Salvation by faith alone debate

Second negative essay
By William Stewart
Originally posted from http://lookinguntojesus.net/
Ministry comments highlighted
 
* * *  

It is a pleasure to continue in this discussion of salvation, specifically whether or not it is by "faith alone". I thank Mr. Peacock for his participation, and each reader for the kind attention given to the arguments made by both debaters. May our desire in this endeavour be to seek, know and perform nothing by the truth of God's way in our lives, and that, to the salvation of our souls.

After using approximately 3,000 words to affirm his position of "faith alone", Jason concludes his essay by saying, "...it was a mistake on my part to defend the presupposition that faith alone saves us..." I appreciate this honest statement. Indeed, the doctrine of salvation by "faith alone" is found nowhere in the Bible. With such a conclusion, I am somewhat bewildered at his attempt throughout the essay to maintain the position. Thus, let us turn our attention to answering the affirmative arguments made.

Note: While we acknowledge that the words 'salvation by faith alone' are not found word for word in the New Testament, we are nevertheless convinced that the concept is undeniably taught and explained in such a way that we are baffled as to why members of the Church of Christ fail to see this. There are over a hundred and fifty passages in the New Testament that tell us those who place faith in Jesus Christ have eternal life, it is carefully and systematically taught in Paul's letter to the Romans in chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10 & 11, and because of a doctrinal controversy, it is also explained in Paul's letter to the Galatians in chapters 2, 3, 4 & 5. As Romans 10:4 says, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes."

JOHN 3:16 AND CONTEXT

Jason introduced for us six possible explanations of the water in John 3:5. As impressive as it might be to know of six interpretations, all I wanted to know was what the water is. Jason rejects the most obvious explanation, namely that the water means water. Rather, he opts for an obscure explanation, formulated by an appeal to Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 44. Mr Peacock says that Nicodemus, being a religious leader in Israel should have immediately picked up on this imagery used by Jesus. Will Jason tell the Lord what He meant to say? It is quite likely that John 3:13 may be in response to the riddle of Proverbs 30:4 as Jason suggests, however, the Lord made no mention of Ezekiel or Isaiah in this text, directly or indirectly. That is Jason's supposition.

In Jason's theology, water can not mean water, for if it does, then his doctrine of "faith alone" is proven false by the Lord. Thus, there must be some alternate explanation -- Jesus couldn't have meant water when He said water. Why not just accept the Lord at His word? The context does not call for some alternate, figurative explanation, unless there is a presupposed doctrine (ie. Faith alone) needing to be supported.

Note: As posted in the first negative essay rebuttal, we believe that when Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be "born of water and the Spirit,' that rather than referring to two different births (one of water and another of spirit), that the context is referring to the same spiritual birth in two different ways; 'born or water, (kia) even the Spirit.' Thus the "water" mentioned in this verse is not literal h2o, but a reference to the Holy Spirit or the 'living water' as Jesus promised the woman at the well in John 4, and also the people in Jerusalem in John 7:38-39. (Perhaps Mr. Stewart would argue the 'water' in these passages are a literal reference to h2o as well?) Paul uses the same figure in Titus 3:5 and called it "the washing of regeneration", not of h2o, but "by the Holy Spirit." Again, water is often used symbolically in the Bible to refer to the work of the Holy Spirit in the sanctifying work of the believer, whereby God cleanses, purifies, seals, and sets the believer a part for Himself. (See also Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:25-36; Eph. 1:13; Col. 2:11-14) 

MR. PEACOCK'S FAVOURITE TEXTS

I was happy to entertain Jason by totaling his usage of Ephesians 2:8-10 and Romans 5:1. However, aside from the amusement value, there was a definite purpose. He considers these as conclusive 'proof-texts' for his position. And so, not surprisingly, he returns to them time and again. With his second affirmative essay, Mr. Peacock has now added another 'proof-text', Philippians 2:13. The two essay count now stands at Romans 5:1 (10 times), Ephesians 2:8-10 (13 times), and Philippians 2:13 (5 times).

Note: Romans 5:1 and Ephesians 2:8-10 are not the only passages Jason uses to defend his proposition of salvation by faith alone, and uses many others. However, if a truth of a passage such as the context of John 3:16 is correctly being shown and demonstrated, does it become "less truth" because of how often it is used or referenced? No doubt time would be better spent looking into the context of these passages to see if the points being made are true and accurate, rather than impugning someone over how many times a verse is used or referred to. 

Unfortunately, Romans 5 and Ephesians 2 do not support Jason's position. Neither say that we are saved by "faith alone". Jason himself acknowledges his dilemma in his second essay, "...I cannot find that word alone..." He cannot find it because Paul did not put it there. Paul did not put it there because Christianity does not teach salvation by "faith alone". Jason expresses concern over what I believe Romans 5:1 to say. Very simply, I believe it teaches that we are justified by faith. Not "faith alone", nor "faith plus works". All I can assert from the text is that we are saved by faith. However, it is my responsibility as a diligent Bible student to consider and accept what the whole Bible says about man's salvation.

Note: Mr. Stewart unknowing concedes that Romans 5:1 actually does support Jason's position of salvation by faith alone. Notice that he says, "I believe it (the passage) teaches that we are justified by faith. Not "faith alone", nor "faith plus works". All I can say from the text is that we are saved by faith...". This is an amazing admission made by Mr. Stewart; If he is to 'prove' we are not justified by faith alone, he inadvertently admits that he cannot show it from the context of Romans 5:1 because "faith" justification is the only message being taught from the passage.

In his analysis of Ephesians 2:8-10, Mr. Peacock wrongly declares, "...obviously grace and faith can be used interchangeably." Certainly not. Thayer defines grace as "...kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved..." He identifies faith as "...belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God..."1 If the words can be used interchangeably, the Paul wrote, "...by grace you have been saved through grace..." Or "...by faith you have been saved through faith..." To further illustrate that one word cannot be substituted for the other, consider just a few examples:

  • "...to him who works, the wages are not counted as faith but as debt..." (Romans 4:5)
  • "...we have access by faith into this faith in which we stand..." (Romans 5:2)
  • "...have grace in God" (Mark 11:22)
  • "...grace is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
  • "...as the body without the spirit is dead, so grace without works is dead also." (James 2:26)

Note: Jason has only made a passing remark that grace and faith CAN BE interchangeable. He never tries to assert that grace and faith 'are always and in every case interchangeable', as he points out in his third and final essay. 

I commented above on Jason's avid use of Philippians 2:13. Four of the five times he used this text, it was intended as a 'catch all' argument. He need not make a point, just simply insert Philippians 2:13, and his point is made. However, let us consider what Philippians 2:13 is saying.

The text came into the discussion as a result of my inquiry "...what did Paul mean when he wrote, '...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling...' (Philippians 2:12)?" So far as I can tell, Jason did not respond, except by pitting 2:13 against 2:12. Jason would have us believe that God alone works out our salvation; that we have no part in it. Verse 13 does not negate the command of 2:12, but rather stands as the basis upon which we should make an effort. The responsibility to work out salvation is on the individual. God does not act for us, but compels us and supplies us with the wherewithal to act. It is a statement like that of Romans 2:4, "...do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?" God's good pleasure is that we repent and serve Him (work out our own salvation), however, He will not force us against our will, but beckons us with His goodness.

Note: Again, it should be noted that there is a radical difference between 'working for your salvation' and what it means to 'work out' the salvation you already have. Members of the Church of Christ typically understand salvation only in terms of eternal life salvation (something they hope they have in the future), not understanding the concepts of past, present, and future tense salvation. Scripture tells us that 'we have been saved', (Eph. 2:8; 2 Tim. 1:9) and is talking about the believer having been saved (past tense) from the penalty of sin, or eternal life salvation. Present tense salvation i.e. 'we are being saved' (1 Cor. 1:18; Phil. 2:12) has nothing to do with eternal life salvation, but is rather talking about believers being saved from the power of sin, or in other words maturing and becoming more "Christ-like" in this life, which is the context of Phil. 2:12 (above). Future tense salvation, i.e. 'we will be saved' (Romans 13:11; 1 Peter 1:5) is talking about our future glorification and refers to the time the believer will be forever with the Lord in heaven.

FAITH AND WORKS

Mr. Peacock holds to his statement "...faith is God's gift given to us, apart from anything we do." Yet, he agrees with Paul that "...faith comes by hearing..." Either he must maintain that God does the hearing for us, or he has become inconsistent. The simple fact is, we receive neither faith nor salvation without doing something ourselves. However, Jason believes that if we do something to affect our own salvation, we negate the sovereignty of God. I fully accept the sovereignty of God; what I deny is the puppetry of man.

Note: Jason's point is taken from Eph. 2:8 in that even faith is God's gift to us. While I tend to agree with Jason that faith is a gift ("And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" 1 Cor. 4:7), whether or not faith or salvation is the gift being referring to in Eph. 2:8 is not immediately clear from the passage or the context. 

Jason makes the "natural man" of 1 Corinthians 2:14 an unregenerate (non-Christian). He does not accept that the "natural man" is one who looks through carnal eyes rather than spiritual. He rejects that Paul's statement "...I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal..." (3:1) has any relationship, saying it is not part of the context. Two verses separate the two statements. If that is not contextual, I don't know what is! The comparison in 2:14 is "natural man" to "spiritual". Paul's assessment of the Corinthians was that they were not "spiritual people but...carnal". Again, 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.

Note: Those in the Church of Christ make the Pelagian error in that they believe or assume that humanity is basically "good" or morally neutral, and that fallen man has the moral power and ability to save himself through his own obedience to all of the necessary moral and religious requirements of God. Thus, it is the Church of Christ view of the fall (that the effects of the fall were negligible) that is the enabler to their salvation theology of works. By contrast, the Word of God teaches that man is fallen (Romans 3:9-20), that his heart is inclined towards evil (Isa. 64:6), why man cannot save himself (Romans 7:14-20), and why he is in such desperate need of a Savior (Romans 7:21-25). As Romans 5:19 says, "For just as through the disobedience of one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of the one man (Jesus Christ) the many will be made righteous." (See also Romans 3:9-20; 5:10-21; 7:14-25; 8:3-4; Ephesians 2:1-10).

ABRAHAM ON FAITH AND WORKS

My friend is unsettled over my focus on words. For that, I do not apologize. If he can show me the passage that says salvation is by "faith alone", then show it. If not, then get rid of the word 'alone'. Paul says that "...a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." (Romans 3:28). Jason would have us believe that this means "faith alone". Paul's statement excludes justification by obedience to the law of Moses (3:21); it does not exclude justification by obedience to the faith. The law of Moses served as the tutor for the Jews, but now, the faith has been revealed (Galatians 3:23). My opponent and I agree that we must believe before we can be obedient to the faith, however, he desires to put the cart before the horse; teaching that people are saved by faith (alone), before they have obeyed the faith (Acts 6:7; Romans 6:17; Hebrews 5:9).

Note: The context of Romans 3, 4, and 5 is referring to salvation by placing faith upon the person of Jesus Christ (i.e. the object of our faith), not through our own 'faithful obedience' to the body of Christian Truth as Mr. Stewart asserts. Members of the Church of Christ will often insert 'obedience to the Christian faith' into salvation by faith in Christ passages to support their presupposition of works for salvation. However, there is no evidence to support this here in the context of Romans 3, 4, or 5, or anywhere else in Scripture. Consider the following passages: "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all and upon all who believe" (Romans 3:22); "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood" (Romans 3:25); "(God is) just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26); "to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness" (Romans 4:5). So once again, a person is saved by placing faith in the person of Christ, not by our 'faithfulness' to all the necessary moral and religious requirements of the New Testament as the Church of Christ asserts.

Jason is correct, Abraham's faith was accounted to him for righteousness (Gnesis 15:6) before he offered Isaac to the Lord (Genesis 22). In fact, it was before he was circumcised (Romans 4:10-12). Let me ask, was Abraham's faith accounted to him for righteousness before or after he had obeyed the Lord? The Hebrew writer tells us, "By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8; cf. Genesis 12:1-5).

Note: Scripture is very clear that Abraham was not justified before God by anything he did, but rather because he believed God's promise in regards to a son- "If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about- but not before God. What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it (his faith) was credited to him as righteousness." The apostle Paul makes the same argument when he asks the rhetorical question in Romans 4 as it relates to obeying the command to be circumcised: "Under what circumstances was it (righteousness) credited? Was it AFTER he was circumcised, or BEFORE? It was not after, BUT BEFORE! And he (Abraham) received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still UNCIRCUMCISED. So then he is the father of all who believe." (Romans 4:11). Thus, Abraham was working from his faith, not working to "attain" to faith.


CALVINISM AND "FAITH ALONE"

Mr. Peacock charges me with "...turning this debate into Calvinism vs. Arminianism..." Being neither a Calvinist nor an Arminiam, I would have no interest in such a discussion. Further, may I remind Jason that he, being in the affirmative, devoted 20 percent of his first essay to total hereditary depravity rather than "faith alone". In return, I focussed 20 percent of my first essay to answering his false Calvinistic doctrine.

Jason agrees that one must accept or reject, as a package, the five points of Calvinism. Since he proceeds to give 'proof' for total depravity, I'll assume he accepts all five points. Therefore, rather than employing any more time on Calvinism in this present debate, I would be happy to discuss the points of Calvinism, one by one, with Mr. Peacock in a series of written debates.

Note: Although Mr. Stewart may not realize it, he is correct in saying that he is neither a Calvinist or Arminian, or a "free-will" type. Those in the Church of Christ make the Pelagian error assuming that man is basically "good" or morally neutral and that by his own ability he can save himself through his own cooperation and obedience to all of the necessary moral and religious commands and laws of God, or in other words by 'New Testament Law-keeping'. Again, the Church of Christ view of the fall (i.e. that the effects of Adam's sin were negligible to the rest of the human race) is the enabler to their salvation theology of works. By contrast, the Word of God teaches that because of Adam's sin, the entire human race is fallen, that man's heart is inclined towards evil, that he cannot save himself by the principle law-keeping, and therefore why he is in such Great need of a Savior (Isa. 64:6; Romans 3:9-20; 5:10-21; 7:14-25; 8:3-4; Eph. 2:1-10). Here those in the Church of Christ might be surprised to learn that BOTH Calvinists and Arminians believe in the doctrine of the fall AND the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. However, what is actually debated between Calvinists and "free-will" types is not the dynamics of the fall, nor the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, but rather how resistible God's grace is to man- i.e. the doctrine of election. Here the point of contention is that, if God calls you, must you respond positively to His gospel, or in the final analysis does man reserve the ability within himself to reject God and salvation and thus be eternally lost and condemned? At this point the Arminian will say yes to "free-will", while the Calvinist answers no. 

REPENTANCE, OBEDIENCE AND JUSTIFICATION

Jason continues to place the cart before the horse, affirming that we are justified before we either repent of our sins or obey the Lord's command to be saved. He supports his position, not with Scripture, but by saying, "...it only is logical..." and again, "...this is common sense..." Mr. Peacock's logic eludes me.

My friend's problem is that he wants to place salvation at the point of faith. We have no disagreement on the necessity of faith. The Bible clearly tells us it is needed (Hebrews 11:6). However, what Jason has been unable to show us from the Bible is that justification results from "faith alone", preceding repentance and obedience. If he will show me from the Bible that justification precedes repentance and obedience, I will believe it.

Jason makes the statement, "...if it is true genuine saving faith it will produce repentance and obedience..." Indeed, genuine faith will produce repentance and obedience, however, salvation is not realized until after repentance and obedience (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Hebrews 5:9). Someone cannot stand justified before God while still dead in sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). It is necessary that we repent (2 Corinthians 7:10) and be obedient to the gospel (1 Peter 4:17), that we might be forgiven of our sins and thus stand justified before the Lord.

Note; Those in the Church of Christ will agree that 'salvaition is by faith in Christ', however, what they mean is that faith produces the necessary works of obedience that are required for salvation. Here, while they will be very careful to claim that these commands do not in any way earn salvation, there are nevertheless 'necessary works of God' that are required before salvation can be granted. For to Church of Christ members, the requirements of water baptism and confession are no less important than that of belief and repentance (understood as 'self-reformation'). However, while this may seem to be a subtle difference from the biblical doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ, it is in fact a most critical difference. A person who has genuinely received salvation will produce good works because of regeneration and being born-again, and the difference between a "living faith" from a "dead faith" in James 2:14-16 is the presence of good works in the life of the believer, not the requirement of works. So don't be fooled or misled in the distinction that is being made. While it is faith in Jesus Christ as YOUR ONLY SAVIOR that saves a person, genuine faith in Christ will nevertheless because of regeneration produce the fruit or the result of good works in the life of the believer. To say that 'good works are a necessary precondion for salvation' is to make salvation a work of the believer rather than on the finished work of Jesus Christ.

JAMES ON FAITH AND WORKS

In response to Jason's brief comments:

  • We agree that James is talking with people who have faith,
  • We agree that true justifying faith produces good deeds,
  • We agree that a faith without works will not justify,
  • Comments on Philippians 2:13 under MR. PEACOCK'S FAVOURITE PASSAGES.

 

In his first essay, Jason wrote, "Mr. Stewart, you might think that James is saying faith and works together justify..." As I said before, I say again, I plead guilty. Will you likewise agree with the Bible writer and plead guilty to your own charge? James asked the question, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" (2:14). Throughout the text, emphasis is placed upon the answer:

  • "...faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." (2:17)
  • "...do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" (2:20)
  • "...a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (2:24)
  • "...as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (2:26)

Note: When interpreting James chapter 2, the Churches of Christ often read a number of assumptions into the passage. These assumptions will include: Justification by faith alone is a false doctrine, that it was an error taught even in the first century, and that James was speaking out against it even then. However what Churches of Christ fail to consider is that salvation by faith alone was taught in the early church, but unfortunately some confusing salvation by faith alone with salvation by mere intellectual assent alone, and some were deceiving themselves thinking they were saved simply because of a superficial profession of faith and a casual acceptance of the truths of the Christian faith. In light of this we can certainly understand why James would see a need to challenge those who believe we are saved by mere intellectual assent. Starting in verse 14 he writes: "What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds: Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, "God in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead." So the point made by James, but lost by the Churches of Christ is that if good works are not being shown or demonstrated in your life, you had better go back and check your faith. For true faith in Christ, as opposed to dead faith or mere intellectual assent, will show and demonstrate itself by good works.

The only instance where my friend will find the phrase "faith alone" (actually "faith only" in the Bible is in James 2:24. However, James does not support Jason's proposition, but negates it. James says, "...not by faith only..."

Note: Earlier we mentioned Romans 4 and that while there may be "works" justification before men, there isn't a "works" justification 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, the only way a man can be justified before God is by faith. However, there is another point that needs to be made as it relates to the words 'faith' and 'only' in James 2:24. The NKJV reads: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." The Greek word translated 'only' here is 'monon', which is an adverb. Adverbs modify adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs. Adverbs do not modify nouns; Adjectives modify nouns. We know that the word 'only' in this verse is an adverb (monon) and not an adjective (monhs) since the Greek has different forms for each. The point is that the Greek adverb "only" (monon) does not modify the noun "faith" since that word would have been monhs. As an adverb, however, it does modifies the verb 'justified' implied in the second clause ('and not only justified by faith'). In other words, we might paraphrase the context of James 2:24 in this way: 'You see then that a man is justified by works, and not only (justified) by faith.' Once again 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 first type is before God; the second type is before men.


GRACE THROUGH FAITH ... NOT OF WORKS

In response to the analogy in my first essay, Jason says "...God chooses us...", providing Ephesians 1:11 as support. I thought Jason didn't want this to turn into a discussion of Calvinism. Yet HE brought up Total Hereditary Depravity, and now introduces Unconditional Election into the discussion. Perhaps we can address that topic in a future discussion?

Oddly, Mr. Peacock's statement has absolutely nothing to do with my analogy. The analogy dealt with a free gift, not predestination. I asked if it is possible to receive an undeserved gift, and yet have to DO something to receive it. The illustration presented a man giving his son the gift wrapped keys to a new car. Note, the young man must:

  • Unwrap the keys;
  • Read the enclosed note to determine where the car is located;
  • Secure transportation to the car dealer's lot;
  • Inquire at the dealership where the car is parked;
  • Go to the car.

Did the car cease to be a gift? Did he earn the car by the things he DID? Jason avoided these questions, choosing rather to point out some 'flaws' in my application of the analogy. He contends that the analogy fails to acknowledge the sovereignty of God. As I have said, I fully accept the sovereignty of God; what I reject is the puppetry of man. Jason rejects man's free will (Deuteronomy 30:19) and God's desire that all men be saved (2 Peter 3:9), calling it sovereignty. The Bible speaks of God's sovereignty, but does not turn God into a puppet master as Jason does. His position is nothing more than Calvinism creeping back into his affirmative argument on "faith alone".

Again, God has offered the gift of salvation. We do not deserve it. By no amount of works can we earn it. However, God demands our obedience in order that we might receive it (Romans 6:17). Our obedience does not nullify God's gift, it secures it for us.

Note: The work necessary to provide salvation was fully accomplished by Jesus Christ alone. Though He was God, He left the glories of heaven to become a person, He lived a perfect life, died on the cross, received in His body ALL of God's wrath, anger, and righteous indignation for our sin, was buried, and He rose again- thus conquering death. God's promise is that every person who believes in Jesus will not perish but has everlasting life. Here we agree with Mr. Stewart that salvation is conditional and that God does not save everyone. However, contrary to what the Church of Christ teaches, the one condition for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ. In John 6:28 the people asked Jesus what they could do to please God: 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus immediately points them to faith: 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.' So to the question about what are God's (plural) requirements, Jesus' (singular) answer is that we believe in Him. Grace is about God giving us something as a gift we cannot earn or deserve. According to Romans 11:6 ('And if by grace then it is no longer of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace') works of any kind destroys grace. Here the contrast is being made that while workers labor for wages, those who are the recipient of an item by grace receive it only the basis of a gift, unearned.
 
* * *
"...Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness." Romans 4:4-5  

CONCLUSION

I was delighted to see Jason confess in his closing remarks, "...it was a mistake on my part to defend the presupposition that faith alone saves us..." I appreciate his honesty in this regard, and hope that he will set aside this false doctrine in exchange for God's plan to save man. Indeed, faith is essential for salvation, but not exclusive. The Bible reveals many things that work together for our salvation; several provided by God to make salvation possible, others are man's response to God's wonderful gift. Surely we can see that the New Testament does not teach that one is saved by "faith alone".

The context of why Jason believes it 'may have been a mistake on his part' to defend the proposition of salvation by faith alone had nothing to do with what he continues to believe the Word of God teaches, but rather it was in regards to some of the problems he encountered defending the proposition of salvation by faith alone. Those in the Church of Christ are often quite masterful at confusing and distorting the issues being discussed, and in the context of what Mr. Jason writes, he simply acknowledges that, given the dynamics of the debate, it may have been easier, though doctrinally wrong, to argue the negative's position.

Endnotes:

  1. Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pp. 513, 666