But I am neither Calvinist nor Lutheran. I am non-denominational. So I do not see how De Maria could rightly associate me with such theologies. As for the Reformers, they did some good things and also made mistakes. They made errors, just like the rest of us. My intention here is not to defend these people.
If faith is a work, then why did the inspired writers of the New Testament repeatedly distinguish between faith and works? If "faith" is to be understood as "faithfulness," then it would not make sense for Paul to add the qualifier "working through love" to "faith" in Galatians 5:6.
Someone may point to John 6:28-29 as biblical evidence for the idea that faith is meritorious. But that would only be pitting Scripture against Scripture, since it clearly tells us justification is an unmerited gift of God. Jesus was not affirming faith to be a work, but rather instructing performance-oriented Jews that they need to place their trust in Him in order to be saved from the sin and condemnation.
Justification is either obtained by grace or by works (Romans 11:6). It cannot be both, which automatically disqualifies the Roman Catholic position. There is nothing meritorious about justification being obtained by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
"They were justified BY GOD because they did good deeds. Look at the previous 12 verses...Exactly! God looks at our works in judgment in order to determine if they are meritorious."