mardi 25 avril 2017

Conversation on Justification: To believe or Not to believe - Part 4

This is the fourth (4th) exchange we had on the Justification exchange. You can check here Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.



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Hello A,

I hope you had started a good weekend despite the grey sky above us. 

Allow me to go right into your remarks if you allow me to be this candid.

1) You objected by saying, "we agree on many points but not on this one "a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone".

It is interesting that what you do not agree with is an exact replica expression from the Bible itself. For it is written in the holy scriptures that, "You observe that a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone.James 2:24.

It is pretty clear to me that it is not with me only that you disagreeing but with St. James a biblical writer.

2) You remarked, "you say that  passage  is written in the bible like that  but that is not what it means to me when I consider the context. the same way I can read a passage that says: "do not kill," but by reading other verses I see that killing animals for food is not bad"

I appreciate that you are trying to read the scripture by trying to see what it means to you, but this is not the proper way of reading the scripture or any literally device for that matter. It is important to understand what it meant for the writer of the text in order to avoid to incorrectly interpret the text. Let me give an example which you kindly provided, "Do not kill" Exodus20:13. 
It has been know for long that word used in Hebrew for "Kill" means killing man or murdering.

Here is how the Esword, Hebrew and Greek Dictionary puts it: "râtsach (raw-tsakh'): A primitive root; properly to dash in pieces, that is, kill (a human being), especially to murder: - put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er)."

Allow me to quote this: "There are two different Hebrew words (ratsakh, mut) and two Greek words (phoneuo, apokteino) for “murder” and “killing.” One means 1) “to put to death,” and the other means 2) “to murder.” The latter one is the one prohibited by the Ten Commandments, not the former." - by Michael Morton. (source: https://www.gotquestions.org/you-shall-not-murder.html)

Why is this very important to know what the author or the original language mean? In order to avoid the difficulties in which you were getting your example into when you tried to read Exodus 20.13 as a generic word for 'any killing' instead of reading it as the original author was using it as 'killing human or murdering'.

And one last point, it is not me who said the passage is written in the bible, I provided the text that shows that passage is indeed written in Bible and says, "You observe that a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone.James 2:24

3) You preemptively complained that, "for me  it is not "editing" the word  as you said in the audience of one"

Among the definition we have of "edit" from the "Merriam Webster" Dictionary, it is rendered as "to make changes". I do not think that saying that you are editing the texts of the scripture would be incorrect since you have yourself provided a good example of that in your last email, see for your self:

Bible: "you observe that a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone"
Astrida: "let me give you a practical example of what i mean on being justified by faith alone"

It is crystal clear for any observer that when the Bible says not by faith alone, you have given yourself the prerogative to say by faith alone. This, my Dear Astrida, is what we call editing the scriptures.

4) You said, "my healing is justifying  my faith in Jesus , but  I do not see from your explanation how getting healed in that case can be taken alone. to justify what?"

I understand why you are not seeing my explanation on how works justifies faith, the reason is simple. I have not said it once. Actually I meant to ask you, where do you read that actions "JUSTIFIES" faith? 
I also need to point out that you may be confusing, 1) the actions made with faith (example, healing proclamation) and 2) the result of that actions made by faith (the experience of healing). Point two is a whole different topic on itself, allow me to refocus the conversation on point 1 only for the time being given that we have an obvious disagreement on your side in accepting the biblical text as St. James wrote it.

5) You also said, "I take that verse in context of what is written in previous verses and conclude that belief that I have."

Since we started you spoke about the context of verse 24 but you never provided any. So since it is the weekend, I wanted to be nice and provide it for our mutual benefice.

Jas 2:20  But will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead
Jas 2:21  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 
Jas 2:22  Do you see how faith worked with his works, and from the works faith was made complete

The context of verse 24 that you are editing mentioned couple of information and none of them seems to support your point of view of, "being justified by faith alone".

6) Finally, "I understand well our point of difference now."

I hope you can allow me some level of amusement, but I couldn't help chuckle when I read this comment. Let's state the major difference so far as this correspondence has gone,

My remarks: "The clear message of the scripture is that justification is neither by actions alone nor by faith alone, but a simultaneous expression of both actions and faith"

'A' remarks "let me give you a practical example of what i mean on being justified by faith alone"

The Standard"you observe that a person is justified through actions and not through faith alone" (Bible)


My final words would be, we need to respond positively to the scriptures instead of editing it. This is doubling urgent when one happens to hold the office of a teacher, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely than others." - James 3:1  

I understand why the justification by faith alone is attractive to many even though the very words 'justification by faith alone' is totally absent from the Bible itself, I had my own wrestling with this very topic 20 years ago and It took me almost a decade to come to term with my resistance to the scripture with regard to this topic despite the enormous pressure to the contrary around me and the many books I was reading which didn't help my compliance to the scripture teaching on this issue. In the end, we have to be honest with the text and I agree it is a difficult thing to do but it must be done if we want to align our theology with that of the first Christian community. I have not yet reach perfect understanding of scriptures but what I now know I hold dearly!

Have a please weekend in Jesus' name.
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The last post on my response is found on Part 5.

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