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The Contender
Con (against)
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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: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 714 times Debate No: 54955
Debate Rounds (3)
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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
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.


I would like to rebut my opponents arguments that faith produces works. Yes, the verses work because faith can only be true if it produces works. Salvation comes from faith alone, but that faith creates works.

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

The faith is dead if works do not come from it.

If you don't have faith in God's word, where will the works come from?

In Luke 19: 1-10 Zacchaeus has faith in Jesus and returns to every man he stole from four-fold. That act of kindness could only be performed through faith. So Abraham's offering was a work produced through faith. He had faith God would somehow save his son, and that's he reason he obeyed God. He trusted in God. He had faith in him.
Debate Round No. 1


con says 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, and he ignores the works stuff in the bible. con simply ignores the James passage that says explicitly that we are not saved by faith alone. 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.

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. as I said earlier, to be sure, works are required in both versions. but con hasnt sshown why it's faith = justification + works..... instead of faith + works = justification.


Pro completely misses the point where I explained what the verses were saying.

As for what Paul said, the word "work" as a verb has a different meaning than "works." What he said is that you should be God-fearing when you are being saved. Faith without works, or in other words, faith that doesn't produce works, is not faith. That's what he was saying.

We should have faith in the fact that what God said about repenting being true.

Merriam Webster's Definition of Repentance:
to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life

With faith comes salvation, and with salvation comes repentance, which if you are turning from sin, you are turning to good things, which include works. Works are not a requirement for salvation, but a result, meaning that what James said is if your faith is not producing works, it is not faith. If we use it in that context, it makes sense.

Yes, Jesus' words concern works, but these are works that came as a result of faith. Works are a result, not a requirement.
Debate Round No. 2


i didn't miss the point. i just pointed out how your arguments are just arguments, possibilities. you have not shown irrefutable proof that it's one way or the other. it could still be faith plus works equals justification instead of faith equal justification plus works. you also notably are weak in other biblical support. and you ignore that jesus stressed works, period. at times he emphaseized faith in him, but the bottomline was stressed to be works emphasized. leading to the equation alterante to what you claim.
thus, it is not clear what the solution truly is. only God knows.


"i just pointed out how your arguments are just arguments, possibilities."

First off, of course my argument is an argument. That's why it's called an argument. Your arguments are arguments, everybody's arguments are arguments. I did not show it as possibilities. It is a way of interpreting the Bible where it all fits together and makes sense. When you say I am notably weak, you realize you gave about the same amount of biblical support. Also you do not have irrefutable proof either. A literal view of the text is also only a possibility.

"only God knows."
When you say that only God knows, why would he not make it clear to us the way of salvation?

For this is what John 3:16 says.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

If he loved the world so much to give up his only son, why would he refrain from telling us of how to attain salvation. This verse tells us that those who believe, or have faith in him shall not perish.

What Jesus mentioned were examples of works, but he never said it was the lack of works that disallowed people from heaven. The people in the story truly did not have faith in what he said was true, otherwise their hearts would have changed from the fear that came from that faith. Yes, the works are mentioned, but I stress, they are a result of salvation. The people didn't enter heaven because they didn't have faith. If they did, their works would be reflected in that. Works are an effect of salvation, not a cause.

You have not shown irrefutable proof.

Let's compare this to a tree.

A seed (faith) grows into a tree. (salvation) The leaves (works) are present, but they did not grow into a tree. After the tree was present, they came to be as a result of the tree growing.

Your actions do not become salvation, they are a result of it.

"Jesus also talks about the necessity to be baptized,"

Baptism is not required for salvation.

36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

"You have to believe first before you can be baptized. You have to be saved. but the bottomline was stressed to be works emphasized"

Acts 16:

30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Believe and you are saved. That's what this verse gets across.

Mark 16:16
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

The point he is trying to get across here is that baptism (among other works) is worthless without faith. You need faith in order to be saved.

it could still be faith plus works equals justification instead of faith equal justification plus works.
I never said it was either of those.

leading to the equation alterante to what you claim.
My claim is not the expression you believe it to be. I ask that you please stop making assumptions and re-read my earlier arguments.
Overall, from what I have witnessed with my opponent's weak biblical support, confusing arguments, and overall hard to understand arguments, I can fully say I am not convinced.

Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Cobo 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had some pretty noticeable grammar mistakes. The argumentation was great until the pro decided to half try in their final speech. Con really capitalized on that.

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