Saturday, February 06, 2016

The Fatal Flaws in Sola Fide

The fatal flaw of sola fide can be found in the ONLY verse in the Bible which uses the words "faith" and "alone" (sola fide) together.  That verse is James 2:24:
You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (NASB)
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (KJV)
Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?  (DRB)
You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.  (NIV)
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  (NABRE)
NO other verse uses these words together!  The ONLY place they are used together is in absolute denial of sola fide!  

Now according to the interpretation of Bradley Cochran (another blogger), even Luther's teaching on sola fide is NOT what most Protestants adhere to today. 
Luther’s notion of justifying righteousness is faith itself because faith satisfies the law.  Luther’s notion of justifying righteousness, then, was not Christ’s active and passive obedience, as in much of the Reformed versions of the doctrine of imputation.  
Furthermore, Luther’s fundamental understanding of justification is one of being “made righteous” by God’s granting of faith precisely because faith is transformational to the core of our hearts.  Luther’s understanding of “none are righteous,” is this: None are righteous apart from the heart transplant of faith, but with that transforming grace, people can be made righteous.  Luther’s understanding of “the works of the law” (pejoratively referred to today as works righteousness) is this: The works of the law are works done without transforming grace.  Good works, on the other hand, for Luther, are those done by the power of grace worked in the heart.
In other words, it is not faith alone, sola fide, which justifies - but the God given gift of faith which allows men to perform works which God sees as pleasing, or justifying.  Is the WORKS which justify, faith is the enabler to make the WORKS acceptable.  I'm not sure Cochran intended that, but that IS the logical conclusion to his argument - and that IS what Scripture tells us in James 2:24.

That being said, many Protestant sites make the claim that Luther said of sola fide, "it is the article by which the church stands; without which, it fails."  However, in doing a lot of searching for Luther actually making this statement, I've come up empty.  James Swan of BeggarsAllReformation blog also lists this among the "6 Quotes That Luther Didn't Actually Say." (Though Swan's "quote" does not mention sola fide explicitly, rather "justification" being the article by which the church stands or fails).  Did Luther himself say this?  For me, the jury is still out.  It is undeniable that many, perhaps even most Protestant apologists not only believe Luther did say it, they believe it - that their version of "church" falls if this article of sola fide falls.

In another article by Swan, from 2006, he defends Luther's use of the word "alone" in Romans 3:28.  The word "alone" does not appear in the original Greek OR Latin of this verse, it is an addition.  In Swan's article he dances around the fact, doesn't deny it - and then offers rationalization (some from Luther himself) for the reason Luther inserted the word into Scripture.  But oh, the irony!  Often when Protestant apologists are challenged with a scriptural view, they INSIST upon what was recorded in the original texts and reject ANY additions from later interpretations.  So why does Luther get a pass on this?  Why does someone like Swan support the rationalizations of Luther, and others, who argue for this addition to the text?  I submit he must do so.  If they do not defend Luther's defection from authentic scriptural text then they would be forced to admit Luther's Catholic critics were correct.  Luther SHOULD have accepted correction and not altered Scripture, but instead he entrenched himself in the error and used sarcasm as his defense.  

I'm sure Swan would be quick to point out that Luther himself pointed to other, respected, Catholics who used "alone" in reference to Romans 3:28.  The difference being, they were COMMENTING on the passage, not TRANSLATING it.  They were also contrasting "works of the law" not "works in general."  Works done in the state of grace, that is WITH faith, do indeed justify - as St. James so clearly points out and so explicitly states that faith is NOT ALONE in the matter of justification.  Even if we were to accept that "others made the same error" - why does this excuse the error?  It's still an error and still not appropriate to add interpretive words to a TRANSLATION of Scripture.  Now, if you want to call it Luther's PARAPHRASE of Scripture, fine - but let's not call it a TRANSLATION!  The fact is that MIS-translation of Romans 3:28 becomes quite foundational for the invented and anti-scriptural concept of sola fide. 
Whether or not Luther made the claim of the article of sola fide being that upon which his church, and the so-call Reformation, stands or falls - many DO put their "faith" in that article and that stance and the fact is - sola fide does not stand on its own.  Scripture does not support it and again, in the ONLY place where those two words are used together in Scripture (James 2:24) it is an explicit DENIAL of sola fide!  Come home to the Catholic Church.

Scott Windsor<<<

For more reading and related to this topic, let me recommend the following from another blogger and fellow convert:  Your Bible Probably Has a Mistranslation In It.
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