Faith Alone?

Vic Biorseth, Thursday, November 25, 2010
http://www.Thinking-Catholic-Strategic-Center.com

With Faith Alone, Martin Luther showed himself to be an illogical man, a poor theologian and a quite belligerent character. The uniquely Protestant dogmas of Sola Scriptura (defining the sole authority of Scripture,) and Sola Fide (defining justification by faith alone,) were invented out of thin air by Martin Luther in his break with the Church. (We discussed Sola Scriptura in the Sole Authority? page.) Luther’s heretical dogma of Sola Fide puts all of Protestantism at odds with Catholicism, and with Greek and Eastern Orthodoxy. It represented a radical rupture in the traditional catechesis of justification.

So what did he base Faith Alone on?

Well, primarily, from Romans and from Ephesians; specifically:

[28] For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.
–Rom.3:28

[8] For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- [9] not because of works, lest any man should boast.
– Eph. 2:8-9

Luther took a literal interpretation of these verses, to the exclusion of all the rest of what Scripture had to say about justification and salvation, which is considerable. To this narrow and limiting interpretation he added the false charge that the Church taught that man could “work his way into Heaven” through good deeds, apart from the grace of God. Of course, the Church never taught any such thing.

What the Church teaches is that man is justified not by faith alone, and not by works alone, but by grace. By the grace of God. This grace is merited by the blood of Christ, Who offered Himself on the cross as a living, holy and pleasing sacrifice to God, offered in atonement for the sins of all men. He had “emptied Himself of Godliness” to live as a mere man and show us the Way, and to accomplish one final bloody sacrifice for the justification of all men.

The grace by which we are justified is unmerited, not deserved, not owed, and there is not a thing in the world anyone can do to earn it, deserve it or otherwise obtain it. It is given out of charity, which is to say, perfect love, which is a definition of the love of God. It is just given, freely, to us all.

The grace God gives us must be accepted; it can be rejected. It is given to all, but not accepted by all. The grace one is given must be cooperated with to remain grace. It is possible, indeed, it is easy, to fall from grace.

But Luther insisted that man is saved by faith alone, and he strongly emphasized the word alone. This was clearly a new teaching, at odds with all that had gone before. In fact, Scripture clearly refutes it. Martin Luther even went so far as to try to modify Scripture to back up his new dogma. In the Catholic Prayer page we talked about how Luther plagiarized the pre-existing German language Bible known as the Codex Teplensis to create his “new” Bible, which he pretended to be the first vernacular Bible. In Luther’s Bible, he added the word “alone” into Romans 3:28, so that he could claim Scriptural authority for his new Faith Alone dogma, crediting his inserted word to St. Paul.

But he didn’t get away with it; at least not with Catholics. When challenged, he planted his feet and became even more belligerent. Here is what he wrote to Wenceslaus Link in a tract titled Sendbrieff Dolmetzschen concerning St. Paul’s words as recorded in the Latin and Greek texts:

“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: ‘Papists 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 jack-asses 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.”
Unabridged Christianity, Fr. Mario Romero, Queenship Publishing; Page 52.

So that’s where it all began.

Taken in full context, what St. Paul was talking about in Rom. 3:28 in “works of the law” was how salvation was available to Jews and Gentiles alike, despite not all being circumcised, and not all following dietary and other restrictive laws from the Torah. Thus, “faith apart from works of the law” was still salvific. Martin Luther wasn’t smart enough to recognize that. That he would even go so far as to modify a Scripture verse to create false evidence for his argument shows that he didn’t even believe in his own Scripture Alone dogma, which holds that Scripture is the sole authority for proper teaching of Christianity. Rather than Scripture Alone or Faith Alone, what we are looking at here is Luther Alone.

In the New Testament original texts, the only place that the word “alone” appears in connection with the word “faith” is in James 2:24: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” Which puts the lie to Luther’s Faith Alone dogma, because it expressly says that a man is not justified by faith alone. Of course, it doesn’t say that a man is justified by works alone either. This verse troubled Luther greatly; in fact, he moved James from his (Luther’s) cannon of approved New Testament books, along with some others, and placed it at the end of his New Testament in a separate inferior section after “the true and certain capital books of the New Testament.” James, Jude, Hebrews and The Apocalypse he precluded from his New Testament canon. Embarrassed Lutherans would later quietly put these Epistles and Apocalypse back into the New Testament. –The Facts About Luther, Msgr. Patrick O’Hare, LL.D., TAN; Pages 202-203.

Because of his cavalier treatment of both Old and New Testament books, I submit the argument that Martin Luther could not possibly have believed that any Scripture he was reading or holding in his own hands was in any way inspired by God. We saw in the Catholic Prayer page how he had already dropped multiple books from the Old Testament canon. That little exercise worked, at least for Protestantism, as you can see in the current canon of any Protestant Bible, all of which are seven books light.

Luther also preached, loudly and falsely, that the Church taught that sinners could buy their way into Heaven, and that they could buy the release of souls from Purgatory, with Indulgences. It was in his own fiery rhetoric that lines such as:

”As soon as the coin clinks into the box, another soul flies to Heaven!”

… were his own words – words which Luther put in the mouths of preachers raising money for the rebuilding of the Cathedral of St. Peter. While it was true that there were excesses in the effort and some who were assigned the task of going Church to Church to raise funds crossed the line between legitimate application of the doctrine of Indulgences and the sin of Simony, again, the Church never taught any such thing.

Indulgences, or indulgence doctrine, merely provided a tool of convenience, a straw villain, of use to Luther in promoting his new Faith Alone doctrine. What he wanted was for people to listen to him rather than to the Pope; of course, many did just that. God had granted the Church the power to bind and to loose, saying whatever they bound on earth would be bound in Heaven, and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in Heaven. Luther knew that full well. This is the power to make ecclesial law and doctrine, and it is authority granted exclusively to the sole Church our Lord established. Just as the Church has authority to absolve sin, it has authority to reduce final punishment due for sin through indulgences granted for good reason, usually acts of piety, penance, charity and special or extra devotions; always something above and beyond what justification demands.

“Faith Alone” is a bogus doctrine. Faith is required, for sure. But go and read what James said about faith without works. You cannot get to Heaven on works alone, but neither can you get there on faith alone. For a more substantial treatment on the subject, see the Are You Saved? argument.

In America, this happens to be Thanksgiving Day, a special national holiday set aside to give thanks to God for our many, many blessings. It is a day for counting blessings, recognizing them, and giving thanks for them. As you sit at table today, do not forget the most important blessing of all, which is,

the grace by which you are justified.

It is exactly that – a blessing from God. None of us deserve it; there is nothing we can do to earn it or become worthy of it; yet we all have it. It is by far the greatest blessing you will ever have.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is great; His mercy is never ending.



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Web-Page Comments and
Updates


Date: Mon Mar 12 01:07:47 2012
From: Beverly
Email: bmurf2000@yahoo.com
Location: San Diego
Comment:

I noticed that there were no scriptural references for the following portion of this article. I desire to understand more about Catholicism. Will you pleases refer me to the scriptures used to base your belief of the following.

"God had granted the Church the power to bind and to loose, saying whatever they bound on earth would be bound in Heaven, and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in Heaven. Luther knew that full well. This is the power to make ecclesial law and doctrine, and it is authority granted exclusively to the sole Church our Lord established. Just as the Church has authority to absolve sin, it has authority to reduce final punishment due for sin through indulgences granted for good reason, usually acts of piety, penance, charity and special or extra devotions; always something above and beyond what justification demands."

Thank you Bev-


Date: Mon Mar 12 05:39:59 2012
From: Vic Biorseth
Comment:

Beverly:

Here are the quotes:

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
– Matt 18:18

And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
– Matt 16:17-19

In Matt 18 our Lord was speaking to the Twelve. In Matt 16, our Lord was speaking to Peter alone. Here’s what I said about it in the Infallibility page:

In Matthew, our Lord gave the Apostles the power to bind and to loose, in Heaven and on Earth, which represents an awesome power to be granted. The same power to bind and to loose He gave individually to Peter, and to Peter alone He gave the power of the Keys.

In New Testament era Hebrew culture, to give someone the “keys” was to make him the chief steward of the household and to impart to him full authority to act in the absence of the master. This was a very big deal. Chief Stewards of major households wore the Keys (or emblems of them) attached to a sash worn over their shoulder as a badge of office. And in this same Scripture we see that Christ’s Church, founded upon Peter, will prevail against even the powers of Hell. Which it seems to be doing very well.

Regards,

Vic


Note- December 17, 2012

Note well that the only place in Scripture where the word "alone" is used in connection with the word "faith" is quoted right here:

[24] You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
-- James 2:24

... which clearly tells us that we are not justified by faith alone.

Regards,

Vic


Monday, December 17, 2012
Converted Page to SBI! Release 3.0 BB 2.0.


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The Dem's October Surprise involves another flip-flop of their public "standard". The clearly pro-sodomy Party that openly seeks the "Gay" vote goes Victorian for another pre-election October Surprise ploy.

Some Problems with NuVo: the so-called Null-Vote Initiative. A "philosophical" movement aimed at keeping religious conservatives from voting? Seriously? Let me state my problems with NuVo.

Come, let us sit and reason together. Jews and Christians of various stripe and spot can say to each other, 'Come, let us sit and reason together.' But we can't do that with the Moslems.

Regarding SANE works dropping NuVo: Nul Vote Initiative dies with a whimper. If you can't really present a good argument, sit down. On SANE Works dropping the NuVo Initiative: a program that works hard to SOUND pro-American while ACTING to oppose American National Existence.

Even experts grossly underestimate the Marxist zeal of the American Left. The sharp Left turn happened in the Hoover-FDR era, and the Marxism of the American Left has been deepening ever since.

Thinking American, in a nutshell: When one has lots to say, but time is limited. The older I get, the busier I get. Answering multiple questions as a thinking American, but in a hurry.

"We are an Easter People, and Hallelujah is our Song." (John Paul the Great) Our absolutely unique and singular Easter story, and the incredible force with which it struck human history.

Witnessing, grieving and weeping for our dieing culture.  What might it take to call a whole people back from the brink of cultural death?

If we have an inherent right to something, then, who must supply it?  Rights and Responsibilities exist in paired sets; a right does not exist in the absence of a related responsibility.  If indeed we have a right to our job, then, someone must provide it. Who?

So how come we have all these homeless people if our system is so great? The strong "Utopian Idealist" firmly believes that absolute worldly perfection is actually possible.  Therefore, there should never be any such thing as a hungry or homeless person.

Taking a look at Illegal Imigration and Tax Problem solutions. In our view, the minimum wage and income tax have outlived their usefulness, and only contribute to the illegal alien problem. 

First journal / blog entries when the thinking catholic blog first opened up. Notes to readers about what I was doing. 

On-going WebSite work and planned WebPages as of 09/07/2006. Adding items to book store. 

Vic's busted finger status - life goes on. Another busted finger status report, since the original one rolled off of the 50-entry BLOG update records.

Website Status as of 02/05/2009. No more Bookstore; no more Contact Me; no more complexity.

Website Status 03-09-2009. Just a note to bring you up to date on website status 03-09-2009.

Website Status 04/06/2009. Busy driving daily now; most website work will be weekend and as available.

The Plastic Bags and Eco Doom theory: will plastic bags end life as we know it? Plastic Bag and Eco Doom predictions tell us that plastic grocery and garbage bags will still be buried in the land fills and dumps a thousand years from now.  Well … so what?

Farewell Smokey Biorseth; Rest In Peace.  Hello Coal Biorseth; Welcome Home. As we were laying our beloved Smokey Biorseth to rest in his grave beside the lilies, a carbon-copy of Smokey, in younger form, emerged from the lilies.

Honky Biorseth really runs this house. If you want to know what's in any cabinet in the house, just ask Honky Biorseth.

Kill the illegal alien marketplace, and illegal aliens will leave on their own. Why should we "imagine" life with no Mexico? Shouldn't the Mexicans be trying to imagine no such thing as the USA?

More Marxist infiltration of higher education. Public school and the media are not the only places dominated by Marxist thought; even Catholic institutions are infected.

Of Families and Fortunes, and Inheritance Vs. Redistribution. Families and Fortunes are despised by Marxists, because Marxism demonizes the family, demonizes fortunes, and even demonizes profit.

Website Status Update 11/09/10. Just a Website status update; where we are and where we’re going.

Regarding the 2010 Tax Deal Pledge Breaker: Pledge? What Pledge? How can Republican deal makers even face us? We need to hang a Tea Party target on all professional politicians for 2012.

Pray for peace in Jerusalem, and for deliverance of Israel from harm. To pray for peace in Jerusalem is to pray for deliverance from Obama.

A tale of Promised Financial Melt-Down Debt Ceiling Nonsense and Happy Marxists. Everyone, on both sides, believes the Debt Ceiling Nonsense.  Why?

God and Nature: on the Nature of Things, established by the Creator of Things. God and Nature: on man’s Perversion of the Nature of Things, even with the best of intentions.

Our Ohio voter Guide for the 2012 Election. The 2l012 Ohio Voter Guide – The Choices Have Never Been Clearer, or more critical.

Evangelization enters the animal kingdom with the first bear prayer. It is fitting that the first bear prayer would be a prayer of thanksgiving.

Is the Internet down in Lithuania? Sudden loss of Lithanian traffic suggests the internet is down in Lithuania. 

The rise of the Femi Nazi Green Beret, and the decline of military victory. The first Femi Nazi Green Beret will be awarded out of fairness, not excellence.

Food Insurance: Is this stuff really any good? All of us conspiracy-theorizing, global-calamity doomsday-preppers need their Food Insurance.

We just had to try to do Robert Irvine's Plastic Wrapped Baby Back Ribs. Put plastic wrapped baby back ribs in the oven? What? Are you nuts?

Thoughts on the first Eucharist, established by the Last Supper.  The first Eucharist was recognized by the Apostles for what it was on that holiest Holy Thursday.

Tea-Party-Candidates-04-18-2014.  The Constitution is not going to be restored to legal preeminence unless we replace leadership incumbents of BOTH PARTIES.

Ecce homo; Behold the man.  Ecce Homo.  Behold the Innocent Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.

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