Author Topic: Epistle of James  (Read 516 times)

Offline Traditionallyruralmom

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Epistle of James
« on: March 14, 2019, 10:17:37 PM »
How do protestants get around this epistle regarding faith without works?  I know the whole Luther "gospel of straw" argument....but in reality, how do they explain this away?
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2019, 10:55:15 PM »
They dance around it by saying that faith brings about good works.  Then they throw 10 other verses at you.

It was never about reason, its an emotional decision.
 
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2019, 08:04:13 AM »
To elaborate a bit more, they will say that faith brings about good works, like how a good tree brings forth good fruits.  Its the faith that saves, the works are just its good fruits.  If you then ask if a man with the faith can commit horrific sins they will either say no, such a man never had the faith, or they will say "all sins are equal" and leave it at that and then throw irrelevant verses at you to shift the topic.  But let's leave the latter person behind, for those conversations never go anywhere.  If you ask the former interlocutor if such a person with the true faith can commit murder they will either waffle or say no.  If you ask if God thus controls them like a robot in some deterministic fashion they waffle.  I've never gotten beyond this point with any sola fide believer.

On the other side, but really the same thing, if you ask if you can get to Heaven without good works this person will say no, you must have good works but they are just the fruit of the good tree which is faith.  Its the faith that saves.  If you then press further and ask if a person with the true faith can choose to never do anything good, they'll say no.  This is the same thing of course as the horrific sin.  If you ask if God thus controls these people forcing them to do things against their will, they waffle.  Again, I've never once gotten beyond this point in any of my many conversations with sola fide believers.

The more thinking ones become Calvinists.  Unfortunately the Calvinists do not see that the god they believe in is a monster and not the true God.

It's sad because the ones who recognize that works and abstaining from sin are necessary get the obvious reality of that, but they are locked in this ridiculous sola fide belief which James specifically and vociferously refutes.
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2019, 09:03:00 AM »
They get around it the same way they get around tons of other verses which condemn their theological views: explain away unsatisfactorily (by any accepted standard of argument), ignore, or simply admit they don't understand it and trust the Holy Spirit to clarify all at some point in the future.

There's tons of verses which are difficult for Protestants. The Church has solid scholarship and answers on typical Protestant "gotcha!" verses.

http://www.drbo.org/difficult.htm

https://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Verses-Passages-Confound-Protestants/dp/1928832733/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?crid=345IW8212V7CM&keywords=the+catholic+verses+95+bible+passages+that+confound+protestants&qid=1552827730&s=gateway&sprefix=the+catholic+verses+%2Caps%2C197&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

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Offline abc123

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2019, 02:02:44 PM »
There is no need to "explain it away" since there is no conflict between St. James and St. Paul in Romans. Let's read the passage in context:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24

Typical RC exegesis of this text usually begins and ends with simply quoting the above verse feeling that ends all debate.

So first let's define what we mean by faith. Contrary to popular mischaracterization what is meant by this word among Protestants is not a simple intellectual ascent to a set of theological propositions. We know this is not saving faith since James tells us:

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! James 2:19

So essentially a faith which only acknowledges the truths of who Christ is without living that understanding only qualifies one to be a demon. What kind of "faith" does James tell us doesn't save?

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14

So the faith that doesn't save is one that does not produce the fruits of saving faith. Saving Faith is an active Faith which produces fruit and has Christ as the Lord of one's life.

 

Offline Gardener

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2019, 02:09:14 PM »
There is no need to "explain it away" since there is no conflict between St. James and St. Paul in Romans. Let's read the passage in context:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24

Typical RC exegesis of this text usually begins and ends with simply quoting the above verse feeling that ends all debate.

So first let's define what we mean by faith. Contrary to popular mischaracterization what is meant by this word among Protestants is not a simple intellectual ascent to a set of theological propositions. We know this is not saving faith since James tells us:

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! James 2:19

So essentially a faith which only acknowledges the truths of who Christ is without living that understanding only qualifies one to be a demon. What kind of "faith" does James tell us doesn't save?

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14

So the faith that doesn't save is one that does not produce the fruits of saving faith. Saving Faith is an active Faith which produces fruit and has Christ as the Lord of one's life.

Well and good, but not the typical Protestant argument.
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Offline Heinrich

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 04:04:16 PM »
I'll let Gardener, Xavier, Gerard, etc. take it from here since my apologetic capacities are exceeded:

https://www.str.org/articles/faith-and-works-paul-vs.-james#.XI6nEJNKjBI
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2019, 04:04:01 AM »
So the faith that doesn't save is one that does not produce the fruits of saving faith. Saving Faith is an active Faith which produces fruit and has Christ as the Lord of one's life.

This is where the more thoughtful Protestants are (but most are not thoughtful, but then again most modern Catholics are not either).  It is close to the Catholic belief.  But given that the Faith comes from Christ it then suggests that He gives two types of Faith, one that is Saving and one that is not.  It makes God a monster.  Instead the Catholic belief is that there is one Faith, it is salvific, if the man lives by the Faith (which is obedience to God - to abstain from sins and do good works out of love).  If he chooses to not live by the Faith given to him, then he loses it, and is not saved.

The Calvinistic approach is hyper focused on God's sovereignty and thus has to create two types of Faiths in order to remove the good works entirely from man's choice.  It also makes God evil by having Him give fake Faiths to some people.
 
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Offline aquinas138

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2019, 08:17:00 AM »
So the faith that doesn't save is one that does not produce the fruits of saving faith. Saving Faith is an active Faith which produces fruit and has Christ as the Lord of one's life.

This is where the more thoughtful Protestants are (but most are not thoughtful, but then again most modern Catholics are not either).  It is close to the Catholic belief.  But given that the Faith comes from Christ it then suggests that He gives two types of Faith, one that is Saving and one that is not.  It makes God a monster.  Instead the Catholic belief is that there is one Faith, it is salvific, if the man lives by the Faith (which is obedience to God - to abstain from sins and do good works out of love).  If he chooses to not live by the Faith given to him, then he loses it, and is not saved.

The Calvinistic approach is hyper focused on God's sovereignty and thus has to create two types of Faiths in order to remove the good works entirely from man's choice.  It also makes God evil by having Him give fake Faiths to some people.

The Calvinist God is not terribly different from the Islamic Allah. Neither could really be described as lovable.
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2019, 01:37:48 AM »
Yes, in its plain sense, the passage refutes Protestantism. The good works Abraham did justified him, that's what St. James is teaching. St. James is teaching Protestants (and Luther knew it refuted him, that's why he threw it out; Protestants today are inconsistent in claiming it agrees with them) that good works done in grace are truly meritorious and cause sanctifying grace to be increased in us. In 1 Cor 3:13-15, the same is plainly taught by St. Paul himself when the Apostle teaches (1) every good work done in faith will obtain a reward from the Lord on the day of judgment, while (2) every sin or bad work, even by those in Christ, will need to be purified in fire, i.e. Purgatory.

1 Cor 3:13 "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

Lord knows the majority of Protestants sadly seem to ignore or even despise these things, just like they do the necessity of the Sacraments, so clearly taught them by the Lord Himself, when He told them that unless the Apostles, the Bishops and Priests of His Church remit their sins, their sins will be retained. When He taught them that if they eat of Him, they will live by Him as He lives by the Father; but if they refuse to eat of Him, they cannot have life in them; which again confirms that the Sacraments impart necessary graces, either to be restored to grace after one has fallen into grave sin, or to grow and increase in the grace of God, which is necessary to obtain perseverance in grace. Just like good works increase the degree of the state of grace in us, and will merit a corresponding increase in the degree of glory in heaven - Protestants also generally deny the Blessed Virgin or St. Joseph, according to their mistaken understanding, are any greater than the average believer in grace and glory - so also the Sacraments of the Church do.

Protestantism introduced a false heresy known as a merely "imputed justification", a forensic exterior cleansing which allegedly can neither be increased nor lost; which makes a mockery of so many texts in Holy Writ. For this reason, Luther could write blasphemous nonsense like, "Sin cannot tear you away from him [Christ], even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders." See: http://alaskandreams.net/ekklesia/Luther%20Quotes.htm

Whereas St. Peter tells - allfrom the Protestant KJV - to add virtues and goods works to faith, to confirm one's election and grow in grace,2 Pet 1:5 "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."
So all the Apostles and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, together with St. James the Apostle, refute Luther's Protestant errors.
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Offline abc123

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2019, 06:25:09 PM »
Yes, in its plain sense, the passage refutes Protestantism. The good works Abraham did justified him, that's what St. James is teaching. St. James is teaching Protestants (and Luther knew it refuted him, that's why he threw it out; Protestants today are inconsistent in claiming it agrees with them) that good works done in grace are truly meritorious and cause sanctifying grace to be increased in us. In 1 Cor 3:13-15, the same is plainly taught by St. Paul himself when the Apostle teaches (1) every good work done in faith will obtain a reward from the Lord on the day of judgment, while (2) every sin or bad work, even by those in Christ, will need to be purified in fire, i.e. Purgatory.

You are confusing two different concepts. First define what you mean by meritorious. If by that term you mean that which justifies a sinner before God than Reformed theology would most certainly disagree. The only truly meritorious act in human history; that act by which a sinner is made righteous, is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

No Protestant will deny that those works done in Christ, ie: done while in a state of Justification, are meritorious in that they increase our sanctification and more perfectly form the image of Christ in us. However they do not justify us in themselves (which is what Sola Fide means). There is no confusion or contradiction between this understanding and what St. Paul says in the above quoted Scripture. Good works DO obtain a reward, but only if you are in Christ to begin with. Justification is by Grace through faith apart from works.

I debated whether I should respond since your M.O is to usually completely ignore what is said and/or quote some other proof texts out of context but.....I had 10 minutes to kill so what the heck.
 

Offline Vetus Ordo

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2019, 06:48:47 PM »
There is no need to "explain it away" since there is no conflict between St. James and St. Paul in Romans. Let's read the passage in context:

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:24

Typical RC exegesis of this text usually begins and ends with simply quoting the above verse feeling that ends all debate.

So first let's define what we mean by faith. Contrary to popular mischaracterization what is meant by this word among Protestants is not a simple intellectual ascent to a set of theological propositions. We know this is not saving faith since James tells us:

19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! James 2:19

So essentially a faith which only acknowledges the truths of who Christ is without living that understanding only qualifies one to be a demon. What kind of "faith" does James tell us doesn't save?

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14

So the faith that doesn't save is one that does not produce the fruits of saving faith. Saving Faith is an active Faith which produces fruit and has Christ as the Lord of one's life.

Well and good, but not the typical Protestant argument.

Actually, it's the text-book Reformed exegesis of James.

It can't get more typical than that.
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2019, 01:01:06 AM »
I love how abc123 says "no Protestant" as if all Protestants believed the same thing! Abc123, I know Protestants who believe that good works in grace do have a reward in heaven, and others who say they do not. Most Protestants deny the Blessed Mother is greater in grace than you or me. That is one consequence of the mistaken soteriology many Protestants hold. And almost no Protestant believes in an intermediate state of purification, and prayers for the departed though St. Paul teaches it, and both Catholics and Orthodox do.

And Yes, without Christ's Sacrifice, we could never have been justified. The very state of grace itself is a gratuitous gift. No natural good work could possibly merit it. These things are taught in Trent. http://www.thecounciloftrent.com/ch6.htm "we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification" After justification, every good work done in union with Christ now becomes meritorious through Him. Do you agree with that?

This is how Trent interprets St. James, "CHAPTER X. On the increase of Justification received. Having, therefore, been thus justified, and made the friends and domestics of God, advancing from virtue to virtue, they are renewed, as the Apostle says, day by day; that is, by mortifying the members of their own flesh, and by presenting them as instruments of justice unto sanctification, they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified, as it is written; He that is just, let him be justified still; and again, Be not afraid to be justified even to death; and also, Do you see that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. And this increase of justification holy Church begs, when she prays, "Give unto us, O Lord, increase of faith, hope, and charity." Are we in agreement?

St. Paul said that even if we have the faith that moves mountains, it avails nothing without love. Elsewhere, St. Paul said it is faith that works through love that counts. An act of "faith working through love" is what Catholics call an act of contrition for our sins, where we repent because we are sorry we have offended God and Christ Crucified. Yes, this avails, or recovers justification. After that, we must keep the Commandments and receive the Sacraments, where grace is given to those who are not justified, or increased in those who are.

If you disagree, explain where. What you call "the state of justification" and "sanctification", Trent more correctly describes as "the state of grace after justification is received" and "the increase of justification received". But if you believe sanctification is indeed an increased conformity in grace and union with Christ of those in the infused state of justification, then you are close to the Catholic doctrine.

Now, to the next part of what St. Paul said. Do you believe bad works, or venial sins, of those in grace, for which penance was not done, needs to be purified after death before entrance into heaven? This is what the Apostles teach and why they command prayers for the dead. The Catholic Church has kept that Tradition. Have Protestants?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 01:04:33 AM by Xavier »
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Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own! Let us Offer our Lives in Sacrifice to Jesus and Mary Today, to save, if it were possible, all souls everywhere.
 

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2019, 01:30:17 AM »
Quote
First define what you mean by meritorious. If by that term you mean that which justifies a sinner before God than Reformed theology would most certainly disagree. The only truly meritorious act in human history; that act by which a sinner is made righteous, is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

This is because Protestants see justification as a one-time event rather than a process.  If it is a singular event then only Christ's sacrifice is meritorious, if it is a process then all good works done in a state of justification are further meritorious and increase one's justification.

Quote
Justification is by Grace through faith apart from works.

Unless, again, justification is a process rather than a singular event.  If it is a process then works are directly involved with justification (after the initial justification which is pure grace).
 
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Epistle of James
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2019, 02:27:14 AM »
Quote
First define what you mean by meritorious. If by that term you mean that which justifies a sinner before God than Reformed theology would most certainly disagree. The only truly meritorious act in human history; that act by which a sinner is made righteous, is the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

This is because Protestants see justification as a one-time event rather than a process.  If it is a singular event then only Christ's sacrifice is meritorious, if it is a process then all good works done in a state of justification are further meritorious and increase one's justification.

Quote
Justification is by Grace through faith apart from works.

Unless, again, justification is a process rather than a singular event.  If it is a process then works are directly involved with justification (after the initial justification which is pure grace).

Yes. The process of justification is normally completed in Baptism or in the Sacrament of Penance, when Sanctifying Grace is given or restored.  But then Justification can be lost on account of evil works (mortal sin) and must be restored again. Sanctifying Grace and Justification can be increased using various means of grace.  The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the process here:

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We now come to the different states in the process of justification. The Council of Trent assigns the first and most important place to faith, which is styled "the beginning, foundation and root of all justification" (Trent, l.c., cap.viii). Cardinal Pallavicini* (Hist. Conc. Trid., VIII, iv, 18) tells us that all the bishops present at the council fully realized how important it was to explain St. Paul's saying that man is justified through faith. Comparing Bible and Tradition they could not experience any serious difficulty in showing that fiduciary faith was an absolutely new invention and that the faith of justification was identical with a firm belief in the truths and promises of Divine revelation (l. c.: "illumque [Deum] tanquam omnis justitiae fontem diligere incipiunt"). The next step is a genuine sorrow for all sin with the resolution to begin a new life by receiving holy baptism and by observing the commandments of God. The process of justification is then brought to a close by the baptism of water, inasmuch as by the grace of this sacrament the catechumen is freed from sin (original and personal) and its punishments, and is made a child of God. The same process of justification is repeated in those who by mortal sin have lost their baptismal innocence; with this modification, however, that the Sacrament of Penance replaces baptism. Considering merely the psychological analysis of the conversion of sinners, as given by the council, it is at once evident that faith alone, whether fiduciary or dogmatic, cannot justify man (Trent, l. c., can. xii: "Si quis dixerit, fidem justificantem nihil aliud esse quam fiduciam divinae misericordiae, peccata remittentis propter Christum, vel eam fiduciam solam esse, qua justificamur, a.s."). Since our Divine adoption and friendship with God is based on perfect love of God or charity (cf. Galatians 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13; James 2:17 sqq.), dead faith devoid of charity (fides informis) cannot possess any justifying power. Only such faith as is active in charity and good works (fides caritate formata) can justify man, and this even before the actual reception of baptism or penance, although not without a desire of the sacrament (cf. Trent, Sess. VI, cap. iv, xiv).
The whole article on justification is here: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08573a.htm

For reference and further reading here are the Council of Trent canons on Justification: http://www.thecounciloftrent.com/ch6.htm
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 02:46:13 AM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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