say faith is not alone-- it needs works to be alive.
Your defense of faith alone is not from the entirety of Scripture alone; it is a Protestant tradition.

Respectfully submitted.

 

Faith that doesn't work is no faith at all. Isn't that Jame's point?

To me saving faith is not faith plus works, it is faith that works. To put it in country boy vernacular (I am from Alabama, after all) works are the fruit of faith, not the fertilizer of faith.
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2007, 07:45:29 AM »

Here is a snippet or two from a wikipedia article that expresses my view of "faith alone" quite well I think:

Quote
The doctrine of sola fide or "faith alone" asserts that it solely is on the basis of God's grace through the believer's faith alone that believers are forgiven their transgressions of the Law of God

&

Quote
Protestants have historically summarized their view with the formula: "Justification is by faith alone, but not by the faith that is alone [that is, not by a supposed faith that has no accompanying works].

So again, it's not a denial of work's as a part of the Christian life and experience. It's a reflection on the premise for forgiveness of sins. If I could work off my sins I would not need Christ. If I believed I could I would insult the work of Christ that provided salvation to whosoever will. We are reconciled to fellowship with God not by our works, but by faith in Christ's work.

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« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2007, 08:01:02 AM »

Martin Luther added to the Holy Bible in German (in Galatians if I recall rightly) when he found no verse to justify salvation by faith alone. The only time the Latin words he looked for occur in the Holy Bible are in this verse...

Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (St. James 2:24)

Notice how clearly the word "not" appears beforehand.

If you have faith that works then that is working faith which is faith at work otherwise called faith and works.

For 1500 years no Christian taught that faith alone can save a soul. How then can this be a part of the Faith which was once delivered to the saints?

Acts 2:38 says baptism remits sin and St. John Chysostom mentioned that this is not all that it does but it has at least ten virtues wherefore we baptise children also just as St. Peter commanded in Acts 2:39.

Peace be with you Cleopas, so you know I'm a former Seventh Day Baptist who converted to the Coptic Orthodox Church. (If you know anything about SDBs you should already know that they know the Holy Bible more thoroughly than most Protestants.) I haven't time to discuss a lot right now sorry as it's almost 10pm here in Queensland, Australia but it seems as though if you have a humble heart and are willing to learn from The Church built upon Christ by the Apostles to which the Faith was once delivered that you should soon be on the path to Orthodox Christianity. Pray for me please.
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« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2007, 08:26:42 AM »

Cleopas, you can have the last word on this one.

Firstly, there is much we agree on.  Works don't earn us to heaven.  Faith is needed.

But you insist, as do many Protestants, that it is by faith aloneand claim that
there is more than a semantic difference.  I say your position is not based on logic or
semantics, but a Protestant tradition (sole fide).

Faith that doesn't work is no faith at all. Isn't that Jame's point?

Yes, but you claim "Salvation, on the earthly side, is by faith alone in Christ alone. Not by works."
You separate faith from works here, but James links them.  If works are a component of faith as
you seem to say in the quote box, then without works there would be no faith.  An analogy, if you take the
peanut butter (works) out of a Reese's (faith), it no longer is a Reese's (faith).  
We would not say a Reese's (faith) contains no peanut butter (works).  So, works are
a part of faith, not separate from it.

Quote
To me saving faith is not faith plus works, it is faith that works.

Firstly, there is the problem (mentioned above) that faith is qualified here (by that works) and logically, fails to be faith alone.  Secondly, you create a semantic difference here by changing an objective noun (works) to a verb (work).  This begs the questions what object does the verb "works" take?   Matthew 25 (sheeps and goats parable) gives some suggestions: feeding, clothing, companionship.  These are all works.  So, faith works works, right?  

Quote
To put it in country boy vernacular (I am from Alabama, after all) works are the fruit of faith, not the fertilizer of faith.

This is similar to the Catholic (simplified) version of salvation that we are saved by works, but they are useless, if those works are not rooted in faith.  But this is not faith alone.

Thanks for engaging me.  You can have the last word.
    
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« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2007, 08:44:05 AM »

I'll go one further in an analogy that a five year old can understand.

A man/woman comes to faith in Christ.

Prior to this point he/she was a petty thief.

After coming to faith he/she stops stealing and maybe even makes restitution for past thefts which may or may not include fines or jail time (works)

He she remains after her faith coming in Christ a solid moral citizen (works), despite any temptations to steal again.

It's that simple.
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« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2007, 09:41:42 AM »

I think I agree, to an extent, that the "right formula" is not "faith plus works," but "faith that works."

However, from what I read and herd from Orthodox clergy, I understand that the Orthodox theology rejects the concept of "monergism" - that is, the Orthodox Church does not teach that once God touched you with His grace and you believed, you will *inevitably* be saved by your works-producing faith.

God sheds His grace on all humans, and works in all of us. But He does not force anything on anyone. If a person chooses to not respond to God's call by a continuous strenuous spiritual work, this person can and often does fall from faith, and becomes lost.
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« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2007, 10:05:44 AM »

Faith that doesn't work is no faith at all. Isn't that Jame's point?

To me saving faith is not faith plus works, it is faith that works. To put it in country boy vernacular (I am from Alabama, after all) works are the fruit of faith, not the fertilizer of faith.

Grace and Peace Cleopas,

This is what the consensual teachings of the Church hold. This is what is called Justification and it's clear that the Early Church Fathers understood it very well (See my thread on "What is Justification").

Orthodoxy stresses Theosis (Sanctification) as a necessary and worthy companion to Justification. You'll find, I believe as I have, that the Early Church didn't actually make such a distinction between Justification and Sanctification. The two should be viewed as a 'whole' in a holistic and healing Faith. It is a preoccupation of Protestantism due to the fact that they struggled after the Reformation to establish a means of understanding Justification under the influence of the Reformation Fathers who exercised a novel forensic style of exegesis with regard for the Scriptures alone.

Ultimately I believe with proper emphasis one can reach consensus with both but one must turn and weigh properly the consensual teachings of the Church throughout history and not just focus on the Post-Reformation tradition of the Protestants.

Peace and God Bless You!
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« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2007, 10:06:57 AM »

Heorhij:

I agree, I was not trying to imply that your works save you. They are a resutl of your faith in Christ. I cannot believe that if you continued to steal after coming to faith in Christ that you would be progressing in your theosis.
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« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2007, 10:07:55 AM »

Amen Ignatius
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« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2007, 10:39:45 AM »

Even some Protestants agree that faith needs works:

"Screen Door" by Rich Mullins

It's about as useless as
A screen door on a submarine
Faith without works baby
It just ain't happenin'
One is your left hand
One is your right
It'll take two strong arms
To hold on tight
Some folks cut off their nose
Just to spite their face
I think you need some works to show
For your alleged faith

Well there's a difference you know
B'tween having faith and playing make believe
One will make you grow
The other one just make you sleep
Talk about it
But I really think you oughtta
Take a leap off of the ship
Before you claim to walk on water
Faith without works is like a song you can't sing
It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine

Faith comes from God
And every word that He breathes
He lets you take it to your heart
So you can give it hands and feet
It's gotta be active if it's gonna be alive
You gotta put it into practice
Otherwise....

It's about as useless as a screen door
On a submarine
Faith without works, baby
It just ain't happenin'
One is your right hand, one is your left
It's your light, your guide
Your life and your breath

Faith without works is like a song you can't sing
It's about as useless as a screen door
On a submarine
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« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2007, 01:10:33 PM »

well then, perhaps (at least it appears that way) we are only arguing semantics.

I'm not sure about the Orthodox, but as an example, if I sin and repent o that sin towards God, it is my faith IN Christ's work that allows me to receive the pardon of God's grace. I do not have to add 50 Hail Mary's or lash myself (read as works) in order to be forgiven. However, repentance requires not only that I merely admit my sins, but that I turn from them to follow Christ.

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« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2007, 01:11:59 PM »

I think I agree, to an extent, that the "right formula" is not "faith plus works," but "faith that works."

However, from what I read and herd from Orthodox clergy, I understand that the Orthodox theology rejects the concept of "monergism" - that is, the Orthodox Church does not teach that once God touched you with His grace and you believed, you will *inevitably* be saved by your works-producing faith.

God sheds His grace on all humans, and works in all of us. But He does not force anything on anyone. If a person chooses to not respond to God's call by a continuous strenuous spiritual work, this person can and often does fall from faith, and becomes lost.

I do not believe in "Once Saved Always Saved" either. Wink
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« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2007, 01:22:28 PM »

well then, perhaps (at least it appears that way) we are only arguing semantics.

I'm not sure about the Orthodox, but as an example, if I sin and repent o that sin towards God, it is my faith IN Christ's work that allows me to receive the pardon of God's grace. I do not have to add 50 Hail Mary's or lash myself (read as works) in order to be forgiven. However, repentance requires not only that I merely admit my sins, but that I turn from them to follow Christ.

Grace and Peace Cleopas,

I would say that it is 'grace' that powers our capacity to turn from sin not to receive forgiveness although if you are looking at God's Grace as 'favor or more to the point' His Mercy toward us maybe I might agree.

With regards to penance, self-mortification doesn't appear to me to be apart, as such is more to be viewed as pre-emptive disciplinary practices and not punishment for sin. Our Lord said "better to enter heaven without one's hand than to enter hell with it"...  (I'm paraphrasing here) but such forms the foundation of our pre-emptive mortification practices.

How do you view our Lord's words in these passages? How do they inform your faith?
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« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2007, 02:16:14 PM »

Quote
I do not believe in "Once Saved Always Saved" either]

Cleopas:

Are you sure you are not considering Orthodox Christianity?  Smiley
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« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2007, 04:52:11 PM »

Cleopas,

I know several people on this board have been recommending various church fathers for you to read.  I don't know if this particular title has come up yet, but if you can find it (I believe it is in volume 1 of  the Philokalia translated by Bishop +KALLISTOS), it is by St. Mark the Monk and the work is (I think) On those who think they are made righteous by works.  Try reading it and see how much of that blends with your own beliefs as you have them now. 
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« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2007, 05:51:59 PM »

Yes. But then one cannot do works while at the same time believing in Christ in the hopes of entering Paradise either.

You might be interested in reading The Ascetic Ideal and the New Testament by Fr. George Florovsky.  In it Father George outlines the traditional (and, we would say, biblical as well as patristic) understanding that one most certainly CAN--and, indeed, must!--"do works while at the same time believing in Christ in the hopes of entering Paradise."  In doing so, we don't presume to add anything to what Christ has done for us; indeed, "no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11).  Yet, as unique a foundation as Christ is, His work on Calvary, in Hades, and in the Heavenlies at the right hand of the Father should be seen as what it is: a foundation, rather than the whole edifice of our salvation.  Has Christ, then, in His first Advent, revealed Himself to us in the form of a servant, taking on our weak and corrupt human nature and deifying it, thus laying hold of us in a foundational way that all hell can never shake?  Certainly; yet we would do well to heed the words of St. Paul, who, though he was a great warrior for Christ, spoke thus: "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me."

How has Christ laid hold of us?  Through His Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension.  He has laid hold of all humanity.  Yet it is up to us individually--yet not only individually but also as a community of individuals, the Church as a whole--to press on, though we be imperfect, that we may lay hold of the very reality which Christ had laid out for us: the foundation that is His shed blood and broken body...which is joined to ours through a life lived out in faith. 

I suspect you would be in agreement with some or much of what I've written.  As for whether or not faith precedes, follows, or accompanies works (or more than one, or all of these...we would say this latter), we would say that trying to separate the two and distinguish one from the other would destroy both.  A man cannot be saved without faith, but neither will he be saved without works, for they are working as one, dynamic whole...much as our Lord worked and works simultaneously as both God and Man in the one Person that is Christ.  To try and separate the divine Logos from the flesh He took from the Virgin is to cease to have Christ--you will have a corpse, or an ephemeral being, but no Incarnation, and no salvation.  So, too, is the situation when one either has human works with no spiritual faith (a dead corpse) or faith with no works (an abstraction that cannot, ultimately, save).  A man, though he have faith, must (I assume you, as an Armenian, would agree to this) choose continually to act on that faith, exercising faith throughout the act.  IOW, a man cannot know for sure whether his faith is saving him until the deed is done.  And if a man fall short, he must needs examine himself, for perhaps his faith is lacking and his salvation incomplete.  This is what our fasting and asceticism is here for, btw.

One last thing and I'm done: Say St. Peter's in the boat during the storm.  He sees the Lord coming to Him and tells Him to tell him to come out of the boat.  Our Lord says, "Come," and St. Peter remains in the boat.  Is he saved at that point?  Or does he have to act on that faith?  Of course, St. Peter is not fully saved until he acts; in this sense, St. James is right in saying that our works perfect our faith (2:22)--that the faith in our hearts is lacking until we do something with it.  Then it is brought to its fullness.  Likewise, if St. Peter were to leave the boat and stride confidently across the waves, never doubting for a moment, never failing in his necessary obligation to put one foot in front of the other (never personally sinning, in other words), would this take away from his faith, or from the glory of God in this matter?  Of course not; St. Peter had faith that was perfected through his works--in the biblical account, his imperfect works, but his works nonetheless--and thus are we all saved.

Even some Protestants agree that faith needs works:

"Screen Door" by Rich Mullins

Gotta love that Rich.  Memory eternal.   Undecided
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« Reply #36 on: December 12, 2007, 03:29:23 AM »

Even some Protestants agree that faith needs works:

"Screen Door" by Rich Mullins

It's about as useless as
A screen door on a submarine
Faith without works baby
It just ain't happenin'
One is your left hand
One is your right
It'll take two strong arms
To hold on tight
Some folks cut off their nose
Just to spite their face
I think you need some works to show
For your alleged faith

Well there's a difference you know
B'tween having faith and playing make believe
One will make you grow
The other one just make you sleep
Talk about it
But I really think you oughtta
Take a leap off of the ship
Before you claim to walk on water
Faith without works is like a song you can't sing
It's about as useless as a screen door on a submarine

Faith comes from God
And every word that He breathes
He lets you take it to your heart
So you can give it hands and feet
It's gotta be active if it's gonna be alive
You gotta put it into practice
Otherwise....

It's about as useless as a screen door
On a submarine
Faith without works, baby
It just ain't happenin'
One is your right hand, one is your left
It's your light, your guide
Your life and your breath

Faith without works is like a song you can't sing
It's about as useless as a screen door
On a submarine

It is very sad what happened to him...Cry
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« Reply #37 on: December 12, 2007, 03:30:58 AM »

Cleopas,

I know several people on this board have been recommending various church fathers for you to read.  I don't know if this particular title has come up yet, but if you can find it (I believe it is in volume 1 of  the Philokalia translated by Bishop +KALLISTOS), it is by St. Mark the Monk and the work is (I think) On those who think they are made righteous by works.  Try reading it and see how much of that blends with your own beliefs as you have them now. 

Yes, I was just thinking about St. Mark's writing on Righteousness and Works...Highly recommended! Smiley
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« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2007, 03:52:05 AM »

Huh  Does the exclamation point mean not?  If so, how can a be !a  Huh

Yes, it means not, the other a you see was merely an indefinite article. Assuming you would pronounce '!a' as 'not a' I used the 'a' form of said article rather than the 'an' which would be associate with the letter 'a' used as a noun.

Quote
You lost me with that last statement.  Please explain (I find logic interesting).

Logicially, given x=>y you can conclude !y->!x (since x must be true if y is, assuming y is not true we must conclude that x is not as well), but we cannot conclude !x=>!y. For example, if we say that all people have brains, if something does not have a brain we can conclude that it is not a person; however, if something is not human, we cannot conclude from that statement that it does not have a brain.

Quote
What's an 'iff' statement?

Mathematical shorthand for 'if and only if', as opposed to a simple 'if' statement; basically it means it goes both ways: x iff y means that x=>y AND y=>x.
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« Reply #39 on: December 12, 2007, 03:55:39 AM »


PLEASE!!! no Algebra.  Shocked  I had enough of that in class tonight. Tongue

Fine, let a={faith} and b={works} and c={salvation} and deal with it as though it were set theory; that should simplify things for those who are (for some strange reason) adverse to algebra. Wink
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« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2007, 04:33:50 AM »

Logicially, given x=>y you can conclude !y->!x (since x must be true if y is, assuming y is not true we must conclude that x is not as well), but we cannot conclude !x=>!y.
I think you mean here:
Logicially, given x=>y you can conclude !y->!x (since y must be true if x is, assuming y is not true we must conclude that x is not as well), but we cannot conclude !x=>!y.
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« Reply #41 on: May 02, 2013, 03:29:43 AM »

This thread was split from the following discussion:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13812.0.html

--YtterbiumAnalyst


I'm only going to reply to a couple of these for the moment, but I might return later and address others.  Anyway, thanks for sharing this to spur discussion!

1. Salvation is, on the human side, by faith alone in Christ alone. Not by works.

One of the problems that I think we run into with this idea of salvation by faith alone is that it's set up in opposition to a view that salvation is earned by works, which is definitely not the Orthodox view.

but this doesn't tell us what the Orthodox "view" is!. Scripture sets faith in opposition to works strictly in relationship to salvation. In relation to salvation it doesn't give us any other option. Either salvation is by works or by faith. It never saysthat works are not commendable just that you won't obtain salvation through them. It also tells us that works of quality will be as a result of faith - here:

Romans 14:23
But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.
Romans 14:22-23 (in Context)


This is why you will not obtain salvation through the rite of baptism.

Quote
Works, however, are an outgrowth and result of faith, so where there are no works, there is probably little or no true faith.  True faith in Christ naturally leads us to engage in His work on earth.  While there are always exceptions, such as deathbed conversions (where there is no time afterwards to engage in work) or a physical condition (which prevents one from engaging in work), they are not indicative of works being in opposition to faith.  They're both parts of the same thing and trying to understand the two as separate and distinct from each other is the problem here. 

well, the problem here is that you have already strayed from your subject, which was, 'is faith alone the prerequisite for salvation'?
The Bible tells you they are not opposed but only one will lead to salvation and that same one is necessary for the other. Catholics, and for all I know Orthodox, will tell you that 'faith' is obtained through 'works' ie. participation in the sacraments. This is in direct opposition to the Bible, which tells you that, "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word".

Quote
2. Believers baptism, by immersion. No formula required.

Quote
This, however, is opposition to the Scriptural witness.  First, Christ Himself told the disciples to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 

set up a strawman and burn him! What do you mean by "formula"? If by it you mean that Christ was commanding the use of a form of words which convey some mystical benefit, such a suggestion can only arise from a profound misunderstanding of the nature of baptism. Baptism is a witness of one's faith to the external world. This is why it is meaningless for babies. The use of these words witnesses to the external world that we recognise the divinity of Christ; that Christ has, "come in the flesh" and that we publicly place our lives under the lordship of the Trinity. Thus it is a statement of faith, not a response to law.

Quote
Not doing so in that manner is tantamount to saying, "We don't have to do as Christ specifically told us to." 

you don't say what you mean by, "we don't have to". No, I confirm that no-one will go to hell for not pronouncing these words. There are many thing we do, not because we are bound by law but because we are constrained by love.
 
Quote
Second, as for believers' baptism, in the Acts of the Apostles, we see entire households baptized on the instructions of the head of household, children included.  This also doesn't square with the idea of a belivers' baptism.
you don't say why not. I believe in child baptism. Wherever a child is old enough to have made a personal commitment of his or her life to Christ and this is his or her profession, then no-one should attempt to prevent it. A "head of household" who "instructs" a child to be baptised is acting ultra vires. He has no authority to so instruct. Such a 'baptism' is meaningless in the eyes of God.
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« Reply #42 on: May 02, 2013, 03:31:34 AM »

This thread is from 2007. Many of the people who posted in this thread don't even post here anymore. Why not make a new thread?
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« Reply #43 on: May 02, 2013, 03:41:20 AM »

Yet, as unique a foundation as Christ is, His work on Calvary, in Hades, and in the Heavenlies at the right hand of the Father should be seen as what it is: a foundation, rather than the whole edifice of our salvation.

you entirely fail to see the irony of this. You fail to see the the infinite salvific value of Calvary. You teach that Christ is the foundation but not the edifice, but when you teach that 'the Church is the foundation and pillar of the truth', you teach it as the whole deal. This is idolatry. God says, "I will share my glory with no man".
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« Reply #44 on: May 02, 2013, 03:44:09 AM »

Yet, as unique a foundation as Christ is, His work on Calvary, in Hades, and in the Heavenlies at the right hand of the Father should be seen as what it is: a foundation, rather than the whole edifice of our salvation.

you entirely fail to see the irony of this. You fail to see the the infinite salvific value of Calvary. You teach that Christ is the foundation but not the edifice, but when you teach that 'the Church is the foundation and pillar of the truth', you teach it as the whole deal. This is idolatry. God says, "I will share my glory with no man".

You fail to see the irony that you're posting in a dead thread.
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