The Instigator
JonHouser
Pro (for)
The Contender
cCharlie_97
Con (against)

Faith is active and visible, not something that occures "in your heart".

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 12 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 394 times Debate No: 99027
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)

 

JonHouser

Pro

Many people quote Eph 2:8 to say that we are saved when we believe, and no action is required on our part.

I find this contradictory to other Scripture.

I would challenge my opponent to prove that Scripture indicates no action is required on our part to fulfill the faith portion of the passage referenced above.

I, on the other hand, will prove that Scripture is very clear that there are certain actions commanded of us before we are united with the cleansing power of the Blood of Christ.

Con may begin debate arguments in round 1 along with acceptance of the debate.
cCharlie_97

Con

I gladly accept this debate with hopes for it to be a well tempered exchange of ideas on the topic at hand. Ultimately, there shall be a winner and a loser, but both will come to learn. I should first interject and let it be known to the audience that I am Jewish convert; however, I was raised in a Catholic private school- meaning: I am well versed on the New Testament and the general theme of Christianity. Thank you.

As a prerequisite in the discussion of faith, it should be fully understood a similar definition of faith. While the host may disagree and supply his own source, I present the following definitions of 'religious faith', provided by Merriam-Webster:

(1) : Belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : Belief in the traditional doctrines of religion

With this definition accepted, both sides are represented and requires of us to make an argument on the application of faith/doctrine in it's relation to achieving Salvation.

To begin, the premise that Salvation is to be the sole purpose of faith creates a fundamental contradiction in the nature of religion. It presupposes that the cause of being faithful, and/or to follow doctrines, is to reap the benefits of rewards promised by God. Morality, a standard by which God's word provides us, is absolute. Whatever you choose to consider, the axiom remains the same: an action may not be claimed as righteous and proper in one instance, but in another instance vice and improper. The purpose of understanding morality is due to the subject, as true faith results in a moral being. Examine the following example:

If a starving man, who happens to be rich, breaks into your home to eat your food- is his act less sinful as the starving man, who happens to be poor, that breaks into your home and does the same?

The answer is no, that the act remains the same; that there is no justification for evil to be considered good. Equally, when a man chooses to do good, to follow the doctrines of faith, but only for the reward of Salvation; is his greed to be considered less than the man who seeks only the material rewards of this earth? Do you now see the nature of the aforementioned contradiction?

A love of life- it is not an equivalent to the fear of death.

One who acts and follows in accordance to doctrine for the lust of Salvation- he does not do so out of love for his life and this world, but rather out of the fear of death. When true faith in God is possessed, one most equally have faith in all His creation. This means: they believe God is good, and thereby, all that which He has created is too, good. A man who has faith does good simply because it is the right thing to do- not because he seeks a reward. He sees this world and all it's people as good because he believes that God has created it as so; he acts accordingly not because he has been commanded to do so, but because his faith calls him to love God and all of His creation.

As a result, the man who has true faith will love this world, his life and the life of others, causing him to do good deeds simply because it is the right thing to do. If a man does not posses true faith, then religious doctrine is of no use to him. If he has the strength, and his faith is never to be broken, then the religious doctrine equally serves no purpose to him- he is already living as the man God intended him to be. Should his faith be broken or lost and he cannot find the moral thing to do, it is then scripture to which he resorts to find his answer. When God appeared to Moses, he was given a command; lest God appear to you, do not mistake scripture as a command. Doctrine is man's standard of morality and the compass to proper living, but faith is the cause. God's word is not a list of goals and objectives to be accomplished to achieve Salvation, but a guide to follow when faith is waning.

We have freewill not so that we may be commanded what to do, but so that we can find and of our own volition choose to live the life God has revealed to us. To have faith means to not fear death, and, to fear death means to have no faith. The Son of God did not fear death: He was so compelled by His love of life that He died so that we could live. The purpose of life is not too seek the Salvation of death- it is to live and love life in the way Jesus had shown us.

"Therefore Jesus answered them and was saying to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son does in like manner'."
-John 5:19
Debate Round No. 1
JonHouser

Pro

I would like to thank my worthy opponent for accepting this debate. I look forward to an engaging, open, and honest attempt to come to the truth of God's Word. I will be quoting from the NKJV, unless otherwise noted. I appreciate the background of my opponent. I was raised in the Church from birth, but recently visited with a Messianic Jewish Synagogue to gain a perspective on the historical Jewish culture.

I would challenge the definition given by Con. His definition comes from a secular dictionary. I would rather use the definition that is given in the Bible. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I would present that substance and evidence are things that can be seen, or felt, or handled, or shown to others. These are things that could be presented to a jury to prove a case. They are not simply felt in the heart where no one else can see them.

Some versions of the Bible translate this verse as "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (NIV) The problem with this translation, is that it does not fit with other references to faith in the Bible. For instance, James chapter 2. In the second half of this chapter, James is discussing the relationship between faith and works. He starts out in verse 14 by asking if a faith without works can save a man. The obvious answer to his rhetorical question is, "NO". He goes on to say this outright when, in verse 17, when he says that faith without works is dead. He then gives examples, that are mirrored in Heb 11, of a couple of the heroes of faith, demonstrating that it is their works for which they were justified. He finishes in verse 26 to say that just "as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

Now back up 2 verses. Here in James 2:24, James tells us that "... man is justified by works, and not by faith only." (Just as an aside, this is the only place in all of Scripture where the phrase "faith only", or "faith alone" is found, and it specifically says that we are NOT saved by faith only.) Justified is not defined in Scripture, so I am open to using the secular dictionary's definition which according to dictionary.com is: " 3. Theology. to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit." (1) Given this definition (to which I trust my opponent will not object), James 2:24 says that we are made guiltless (or declared innocent) by our works, not by faith alone.

So faith cannot be alive and effective without works, but you can have works that are not done in faith. This is evidenced by the story Jesus told of the sheep and the goats in Matt 7:21-23. Here Jesus says that "Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'" Obviously these people did works, but Jesus says He will tell them "I never knew you". He won't tell them "I don't know you anymore." He "never" knew them, even though they thought they knew Him, and did great works in His name. So then, not just any work is a saving work.

Given now that not all works are saving, yet faith without works is dead (and therefore cannot save us), but we are justified by works and not faith alone, how do we read Eph 2:8 which says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Obviously, as we are told in many places in Scripture, it is the power of God that saves us. This power is given to us as a gift that we cannot earn and do not deserve. But Eph 2:8 tells us that it is through faith (which as I have proven includes and demands works) that this grace is given to us. Why is this phrase necessary? Because we know that Jesus lived and died and was raised to offer salvation to the entire world. Grace is there available to everyone, but as I showed through Matt 7:21-23, not everyone will be saved. So what is the dividing point between those who are saved and those who are not? Eph 2:8 tells us that it is faith that separates those who are saved and those who are not.

So, this begs the question, "If works are required for our faith to be alive, and a living faith is "saving faith" (this is a given as a dead faith is no faith at all (James 2)), what works are the "saving works" and what works are not? Let us look to Scripture for the answer.

In many of Paul's writings, he tells us that works of the Law (of Moses) will not save us. For instance Romans 2:15, Romans 3:20, Romans 3:27, Romans 3:28, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:2, Galatians 3:5, and Galatians 3:10 all specifically mention "works of the Law". In Romans 4:2, Romans 4:6, Romans 9:11, Romans 9:32, and Romans 11:6, Paul only mentions works but given the context, he is referring to works of the Law. To zero in on one of these verses, in Romans 3:28 Paul tells us that we are, "...justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." This in no way takes away from James' assertion that faith is only alive when it includes works, because Paul qualifies the works he is talking about: "works of the Law".

So if works of the Law will not save us, what works are required? When we read through all of New Testament Scripture, we find a few places where we are told that certain things either save us, or lead to our salvation. This not being the focus of this debate, I will list just a few of them here. Romans 10:10 tells us that, "with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." And 2 Corinthians 7:10 tells us, "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation...". Given just these two verses we can see that there are "works" that are required of us to receive salvation. We MUST believe, repent, and confess that Jesus is the Son of God. Without these "works", we cannot be justified, and therefore will not be saved.

Now, I will address some of the comments in my opponent's opening statement.
In Con's opening comments, he makes the statement that "the premise that Salvation is to be the sole purpose of faith creates a fundamental contradiction in the nature of religion." I don't know where that premise comes from, but it is not in any way an assertion of mine. While salvation is one purpose of faith, it is in no way the only purpose of faith.

He makes an assertion that if two economically different people commit the same crime, neither should be treated any differently under the law. I would wholeheartedly agree, although this in no way impacts this debate.

Next, he make the assertion that if we obey in response to the promises of reward that God has made, we are in some way selfish and therefore not deserving of the reward. This could not be in any way more wrong. In their book "Launching a Leadership Revolution", Orrin and Chris say that mankind is motivated to do things on three increasingly complex levels. The first is material motivation. For instance, when your children are young you offer them rewards and/or punishments according to their good or bad behavior. This is to teach them the difference between right and wrong. The second level of motivation is recognition or respect. We never lose our desire to achieve material accomplishments, but recognition and respect take on a greater meaning to us as we grow more mature. Finally, we are motivated by our purpose or legacy. This is the highest level of motivation, but again, we do not lose our desire for material rewards or for recognition and respect, but our purpose becomes an even greater motivating factor in our lives. Now, I am not suggesting that Orrin and Chris are experts on Biblical interpretation, but the are recognized as experts on leadership, motivation, and people.

God knows that we are motivated by these things (He created us that way). Because He knows our motivations, He gave us the promise of the reward in Heaven or the punishment in Hell to spark that first level of motivation. He wants us to desire Heaven and fear Hell, otherwise, He would not have offered the descriptions that the Bible contains of those places. If God seeks to motivate us through this most basic of motivating factors, what is my opponent's case? Is God wrong to offer us a reward if we are pleasing to Him, or threaten a punishment if we as displeasing?

Yes, He wants us to want to do good because it is the right thing to do. Yes, He wants us to avoid evil because it is harmful to ourselves or to others around us. But that in no way de-legitimizes the rewards and punishments depicted in God's Word.

References:
1. http://www.dictionary.com...
2. Woodward, Orrin and Brady, Chris, Launching a Leadership Revolution, Business Plus, Oct 2008
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by FollowerofChrist1955 12 months ago
FollowerofChrist1955
You should attend this debate:
Atheism- A lost reality! A hopeless, helpless cause!
Posted by canis 12 months ago
canis
Yep faith is active and visible...A man on a X in one religion... A head shorter in another...
Posted by kwagga_la 12 months ago
kwagga_la
@Pro is it possible to list the scriptures that contradict each other?
Posted by kwagga_la 12 months ago
kwagga_la
Rom 4: 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should

Its pretty clear. James talks about works that qualify you for rewards not salvstion. Believers will receive rewards in heaven. James also addresses a issue that can be summed up as follows: if you claim to speak Portuguese but you cannot answer or address people in Portuguese what will be the conclusion of the people who observe you? Claiming to be a Christian but lacking the works thereof will destroy your testimony infront of people. They will not believe you when you preach the Gospel. Not once does James say that you are saved by works. Saying faith without works is dead does not mean you cannot be saved by faith. Check the context, he speaks of people who observe your life and testimony. Say someone turn to Christ and die of a heart attack 5 minutes later. Was that person saved? Of course, but by faith or works he obviously lacked.
Posted by kasmic 12 months ago
kasmic
James 2:17- the rest of the chapter.
Posted by kasmic 12 months ago
kasmic
As I am no longer a believer I wont accept this debate. Interesting topic though. Being saved by Grace through faith is a convoluted concept. James 2:27 (I think, I know its in that chapter) indicates that faith without works is dead. So I suppose on first impression I would say actions are not specifically prescribed. Though faith is and faith is manifest through works, though not qualified by them. Put another way, it seems to me that biblical works dont make up faith but are the natural result of faith.
Posted by kwagga_la 12 months ago
kwagga_la
Action is a very broad description that can include faith. The Bible distinguish between faith and works. Works is something you can do like help the poor, do some good deed etc. Faith is the substance of hoping in things not seen. Works are of the body, faith is inward in the mind or heart. Saying works are required to be saved presents a problem for people who are paralyzed or without arms and legs or some other disability because they cannot do the works.
Posted by Kilk1 12 months ago
Kilk1
This debate seems similar to one I'm doing right now:

http://www.debate.org...

Good luck,
Kilk1
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