Ecumenism and Abortion

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Anti-abortionists protesting the world's oldest anti-abortion organization.

Introduction

Roman Catholics and Protestants disagree on many doctrinal matters. While these are often important, I am not considering either side’s view’s dogma here. What matters for this article is not whether these disagreements are justified, or who is on the correct side – but whether or not it is OK for these two groups to work together on something both sides can agree upon: the need to end human abortion.

While Catholics are more than willing to work side-by-side with Protestants to end abortion, the reverse is often not the case. It is this issue I wish to write about today, specifically in response to the kind of thinking represented by writers like Justin Edwards at Airo (who thinks partnering with the ecumenical anti-abortion powerhouse 40 Days for Life is sinful, deceitful, and a stumbling block), Jon Speed at Crown Rights (who says Catholicism’s moral loopholes are in conflict with the Word of God), or Toby Harmon at Abolish Human Abortion (who does not think Catholics are Christians “at all”*).

While I understand that these writer’s have a strong aversion to Catholic theology, their divisive reaction to partnering for the sake of saving the lives of the unborn is simply baffling to me. If abortion truly is murder, then what these people are saying is tantamount to arguing that only evangelical Christians should be allowed to stop murders from occurring! Even if Rome’s gospel were utterly false, how would that detract from the efficacy of its Pro-Life stance and actions throughout history?

I am no expert on these matters (I have to remain behind the scenes when it comes to abortion activism, because I am quite sure violence would ensue if I got too close to an abortion clinic or militant pro-abortionists), but it seems to me just obviously false that the conclusions reached by these folks are even coherent. Thus, for any who might be  thinking along their lines, I offer a brief summary of the history and state of the Christian pro-life movement and some suggestions for moving forward.

History and State of the Christian Pro-Life Movement

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A.D. 30 – 1973 (Catholics)

From first century sources on up to today, the Christian Church has forbid abortion (which was commonplace even in early pagan culture). Continuously and to this day both the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church teach that abortion is murder. Before Roe v. Wade, the pro-life (“right-to-life”) movement was almost entirely Catholic (in fact the only coordinated opposition to abortion came from Catholic organizations), and even after the Roe v. Wade the strongest anti-abortion voice was Catholic (e.g., the National Right to Life Committee). It has been fairly said that the Catholic Church created the right-to-life movement, and it was the Catholic Church that was targeted by the pro-abortion movement:

What paved the way for Roe was NARAL. Founded by Lawrence Lader in 1969, he knew he had to take down the greatest defender of the unborn, the Catholic Church. . . . the original members all agreed that anti-Catholicism was “probably the best strategy we had.” (source)

1973 – Today (Catholics and Some Protestants)

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Sadly, it was not until decades after Roe v. Wade that some conservative Protestant and Evangelical groups became a force in opposition to abortion. Not only did they show up late in the game, they sometimes began on the opposing side (worse, others never left it).

According to Pew Forum, the Southern Baptist Convention today believes that abortion is allowable only in cases where there is a direct threat to the life of the woman. However, according to Randall Herbert Balmer in his book Thy Kingdom Come, the Southern Baptist Convention:

  • originally officially advocated for loosening of abortion restrictions.
  • called for “work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”
  • wrote in the Baptist Press, “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the [Roe v. Wade] Supreme Court Decision.”

Even among more conservative Christians there has been a spotty history. Evangelical scholar Norman Geisler, for example, has argued on both philosophical and biblical grounds that abortion is murder – but this was not his original position. In his widely used 1971 textbook Ethics: Alternatives and Issues, Geisler:

  • stated that, “the one clear thing which the Scriptures indicate about abortion is that it is not the same as murder. . . . [because] an unborn baby is not fully human . . . (Ex. 21:22)” (p. 218).
  • argued that abortion is not murder because life itself has not started and because the embryo is only potentially (or, in some cases “sub-“) human (p. 219).
  • considered babies born of incest to be an instance of the “flowering” of evil (p. 223).
  • concluded that abortion was justifiable for several reasons (therapeutic, eugenic, incestual, etc.).

Despite its rocky start, a significant voice heard from other Christian conservative groups – and this is great news. One must ask, however, why it took them so long to get in the fight, and why the majority of the pro-life movement today remains Catholic. Further, while there are now many in the pro-life movement from non-catholic groups, there remain groups that either ride the fence, or are simply on the wrong side.

The National Association of Evangelicals, for example, opposes abortion on demand but does “not wish to exalt a one-size-fits-all approach to abortion reduction,” and considers abortion permissible in cases of fetal deformity, threat to the health of the mother, or when a pregnancy results from rape or incest. Worse, there are entire mainline Protestant denominations that remain open to abortio, such as the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church (ELCA), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Church of Christ.

Temporal and Eternal Salvation

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It seems to me that if any group has the upper hand in this intramural war over ecumenical abortion activism it is the Catholics – and yet it is they who continue to be willing to join hands with those outside their group in the fight. Maybe the  Johnny-Come-Lately’s of Protestantism and Evangelicalism should re-think their strategy when it comes to this human effort. Dogma, even over salvific issues, should not obscure what is at stake here.

Abortion is an evil, vile act that must be stopped if at all possible. The struggle to save a physical life today and the one to save an soul for eternity will not always exactly overlap.  We can all agree that the gospel is ultimately the answer to the evil of abortion in general. But that does not make it the only answer to a particular abortion that is about to take place.

Eternal  salvation involves a spiritual battle that has many fronts. The abortion clinic sidewalk, on the other hand, may be the last chance these babies have today. It is their life to fight for first. The primary job of the sidewalk counselor, then, should be to act as the last line of defense – to convince a woman to seek alternatives to abortion and save her baby – not to proselytize her. God can do his converting work without letting babies die over confusing doctrinal disputes.

Conclusion

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It must be admitted that there are fanatics and fundamentalists on both sides of this civil war. The question that must be asked is: Do we really need to take the doctrinal battle to the clinic sidewalk for these poor women to see? Angrily proselytizing or fighting each other while women go in to take part in the horror of abortion is both sick and stupid – and it only makes it easier to ignore Christians offering them an alternative choice. Christian disunity has consequences that both sides should fear (John 17), so let’s all get over ourselves.

In the end, if abortion really is murder, then it should be treated in the same way as murder. Evangelical Protestants would happily work with a Catholic (or Mormon, or Atheist) police officer to stop a murderer from killing children, so there should not be a problem working together with Catholics (or Mormons, or Atheists) if it means saving more of the unborn.

This post was written in honor of the birth of my baby girl (and the stealing of my heart) 18 months prior.

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19 thoughts on “Ecumenism and Abortion

  1. Doug, as I alluded to in this post last week: http://airocross.com/2015/08/19/join-your-local-protestpp-event-saturday-august-22-2015/ , the issue is not standing beside Catholics and other religious or non-religious folks in opposing abortion, but doing so under the banner of the God of Scripture and His Gospel.

    On Saturday, I was not standing beside Catholics as one Christian with another, but as American citizens in our common cause to see legalized abortion ended. While standing with these Catholics and other non-Christians in our opposition to abortion, they can also hear why abortion is wrong (it’s murder in opposition to the character of God and His Law), and why the Gospel is the only solution to not only abortion, but also idolatry and all other sin.

    But where we are in agreement in the public square, is that we are amidst a holocaust, and according to justice by the law God has written to all of our hearts, we can together call for its abolition as citizens in the common kingdom in which we co-exist. We just can’t pretend we’re both doing it in the name of Jesus Christ. But we can do it as common men who are both made in the image of God, who both know right and wrong, and who both seek mercy and justice for our neighbors.

  2. There is a third position that you did not mention. It is the position of the Mormons and other groups who might have a like mindset. (They are considered a new dispensation under current Catholic rulings and pronouncements, and so not really Protestant, but I mention it for sake of completeness). Mormons also have no problem working alongside Catholics, and have long done so in a number of arenas over a number of issues involving morality over the years.

    Mormons also vary in their individual opinions but the official view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that abortion is wrong but might be allowed under certain circumstances (rape, incest, threat to life of mother) but that this is only after consultation with leaders in the Church and only after prayer and guidance from God himself. God may, and often does, direct that the baby be kept in spite of circumstances–or so it has been reported by those who have kept their babies and been willing to discuss it. Any other circumstance isn’t allowed and can subject the member to church discipline for procuring, or even assisting in or paying for, an abortion.

    Thought you might like to know if you haven’t already considered it.

  3. What, specifically, makes Catholics non-Christians? The Catholic blend of Christianity preceded your blend of Christianity by well over a thousand years. Catholics gave to the Christian world the Bible and fixed the content of the New Testament as we pretty well know it today. Were it not for Catholics copying and distributing the contents of the Bible, as best they could preserve it considering hand copying and such, you probably would not have the Bible today. At what point in the ancient past did they cease to be Christians somehow?

  4. The commentators cannot even get the number straight between three, five, or even seven solae (“solae” is the proper term, being the Latin plural), depending upon whom you read. None of them were systematically articulated together until the 20th century, although sola fide, sola gratia, and sola scriptura, were the most commonly articulated by the Reformers, (and, if I recall correctly, the ones addressed expressly by the Council of Trent).

    But, let’s take the first “sola” articulated by most of the Reformers at the time preceding and leading up to Trent, that is, sola fide. It might surprise you to note that the earliest Christians also did not hold to any such thing. In fact, it really isn’t even biblical. Except for the margin in Luther’s Bible wherein he wrote-in the word “sola” there isn’t a biblical scripture that uses the phrase “by faith alone.” In fact–and this is the reason why Luther hated the epistle of James so much (he referred to it as the “epistle of straw”)–James explicitly stated against the view. He clearly stated that justification comes “not by faith alone.”

    It is even clearer in the Greek. In fact, James clearly used a word from which we derive our word “synergy” to describe the interaction between faith and deeds in producing justification. For him, as for others, faith was no active force while deeds were passive byproducts of faith like Luther misunderstood the situation to be. Faith and deeds actively work together with each other to produce justification. That is the meaning of synergy. So, are you also saying that James wasn’t a Christian by your relatively modern definition? Not even Paul went so far as to say that we are saved by grace through “faith alone,” which James explicitly denies in writing. In fact, Paul does not use the word “only” or “alone” to describe the kind of faith that saves. Go ahead, take off those reformation glasses and look at the text itself for what it actually says, not what it is redefined to say via interpretation.

    Now, let’s take a look at sola gratia. Again, the earliest Christians did not adhere to such a belief. Even Paul did not go so far as to suggest that it was by grace alone, or where was faith? In fact, the words “grace alone” do not even appear in the biblical text. Again, Luther wrote that into the interpretation of the Bible. A careful reading of the Bible outside of proof-texting also shows this. The very question to Jesus himself was “what good thing shall I do to be saved. Jesus answered with short list of commandments and asked a man to give up all the possessions he had. When the disciples asked who then could be saved, he responded that it was with action (see the Greek of Luke 13:23-24, for example). And again, see James and the above. So, are you also saying that the earliest Christians, including Jesus, really weren’t?

    Finally, let’s take a look at sola scriptura. Do you really think that the earliest Christians held to that view? A very careful reading of the Bible shows otherwise. For instance, Jude quotes from Greek Enoch to make a point (which his “Bible” likely contained at the time). There was no New Testament in the time of the earliest Christians and their Old Testament was the Septuagint, which contained the Deuterocanonicals and Apocrypha. In addition, Paul, while expressing the value of scripture for teaching, etc., also reminded the earliest Christians in his time to remember the traditions handed down to them via the apostles, and used those to remind them of the early teaching. In other words, it wasn’t sola scriptura for the earliest Christians at all, much less most of the Christian world before the latter part of the Protestant Reformation when Bibles began appearing without texts that had been in Bible Old Testaments since the beginning of Christianity!

    So, are you saying that all Christians before the Reformation really weren’t Christians at all? If so, it would be a curious thing. I could go on and discuss this with more depth but I think the point is made enough with the above.

  5. Justin: To say that the Church stopped being what it is when it denied something it never was is incoherent. That’s like saying the Church ceased to be truly Christian when it “began denying” the Book of Mormon or the prophetic ministry of the Watchtower. Per D. Charles Pyle’s comments, a Church that never taught such things can hardly “begin” to deny them until they come into existence to be denied. As with most heresies, it is not until enough people are led astray that the Church feels the need to address them. Thus, the teachings of the Reformation and the teachings of the Council of Trent go hand in hand – and it is quite clear from history which of those teachings really came first.

  6. Doug, my point was, when Roman Catholicism and its adherents began deny grace alone, faith alone, and Scripture alone – that is when they began wearing the badge of heretic. This happened well before the Reformation affirmed these biblical truths.

  7. Justin – I’ll start taking your opinion seriously when you can back it up by telling us when that denial began and then providing historical Church affirmations of your “solae” from before that date.

  8. “the Roman Catholic “Church” is not the Church, but the mother of all harlots” Wow, that’s mighty “Christian” of you.

  9. The RCC is part of Babylon. Read what happens in Revelation 17-20. “Mother of all harlots” or “Mother of all prostitutes” is the apostle John’s term as breathed by the Holy Spirit.

  10. Justin: Revelation 17-20? You mean where John describes the Harlot in the exact same language Scripture uses for Israel/Jerusalem but never for Rome?

    Revelation 17:5-6 “On her forehead was written a name, which is a mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.'”

  11. Isaiah 1:21-26 Jerusalem became a harlot.
  12. Jeremiah 2:20 Israel turned to harlotry.
  13. Ezekiel 16:15 Jerusalem played the harlot.
  14. Hosea 2:5 Israel played the harlot.
  15. Revelation 18:10 “Alas, alas, great city, Babylon, mighty city. In one hour your judgment has come.’”

  16. Revelation 11:8 this “great city” is “where indeed their Lord was crucified (HINT: Not Rome!).
  17. Jeremiah 22:4-8 “If you carry out these commands, kings who succeed to the throne of David will continue to enter the gates of this palace, riding in chariots or mounted on horses, with their ministers, and their people. But if you do not obey these commands, I swear by myself, says the LORD: this palace shall become rubble. . . . Many people will pass by this city and ask one another: Why has the LORD done this to so great a city?’”
  18. Revelation 17:5-6 “I saw that the woman was drunk on the blood of the holy ones and on the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. When I saw her I was greatly amazed.”

  19. Revelation 18:24 24 “In her was found the blood of prophets and holy ones and all who have been slain on the earth.”
  20. Luke 11:47-51 “Woe to you! You build the memorials of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, I will send to them prophets and apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!”
  21. Matthew 23:29-36; 24:34 says the same thing.
  22. Revelation 18:16-17 “Alas, alas, great city, wearing fine linen, purple and scarlet, adorned (in) gold, precious stones, and pearls. In one hour this great wealth has been ruined.”

  23. Exodus 35:30-36:1; 39:1-14 – Same colors as Israel’s priests.
  24. Revelation 18:8, 17 “Therefore, her plagues will come in one day, pestilence, grief, and famine she will be consumed by fire. For mighty is the Lord God who judges herIn one hour this great wealth has been ruined. “Every captain of a ship, every traveler at sea, sailors, and seafaring merchants stood at a distance”

  25. Leviticus 26:15-16, 27-28 “if you reject my precepts and spurn my decrees, refusing to obey all my commandments and breaking my covenant, then . . . if you still persist in disobeying and defying me, I, also, will meet you with fiery defiance and will chastise you with sevenfold fiercer punishment for your sins”
  26. Other passages predicting Jerusalem would be destroyed by fire (Ezekiel 16:2-3, 35, 38, 41; 23:2-4, 17-19, 22-25, 44-47; 19:12, 21:2-3, 22:19-21; Lamentations 2:4 and 4:11)
  27. Revelation 17:18 “The woman whom you saw represents the great city that has sovereignty over the kings of the earth.”

  28. Psalm 2:6-9 ” I myself have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.’ I will proclaim the decree of the LORD, who said to me, You are my son; today I am your father. Only ask it of me, and I will make your inheritance the nations, your possession the ends of the earth. With an iron rod you shall shepherd them, like a clay pot you will shatter them.’ ”
  29. See also Deuteronomy 28:1, 9-10, 13-14, 7:14
  30. Revelation 18:4 “Then I heard another voice from heaven say: Depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues’ “

  31. Ezekiel 37: 26-27 “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My dwelling place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
  32. Hebrews 13:12-14 “Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, to consecrate the people by his own blood. Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach that he bore. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.”
  33. Justin,

    Did you even bother to read my comment about the three solae you press into service to deny the title of Christian to Roman Catholics? James clearly and unmistakably states in no uncertain terms that justification before God is “not by faith alone” (see James 2:24 [22-24]). That is a written denial of sola fide. Was James the brother of Jesus therefore an heretic? Did he cease to be a Christian when he wrote that?

    Paul does not use the phrase “grace alone.” Please proof text us even one scripture passage that actually uses the words “grace alone,” if you can. Not even Paul would go so far as to acknowledge that it was by grace alone, but he wrote “by grace through faith.” If faith is involved it isn’t by grace alone, now is it?
    Please try to look at this logically.

    And, sola scriptura is a principle that contradicts itself and is itself unscriptural when you examine it closely and read the Bible carefully. At the time Jesus taught, he expected the Jews who already had growing collection of scripture to listen to and accept his words as the truth. At the time, his words were outside of scripture and actually were tradition that was compiled in part in the Gospels and in Acts. When Paul was writing his letters, as were others of the authors of the letters to the churches, these letters were not yet part of the Bible (which did not come until later, much later), also being outside of what we now call the Old Testament.

    Paul himself also wrote the following to the Thessalonians:

    “Therefore, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

    “But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6)

    There is no advocacy of sola scriptura in those passages at all.

  34. Thank you Doug and Charles Pyle for your biblical and reasonable arguments. Justin Edwards, void insults only get to lower your views. This is “solo Scripura”: So you see that a person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through faith alone” James 2:24; “Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous” 1 John 3:7; If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing” 1 Cor.13:2

  35. Charles, I’m not going to get bogged down arguing against Catholic dogma and Scripture twisting. You all need to repent and believe the Gospel, trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Turn from your sins, turn from your idolatry, turn from your self-righteous good works, turn from believing you attribute anything to your salvation. The Gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, and Jesus’ righteousness alone is the only thing that can justify you: http://DoYouKnowHim.info

  36. Alfredo, love is me pleading with you to run to Christ so that you might live. He alone is eternal life, and His Spirit alone can cause you to be born again. Call upon His name, in truth, for mercy, and He will save you (Psalm 145).

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

    But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

  37. You’ve already gotten yourself bogged down when you started arguing that Christians cease to be Christians if they don’t observe and believe the unbiblical three solae.

    So, did James cease to be a Christian when he wrote what he did about justification coming “not by faith alone”? You never answered the question. If “Jesus’ righteousness alone is the only thing that can justify you” why did James actually write, “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). So, again, did James cease to be a Christian when he wrote that? Look it up in the Greek. It’s even clearer there. Be sure to examine the context as well rather than explain it all away.

    So, did Jesus cease to be a Christian when, instead of saying “You can be saved only by my grace alone” he told the man who questioned him as to what he must DO to have eternal life to keep the commandments and give away all he had to the poor?

    So, did Paul cease to be a Christian because he didn’t use the phrase “grace alone” in his letters? You never answered the question.

    So, did the earliest Christians cease to be Christians or never were Christians at all because their Bibles contained the Deuterocanonicals and Apocrypha? Were you even aware that Jesus himself taught an idea that appeared first in the book of Tobit? The author of Tobit wrote: “Do not do to others what is hateful to you.” Jesus later paraphrased that and said: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” That substantial teachings of Jesus have parallels to the Book of Enoch (Jesus’ teachings about hell are almost verbatim in that book) or that the author of Hebrews parallels his thoughts in the opening verses with something similar found in the Book of Wisdom? That Jude quoted from an apocryphal work to make a point?

    Were you even aware that there are quotes in the New Testament that come from no existing Old Testament scripture, and which are identified as being the works of prophets by the writers of the Gospels? Even Paul made points in his preaching using quotes from Greek philosophers! Even Paul stressed the importance of following the traditions of the apostles along with scripture! How is that sola scriptura? You never answered the questions and you cannot.

    Sola scriptura is inconsistent with the Bible and the actual practices of the apostles and other Christians of the time.

    Sola gratia wasn’t taught by Jesus or by any other early Christian. If they did, why isn’t the phrase “grace alone” used anywhere? It isn’t in the Greek text, either.

    Sola Fide wasn’t taught by Paul or by anyone else, and was denied in writing by none other than James himself. Jesus’ teachings seem opposed to such an idea because he stressed actions on our part as well.

    Worse, John himself wrote that we who have hope in Christ purify ourselves as that one is pure. (See John 3:3). The Greek is very clear there. It clearly uses the reflexive there to indicate an action we do. If it were something we ourselves cannot do by the grace of Christ but that Jesus’s righteousness must do it all for us, why would John say that purification/sanctification involves actions on our part? Was John an heretic, too?

    The root of the problem is that the Reformers didn’t understand the import of scripture as a whole. Because of their penchant for taking scripture out of context they came to flawed conclusions on the ideas that careful Bible reading decries.

  38. I noticed that you ignored the teaching of 2 Peter that one’s calling and election must be made sure by doing certain things. If it were already sure the moment we accepted Jesus as our “personal Savior” why did the author of 2 Peter say that we must give all diligence to make our callings and elections sure? If it is all Christ as the Reformers believed (incorrectly) how dare the author of 2 Peter say that we must give all diligence to make our callings and elections sure if they were already sure? Is the author of 2 Peter an heretic, too? If so, that Bible is about to get a whole lot shorter, isn’t it?

    Were you aware that Early Christian understanding of the passage you cite from Titus was that “washing of regeneration” referred to Christian baptism? Is that not also an act of obedience that we do in response to the grace of God?

    But indeed we are justified by His grace. Without that, no amount of faith or works would help in any way. Thus, even there is isn’t sola fide and the very idea is inconsistent with both scripture and even the meaning of the phrase sola fide itself. We access his grace by our faith in the initial act of being saved, and then we respond by obedience to the commandments of Christ and make our faith a living faith by doing. Faith and works then work together or cooperate in bringing about justification. And, then, we continue to do and live as imitators of Christ and his apostles so that we might make our callings and elections sure. That is the teaching of scripture as a whole and not out of context, and the Bible itself puts the lie to sola fide or sola gratia, if one reads it carefully enough to see it outside of the standard prooftexts bandied about by the Reformers and their adherents.

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