Salvation by faith alone debate

First negative essay against Salvation by Faith alone
By William Stewart
Originally posted from
Ministry comments highlighted 
* * *
I am happy for the opportunity to discuss this important topic with Jason. I hope this debate will benefit both participants, as well as those who read the material presented. May our objective always be to see what the Scriptures say, laying aside all doctrines or positions that contradict God's holy word. In this essay, my responsibility is to illustrate that my opponent's position is contrary to the Bible. I will not be affirming what I believe the Lord requires of man to be saved, but rather answering Mr. Peacock's assertion that we are saved by "faith alone".

I appreciate Jason's desire to clarify what he means by faith. We agree that the word "believes" in John 3:16 requires more than mere acknowledgement of an historical Jesus. To the trust which Mr. Peacock mentions in defining the term, Young's Analytical Concordance To The Bible adds, " adhere to...rely on..." The term infers much more than simple head knowledge. I thank Jason for his consideration of the context of John 3:16. As mentioned, Jesus tells Nicodemus, "...unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (3:3). Nicodemus demonstrates his lack of spiritual understanding (3:4), not knowing what the Lord meant. Thus, Jesus elaborates, "...unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." (3:5). To be "born again" and to be "born of water and the Spirit" are one and the same. I am curious what my opponent believes the "water" of that statement is. It cannot be our physical birth, for Jesus refers to that as being "...born of the flesh..." (3:6). It is not the Holy Spirit, for Jesus then said, "...unless one is born of the Spirit and the Spirit..." What then is the water in the text? What is the Lord requiring man to adhere to if one is to "...enter the kingdom of God"?
Note: Scripture refers to the Holy Spirit as 'the living water' both in the Old and in the New Testament (See Eze 36:25-27; Jer 31:33; John 4:13, 14; John 7:38-39). For example when Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water (h2o) will be thirsty again, but those who drink the water I give them (the Holy Spirit) will never thirst", He was contrasting natural water with the "living water", again a reference to the Holy Spirit. We believe the best interpretation of John 3:5, and the one that fits the overall context of the passage, views the phrase “born of water and the Spirit” as describing the same new spiritual birth in two different ways- "born of water and (kai) Spirit", or as it can be read in the Greek text, 'born of water, even the Spirit.'

In anticipating Mr. Peacock's affirmative essay, I was curious how often he would refer to Romans 5:1 and Ephesians 2:8-10. Jason considers these crucial to his "faith alone" doctrine. The count is presently Romans 5:1 (6 times), Ephesians 2:8-10 (9 times). Unfortunately, neither text says what Jason believes. His proposition reads, "The New Testament teaches that one is saved by faith alone." Neither text affirms salvation by "faith alone". Both affirm the necessity of faith, as do other texts introduced (Acts 13:39; Galatians 3:24; Romans 4), but none set faith as an exclusive instrument to the salvation of souls. Jason reasons, "What justifies us? Scripture makes it quite clear. Faith does!" Amen! But the Bible also teaches that we are justified by our words (Matthew 12:37), humility (Luke 18:14), obedience (Romans 2:13), God's grace (Romans 3:24), Jesus' blood (Romans 5:9), and works (James 2:24).
Note: Regardless to what Mr. Stewart asserts, both verses show faith in Christ as the exclusive means or instrument by which God justifies, deems, or declares as righteous the believing sinner. This is interesting considering the Church of Christ own axiom or adage of 'necessary inference' or supposed practice of only 'speaking where the Bible speaks', because both of these verses, along with many others, show a direct relationship between salvation, justification and faith with nothing else added, mentioned, or implied in the verse or the context. Therefore, since nothing else other than faith is mentioned in the thoughts or context being communicated- faith alone is what is required.

I was intrigued by my opponent's statement, " is God's gift given to us, apart from anything we do. Ephesians 2:8 makes this clear." What is the gift, faith or salvation? The Bible teaches that faith is the product of hearing the word of God (Romans 10:14, 17; Luke 16:29-31; Colossians 1:4-6; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), not a gift arbitrarily given by God. Yet, upon his false premise, Jason uses the phrase "It is finished!" (John 19:30) to state, " is not based on us at all; it's based totally and completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ." Jason has read into this text! Yes, Jesus paid the debt for our sins, but does the text mean we have no part in salvation? If so, what did Paul mean when he wrote, " out your own salvation with fear and trembling..." (Philippians 2:12)? Why did Solomon write, "...the labour of the righteous leads to life, the wages of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:16)? The Lord said, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able" (Luke 13:24). If we have no part in our salvation, why is God's promise "...eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour and immortality." (Romans 2:7)? Why did Paul motivate Christians to " in such a way that you may obtain it" [the prize] (1 Corinthians 9:24)? The Hebrew writer cautions us, " diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience..." [Israel's disobedience] (Hebrews 4:11). Sufficient space fails us to make mention of every explicit statement of our role in God's plan of salvation. Citing 1 Corinthians 2:14, Jason says that "...we cannot even know what works we should do without God's Spirit..." In the context, Paul demonstrates that even some who have received God's Spirit cannot understand. Paul says he "...could not speak to you as to spiritual people, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal..." (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Paul's point in 2:14 is not that we must be Christians to know what God would have us do, but rather that we must look with spiritual eyes, not carnal. The Romans spiritually discerned what God's will was, submitted themselves to it, and thus were "...set free from sin..." (Romans 6:17)
Note: Mr. Stewart is attempting to confuse the issue. Salvation by faith alone means that since we cannot save ourselves, we are therefore trusting instead in Jesus' FINISHED work at the cross for what we could not accomplish in our own selves. As our substitute, we believe Jesus not only died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin that we deserve, we also believe that Jesus lived holy FOR US so that the basis of going to heaven is based on His perfect life and not our own. As 1 Cor. 1:30 says, Jesus became for us "our righteousness, holiness, and redemption."  Evidently from the conclusions Mr. Stewart draws from the passages he has provided, he fails to understand that because Jesus is the only Savior (not us), that believers work FROM salvation rather than FOR salvation, that there is a radical difference between 'working out your salvation' and working for your salvation, which is what Mr. Stewart's theology asserts. Also it should be pointed out from what Mr. Stewart writes that the Churches of Christ reject the doctrine of the fall and the need for new spiritual birth and regeneration. Here it is believed or assumed that the natural man can in and of himself respond to all the necessary moral and religious requirements or laws of God in order to be saved. 1 Cor. 2:14 says, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Jason uses Abraham (Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 3:7-12) to support his assertion that "faith alone justifies apart from the works of the law." Paul wrote, "...a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." (Romans 3:28). Note the difference? Paul did not say "faith alone". My friend reads that into the text. Paul excludes the possibility of attaining salvation by keeping the law of Moses perfectly. To the Jews, Paul writes, "...before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed." (Galatians 3:23). Now that the faith is revealed, we must be "...obedient to the faith..." (Acts 6:7; Romans 6:17; Hebrews 5:9). The deeds of the law (of Moses) are excluded, but certainly not obedience to the faith. [Note, faith is not a gift bestowed individually by God as Jason supposes, but rather a system of divine law which replaced the law of Moses]. In Genesis 15:6, Moses says Abraham "...believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness." Paul quotes this in Romans 4, stating that Abraham was not justified by works. Again, Paul uses the text in Galatians 3, saying the sons of Abraham are justified by faith, not the works of the law (of Moses). The text is quoted a third time in James 2. There, James affirms that "...a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (2:24). Do the writers contradict? Not at all. James and Paul look at justification from different perspectives. James does not say "works only". Paul does not say "faith only". Paul focuses on Abraham's faith, James focuses on the works which accompanied and perfected Abraham's faith. Would Abraham have been justified had he not left Ur of the Chaldees, or not offered Isaac on the altar? James asks, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?" (2:21). Jason must say 'NO', for he is affirming one is saved by "faith alone". Again, James asks, "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" (2:22). James concludes: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (James 2:24) However, Jason must say 'NO', for he is affirming that one is saved by "faith alone". Who has the problem with James? Certainly not Paul or myself.
Note: Romans 4:2 is a great passage of Scripture stating the that only way that a man can be justified (deemed or declared as righteousness) before God is by faith. Here the apostle Paul tells us that there may be such a thing as "works" justification before men, but certainly NOT before God: "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Thus when James asks the rhetorical question, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?" (vrs 24), he cannot be referring to Abraham's justification before God, which happen years before, but rather about being 'shown, deemed, or declared as righteous' before men. In other words, because "Abraham believed God and it (his faith) was accounted to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15; Romans 4), God 'deemed and declared Abraham as righteous', and this was a legal and binding act. However, when Abraham offered up Isaac (Genesis 22: James 2), he was living out his life experience before men in such a way that was consistent with his position that he already had, which again happened years later. After all, Scripture shows that Abraham never actually offered up Isaac upon the alter; How could he then have been 'made righteous' before God by something he never actually did?

In his affirmative essay, Mr. Peacock explicitly said, "...I do not want to debate on whether Calvinism is Biblical or not...", then proceeded to spend 20 percent of his essay on the doctrine of total hereditary depravity. Perhaps I could interest my friend in a debate on this topic in the future? It is no wonder that he focussed so much on Calvin's doctrine of depravity. It is the foundation of his "faith alone" doctrine. Jason believes we have no part in our salvation because he believes we are entirely depraved and unable to do anything. Calvinism and "faith alone" go hand in hand. Jason says he doesn't know if he is a five point Calvinist or not, and presently has " desire to delve into investigation." Friend, if you want to be consistent, you must choose to be a five-pointer or no Calvinist at all. The five points stand and fall together. However, if you want to be biblically correct, you must disown Calvinism and cling to God's word.Jason introduces Romans 3:10, 23 as evidence that we are born with "sinful natures". In verse 12, Paul says, "...they have all turned aside, they have together become unprofitable..." One cannot "turn aside" from that which he never had. It is impossible to "become unprofitable" if we are unprofitable to begin with. Verse 23 says that all have sinned (v 13-18 lists some of the ways). Jason wants to apply this to infants. Will you tell us that infants are hell bound? What sin has an infant committed? John tells us "...sin is lawlessness." (1 John 3:4). What law of God has an infant violated? Again, Jason affirms depravity with Psalm 51:5. I suppose if one isolates this text from the whole of Scripture, that conclusion might be drawn. However, I believe that we are reading the poetic writing of a man in deep sorrow for his sin, expressed through hyperbole. Paul declared himself to be the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Was Paul the worst sinner ever? Certainly not! He was a contemporary of Nero, who persecuted Christians, even having his garden lighted in the evenings by burning them alive. Paul expresses his agony for past sins through hyperbole, even as David in Psalm 51. Ezekiel 18 and Romans 5 both express that it is our own sin that results in our spiritual death, not our parents, nor Adam's. Jason questions whether I believe John 6:44 or not. Yes, with all my heart. However, I wonder if he believes John 6:45? Jesus says the Father must draw us, and then explains, "It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who had heard and learned from the Father comes to Me." The Father draws us through His word. Jesus said it, both Paul and Isaiah agree (Romans 1:16; 10:14, 17). Will you believe verse 45 as well? According to Jason, Jeremiah 29:13 speaks of a regenerated heart, but Jeremiah 17:9 refers to an unregenerate heart. Friend, look at the context. Of the one you label unregenerate, the Lord says, "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD." (17:5). How can the unregenerate depart from the Lord -- depravity denies he was ever with the Lord! But the Lord says he was! Accept one false doctrine and it leads to another. If we believe depravity, we must conclude that we can do nothing to come to God. Accepting this, we must conclude that faith is God's gift to us, not from hearing the word. The cycle goes on and on. Calvinism is a neat package, consistent from start to finish, but contrary to truth throughout.
Note: Church of Christ 'circular reasoning' becomes fascinating, especially when discussing important Christian doctrines they reject. Here while Mr. Stewart characterizes Calvinism as teaching man is 'entirely depraved and unable to do anything to be saved', yet he still asserts that Calvinism 'is the foundation of faith alone doctrine.' Well, this is quite interesting. Perhaps Mr. Stewart can tell us which of the 5 points of Calvinism justification by faith alone is taught since he asserts it is a Calvinist doctrine? And if Calvinists believe we are 'entirely depraved and unable to do anything to be saved (i.e. since God only saves who He chooses)', how then can a Calvinist also believe that a person cannot be saved until or unless they place faith in Jesus Christ? The point is, either Mr. Stewart's understanding of Calvinism is flawed, or his understanding of salvation by faith alone is flawed, or both. Mr. Stewart's arguments are mutually exclusive to each other, yet he still asserts evangelicals simultaneously hold to both contrasting views.

I stand accused of applying a "wooden literal interpretation" to the Bible. I'm not wholly sure what Jason means by this phrase (he used the term to define itself). Perhaps it means to stubbornly take a passage literally, to the exclusion of other texts. If so, it appears that Jason is the one applying a "wooden literal interpretation". When you teach salvation by "faith alone" from selected verses, ignoring other texts, is that not perhaps "wooden literalism"? When you stand on Romans 3:10, 23 and Psalm 51:5 and teach depravity, is that not perhaps a "wooden literal interpretation" that excludes the context of the whole Bible? Mr. Peacock's comments about my full acceptance of Church of Christ teaching illustrates his ignorance with respect to the churches of Christ. There is no governing body as in the denominations where a set of teachings are established for ministers to accept and teach. Each congregation is entirely autonomous. All I have ever been asked to teach is what the Bible teaches. Jason misquotes me as saying that the church of Christ has no doctrines. What I have said to Jason is that the churches of Christ have no creed books, no manuals, no catechisms, or other such works of men. Certainly, the Bible contains doctrines; it is our only source for doctrine, not some humanly devised confession of faith.So far as the accusation of Arminianism, I am not Arminian, nor Calvinist, nor Methodist, nor Baptist, nor Catholic. I am a Christian. I claim nothing more, and the Scriptures claim nothing more for me, except to be a Christian. Jason is correct, I have not done any study in the Arminian perspective, nor do I desire to do so. I aim to study the Scriptures, for in them are the words of life.
Note: The Churches of Christ often condemn "denominationalism" and claim they are not a religious sect or denomination, but simply 'Christians' and a 'Church of Christ'. Well, even if they were a church of Christ, they still would be a denomination. What does "denomination" mean? Webster gives these definitions: a) The act of denominating or naming b) A name, designation, or title c) A class or society of individuals called by the same name; a sect. Here, there can be no question that Churches of Christ are distinguished by their name, their doctrines, and have definite bounds to their religious associations, recognizing only like groups of faith. Thus regardless of what Mr. Stewart asserts, they are still a particular religious "class" or "society" and in practice are actually one of the most rigidly sectarian denominations in existence, often teaching that outside their religious church fellowship, there is no salvation. Also it should be pointed out that Mr. Stewart is correct by stating that he is neither a Armenian or Calvinist, because as we shall see later in this debate, his belief system (regarding man's moral and religious ability) best identifies in what is known as the Pelagian point of view.

Jason acknowledges the necessity of repentance, but says we must be justified before we can repent. Understand the consequences of such a doctrine --- we are forgiven of our sins before we even have a mind to repent of them! The Scriptures place repentance BEFORE the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19). In 2 Timothy 2:25, Paul does not say that repentance is a gift from God, as Jason supposes. What he does say is that we are responsible to teach those who are in error, and perhaps God will afford them an opportunity to repent. It is parallel in structure to Acts 11:18. We are told that God "...commands all men every to repent..." (Acts 17:30). If repentance is a gift of God, and God commands it of everyone, then we must conclude that either everyone has repented, or God is unjust for commanding many to do something they cannot (because He will not give them repentance). What a monstrous God Jason would have us believe in!
Note: The Church of Christ gospel plan is to hear, believe, repent, confess, and be water baptized. Notice this 'plan' places faith or belief before repentance. To the Church of Christ person this is naturally assumed because it is thought that a person must 'believe' before they can 'repent'. However, if we will look into the Scriptures, there is not a single verse that  supports their view. To the contrary what we see in Scripture is that repentance actually precedes faith: " did not repent and believe him." Matt. 21:32; "...Repent, and believe the good news." Mark 1:15; "...repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."  Acts 20:21.  Biblical repentance means a post-thought, after-thought, conversion, or a change of mind. It means that if you were going to do one thing and then changed your mind, you would have then repented. Anyone who has stopped trusting in themselves, in their own moral or religious conduct, or in their good works, and believes upon Jesus Christ alone for salvation, has repented or "changed their minds" about what they once believed. It should be pointed out that when Mr. Peacock says that 'repentance' comes after justification, the context of what he is referring to is the sanctification of the believer, or those who are already saved becoming more 'Christ-like' in this life. It has nothing to do with salvation, but rather is the result of salvation. However when Mr. Stewart says that repentance comes after believing (but before justification), he turns repentance (which he understands as "self-reformation") into a precondition of the believer, or a work requirement that the believer must do, perform, accomplish, before he can be saved. Yet the Word says that we are not saved by our works, but unto good works. Good works are the result of salvation, not the means or the cause of it. Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:5 
Not only does Jason tell us that we cannot repent before we are justified, but also that it is impossible to obey Christ before we have been justified. The Scriptures declare "...He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him..." (Hebrews 5:9). Which comes first, the salvation or the obedience? If we obey Him, then we have salvation. It is a conditional statement. Jason uses himself as an example of salvation. Excuse me if I don't accept the example. Let me provide an example all Bible students should find acceptable. Paul identifies the biblical process of salvation, wherein "...slaves of sin..." "...obeyed from the heart..." and thus were "...set free from sin..." (Romans 6:17-18). Obedience precedes being set free from sin. Obedience precedes justification (unless Jason is willing to affirm that we can be dead in sin and justified at the same time).
Note: The Church of Christ asserts that 'obeying the gospel' means being obedient to all the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament, or obeying those commands one must do in order to be saved. And the difference between the saved and the unsaved according to the Church of Christ is whether or not a person has obeyed all of the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament. However, when one looks into the Scripture to find out what it means to 'obey the gospel', we find that a person obeys the gospel when they believe the gospel message. Consider the following passages: "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" Romans 10:16 (Note, they have not all obeyed because not all have believed); "You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?" Galatians 5:7 (Note: The context of 'being hindered from obeying the truth' is that they had added the requirements of works of the law in addition to faith in Jesus Christ); "...Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God. Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth (i.e. believing) love one another deeply, from the heart." 1 Peter 1:21-22; "Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient..." 1 Peter 2:27 (again, the contrast is being made between those who believe and those who are disobedient- i.e. those who refuse to believe). So while we will see those in the Church of Christ go from one "obey" pretext verse to another to 'prove' that we obey the gospel by being obedient to all of the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament, if we look at the context of these verses to see what it means to obey the gospel, we find that we obey the gospel by believing the gospel message. So what is the gospel? The gospel or Good News message is that Jesus Christ came to this earth, died on the cross, paid the FULL penalty for our sin, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead. This is the gospel. God's promise is that every person who believes in Jesus, trusting Him as their Savior, will NOT PERISH but has EVERLASTING LIFE. So have you obeyed the gospel? That is, Have you believed God's promise that Jesus Christ saves you?
* * *
"Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel...which I preached to you...which also you which you which also you are saved...that Christ died for our sins...that He was buried...and that He rose again the third we preach and so you believe." 1 Cor. 15:1-11

The accusation has been levied, "Mr. Stewart, you might think that James is saying faith and works together justify..." To that portion of Mr. Peacock's statement, I plead guilty. In fact, if James were accused of the same, he would plead guilty along side me. It was James who asked, "Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" Jason claims to agree 100 percent with James. Unless he is willing to plead guilty to his own accusation, he does not. My friend has confused the works spoken of in the latter portion of James 2 with the works of which Paul said, "...a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." (Romans 3:28). Paul says we cannot be saved by perfectly keeping the law of Moses. James acknowledges, as Paul, that those who try to be justified by the law are a debtor to keep the whole law (James 2:10-11; Galatians 5:2-4). However, James is not speaking of the works of the law of Moses in the latter portion of James 2, for he says, "...a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (2:24). Be careful not to confuse works of obedience to the law of Moses and works of obedience to the law of Christ.
Note: There is no controversy over whether or not Abraham was justified by his works, but rather if he was justified by works before God or before men. As Mr. Stewart points out, James asks, "Do YOU SEE that faith was working together with (Abraham's) works, and by his works faith was made perfect?" Again, God deemed, or declared Abraham as righteous because of his faith back in Genesis 15 years before. However, WE SEE Abraham as a righteous man because of what he did years later in Genesis 22. James is saying that a "by-faith" justification is not the only kind of justification there is. There is also a "by-works" justification. The former type is before God; the latter type is before men."   

Jason states, "Ephesians 2:8-9 should never be quoted without verse 10." AMEN!! The Lord has saved us to do works that He has prepared for us. Can we earn salvation by works? No, for "...when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'" (Luke 10:17).Is it possible to receive an undeserved gift from someone, and yet have to do something to receive it? Let's suppose that a father purchases a new car for his son. He wraps the keys along with a note and gives the box to his son. Has he got the car yet? No, he must first open the box, take out the keys, and read the note. The note instructs him to pick the car up at a local car dealer's lot. Has he got the car yet? No, he must arrange transportation to the dealer's lot, inquire at the dealer where to locate the car, and go to the car. Finally, he's got the car. The son had to DO several things before he possessed the car. Did the car cease to be a gift from his father? Did he earn the car? In like manner, God has offered the gift of salvation. We do not deserve the gift. No amount of works will change that. However, God has given us commands which we must obey if we are to receive the gift (Romans 6:17). By no means do we nullify the gift through our obedience to God's commands. It remains a gift.
Note: Mr. Stewart has already pleaded guilty in his previous post that both 'faith and works together justify,' so by saying 'Grace through faith not of works' he is once again attempting to play the faith plus works debate both ways. Those in the Church of Christ are often masters at saying 'we are not saved by our works', yet in the same breath will say 'there are works we must do to be saved.' Again, there's a radical difference between attempting to be 'saved by works' and being 'saved unto good works'. Ephesians 2:8-10 is very clear when it says that salvation is a gift of God, brought to us by Christ, and received by faith, and that good works of the believer are the result of salvation, not a person's contribution to their own salvation. Christ is the only Savior; one does not save themselves. 

Mr. Peacock's doctrine of salvation by "faith alone" is not the result of Sola-Scriptura. It is the result of picking and choosing select passages, twisting them (whether knowingly or not), and completely ignoring others. Even as he sums up his essay, we read, "...salvation is gained by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone." That is not salvation by "faith alone"; that is salvation by grace, by faith and by Jesus Christ. Jason doesn't even believe this doctrine of salvation by "faith alone", for he sums up by saying there are at least three essentials to our salvation. He believes that these three elements alone, together, account for our salvation. If he is willing to go this far, what then is keeping him from accepting the rest of Scripture? Surely we can see that the New Testament does not teach that one is saved by "faith alone".

Note: As Mr. Stewart shows, there is much confusion in the Church of Christ over what evangelicals mean when they say that 'salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Jesus alone.' Grace Alone simply means that salvation can only be received on the basis of a gift, not by the economy of a person working to attain it. Faith Alone means that faith, not works, is the only way that a person can receive God's gift of eternal life. So rather than working or trying to attain it, we can only believe God's promise for it. Finally, by saying in Christ Alone, we are talking about the object of the believer's faith. Faith must always have an object to believe in, for there is no such thing as 'faith-in-faith.' Thus, the object of the believer's faith is Jesus Christ, and we are believing upon Him alone for eternal life. Thus, salvation is by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in the person of Christ Jesus alone.