Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Monday, December 05, 2005

James 2:14ff : REVIEW (Post 4)

To my blog visitors: thank you for dropping by. It means so much to me that you take the time to check in and read the things that I have to say. I hope that they bless you and give you plenty of food for thought.

This is the fourth post in the series on James and is meant as a review:

Post 1 set the stage describing the battle between those who believe in faith alone in Christ alone for eternal life (like myself) and those who believe in faith that is not alone apart from works for eternal life (those who adhere to Lordship salvation). It is a solemn controversy. The stakes are very high: the gospel of God’s grace! Both cannot be true, therefore one or the other is preaching a false gospel. Paul was clear that a curse is on the one who preaches a message contrary to the grace message he expounded.

Lordship Salvation proponents have been very verbal about their insistence that the “Free Grace” gospel is heresy and a false gospel. So it should not be shocking to you that I believe the same about their avowal.

It is my contention that Lordship Salvation has subtly yet fatally included works into their soteriology, thus corrupting the message of grace. Post 1 shows how LS has added works as a condition for salvation in two different ways, thus making their message one of works-salvation. They do this by both redefining what faith is and by insisting that true faith will not fail to produce faithful obedience that perseveres until death, which they then condition final salvation upon the works that are to subsequently and necessarily follow faith.

Post 2 has shown conclusively that the intended audience of James was completely regenerate. This is an important point, for the common interpretation of James 2 suggests that James is giving his readers a cause to doubt their salvation and a test by which to gain a measure of “assurance” if they are truly saved. The problems that James describes in his epistle are problems that apply to his "beloved brethren", people with the indwelling Spirit of God.

Lordship Salvation advocates insist that the purpose of James 2:14ff is to give test to the readers of his epistle to confirm or not if they are "truly" saved by considering their works, which they say must accompany faith for ultimate salvation. This was not the intention of James. It has been shown that James was taking for granted that his intended audience was indeed born-again, and in light of such, strikes a hard blow against the Lordship Salvation position.

Post 3 starts off with verse 14. Here it is shown that great and insupportable liberty has been given to translate the second question of the verse. Many translations offer the readings “that faith” or “such faith” where support is supposedly gained by the Greek article appearing before the noun faith. They say that the article has a demonstrative force that refers to something “less than” faith, a mere “said” faith.

Yet it is impossible to argue that the intended Greek fluent readers of the book of James would pick up on this undetectable grammatical nuance when in the span of only a few sentences there are five occurences in the text that also have the article with the noun “faith” that are clearly not demonstrative. Therefore, if this is something that James wanted his readers to invariably pick up on, he would have used the Greek far demonstrative pronoun or the Greek word for “such”. If this is something that he wanted to emphasize and clearly show, why would he make it so confusing by merely using an article before the noun “faith”, which he does 5 other times in a span of a few sentences, in a culture that often used the article before abstract nouns? It is ludicrous that a Greek reader would pick up on this force. The addition of “that” or “such” is a shameful reading into the text!The only way that one can insert the words “this” or “such” into the text is by their interpretation based upon their pre-held theology. That they do this is evident. This is indeed interpretive. Why not let the reader perceive if it is “anaphoric” or not? The original intended audience would have. The addition of those words are nothing but interpretation and does not befit responsible literal equivalent translation, especially in light of the overwhelming facts that mitigate succesfully against its being rendered that way.

James’ second question in verse 14 asks, “Can faith save him?” And in the Greek, the implied answer is “No!” But, of course, faith can and does save when we are speaking of eternal salvation (e.g. Ephesians 2:8, 9). But here -as James makes plain- faith cannot save under the conditions he has in mind. Thus in James 2, the writer plainly makes works a condition for the salvation he here is describing. We must then admit that James can not be talking about salvation by grace! This is an important consideration as we proceed to the rest of the text.

Our next installment will be discussing exactly what kind of salvation does James have in mind as we look at verses 15 and 16. I should be done with this post within a couple of days.

Thanks again for your visit! Your comments are welcome!


Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Interesting post.

Please remind me what you think 'save' means in this context.

I was quite comfortable with Lordship Salvation until Shawn said on Rose's Reasonings that saving faith entails loving Christ and being willing to lay down one's life. Suddenly scales fell from my eyes!

Every Blessing in Christ


December 06, 2005 1:22 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Mark 8:34 "And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'"

Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple."

Matthew, what is your take on the above listed verses?

December 06, 2005 5:47 PM  
Blogger Shawn L said...

matthew (df),

That's not what I said. I said that is the work of grace revealed in that person or the regenerate.....Read it again.

December 06, 2005 9:42 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Shawn, if anyone wants to re-examine what you really mean, there are lots of comments of yours that they can view on Rose's Reasonings. No matter what you say to clarify, your doctrine disturbs me.

Following Christ is a somewhat different issue from salvation. It ake it that you are saved man. Do you think that you follow Christ?

God Bless


December 07, 2005 1:14 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

I am following what you have said and I am interested in reading the next post. I do so now.

December 07, 2005 8:27 AM  
Blogger Shawn L said...

fair enough

December 07, 2005 11:05 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

Hi Antonio,

The depth of this series is like the depth in Rose's TULIP series. It's really exciting how iron can sharpen iron with this medium (of blogging).

You said:

if this is something that James wanted his readers to invariably pick up on, he would have used the Greek (for) demonstrative pronoun or the Greek word for “such”.


If this is something that he wanted to emphasize and clearly show, why would he make it so confusing by merely using an article before the noun “faith”, which he does 5 other times in a span of a few sentences, in a culture that often used the article before abstract nouns?

Are you saying there are other gramtical forms James could have used that were really common to indicate 'such faith', or were they somewhat obscure in some way? In other words, even though I'm in your camp, it can be hard for someone for whom it is all 'greek to them' to sort this out. It seems nuanced.

BTW, my husband, who is learning NT Greek, told our Pastor that he would like to be able to read the NT in Greek like he can in English, without translating it in his head. Pastor told him that that was a worthy goal, but something to the effect that he wouldn't comment on how likely it would be achieved. Then he told him that his own Greek teacher, Zane Hodges, was one who could do just that!

Lord bless you,


December 12, 2005 8:59 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Jodie,

First, you didn't quote me correctly. I said he would you the Greek FAR demonstrative pronoun. The far deonstrative pronoun is "that". The near demonstrative pronoun is "this".

What I am saying is that if James wished to get across the concept of "that faith" or "such faith" he could have done so very easily by including one of those words. But he didnt.

The Lordship salvationist interprets the article ("the") as "that" or "such".

My position is NOT nuanced. It is the lordship position that is.

Actually it is not to hard to understand. Lordship salvation has an agenda, so they take great liberty in their interprative translation of the the word "the" (the article) as "that" or "such" in James 2:14 which comes before the word "faith".

This is an unsupportable interpretation in light of the fact that James uses the article before the word "faith" 5 other times in the span of a few sentences that obviously does not have the demonstrative force.

Also, the Greek language often employed the article with abstract nouns, such as faith, love, and hope.

No reader would pick up on this undetectable grammatical nuance that is the interpretation of the Lordship Salvation camp.


December 12, 2005 9:46 PM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

ok ok ok ok

I meant the whole matter seems nuanced, partly because it is grammar after all, not specifically your argument.

If it is as clear cut as you say than it is even more depressing how widespread the error is!

Lord bless you,


December 14, 2005 9:14 PM  

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