Friday, October 31, 2014

The Self-Refuting Doctrine of Sola Fide by Teresa Beem

NOTE:  
Sometimes I forget actual people read this. I pretend others read it just as a child I pretended all the dolls I lined up on my bed were listening to me teach them. 
I tend to write in a tone as if my only audience is me. And my tone can be unemotional because I already know my heart and it's seems wordy to write out how sincere my heart is--since I can feel it myself. If I write with a calculated emotional tone, I am sorry. Believe me, I have enormous love for anyone who might take the time to read my blog. Wow. Thank you. 
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Protestants teach that a person is saved by grace, through faith alone (sola fide)

Before I write anything else I need to give you the working definition of the doctrine of sola fide for this post:
Sola Fide: A person is justified by God's grace, through faith alone and that means that the person has entered a covenant with God, through the atoning blood of His Son Christ Jesus, which gives the believer eternal security that he or she will live with God in heaven.


Some, if not most, American Evangelicals teach that you can't be a true Christian without embracing the doctrine of sola fide. But I have heard the following type of statements often over the last decade:

A Seventh-day Adventist: 
"The remnant (true believers in these last days) are those who keep the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment requires that we keep Sabbath holy. If you aren't keeping the correct Sabbath holy, you cannot be obeying God."

A Southern Baptist Sunday School Teacher:
"Every born-again believer must know the date he was saved. If he doesn't, I have to guess whether he was saved or not."


Assemblies of God Choir Director:
"Ya haven't spoken in tongues? (hummm) Well, you can join our choir on the contingency that ya let us know when you become a full member of God's family by being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Until then, well, we'll be prayin' for ya."

A Member of the Reformed Church:
"I am sorry, I am just very concerned for your soul because you haven't accepted the Bible truth of Limited Atonement and Predestination."

A Pentecostal:
"According to Romans 8:16, my spirit is not bearing witness to me that your spirit is a child of God. You just keep studying scripture, honey."

An Evangelical Minister to His Congregation:
"A true Christian is required to believe in the inerrancy of scripture and sola scriptura."

A Non-Denominational Friend:
"All who claim to be Bible-believing Christians must believe in once-saved-always-saved. If you don't, you're a heretic."

Adventist Online: 
"No true Christian can accept the doctrine of an everlasting hell."

Calvinist Online:
"No true Christian rejects the doctrine of an everlasting hell."

A Southern Baptist scholar, Ph.D in Theology:
"A Christian must accept sola fide, period, or he isn't saved."

These were Protestants who insisted that nothing, nothing can be added to our faith to secure our justification and salvation. Faith plus anything equal a works-righteousness that will place a person in hell. 

Yet, each Evangelical denomination, in reality, adds correct theology to faith in Christ. One added correct theology on Sabbath-keeping and obeying the Ten Commandments. Another a born-again date, or talking in tongues, predestination, everlasting hell. Each Protestant denomination holds fast to certain theology required to be a true, Bible-believing Christian. And even the idea of the requirement of being a Bible-believer is adding something to faith alone.

These responses have always proven to me that sola fide may be believed on a theoretical, ideological level, but not on a practical, functional one. A living faith is never truly alone, St. James said so. And Protestants' demand that all Christians believe in the doctrine of Righteousness by Faith Alone is adding to faith alone just as the above list of additions Christians insist be believed in order to be true Christians. 




Think about this:

If one believes that faith alone is all that is needed for justification, then insisting that the doctrine of sola fide (faith alone) be believed is adding to the simple conviction of faith alone. Not only must you believe in Christ but you then are obligated to believe in the doctrine of sola fide.

For Evangelicals to require that Christians must believe in the doctrine of sola fide in order to be saved is self-refuting theology, an internal contradiction. And so it must be because it is not Biblical. 

The inerrant, infallible written Word of God does talk one time about faith alone. Here it is in James 2: 24. 
You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.



7 comments:

Arik said...

"A Seventh-day Adventist:

"The remnant (true believers in these last days) are those who keep the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment requires that we keep Sabbath holy. If you aren't keeping the correct Sabbath holy, you cannot be obeying God."

This is a misrepresentation. Based on Rev. 14 the remnant are those that keep the commandments of God and the FAITH of Jesus Christ. In other words Faith produces obedience, which is the point of James. Anyone can say they have faith but only those whose faith is producing a Godly character are justified (legitimate). As Scripture points out in Hebrews 11 speaking directly of the works done by the Patriarchs: By FAITH Abel....by Faith Enoch....by FAITH Noah......by FAITH Abraham....by FAITH Sarah......by FAITH Isaac....by FAITH Jacob....by FAITH Moses....by FAITH Rahab.

Sola Fide stands simply because we have nothing to offer God but faith. Paul does not say "we are saved by grace through faith and......." He says by grace through Faith Period!

Teresa Beem said...

Arik, you have completely missed the point of this post. If you wish to argue sola fide, that is fine. The post, however has nothing to do with the experience of faith. It has to do with the theological doctrine of Sola Fide. Please don't confuse the two.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Say there is a child with asthma and his parents take him to the doctor and the doctor give the parents a prescription for an inhaler. The medicine in the inhaler is what helps the boy to breathe, thus saving his life during a serious asthma attack.

The act of taking the medicine--inhaling the medicine in the inhaler--let us say that is the act of faith.
The prescription for the inhaler is the written document that explains what to do to be saved from a life-threatening asthma attack. That is the written document of how to--let's call this the DOCTRINE of sola fide.

So.... according to most Protestant theology today.... One must BOTH take the medicine (the act of sola fide) PLUS agree with the prescription (the doctrine of sola fide.) This adds to the actual experience.

It would be like insisting a child gasping for breath both READ and agree to the prescription as well as then inhale. IF (within the Protestant viewpoint here) one must ONLY experience the saving medicine in the inhaler to be better.... to then insist they agree to the reading of the prescription and accept it... that is a two-step process that they insist is against how God set it up. It is faith PLUS a right theology of faith. That is adding to faith alone. So insisting one accept the DOCTRINE of sola fide is adding to sola fide. See?

Arik said...

Actually Teresa, you have grossly missed the point of James 2:24 which has EVERYTHING to do with the experience of faith and nothing to do with the doctrine of Righteousness by faith alone. If you make it out to be the "DOCTRINE of Sola Fide" then please refer to Paul whom is speaking exactly to the doctrine of salvation, Of which is VERY CLEAR that we are "Saved by grace through faith." (Alone) because Paul does not add anything else to the equation.

James on the other hand, especially 2:24, should not be yanked from its context of hospitality. In fact, in the Greek, key words like "justify" "Faith"and "works"has a wide spectrum of meaning. Context sets the meaning that James is coming from. James' meaning of justify is not to justify in the sense of finding salvation, but rather to confirm the rightness of works or better yet deed (in this case helping the poor).

I do not have a problem with your analogy per se, but I believe faith came first and is the vehicle the parents used to take the child to the doctors in the first place. The deeds that came afterward (taking the medicine) is faith in action. This is what James is speaking about, faith in action, but don't go too far that you pit James and Paul against each other, they are coming from completely different contexts.

Arik said...

"So insisting one accept the DOCTRINE of sola fide is adding to sola fide. See?"

In order to accept the doctrine of sola fide it would be helpful to understand it , would it not? Is that "adding to sola fide?" I think not. I do not believe in faith and works as necessary for salvation, yet I do belive in a faith that works. And I believe this is what Scripture is teaching us. Paul says we are SAVED by grace through faith (Alone), and James points out what saving faith looks like. It's a faith that works, in his case (and ours too) it's a faith that cares for the poor, is abundant in hospitality. Faith without works is not faith at all it is death. Faith and works (deeds) go hand and hand, but Paul is clear that it is Faith alone by the grace of God alone that saves us! Works (deeds) are the evidence of faith.


Teresa Beem said...

Agreed on most of what you wrote! Yeah!

Arik said...

"If one believes that faith alone is all that is needed for justification, then insisting that the doctrine of sola fide (faith alone) be believed is adding to the simple conviction of faith alone. Not only must you believe in Christ but you then are obligated to believe in the doctrine of sola fide.

From the Catechism:

159 Faith and science: "Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason.

158 "Faith seeks understanding": it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love.

Conclusion: Adding reason and/or understanding ie "believing in the doctrine of sola fide, does not diminish the doctrine of faith alone it "calls forth a greater faith."

Teresa Beem said...

Arik, the post is about the Protestant doctrine of sola fide. Catholics do not believe it, since it is not biblical.