Evidently they now share a blog! Now that’s just what was needed, another blog! There’s a definite shortage, wouldn’t you agree? 🙂
Sadly, things have started off on the wrong foot (which isn’t overly surprising, given the documented track record we’ve provided over the past few months). Alexander decided to attempt to respond to the Sola Fide entry immediately below. I am so thankful to discover that Reformed folks believe we are justified by faith as a passive instrument. I mean, I had never thought of such a concept (outside of having discussed it in at least two books, anyway). AtC informs us,
I would like to suggest that White’s claims here reflect a widespread misunder-standing. Faith does NOT justify because it is alone. Rather, God justifies the ungodly only on the basis of their faith. The slogan “sola fide” is not so much a statement about what “kind” of faith justifies, as it is a statement about how we receive God’s gracious gift of justification. White’s mistaken notion actually turns faith into a ground of boasting, since I have a pure faith which qualifies me for justification, whereas the poor Roman Catholic tax collector has an impure faith (mixed with works) which cannot justify.
AtC is a scholar, and scholars are supposed to be able to follow arguments, which involves looking at contexts, etc. Now, my blog entry was prompted by comments by Douglas Wilson on his blog. I was responding, as the context indicates, to the repeated assertion (made by various “Reformed Catholics”) that we are not justified by faith in justification alone, but by faith in Christ. And as I read Wilson’s blog, I noted that the issue that is being missed, especially as it relates to Roman Catholicism and the idea that Roman Catholics are our brothers due to a “valid baptism,” is the fact that saving faith is the work of the Spirit; dead men cannot “work up” true saving faith, but we must be freed from slavery to sin so as to be able to truly believe. The “alone” element of sola fide speaks to the kind of faith that is focused solely upon Jesus Christ, for a faith that is diffused amongst various objects, seeking reward or solace in its various objects, is not the kind of faith created by the Spirit, and is not the kind of faith exercised by the new creation in Christ Jesus. I illustrated this from Romans 4:4-5, a passage that I am hardly alone in having seen as being directly relevant to Rome’s teachings.
Now, one of the things that may well be useful about the combination of authors appearing on this new blog is that we can see how fair and balanced their argumentation really is. How does Alexander respond to this presentation? Did I ever say we are justified by faith because it is alone? No, I didn’t. Would anyone who has read my works think I would say such a thing. Not if they are fair, of course. AtC’s response has almost nothing to do with my actual words. Does AtC touch upon the fact that Romans 4:4-5 does, in fact, speak to the kind of faith that justifies versus that which does not? No. Is there anything I said that could possibly be twisted into the assertion that our faith is a ground of boasting because it is focused solely upon Jesus Christ, and that as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit of God? Again, surely not. Finally, can one imagine the Roman Catholic who is attending Mass, seeking sacramental forgiveness therein, trusting in indulgences, priestly absolution, the merit of his or her penitential works, being likened to the tax collector of Luke 16? What an incredible reversal of the reality that is orthodox Roman Catholic theology! But, in the service of “Reformed Catholicism,” facts are but a small impediment.