Thursday, December 13, 2012

A simple but helpful diagram

John Gertsner, in an appendix ("Rome NOT Home: A Response to Scott and Kimberly Hahn's Rome Sweet Home"),  in the excellent book, Justification by Faith Alone, edited by Don Kistler, on pages 172-173, has a very helpful but simple diagram that lets us see the issue of the doctrine of justification by faith alone clearly.

The book has good chapters by John McArthur, R. C. Sproul, Joel Beeke, John Gertsner, and John Armstrong.

1.  Biblical/Protestant View:

Faith  =  Justification + works

2.  Roman Catholic View:

Faith + works  =  Justification

3.  Antinomian / Easy Believe -ism View  (what Trent and RCC mis-understood and thought Luther and Reformers were saying)

Faith  =   Justification  - works

(Note: in the book, the diagrams have arrows, but I could not figure out how to make arrows, so I had to use the equal (=) sign.)  The arrow seems to communicate, "leads to".  So true faith in Christ alone for salvation leads to justification, resulting also in good works.  And the Roman Catholic view is that one must have faith as an adult, and that includes that one must believe in the 1854, 1870, and 1950 dogmas, since they are "de fide" (part of the doctrines of the faith that one must believe .  If one is an infant with RC parents, one must be baptized as a baby and that is called "initial justification", but that can be lost, so there must be good works of penance, indulgences, confession to the priest, giving alms, being a good Roman Catholic, going to mass, etc. and keeping it up and loosing it and gaining it back (the treadmill of sacramentalism) until, maybe, Lord willing, one dies in a "state of grace", but even then, every R.C.  has to go through Purgatory, since nobody is sinless.  No R.C. ever knows if he is justified or not or if they can have peace or assurance of his/her salvation.  According to one article I read a while back, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine and other RCs since Trent have said that the greatest Protestant heresy was "assurance"!!  The Antinomian view means that faith leads to justification with no works or fruit as a necessary result. John McArthur's 2 books, The Gospel according to Jesus and  The Gospel according to the apostles  (originally it was titled, "Faith Works:  The Gospel according to the Apostles") are two excellent works that refute the antinomian or "easy believism" view.


James Swan said...

Hey Ken!

This book has an interesting history... If I recall, it's been revised and John Armstrong has been removed:

I'm working off memory here. I recall a friend of mine having both editions. It's been about 5 years though, so perhaps my recollection isn't accurate.

James Swan said...

" According to one article I read a while back, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine and other RCs since Trent have said that the greatest Protestant heresy was "assurance"!!"

And what's interesting to me, is that if you work through those writers contemporary to Luther in his early battles [1518-1525], most of them were far more concerned about Luther's view on the Pope's authority than they were justification.

"One of the more surprising aspects of the Catholic response is that the controversy concerning justification by faith alone constituted such a small part of the literature that it must be ranked with the treatment of such topics as monastic vows and the cult of the saints." [David V.N. Bagchi, Luther's Early Opponents: Catholic Controversialists 1518-1525 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), p. 159].

Ken said...

I didn't know they revised the book and took John Armstrong out - though I had heard that he softened his stance against Rome.

The content of his chapter seems good; so I guess they took him out because he later adopted some kind of view similar to the New Perspective on Paul and softened to not calling RC a false church with a a false gospel. ( I think)

I thought was Armstrong wrote on dikoaw in Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35 was very good to show the meaning of James 2:14-16 - that it means "proved right" or "vindicate". (page 163 of my edition)

Ken said...

Did they get someone else to write Armstrong's chapter?


I thought what Armstrong wrote on dikiaow δικαιοω

in Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:35 was very good to show the meaning of James 2:14-16 - that it means "proved right" or "vindicate". (page 163 of my edition).

Nick said...

If the book explains or summarizes the doctrine in terms of,

Faith --> Justification + Works
Faith + Works --> Justification

then I think these authors have grossly oversimplified the debate. These terms (Faith, Works, Justification) are understood differently and even used differently in Scripture. If that's indeed what this book says, I doubt the book even gave a Biblical look at what "Faith" means.

Ken said...

If you read the whole book, along with McArthur's two books that I referenced, you might begin to understand.

However, seeing your other articles on Sola Fide and logizomai, and that you have read some works of Protestants on Justification, etc.; it appears that you don't understand how those diagrams do summarize and are a helpful diagram of the Biblical issues. My title says "simple", but it is not an "oversimplification" - the three views communicate the issues clearly from a Protestant and Biblical viewpoint.

The reason why it seems to simple for a Roman Catholic is because your church has too many complicated traditions of man added onto the gospel - like penance, priests as alter Christus, ex opere operato priestly powers, the treasury of merit, mortal sins vs. venial sins, baptismal regeneration, loss of grace and salvation by mortal sin, purgatory, prayers to saints and especially all the Mary stuff; indulgences, alms as gaining merit for salvation, participation in the mass; and ability to get grace from trafficking in relics, submission to the Pope, obligation to believe in the dogmas of 1854, 1870, and 1950 in order to have "faith" in the RCC sense, etc.

Because your church has added all that stuff to the gospel, it seems "oversimplified" to you, but it is not.

Ken said...

The reason why it seems too simple for a Roman Catholic . . .

Jessie Lange said...

Ahh, I see it all now. I see Scott Han's conversion story to Roman Catholicism for what it really is. In a nutshell, the Hahn family mysteriously received a "revelation" or "new enlightenment" from God and they finally "understood" Scripture from the "correct perspective". But we know not to trust the person who has that kind of experience. Scott Hahn even claims that he stumped Protestant professors with his "new found" knowledge. The Hahn family made a conversion based solely on their emotions, not for the sake of Scriptural truth. The gospel of Romanism attracted Scott and Kimberly Hahn because they had "itching ears" to suit their own passions. They lost their salvation when they became united with that self-help, humanistic gospel.