Thursday, June 13, 2024

What standard, if not the standard of the day of judgment?

"Every one of us must answer for himself. We can never be justified or made to feel secure by the practices of others. It is the greatest folly to regulate ourselves by any other standard than that by which we shall be judged." (Henry Scougal, in Robin Taylor, ed., The Life Of God In The Soul Of Man [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2022], approximate Kindle location 703)

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

More About The Name Statistics Argument

Luuk van de Weghe and Jason Wilson recently published an article furthering the argument for the historicity of the gospels and Acts based on name statistics. Here's a short video Michael Jones recently produced about that article, and here's a longer one by Than Christopoulos.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

What type of justification through works?

Critics of Protestantism often appeal to the popularity of justification through works among pre-Reformation sources as an argument against justification through faith alone. There's some merit to that argument, but it's often overestimated. The significance of the Biblical evidence is often underestimated, along the lines of what I've referred to elsewhere. And the amount of support for justification through works among the extrabiblical sources is often exaggerated.

Another point that should be made, which isn't made often enough, is that the extrabiblical sources who advocate justification through works widely disagree in what form of it they advocate. I've provided many examples with regard to what might be called initiatory rites, for example (baptism, the laying on of hands, anointing with oil, etc.). See here. And there was widespread disagreement about the issues surrounding whether justification can be lost and, if so, which sins are mortal. Think, for example, of what Hermas wrote about the concept of limited forgiveness or limited penance (The Shepherd, Visions, 2:2). Or see the post here for further examples. In the medieval era, think of Pope Boniface VIII's claim in 1302 that "it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff" (Unam Sanctam).

It could be objected that people have also disagreed about what type of faith is justificatory. But justification through works includes faith alongside the works, so the same objection can be raised against justification through works. And proponents of justification through works disagree with each other about the nature of the works that justify, just as people disagree about the nature of justifying faith. When you add something to faith, whatever that something else is, you have a more complicated situation. And there have been many something elses added over the years, with widespread disagreements from the earliest centuries onward about what those something elses should be. So, the appeal to an alleged unified opposition to sola fide is weakened accordingly.