Can “Faith Alone” Really Save Us?
Preached Works Righteousness on Sunday. That is, I took permission from Brother James to emphasize the importance of acting on our faith in addition to merely reflecting on it. We place such a high value on education and theology in some circles that our Christian life can get pretty academic. And I love that “academic” is a word denoting great study on the one hand but also can imply “a distinction without a difference” as in: “the point you are adding to the conversation is merely an academic one.” Ouch. James would love it.
Nobody is more apt to fall into this too-heady mode than a pastors who spend much time in classrooms and love to read and write above so much else. We can get to picturing faith as a series of correct thoughts. Orthodoxy becomes our prime concern.
Mission Trips are a great remedy!
So Sunday we celebrated Genesis Church’s participation at many levels; none convenient or easily planned and scheduled. Works aren’t supposed to be easy. They help get us out of our too-safe avenues of discipleship.
Martin Luther hated the book, and the church Fathers considered omitting James from the canon, because James is just so hard-headed on this matter: Faith without works is dead! I tried to put a positive spin on his message with a different title, but was reminded by a parishioner that James’ point was precisely that: correct words aren’t the most important thing! Doing something is.
I think most of us already know it.
I have friends from childhood, college and on who may have at one time been active in a faith community but no longer are. Many who might consider themselves Post-Christian or even atheist. Church is nowhere on their schedule or list of concerns (other than as a problematic bastion of backwards political thinking and archaic notions about life).
They would consider this entire post about balancing our concerns “academic” in that Christianity constantly fusses with irrelevant notions. Other than as a relic of their past or a tie with their parents and childhood, Christianity has failed to make a difference for Good. They mostly applaud mission work but resent the conversionist approach. They say we can indeed be Good Without God. Right thinking is utterly debatable and much more controversial. So why even go there?
The reformers from 500 years ago, reacting to what they felt was over emphasis on indulgences, priestly authority, and certain worship practices wanted to make sure we held this thought: We are saved by faith alone. There is obviously much to be said about “saved”! Still…
Is it true? How is it true or not? Are we really saved by Faith Alone?
I’d love to hear your response. Take a minute to get I.D. and email cleared by posting here, then you can join in Faith Biscuit conversations readily at any time…