Monday, December 14, 2009

Faith, Works, and Justification

Dan McCartney's excursus on "Faith, Works, and Justification in James and Paul," is currently available online. Scroll down to excursus.

HT: Rhology

1 comment:

  1. This is actually very good. Thanks for posting it. He makes a good case. In the end it comes down to a choice. Either you interpret Rom 3:28 as absolute and work to make James 2:24 fit or you do it the other way around. On some level both work. Then to know the truth you need something outside scripture.

    I do think he has a fe difficulties. First that he sees the faith James refers to as a false faith. That is problematic in verse 22 when James says of Abraham, "You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did". So the faith James is talking about is savific if coupled with works but it is not savific if not. A false faith does not qualify.

    The other thing is the word "justify". He simply say it must not MEAN justify. But he fails to justify his statement. He says the tense does not refer to future justification. That kind of begs the question. Can justification be ongoing? Then he says Abraham and Rahab were not justified by their works. Again it begs the question. Can people participate, by God's grace, in their own justification?

    So he tries to make sense of it but at the end of the day the words in the text don't quite fit.

    I liked when he said "This does not mean that works somehow turn
    faith into a living faith". I thought that is a really good way to explain the Catholic position. We are saved by living faith which is a faith that is expressed in the physical world as well as the spiritual dimension. That physical expression is called works. Not works of the law but works of grace.