Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Luther: Grace is justified by Faith alone


By Hanno

I'm reading my friend Dr. Gimbel's book on Einstein's Jewish Science, and in discussing Martin Luther's view of Christianity  he quotes the following from Luther:
Therefore it is clear that, as the soul needs only the word of God for its life and Righteousness, so it is justified by faith alone and not any works; for if it could be justified by anything else, it would not need the Word, and consequently, it would not need faith.
Gimbel takes that to mean, as is usual, that for Luther, Faith is sufficient for God's Grace.  It is clear Luther means to entail that no works justify Grace.  God's Grace, ("Life and Righteousness") do not come from anything you do, but from faith.  But there is an argument presented here, and I'm not sure it does what Luther wants it to do.

First, lets take a look at the conclusion of the argument:  The soul needs only the word of God for its life and righteousness.  Let me use '->' to symbolize the material conditional. 'Only' reverses the order of the conditional, so as written, the claim is:  R -> W, meaning that the word is a necessary condition for salvation, righteousness, Grace.  If the soul only needs  the word for salvation, the Word is a necessary condition.  If you have life and righteousness, then you must have the Word, since it is only through the Word that you can have life and Righteousness.

It follows, according to Luther, that the soul is justified by faith alone, and not any works.  He gives an argument.  If it could be justified by anything else, it would not need the Word.  This is straightforward:  A -> ~W.  And if it does not need the Word, it does not need Faith:  ~W -> ~F.  But it needs faith.  F.  Therefore, it does not need anything else.  ~A.

So then we have the following premises:

A -> ~W
~W -> ~F
F

It certainly follows from that second argument

W

by Modus Tollens, and

~A

By Modus Tollens as well.  If you need Faith, nothing else is sufficient on its own.  So you need the Word, and nothing else.
What does not follow is that Faith or the Word is sufficient for Grace.  It only follows that nothing else is sufficient.  For the Word to be sufficient, he would need

W -> R

to be entailed by the premises, but it is not.  He has defended that Faith is necessary for Grace, but not that it is sufficient.  Why couldn't it be that you have Faith, but still are not give Grace?  Yet that is the conclusion he wants to draw:  it is justified by faith alone.  This simply does not follow from any premise given.  "As the soul needs only the word of God for its life and Righteousness"  does not entail "it is justified by faith alone and not any works."

3 comments:

Gary said...

Many Reformed Protestants, including Baptists and evangelicals, are under the impression that the Reformation began due to a dispute over the Doctrine of Salvation. They are wrong. The first episode of the Protestant Reformation...the LUTHERAN Reformation...was not about Salvation...it was about Satisfaction.

Let me explain.

The Catholic Church in the early 1500's was teaching that in order for a Christian to enter heaven, he had to be purified of the sins which he had committed after his salvation; and for the overwhelming majority of catholic Christians of that era, salvation had occurred in their infant Baptism. There were very few adult converts to Christianity in that time, as had been the case in the Early Church. All of Europe had been Christian for hundreds of years.

During the preceding centuries, the Church in Rome had come up with the false teaching that Christ did not make satisfaction for ALL of your sins when he died on the cross. Christ only made satisfaction for original sin, the sin you inherited from your Grandfather Adam. All sins committed after salvation were YOUR responsibility. You needed purification of these "post-salvation" sins in order to enter heaven as "perfect"...sinless. So, from a few vague passages of Scripture, the Church of Rome came up with the concept of Purgatory; a place for Christians, in which their souls are purified by fire: a place where Christian souls burn to pay for their "post-salvation" sins. Once you have spent an adequate amount of time paying for your sins in the flames of Purgatory, you then get released and allowed into heaven.

In the early 1500's, the Pope was building his grand, luxurious palace in Rome, St. Peter's Basilica. Someone came up with a brilliant idea: Let's sell indulgences! Let's tell the Christian people that they can give money to the Church in exchange for the forgiveness of the temporal punishment for post-salvation sins. Translation: Give money to the Pope, and he will reduce your time in Purgatory! The money started pouring in! If you had the money, you would have been foolish not to shell out some cash to the Church to cut down the number of years that you would be roasting in Purgatory on your own personal "Purgatory spit", right?
Continued here:
http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/10/the-lutheran-reformation-was-about.html

Steve Finnell said...

YOU DIDN'T BELIEVE THAT

Do believers who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the only Son of God believe because they heard the gospel preached and believed of their own free-will or because God forced them to believe it?

The proponents of the five points of Calvinism make the point that a believer in Jesus only believes because of "Irresistible grace." In other words "You didn't believe that," God believed it for you.

"Irresistible grace:" This doctrine, also called "efficacious grace", asserts that that saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved. The doctrine holds that this purposeful influence of God Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit, "graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ." (Ref:Calvinism-Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

First, if the Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, then it is not free-will. God believed for you. "YOU DIDN'T BELIEVE THAT."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The Calvinistic interpretation of John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, to save a few preselected men and to let the remainder burn in hell for all eternity."

The "grace alone" advocates proclaim that God forced you to believe. Their unspoken motto, "YOU DIDN'T BELIEVE THAT."

John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Why would God judge men who do not believe if the only avenue to belief is through the "irresistible grace" of the Holy Spirit. The non-believers motto would be "I DIDN'T NOT BELIEVE THAT." Their plea would be, "The Holy Spirit did not force me to believe."

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

If "irresistible grace" were factually correct, it would be impossible to disobey God and not believe.

2 Corinthians 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.

The unbelieving have been blinded by the god of this world. God want all men to be saved. If there is "irresistible grace" then Satan could not blind anyone from seeing the light of the gospel. Men choose not to believe, they have free-will.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of GodHe might taste death for everyone.

Jesus died for everyone, not a select few who are saved by so-called "irresistible grace."

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who week Him.

God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
God does not select a certain few who He saves by "irresistible grace."


GRACE ALONE ADVOCATES ARE IN ERROR WHEN THE IMPLY THAT CHRISTIANS "DIDN'T BELIEVE THAT."


YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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