The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
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0 Points
The Contender
Lt.Harris
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

bible is not clear if we are justified by faith alone or if works are required in justification

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 416 times Debate No: 54944
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (2)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

to lay the best examples of the ambiguity, we have two apparently conflicting versions of the story of abraham and his justification.

james 2
20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is uselessd ? 21Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"e and he was called God"s friend. 24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

then we have romans 4 on the other hand
'What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about"but not before God. 3What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."a 4Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.
'We have been saying that Abraham"s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised.

you can find quotes to argue both ways. these are just great examples using the same story and seemingly different outcomes. it's not contradictory, though, just a matter of how you reconcile everything.

to be sure, the only place where 'faith alone' is used in the bible is when James says we are not justified by faith alone. but it's too much to take everything from just that one quote.

to be sure, works are required in both versions. salvation = faith + works. faith = salvation + works. it's just a technical matter in how those works save or not. really, it's more academic than anything for practical purposes.
Lt.Harris

Con

John 14:12 - "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

This verse sums it up for me. See, faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. I do find it a little hard to argue this as it is a very delicate process when dealing with the bible although I am glad I can at least debate with a Christian. As I said, this verse sums it up. With faith in Jesus Christ, faith will be done. Faith is - Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion. Belief is "An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
'his belief in the value of hard work.'"
I included the example for a reason. If said person (lets name him John) truly believed in hard work, he himself would be a hard worker. If he wasn't a hard worker, than he didn't truly believe in hard work as he himself didn't do hard work. The same goes for faith. If you have faith in Jesus Christ and in his works, death, and resurrection for our sin, than you will believe what he told us about work, and go do it ourselves. However, if we don't do work, do we truly follow Jesus? One of Jesus's last commandmants was Matthew: "19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."" If we truly followed Jesus and his teachings, than works will surely follow.
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

everyone, even those who believe it's both faith and works that justify, believe that faith is the fist step. that verse from john that con quoted merely says if you have faith, you will do works. no one disputes this. con surely could have formed better biblical basis than this,b ut that's all he leaves it all.
he then goes on to say that works and faith are both present, even if it's faith alone that justifies. this is all very nice, and a great argument, but there's weak biblical support.

also, con simply ignores the James passage that says explicitly that we are not saved by faith alone. it also talks about the necessity of works. another passage by Paul says that we are "to work out our salvation in fear and trembling".
if we focus not so much on the letters of the apostles, and paul, and focus on Jesus, we see an emphasis on works. In the story about Judgment Day, (Matthew 25:31-46) where Jesus separates the sheep from the goats, the only questions that Jesus asks the multitude concern works.
Jesus also talks about the necessity to be baptized, participate in the lord's supper, etc. Jesus also gives examples of servants obeying their masters and doing right before the master returns.

i could go on and on with examples of works based salvation being emphasized.

i'll give him the benefit of the doubt that the verse at least emphasizes faith. but then we have all these above verses that emphasize works.
how can we demarcate how jusitification is technically achieved with so many coflicting passage and theories? we can't. the bible isn't clear enough. we can know both faith and work are present, but not how they play into justification and salvation.
Lt.Harris

Con

First off, I concede that my verses weren't the best but I formed a quick argument just to start. Secondly, I would like to ask that spelling and grammar goes to me as Pro is confusing me with much of what he is saying.

-Your James passage helps me. Vs 22: "You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did." His faith was made complete by what he did...that pretty much sums up exactly what I said in my first argument. For Vs. 23, we see that it was Abraham's belief that had God credit it to him as righteousness, not his works (which only completed his faith by showing that his faith was real). For Vs. 24, I see how that could be taken against me however that merely backs up that faith is only completed by works. Works without faith means absolutely nothing however faith with works means everything. I think all the passages are trying to show is that with true faith, works will be shown. Works aren't required so to speak in justification however they will be present if true faith is seen. The way I took this debate to be was that works were completely separate from faith. You are pretty much telling me that my argument is not topical when you didn't define exactly what my argument would be and only gave me a generality which I have fulfilled. Thus, what I am arguing is that works are not separate from faith, but are instead a part of faith and should not be considered different. So far, everything I have shown has supported that.
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

first, so con acknowledes that his biblical support is weak, but yet still doesnt go on to get into anything else biblical.

next, con ignores verse 21 from james which says that abraham was considered righteous because of his actions. he also admits that it is explicit that 'faith alone' doesn't justify. he seems to think that some how the excplicitness of the ephesians quote that we are saved "not of works lest anyone should boast", somehow trumps the explicitness of james.
he also ignores all the passages from Jesus etc, that say that works are required.

con does continue into philsophic reasoning, but doesn't show how it is faith only that justifies. he just points out that faith will have works present if it is real faith. again, a great point, but it doesn't prove that it's not works and faith that justify. basically he aruges it's faith = justification + works, but doesnt show show why it can't be justification = faith + works.

again, his continuing anemic biblical support is a primary problem. the whole point of the debate lies in proving for or against certain bibilical support, and he has only mentioned one weak verse. you can't do this debate without getting into the bible. it doesn't lend itself to mere philsophizing only.
Lt.Harris

Con

I would like to start that Pro is attacking only my argument and did not actually present any new evidence in his last thing to refute what I said, even though I went and showed how I could refute his James passage. In response to James 2: 21, the two verses after that clear up what was meant by that. If you don't believe that, then you must believe that verses right beside each other are contradictory. Jesus never once said that you HAD to have works to be let into heaven. He made it clear that you should have works due to faith. My final verse is John 14:6 "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" In this verse, we show that belief in Christ is the ONLY way to have eternal life with the Father in heaven. Works and faith are not separate. Justification does not equal faith +works but instead faith=works +justification. Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." What James said does not contradict this but instead supports it. It isn't our works that get us into heaven. It is God. The only way for God to let us do that is if we have faith in Jesus Christ. As a result of having faith, we will do works however the works are a fulfillment of the faith. Even with our faith, without God's mercy, we still wouldn't be accepted into heaven. These last two verses and my explanations I believe have refuted what Pro said very well. Please vote Con. May God bless you. Thank you Pro for having this debate. I found it very interesting. God bless.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Lt.Harris 2 years ago
Lt.Harris
Christian_Debater That was the entire point of what I was arguing. I was arguing that if you look at the bible as a whole, you can see that it is made clear that only faith is required however works, being a part of faith, will inevitably follow. By making that argument, I felt that I did show how the bible made it clear.
Posted by Christian_Debater 2 years ago
Christian_Debater
In terms of Biblical accuracy, the Bible states that faith and works are both required.

When talking about James, he is more talking about people who believe in God and do nothing. He also talks about showing your faith by your works.

Faith is all you need to enter Heaven. However, like a human body, faith has pieces to it. It isn't just belief.
Posted by LifeMeansGodIsGood 2 years ago
LifeMeansGodIsGood
If you are trusting in your good works for salvation, how many good works is enough? How big of a good work is enough? Will a mistake or commission of a sin after the good works negate the previous good works and make you unsaved? If you are trusting in anyting other than the blood of Jesus Christ as payment for your sins so you can be pardoned, I doubt that you are saved. You can never do enough good works to obtain or secure eternal life.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Christian_Debater 2 years ago
Christian_Debater
dairygirl4u2cLt.HarrisTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Alright, I'm making this debate a tie for a reason. I'll get into it later. As for conduct, it's a tie. Both were respectful, etc. Spelling and grammar is a tie. Both were on the same level. As for most convincing arguments, it's a tie. I know who is actually correct here from my biblical understanding, but I am not going to vote based off of bias. At a purely unbiased level, it is a tie. Nobody really proved their point, they just argued back and forth. A more structured, better formated argument from either sides would have potnetially convinced me more. As for most reliable sources, it's a tie. Both qutoed from the Bible.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
dairygirl4u2cLt.HarrisTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm not sure I can really score this. Pro was arguing that the bible is not clear whether faith alone is justification or if works are required. Con's argument is that, using the bible and his definition of faith, works will necessarily follow, which would seem to undermine the entire premise of the debate, which presumes that there CAN be a difference between faith alone and faith+works. Con argues that in the biblical concept, there cannot be faith alone, or it's not really faith. He makes a strong case for this idea, but I'm not sure it addresses the resolution, except in that he's trying to argue that the bible is clear that faith and works are inseperable. I'm sorry guys, I can't award points to anybody. The other categories seemed equal enough to me, as well. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.