Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gold nugget in Galatians 3:9 (Sola Fide)

I came across a 'gold nugget' while researching information for a bigger project that I wanted to share. I noticed it when reading the famous "Abraham believed God and [his faith] was reckoned as righteousness" in Galatians 3, which many overlook since they're so fixated on reading this in Romans 4. Here is how Paul recounts the passage in Galatians 3,
5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? [Gen 15:6] 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” [Gen 12:1-3; Heb 11:8] 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
What this Protestant translation (ESV) and various other modern Protestant translations 'hide' (not sure if it's intentional) is that in verse 9 when it says "along with Abraham, the man of faith," the more accurate rendering of this verse is "along with faithful Abraham". See this list of standard translations and note how the more literal and older versions are more accurate.

This, to me, is a significant translation error, because verse 9 uses two different Greek words for 'faith' here: pistis (faith, G4102) and pistos (faithful, G4103). The words are extremely similar and they derive from the same Greek word for 'trust', but the point here is that though different they are being used the same. Why does this matter? Because Protestants insist "faith" in this context, especially for Abraham, is an 'empty hand' that has no intrinsic value, but simply 'reaches' and takes hold of the "righteousness of Christ". Though that Protestant notion of faith is totally novel (with no basis in Scripture, cf Heb 11:6) and read right into the text, this Protestant idea is further refuted by the fact Paul employs (see Gal 3:9b KJV) the term "faithful" instead of "faith". The term "faithful" is synonymous with "faith" in Paul's thought here, and it's plainly ridiculous to suggest "faithful" can mean faith is an 'empty hand'. So what Paul is saying, and this fits perfectly with the Catholic understanding, is "those who are of faith are justified along with faithful Abraham," which is not the sort of "faith" that Protestants can accept.

The significance of this seems to be missed in the various Protestant commentaries I've consulted, but this is understandable since it's easy to overlook (particularly when a poor translation is used).

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sola Fide dilemma: When did Abraham turn 100 years old?

I've come upon another argument that I believe further turns up the heat on Protestants claiming Romans 4 as their own. Though many don't realize it, Protestants basically 'tune out' after verse 8 in Romans 4, treating the rest of the chapter as an appendage. I've already written extensively about the horrendous exegesis Protestants have for Romans 4:1-8, so I wont go into that now. Instead, I'm going to focus on Romans 4:16-22,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Were Saints Justin Martyr and Pope Clement really Christians?

I am currently in the process of writing one of my most important articles on Sola Fide, and as I was doing some research I came across an astounding facepalm quote in a well respected Protestant dictionary. The TDNT speaking on imputation says this about Romans 4:3-8:
Justin Dialogue 141.2-3 rather misses the point when he suggest that repentance is the ground of nonimputation (cf. Faith in 1 Clem. 10.6).
This is a polite way of saying Saint Justin and Saint Clement totally misunderstood and botched a fundamental text of salvation (Rm 4:3ff). Upon tracking down those two quotes, I felt it worth making a short post about it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The importance of 70AD for Christianity - Was Revelation actually the first NT Epistle?

I have come to truly appreciate the relevance of the year 70AD. This date is most popularly associated with the year the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed for the second time (and has never been rebuilt to this day). I have posted on this subject tangentially in the past on a post I made about Judaism. For anyone who takes the Bible and Christianity seriously, it cannot be seen as an insignificant event in Salvation History for the Temple to be destroyed (2 Kings 25:8-9; Jer 21:10; Jer 26:18; Mich 3:12 - and see these Church Father quotes). We often forget that God still directs the events of history, and instead tend to think God only interacted with Israel and the Church during Biblical times, after which He left man alone. That latter view is called Ecclesial Deism, and it must be rejected.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why identifying the Papacy with the Antichrist is an "essential" doctrine of Protestantism.

Over at the Called To Communion blog, Dr David Anders (who is one of the most solid converts in recent memory) wrote an article called Why Protestants Need the Antichrist. I highly encourage you to read the article and subscribe to CTC's feed. The thesis of the article is how some Protestants (not all!) have shifted their historical world-view from that of a restored Gospel to a developed Gospel. The tough part about the restoration thesis is that the Protestant must necessarily approach Christianity from an anti-intellectual standpoint, essentially ignoring Christian history from approximately the Apostolic Age up until the (Pretend) Reformation. Since this doesn't sit well with the more educated class, the "alternative" is essentially that of the classical Liberal Protestant thesis, which holds that the Gospel truths developed over time, right up to today. While classical Liberal Protestants went so far as to suggest doctrines such as Christ's Divinity were developments from primitive Christianity, this (rightly) doesn't sit well with many modern Liberal Protestants (i.e. Evangelicals) today, who thought that took "scholarship" too far. Instead, these Evangelicals felt there had to be some way to not ignore Christian history, yet still ignore or downplay the very unProtestant (and very Catholic) looking historical facts.