Scripture vs. the Catholic Church:Faith vs. Works

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8
Faith is an act of man. (CCC 154)

BFHU: Once again, this is standard Protestant proof texting to make a point without considering how this verse needs to be in harmony with other verses in scripture.  So when we find verses that seem to contradict each other it is our understanding that fabricates the contradiction. Our understanding must be expanded in order to assimilate all of scripture in such a way that contradiction is dissolved. The Ephesian passage is emphasizing a point about GRACE. But as we see in James this was taken to an extreme. It is not Grace OR Works (or acts of man) but it is BOTH GRACE and WORKS together.


James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder               (Are the demons saved by Faith alone?)                                                                            20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and NOT by faith alone.

2 Responses

  1. The phrase ‘faith alone’ only appears once in the entirety of Scripture (not counting where Martin Luther added it in). This is in James 2:24, where it says, “See how a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” If the only time a phrase appears in Scripture is in the negative, why would you make it a central doctrine of your faith?
    Besides this, there is Matthew 7:21. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” This clearly argues against the Protestant belief that professing Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior will guarantee salvation and that works do have bearing on one’s salvation.

  2. The full second chapter adds quite a bit to the faith and works argument. In verse 19 i think it is important to distinguish between believe and faith in the way it is used in the post. On a lighter note…i just read an entire argument for faith alone that used quotes from James to show that both Paul and James are in agreement on “faith alone.” They happened to leave out James 2:24. Odd.

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