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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/13/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,593 times Debate No: 15912
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (47)
Votes (6)




the scriptures teach that salvation is NOT by faith only


Thank you for issuing this open challenge. I accept your challenge and look forward to a cordial and rigorous debate.

My opponent has left the resolution extremely vague so I shall clarify a few points of possible contention.

Since the opponent's opening round states "the scriptures teach that salvation is NOT by faith alone." I, as Con, shall be arguing the opposite, that the Scriptures teach that salvation IS by faith alone.

A few definitions:

Scriptures - The 66 books of the Canon of Scripture, not including the Apocrapha
Teaches - The prevailing message communicated in the Scripture
Salvation - Reconciliation with God leading to Heaven after death and resurrection into the New Earth at the Eschaton
Faith Alone - Faith must be means of salvation with nothing else required. Grace is the "active ingredient" in salvation, in both a Faith Alone (Protestant) or Faith and Works schema (Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) the question at hand is how do we gain access to the grace.

A few boundaries - Since this debate is about what the Scriptures teach (according to Pro's opening comment), we must remain exclusively within the boundaries of the Scriptures.This means that because Pope Benedict may argue one thing, or John Calvin may argue another thing... is insignificant to this debate. Although those sources may be helpful in building the argument by demonstrating how one person has answered this question, they should not be viewed as an authority on the subject. The only authority on this subject is the Scripture.

In order to secure victory, Pro will be required to prove beyond reasonable objection that the Prevailing message communicated in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments is that something other than Faith is required to access the saving Grace that leads to salvation. Con must only prove that, that is not the prevailing message and need not prove a competing prevailing message (burden of proof rests on Pro as instigator).
Debate Round No. 1


I'm sorry for my opening statement i thought i wrote the proposition. I am new here. but i will start my opening statement in these words.

Is a man saved by faith only?
1. The scriptures speak of many things as having a part in our salvation:

God(I Tim. 2:3-4)
Jesus (John 12:47; Matt. 18:11)
Blood (Acts 20:28; I Pet. 1:18-19)
The Gospel (Rom. 1:16; I Tim. 4:16; I Cor. 15:1-2)
Obedience (Hebrews 5:8-9)
Faith (John 3:16; Acts 16:31)
Grace ( Ephesians 2:8-10; Tit. 2:11, 3:3-8)
Baptism (Mark 16:15-16; I peter 3:21)
Hope (Rom. 8:24)
A Faithful obedient life( Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10)

2. To be saved we are expected and required to do ALL of Christ's Commandments

Matt 28:18-20
John 12:48
Matt. 7:21- 29
Heb. 5:8-9
II Thess. 1:7-10

we see here that Scriptures clarify that we are not saved by faith only

Once again I apologize for my in complete first statement


I would like to thank my opponent for his rapid response.

As you can see, Pro's argument rests on two separate premises, with supporting verses.

The first is "The scriptures speak of many things as having a part in our salvation" and therefore assumes that our salvation is contingent on these things.

The second is that "to be saved we are expected and required to do ALL of Christ's Commandments" and therefore salvation is predicated on obedience.

Lets tackle this in its component parts.

The following components can be dismissed: God (God saves us by grace through our faith, so our faith is still the instrumental means through which we are saved by God), Jesus (Same as God), Blood (Christ's blood "purchased" the grace by which we are saved through faith alone), the Gospel (The Gospel itself is that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone), Grace (as I said, grace is the what saves us through our faith), and Hope (hope does not save us, rather we find hope in the fact that our faith saves us. Furthermore, Hope and Faith are related words and many would argue that hope and faith are synonyms in the New Testament). That leaves us with Obedience/A Faithful Obedient Life, and Baptism.

Hebrews 5:8-9 - This passage states that it was Christ who learned obedience and through his obedience he became the eternal salvation to all who obey him. We must ask what Christ required of his followers. Although there are many commands which Christ gives us, we must ask which ones bring about salvation. When we look at the Gospels we see an account of a rich young man who asks Christ what to be done to be saved. Christ tells him he must obey the commandments, and when he says he has done all those things (it is impossible for anyone to obey the commandments fully) he says "Sell everything you have and follow me." Again and again we see Christ tell people to follow him. The most stark example we see is the Thief on the Cross at the crucifixion of Christ. He was not obedient either partially or completely. All he did was ask Jesus to save him, and have faith that he would. Christ assured him that he would be saved.

Matthew 10:22 - This passage does not speak of obedience. It simply says one who endures will be saved... but endures in what? The surrounding context shows that Jesus is referring to persecution. Jesus is saying that the one who endures till the end of persecution, will be saved... from persecution. Furthremore, if we are going to simply pluck verses out of context... then I could say "the one who endures" refers to the one who endures in their faith and does not lose faith.

Revelation 2:10 - This passage does not necessarily speak of salvation, it refers to receiving the "Crown of Life." Revelation uses highly metaphorical language, but here it likely refers to a reward in heaven that goes beyond salvation that is attainable exclusively by those who persist through tribulation. Furthermore, he says that this applies to those who are "faithful" until death. The word Faith itself is used in this text... so again, Jesus refers back to the faith of the believer.

Mark 16:15-16 - This passage states "whoever believes (has faith) and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe (has faith) will be condemned." In this passage, having faith and being baptized are seen as the same thing. In Greek the word "kai" is used for and. This is called a "strong conjunctive conjunction" which shows a strong relationship between two words or concepts. Furthermore, he does not say "Whoever believes and is not baptized" or "whoever does not believe or is not baptized" will be condemned. This shows that belief is what salvation hinges on in this passage, not baptism. Beyond that, Versus 9-20 are not found in the earliest manuscripts of Mark, and may represent a later addition. I'm not saying to throw them out, but building entire theologies on them is dangerous.

1 Peter 3:21 - This passage is tricky. Again, my opponent plucked a passage out of context, which is ill advised. In this passage, Peter says "Which corresponds to this" in reference to baptism. We must ask "what does baptism correspond to?" The prior passage indicates that it corresponds to Noah's salvation through the Ark in the Great Flood. In Genesis 6:8 we see that "Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD." Now, we must understand the word "Favor." The Hebrew word is cheyn and translates to "Grace, Favour, Good-will." [A] So Noah found grace, and because of that grace God revealed to Noah what he must do to be saved. Likewise, baptism is an act through with God extends his grace to us and this is how Peter connects baptism to salvation. We receive grace through baptism (which is an outward declaration of faith) which allows us to be saved.

In his second Premise, Pro lists several verses that supposedly prove that we are expected and required to do all of Christ's commands to be saved.

What Pro doesn't tell you is that these passages do not teach this.

Matthew 28:18-20 teaches us that we should go out and make disciples of all nations, and teach them to obey all the commands of Christ. However, obedience does not predicate salvation... the two are simply supposed to happen together. The text does not say that in order to be saved they must obey.

John 12:48 - This passage says that the person who rejects the words of Christ will be condemned. I fail to see the connection to works or obedience here... if anything, rejecting the words of Christ represents not having faith in Christ's truth.

Matthew 7:21-29 - This is the famous passage where Christ tells people who thought they were saved that he never knew them. However, the people who thought they were saved and were not were people who relied on works. They say "we did great things for you" and Christ says "I knew you not." This actually argues against what Pro is saying.

Hebrew 5:8-9 - I addressed this above.

2 Thesselonians 1:7-10 - This passage does not reference works at all. It says that those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus will suffer... and that Gospel is, as I showed above, is simply to trust Jesus and follow him. Further in the passage (vs 10) it specifically says that those who are saved are those "who have believed."

Affirmative Argument:

Ephesians 2 is extremely clear. Vs 1-3 describes the state of a non-believer prior to Christ's redemptive work. Vs 4-7 states that while we were dead (dead people can't be obedient... they're dead) Christ saved us because of his mercy, and that he raises us up and seats us with him so we can see his grace and kindness. Vs 8-9 reads "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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." This passage specifically says that it by grace (active agent in salvation) through faith (means that we access grace) we are saved. It specifically calls out that works (obedience) are not what causes salvation... rather we are saved FOR good works, rather than BY them. My opponent has the order wrong. He claims that Good works result in salvation... rather, salvation results in good works. This is echoed in James 2 when he says "Faith without works is dead." Just like a tree that no longer produces fruit is dead... the fruit is not what gives the tree life... rather it is the "symptom" of a vibrant living tree to produce fruit.

I look forward to the next round.

Debate Round No. 2


Sorry for the misunderstanding Con, my main point here is obedience, obedience to the gospel, Con says again and again in what the scriptures say of how to be saved, tells us about saved by grace through faith, saved by God, saved by faith alone, well I do not contradict that teaching, except the faith alone -

Let us see what saved by GRACE THROUGH FAITH REALLY MEANS:

Do Nothing Salvation
would be if God came down from Heaven, (and without a person saying or doing anything) if God then personally said to them, "You used to be a lost sinner, but now, without you doing anything, I am changing you into a saved sinner."
That's it, that is the ONLY possible way, that a person could preach a do nothing plan of Salvation. But of course we know that no person will ever experience such an event because that would make God a liar.

Here is the HEART of a Do Nothing Salvation Doctrine.

It begins with their inaccurate understanding of
Saved by Grace through Faith and not by Works.
And this deceptive understanding in turn stems from the false definition of GRACE. Their definition of Grace is what tragically provides the supporting foundation for the do nothing salvation Doctrine.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.

If someone gives you a gift certificate for a thousand dollars, and the conditions of the certificate declare that you must do what it asks on the certificate (as commanded in the terms of the Covenant on the certificate),
How could you possibly ever try and say, that obeying those commands is equal to
WORKING for that gift ? ?
That is just simply absurd.

Just imagine someone saying this to the Gift Giver,
" I simply refuse to do what you ask (as You have commanded here in the terms of your Covenant) in order to redeem your gift certificate because if I were to do that, then I would be working for your free gift, so therefore ...

" I'm gonna refuse to accept the terms of your Covenant and I'm gonna do things my way. "

people who relies on this doctrine defines God's grace as:

God's Grace

Grace = Having to Do absolutely Nothing in order for them to obtain the gift of Heaven.
Well first off, God declares that we must be faithful unto death, in order to receive our reward, and that if we have done the will of God we will receive Eternal Life.

Revelation 2:10 Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

The foundation of the this Doctrine is flawed from the beginning as they falsely define Grace.

The True definition of Grace is,
Gods' GRACE = God's choice to be crucified, in order to bring His Plan of Salvation (New Covenant)(Acts 2:38) to earth, all while we were still sinners and enemies towards Him.
That, is the TRUE definition of God's Grace.

Now on the obedience topic:

Con says that we should ask Christ if which ones brings us into salvation well, in my first argument i said the scriptures speak of having many things as having a part in our salvation. though the scriptures say that we are saved by all of these things , they do not teach that we are saved by any one of them alone or just rely on them solely. the Bible does not teach that man is saved by any one thing "only."

The New Testament relates of people who believed(has Faith) but who were not saved, because they would not obey the Lord.

The Rich young ruler (Matt. 19:16-22)
The Chief Rulers (John 12:42-43)
Pharisees and Lawyers (Luke 7:28-30)
Devils(James 2:19)

Earlier in my first argument i spoke about "A faithful obedient life", and i quoted several scriptural reference and i did not mistaken to put them there Matt. 10: 22 says "And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. Now the question is if you are not obedient then you will be disobedient, now how will you endure if you are not obedient? Obedient to what, obedient to the faith - Rom. 16:26

The same answer with Rev. 2:10
Now on the Baptism-According to Romans 6:3-10 and Colossians 2:12 we are dead and unified with Jesus through baptism into His death, His burial and His resurrection

According to this erroneous teaching, which states: We are saved when we believe and are resurrected at that point and are then baptized as a sign of "what has already taken place,"

We don't bury live people. On the contrary; We bury dead ones! This teaching, when looked at closely, is NOT what the Word of God teaches about baptism in Romans 6 and Colossians 2:12. This is not a Biblical baptism. Romans 6:9-10 states Christ died ONCE and cannot die again! We are unified with Him in death, buried with Him and also raised with Him through baptism. How does all this take place? By faith.

If we are "saved" before we are baptized, then baptism has no meaning and is contradictory to itself.
If we deny baptism is when we are reborn, we are denying not only our own resurrection (and rebirth) but also Christ's resurrection.

in 1Corinthians 10:1-4, to clarify this point we see an example in the Old Testament as an example for us today:

God brought Israel:
1. out of Egypt (the land of slavery--i.e. sin)
2. through the sea (water -i.e. baptism)
3. and into the promised land (Israel—i.e. salvation, redemption)

God did NOT bring Israel:
1. out of Egypt (the land of slavery--i.e. sin)
3. into the promised land (Israel--i.e. salvation, redemption)
2. then through the sea (water -i.e. baptism)
Baptism is nothing new in God's salvation plan. It is something He has always used to illustrate the separating of sin from mankind. God has always saved people through water. It was foreshadowed long ago in the Old Testament scriptures.

Actually in I Pet. 3:21 My opponent helps me explain

Now on Con's last statement he says in Ephesians 2:1-3 describes the state of a non-believer prior to Christ's redemptive work.

let us clarify further Eph. 2:1-3 implies that "And you He made alive, who were DEAD in TRESPASS AND SINS, as i have said earlier we are DEAD IN OUR SINS, BURIED THROUGH BAPTISM,AND WALK THROUGH NEWNESS OF LIFE.

Also my opponent says that i endorse good works as causes salvation, well the answer is NO, in Titus 3:5 says - Not by WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, But according to His Mercy He saved Us, THROUGH THE WASHING OF REGENERATION AND RENEWING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, we see here that this verse MAKES A CONTRAST between works of righteousness(good works) and baptism. Washing of regeneration..... means baptism see Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible and Adam Clarke's Commentary on the bible


My opponent has departed from the topic at hand. My opponent seems to be arguing that the Bible does not teach a "Do Nothing Salvation" Gospel... however, this is a classic strawman argument. My opponent seeks to build the thing he is refuting into an easy to defeat target, and then defeat it. Do not be drawn in by this logical fallacy.

No where have I argued that the Scriptures assert a so-called "Do Nothing Salvation." As such, my opponent has spent a round arguing against something that is not only NOT what I am proposing... but is markedly outside the scope of the resolution.

What I am arguing is that we are saved by grace alone (Means of Salvation) through faith alone (Instrument of Salvation). Lets break that down a little. What this doctrine is saying is that the only requirement of receiving the grace required for salvation, that is the only "action" that must be taken by the person being saved, is to have faith in the one providing the grace. It is in this way that we are saved. My opponent is confusing the order of things and is gift certificate metaphor proves this.

In his example he asserts a gift certificate for a thousand dollars. The gift certificate in his metaphor is equivalent to grace. Now this gift certificate has stipulations, like all gift certificates. My opponent asserts that in order to use the gift certificate, you must obey the stipulations. He recons that the stipulations are equivalent to the coventantal stipulations of salvation. However, what my opponent fails to see is that salvation is not after one obeys the covenant. In my opponent's argument, salvation is when you spend the gift certificate. However, in the Scripture, the outflowing of obedience, the enjoyment of ones new life in Christ, the spending of the gift certificate... is not itself salvation. It is a result of salvation... not salvation itself. Lets reshape the metaphor using this correct understanding.

If someone gives you a gift certificate. You must do nothing to accept the gift certificate except take it from the one who is giving it to you. In order to spend the gift certificate, you must follow the conditions of the certificate.

What my opponent fails to capture in his original metaphor is that faith is the point of receiving the gift certificate, not spending.

My opponent is correct that we must be faithful unto death to receive our ultimate salvation. Let me say that again with some added emphasis. We must be FAITHful unto death. One more time... a little clearer. We must be Faith Filled until death. My opponent is arguing my case for me.

My opponent also argues that the "True definition of Grace" is God's choice to be crucified, in order to bring His Plan of Salvation to earth, all while we were still sinners and enemies toward Him.

This is a good definition. All we must do in order to receive the benefit of this grace, is have faith that it is true. As I showed in my initial responses, there are many things referenced in the process of salvation. Christ/God is the actor in the act of salvation. He acts upon us in salvation. Grace is the means by which he acts upon us. Baptism is a confirming outward sign of an inward reality, but the hinge of this debate rests on one thing alone. Do we have to do anything besides have faith in the promise of God to be saved? The answer from Scripture, in the words of the Apostle Paul (Writing to the Church in Ephesus.) "You are saved by grace, through faith, not by works."

My opponent claims that The Rich young ruler, the Chief Rulers, the Pharisees and Lawyers, and the Devils all had faith. However, none of the passages he referenced teach this. The Rich Young Ruler was not saved because he would not follow Jesus in faith. The Chief Rulers references in John do not confess their faith, however the passage does not teach they were not saved. The Pharisees and Lawyers declared God just, but the passage in question does not speak of them having faith in God, finally in James 2:19 all we see is a distinction in how the word is used. Words often have several meanings. Pisteuo (I have faith, I trust, I believe) has a range of meanings. When used of saving faith it means "I trust in" and carries the idea of leaning on or placing your full weight on something. However, another meaning can be simply to acknowledge something as fact. This is not a saving faith, and this is how the word is used in James 2:19. The devils acknowledge the facts about Christ, but that does not mean they have saving faith. Furthermore, the plan of salvation (including Faith alone) is never extended to fallen Angels and only applies to humans.

My opponent universally argues that "enduring" or "persevering" to the end means "obedience." However, this is an implied understanding that is not in the scriptures. "He who endures to the end will be saved." Endures in what? Endures in faith... there is nothing in the passage about obeying commands or doing good works. It simply says endure. I argue that it means to endure in faith... however on the surface of the text it is ambiguous. Lucky for me, I do not need to prove that it means faith, I simply need to prove that it does not NECESSARILY mean something other than faith.

My opponent argues again that Baptism is a component part of salvation. However, he also argues that whatever saving grace is being conveyed in the act of Baptism, it is being conveyed "by faith." Again, my opponent argues my case. Just as grace is the means by which God saves... if Baptism is a part of that means, Faith is still our instrumental response and the only thing we must do to be saved.

My opponent again makes the mistake of disordering things. Just as he mistakenly viewed spending the gift certificate as salvation... he is viewing Israel entering the promised land as salvation. If Egypt is sin... and being saved is being brought out of Egypt... then being brought out of Egypt is salvation, not entering the promised land. According to his schema, we are not saved until we have entered heaven... however Paul constantly refers to salvation as a past event (by grace you HAVE BEEN saved... you are SAVED by grace). A better ordering would be as follows.

1. God brings Israel out of Egypt (Egypt equals sin, Leaving Egypt equals leaving sin -> Salvation)
2. through the sea (re-affirms the reality of salvation)
3. and into the promised land (ultimate culmination of salvation, entrance into heaven/new earth)

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 3


to clarify the statement a little further about the gift certificate, the question that arises in that matter is HOW, how do i obtain that gift certificate?
Further my opponent says that we are saved by faith alone, and obedience is just the fruit of salvation by faith alone.
Faith is essential to salvation and there are many passages in the Scriptures that support it:
John 3:16 - Whoever believes on Jesus should have eternal life.
Romans 1:16 - The gospel is God's power to save all who believe.
Romans 5:1,2 - By faith we are justified and have access to grace.
Ephesians 2:8 - By grace are you saved through faith.
(See also Acts 16:31; 10:43; 15:9; 13:39; John 8:24; 3:36; 5:24; 6:40; 20:30,31; Romans 3:22-28; 4:3,16; etc.)
We conclude that faith is essential to salvation, and without faith no man can be saved.
BUT no passage in the Bible that says we are saved by faith alone
We are told that verses like those above prove that faith is necessary but not baptism, since faith is mentioned but baptism is not. But which passage says we are saved by "faith only," or that faith is the SOLE condition for salvation, or that we are saved WITHOUT BAPTISM OR WITHOUT OBEDIENCE? None of them so state. They teach we are saved by faith, but they do not teach we are saved by FAITH ALONE OR WITHOUT OBEDIENCE.
Further my opponent says that the Chief Rulers, Pharisees and lawyers and the devils had the wrong kind of faith.
The issue then is: WHAT KIND OF FAITH SAVES, AND WHAT DOES THIS SAVING FAITH INCLUDE? Does it include repentance, confession, obedience to Divine commands, and even baptism? Before answering, let us add more information.
Just as I have said earlier there are many things that are essential to salvation:
God's grace (Ephesians 2:4-10; 1:7; Titus 2:11,12; Acts 15:11)

Jesus' death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:6-10; 1 Peter 1:18,19; Revelation 1:5; 1 Corinthians 15:17; 1 Peter 3:21)

THE GOSPEL (Romans 1:16; 1 Peter 1:23-25; Acts 11:14; James 1:18,21; 1 Corinthians 15:1,2; John 8:31,32)
LEARNING GOD'S WILL (Acts 11:14; John 6:44,45; Romans 10:17; 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:21)
Faith (see the verses listed above)
LOVE (1 Corinthians 16:22; 13:1-3; Galatians 5:6; 1 John 4:7,8)
HOPE (Romans 8:24)
REPENTANCE(2 Corinthians 7:10; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; Luke 13:3,5; 2 Peter 3:9)
OBEDIENCE (Hebrews 5:9; Romans 6:17,18; 1 Peter 1:22; Acts 10:34,35; 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9; Galatians 5:6; James 2:14-26)
CONFESSION OF CHRIST (Romans 10:9,10; Matthew 10:32)
BAPTISM (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-7; Galatians 3:26,27; Colossians 2:12,13)
FAITHFULNESS (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Matthew 28:20; Titus 2:11,12; 1 John 2:1-6)
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP (Acts 2:47; 20:28; Ephesians 5:23,25)
A FAITHFUL OBEDIENT LIFE( Matt. 10:22; Rev. 2:10)
Some of these are things God has done; others we must do. All are essential to our salvation. Later, we will study some of them further, but first this observation:
We Must Accept All that the Bible Requires.

Accepting some requirements, while ignoring others, leads to error and contradiction.

If a verse requires faith, that does not eliminate the other things that are required elsewhere. Likewise, many passages mention grace, blood, repentance, etc., but do not mention faith. Should we conclude this proves faith is unneeded? No, but that would be as reasonable as concluding we can be saved without obedience or without baptism, just because these are not mentioned in some passages about faith.
Salvation by "faith only" (excluding baptism and obedience) is as unreasonable and unscriptural as salvation by repentance only, hearing only, or baptism only. WE ARE NOT SAVED BY ANY ONE THING ALONE, TO THE EXCLUSION OF OTHER THINGS REQUIRED ELSEWHERE.

Instead, we should accept everything the Bible requires.

Acts 3:22,23 - We must hear ALL Jesus says, or we will be destroyed.
Revelation 22:18,19 - If we take away part of God's word, He takes away our reward.
Matthew 4:4,7 - Live by EVERY WORD God speaks, not just part of it.

We must never isolate a passage from the overall teaching of the Bible (see also Acts 20:20,27; James 2:10; Matthew 28:20.)

If we follow only one part of a set of instructions, we will not achieve the desired result. Suppose, for example, a driver's manual says, "To drive a car, you must have the key." If we get a key, but ignore the rest of the instructions, will we automatically be driving the car? No.
So faith is a "key" to salvation - it gives us power to become children of God (John 1:12). But we are not automatically and immediately God's children just because we have the key or the power to become such. We must consider ALL the requirements that God's word teaches.

Obedience Is Essential To Salvation.
The "faith only" doctrine says that faith is the only prerequisite to forgiveness. Acts of obedience all come after forgiveness, and none are essential to receive forgiveness. But consider:
A. Many Passages Say Obedience Is Necessary.
1 Peter 1:22,23 - We PURIFY OUR SOULS in OBEYING THE TRUTH.Romans 6:17,18 - Servants of sin must OBEY from the heart in order to be made free from sin.
HEBREWS 5:9 - Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who OBEY Him.
JAMES 2:24 - Man is justified by works, not by "faith only."
ACTS 11:14, 10:34-35 - Peter told Cornelius words whereby he would be saved. But the first words He said were that, to be accepted by God, people must work righteousness. This is true for all people, for God shows no partiality!
MATTHEW 7:21-27; Luke 6:46 - To accept Jesus as Lord (ruler, master) and enter the kingdom of heaven, we must do what He says. We may believe and confess Him yet be rejected, because we did not obey.
2 THESSALONIANS 1:8,9; ROMANS 2:6-10 - Receiving eternal life requires us to do good. Those who do not obey will be destroyed.
1 JOHN 5:3; JOHN 14:15,21-24 - Loving God requires us to keep His commands. If we do not obey, we do not love Him. Can one be saved if he does not love God (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:22; Matthew 22:37-39)?
The doctrine of "faith only" denies the necessity for all obedience to commands. All the passages we have just studied show that such a view is False Doctrine. (See also Rev. 20:12-15; John 5:28,29; 1 John 2:17.)
If Obedience Is Not Essential, Consider the Consequences.
Matthew 22:37-39 - Love is the greatest of all commands. If obeying commands is not necessary to salvation, then love is not necessary! Yet note 1 Corinthians 16:22.
Acts 17:30 - Repentance is a command. If keeping commands is not necessary, then repentance is not necessary to salvation! Yet note Acts 2:38; 3:19; Luke 13:3; 2 Peter 3:9.
Romans 10:9,10 - Confession with the mouth is a command. If obeying commands is not essential to salvation, then confession is not essential! Yet the Bible says it is essential. And it is not just an inner act; it is an outward act done with the mouth, in contrast to faith in the heart. Like baptism, here is an outward, physical action that is essential to salvation. (See also Matthew 10:32,33.)
1 John 3:23; John 6:28,29 - Faith itself is a command; it is a work God tells people to do. If works and obedience are not necessary, then faith itself is not necessary! But if faith is essential, then we must abandon the view that obedience and works are not essential!
Some claim that John 6:29 says faith is a work God does for us, not something we do. However: (1) 1 John 3:23 still says believing is a command to us (cf. Mark 16:15,16). (2) John 6:29 answers the question asked in v28: "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" So "works of God" here means works men do in obedience to God's commands. (3) 1 Corinthians 15:58 is parallel - the "work of the Lord" is work we abound in - our labor in the Lord (cf. "love of God" in 1 John 5:3). (4) If faith is entirely a work God does for us, then God is responsible for unbelievers. He causes some people to believe, but not others. This makes God a respecter of persons in contradiction to Acts 10:34,35 and Romans 2:11. Hence, John 6:29 says faith is something we do, which is essential to salvation.
Clearly, obedience is essential to forgiveness. So we must ask what commands we must obey, and is baptism one of them? But first, consider some objections.

Hebrews 10:39 and Chapter 11
Hebrews 11 gives many examples of people who "by faith" pleased God and received His reward (11:6). But the purpose is to show us how to be among "them that believe to the saving of the soul" (10:39). Now, does the faith that God rewards include obedience? That is, was obedience NECESSARY in order for God to reward the people, or did He reward them before they obeyed or even when they did not obey?

Noah (11:7) - By faith Noah prepared an ark to save his house and become heir of righteousness according to faith. Was he saved by faith BEFOREhe obeyed, ordid God save him from the flood only AFTER he obeyed? Would he have been saved if he had not obeyed?

Abraham (11:8) - By faith he OBEYED GOD AND WENT to the place God eventually showed him. Did God reward him BEFORE he obeyed, or only AFTER he obeyed?

Israel at Jericho (11:30) - By faith the walls of Jericho fell. Did they fall BEFORE the people DID what God said, or AFTERWARDS? Would the walls have fallen had the people not obeyed? The verse says the walls fell "AFTER THEY WERE COMPASSED ABOUT." (See also 11:4,17,24, etc.)

In every case, God rewarded people for OBEDIENT faith. They received the blessing "by faith," NOT BEFORE they obeyed or WITHOUT obedience, but only AFTER or as aresult of their obedience. Yet when faith led to obedience, they received the reward "by faith."

Saving faith is faith that OBEYS. If your faith says that obedience is not necessary or that God will "save your soul" before you obey, then you have a faith that WILL NOT SAVE.


My opponent asks how one receives this "gift certificate" that is analogous to faith. Well, all one must do to receive a gift certificate is believe that the gift certificate is what it says it is. Any stipulations on where to spend it, or what is required to spend it... come ONLY if you believe that the gift certificate is valid.

My opponent seeks to confuse the issue by pointing out that there are other parts to the salvation equation. I do not deny this... however, the only part relevant to this debate is what Humans are responsible for in this equation. Is God required for salvation? Of course. Is grace? Yes. If you want to get technical, Hell and Sin are required for salvation (you must be saved from something in order to be saved). However, the nature of this debate is not to list all component parts of salvation, rather it is to discuss and debate what is required on the part of the human to be saved.

Ephesians 2:8 - You are saved by grace (Instrument of Salvation) through faith (Means of accessing the instrument of salvation), not by works.

My opponent has sought to undermine this passage by mis-characterizing the concept of faith alone and redefining it as "do nothing salvation." He again does this in the final round by saying "but they do not teach that we are saved by FAITH ALONE OR WITHOUT OBEDIENCE." This is not what Faith alone means... faith alone does not mean that other things do not accompany faith... however, it does mean that faith is the only thing that saves you (as a means of accessing the instrument of salvation).

My opponent then goes on to list a litany of things he claims are required for salvation. However, each of these things is only truly made possible through faith.

The Gospel - Without Faith, this is just a story.
Learning God's will - Without Faith, why would anyone seek the will of a God they do not have faith in.
Love - Without Faith (in God), love is simply a feeling of mutual affection.
Hope - Without Faith in God, what hope is there?
Repentance - Without Faith in God, why are we bothering to repent?
Obedience - Obedient to what? Without faith... what are we being obedient to?
Confession of Christ - How does one confess Christ with no faith in Christ
Baptism - Baptism is an outward sign and sacrament of an inward faith. There is never anyone in scripture who is baptized without expressing faith first.
Faithfulness - Not sure why Con listed this... You can't be faithful without faith...
Church Membership - Without faith, this is no more than a country club.
A faithful obedient life... how are we to be faithful without faith, and without faith... what are we being obedient to?

As I've shown, each of these things requires faith first. They flow out of faith and are the RESULT of faith. Even if they are a requirement of salvation... they are a byproduct of faith that necessarily comes. So their ultimate cause is faith.

My opponent uses the example of the Key to a Car. Suppose you are given a Key to a functional car... do you have everything you need to drive that car? Yes. Is there anything else required to drive that car besides the key? No... there is not.

My opponent claims that 1 Peter 1:22-23 and Romans 6:17-18 require purifying ones soul, and obeying the truth to be a requirement of salvation. The fact is, these verses do not say this. 1 Peter 1:22-23 gives instructions for what to do once one has had their soul purified. One must ask how this is done... and the answer is "Obeying the Truth." How does one "obey the truth?" Well, the answer is simple. You obey the truth by acknowledging it as true. Is this not exactly what faith is? Acknowledging a truth without proof that it is true? Romans 6:17-18 simply is an expression of thanks by Paul that those who were once slaves to sin have become obedient. No where in the passage does it imply an imperative.

Hebrew 5:9 - This passage does not say that he is the source of salvation BECAUSE they obey him. Simply that he is the source of salvation for those who obey. If obedience is an outflow of salvation rather than the source of it... then faith leads to salvation, which leads to obedience. So all who are saved obey and all who obey are saved. However, Faith is the source of both things.

James 2:24 - I wondered when this was going to come up. I'm surprised it didn't earlier. To understand this passage, we must understand it in its context. My opponent would have you believe that James is arguing that we are saved by our works. However, James is not arguing that. Rather, James is arguing for the fact that true faith necessarily produces works. So if you do not have works, you do not have true faith. However, that is not to say that the works are somehow saving you, or contributing to your salvation in anyway. It is still the true faith that saves you. Immediately prior in vs 23 James says "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Righteousness is a legal term that means that one is not under any conviction. So Abraham was not under any conviction, because of his faith.

I could continue on and address every point, however I would run out of space. Needless to say, each of these passages shows the same pattern. My opponent claims that a product of faith (Confession, Repentance, Love, etc) are a requirement of salvation. However, they are not, they are simply products and proof of the faith that saves. Without them, you cannot be saved... however not because they are required for salvation... rather a person who does not exhibit them does not have faith... it is still the faith that saves.

My opponent then launches into a litany of examples of people who were supposedly only saved/rewarded after obedience. However, in each case... faith precedes obedience.

Noah built the ark because he had faith that God was genuine. Abraham went out because he believed God would be faithful to his promise. The walls of Jericho fell because the Israelites had faith that God would fight for them if they were faithful.

The closing line of my opponent's argument sums it up well. "Saving faith is faith that OBEYS. If your faith says that obedience is not necessary or that God will "save your soul" before you obey, then you have a faith that WILL NOT SAVE" I would only like to offer a few corrections and clarification.

"Saving faith is faith that OBEYS." I couldn't agree more... however, even if it is a faith that obeys... it is still faith that saves you.

If your faith says that obedience is not necessary..." My opponent again misunderstands the nature of "Sola Fide" salvation. Obedience is "necessary" in that it is a necessary product of salvation and faith. If you are not obedient, you do not have faith. However, it is the obedient FAITH that saves you, not the obedience.

Thank you all for reading. God bless.
Debate Round No. 4
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ahijah 6 years ago
Posted by DAN123 6 years ago
Actually Gil it is the only thing we can depend on salvation....... I don't know if you're a pentecostal but but i dont think that there are in these days "angelic messengers", Human "propets" and God's "direct personal communication via dreams"
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
"The Bible is not the only thing you are to depend on for salvation"
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
Salvation is not the only thing that you are to depend on for salvation.
You are to depend on ALL forms of information that come from God:
1) God's written word - The Bible
2) God's institution of the Church
3) The Holy Spirit and his "illumination"
4) Angelic Messangers
5) Human Prophets and teachers
6) God's direct personal communication to you via dreams (numbers 13 and acts chapter 2)
7) A growing relationship of response of affirmation from God as you walk rather than discipline.
8) The God given cognitive faculties you have been designed with.

There are probably more... but you get the idea. Salvation is a whollistic walk with God that is not dependent on a personal flawed interpretation of the Bible.
If you do not have assurances from God you are equal to Moses or Elijah, I would walk calmly and teach without dogmatism.
Posted by Ahijah 6 years ago
Ok, I am going to bit ;) What is your solution?
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
"Quote: "You are still stating that "nothing is above your personal interpretation of the bible"
Short answer, YES. I am solely responsible for my on salvation. That makes me solely responsible to understand what God requires of me.""

I am uncertain if you are "fully" understanding what I am stating.
Though your statement is true it does not mean you do not kill or destroy Christians by using your "bludgeoning tool" the Bible.

Here is an example:
1st Scenario - We assume once saved always saved or "justification by faith alone" or another similiar belief is true:
If you are dead wrong and teach everyone to pursue salvation daily through obedience to God and His commands. You convince 10's of thousands to agree with you.

You then die and stand before God on judgement day. He states "well you were wrong, all they needed to do was believe and be saved, but boy howdy look at all of those faithful and obedient children you have created! Good job on that front!"
You harmed noone if you taught them to be obedient and put their eternal souls on it.

Second scenario:
Obedience unto salvation is true. A daily walk of growing obedience is necessary for salvation:

You go around "bludgeoning" people with your "truth" that all they need do is one simple act of faith. That is it!

You die, you stand in front of God and are being judged. God states "you were dead wrong, all of these tens of thousands of people you convinced had fruitless lives and will not be cast into hell because you taught them and even convinced them that all they needed to do was believe..."

You now have 10's of thousands of people sent to hell because of your "tool" the bible. They believed your interpretation of the bible and have condemned their own souls. God holds you responsible for what you do or do not teach.

Ezekiel chapter 3 and 33. It is called the doctrine of Blood Guilt.
Posted by Ahijah 6 years ago
Quote: "You are still stating that "nothing is above your personal interpretation of the bible"
Short answer, YES. I am solely responsible for my on salvation. That makes me solely responsible to understand what God requires of me.
Posted by Ahijah 6 years ago
Lol, "Concerning using your bludgeoning tool" I want to assure you I would never harm anyone. I was speaking of using the Bible sword and only that sword. But I can tell you that can smart as well. I have had it used on me. :)
Posted by Gileandos 6 years ago
Quote Ahijah,
"I am saying, we should examine every scrap of information we can obtain. i.e. Gibons decline and fall of Rome, Josephs and writing by the church fathers. Also there is a wealth of research on things pertaining to God and the Bible that men have written. i.e. Greek dictionaries, concordances, commentaries and such like. After we read the Bible and understand what we can. We can use some of these tools and helps also. But I do not put anything above the Bible."

This seems to be a loaded statement. We do not have all of the data the early church fathers and the founding church leaders had access to. We also will never be able to fully comprehend all data we have access to.
No denomination or Christian places anything above the Bible. However, that is different than saying "I place my interpretation of the Bible above the combined viewpoint of the rest of the Holy Spirit Church leadership."
The Bible is not always clear and more information may only lead to more innaccuracies.
You are still stating that "nothing is above your personal interpretation of the bible"
At that point you are either directly in contact with God in personal dialogue just like Moses or Elijah or you are equally potentially flawed and should not be swinging a club.
Posted by Ahijah 6 years ago
But, I want to make clear. I believe a simple man can read the Bible alone, believe the things written and obey the same and go to heaven. I am only talking about the serious Bible student when it comes to other in depth studies.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con was allowed to define the debate, and presented stronger arguments all around.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: "However, each of these things is only truly made possible through faith." - this is a semantic win, but a clear semantic win. However Dan could have taken this is they pressed a lot harder, and/or make a much more clear resolution to start.
Vote Placed by vardas0antras 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter votebomb
Vote Placed by Ahijah 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Dan, you have demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt. That immersion in water in for the remission of ones sins is essential for their eternal salvation! I have read books by men twice your age, masters of the English language that have not so eloquently described the Bible position on the subject matter the way you have. It is absolutely amazing a young Philippine man can have the Bible knowledge you possess. You are a fine man of God. I am proud to call you brother. Keep up the good work.
Vote Placed by kohai 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro made the bad choice by letting con define the debate
Vote Placed by Labrat228 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: "He who defines the debate, shall win the debate".... Brilliant moves by Arsenal.