Monday, September 3, 2018

Debunking Catholic Apologist Steve Ray On James 2 And Justification By Faith Alone

  • Discussion:
          -This article strives to further interact with a post published by Roman Catholic apologist Steve Ray at Catholic Answers called Ankerberg Aweigh on the topic of James 2 as it relates to justification. Following are quotations from the author along with a critique:

          "This passage does not sit well with Ankerberg's interpretation. He says that it is always faith that is proven by works, whereas the apostle James seems to say it is the person."

          On the contrary, the context of James 2 is indeed contrasting two different kinds of faith. It centers on a profession that results in good works and another that is dead. One man says that he believes in God while another actually does what He commands. A man is "justified" in the sense of being vindicated or proven righteous.

          "We must take care with this theory, or we'll end up scratching a few verses out of Genesis. Was it men who were testing Abraham's faith? The book of Genesis says God, not men, who was testing Abraham in Genesis 22. Ankerberg writes that James is referring to justification before men, because God can already see the heart (37)."

          God can test our faith to produce obedience. Even though God already knows whether our faith is genuine, Abraham was tested so that future generations could see for themselves that he is worthy of being considered the father of our faith. A faith that saves is one that obeys God. A saving faith is very much alive and active. A faith that is not evidenced by good works is dead. The context of James 2 discusses the inherent features of a saving faith.

          "Another problem with the Fundamentalist interpretation is that there were no men around to be "vindicated" before-this test was strictly between God and Abraham."

          Sure there was. Isaac himself got to witness the greatness of his father Abraham's faith. This incident was also penned down in Scripture by Moses. As a result, multitudes of readers in later centuries could see the greatness of Abraham's faith. He trusted in God to the point at which he would even give up his dearly beloved son.

          "James thinks Abraham was not justified in Genesis 15 or 17, but much later in Genesis 22, when he offered up Isaac. He states, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" (James 2:21, KJV). And then James is bold enough to say, "So you see, a man is justified by his works, and not by faith alone" (James 2:24)."

          The problem here is that the context of James 2 is not about how one is made right with God, but rather how one demonstrates the reality of his or her faith. Romans 3-5 is the place in Scripture in which the doctrine of justification before God is defined thoroughly. It is the Apostle Paul who speaks of this subject more than any other biblical writer. There is no evidence here for the notion of justification before God being a lengthy, complicated process. According to Hebrews 11:8, Abraham was justified in Genesis 12. Genesis 15:6 is simply the proclamation of Abraham's salvation as a result of his faith and a promise to future generations that they would be saved by the same means.

          "James elaborates what faith is, and its crucial element of obedience (works), as does John in his first epistle. The Catholic vs. Protestant argument, the faith vs. faith and obedience debate, has nothing to do with the discussion Paul was having with the Jewish Christians in Rome and Galatia."

           Scripture contains principles that are applicable to all people, at all places, and at all times. Obviously, the Apostle Paul was unfamiliar with Catholic verses Protestant issues on the nature of salvation. However, he still knew the basic contents of this controversy because he had to address in writing the Judaizers who promoted a faith plus works gospel.


  1. The RCC cultists have to twist these passages because their whole ideology is wrapped up in works-salvation. And THEY determine what works must be done!

  2. Great job, Jesse! I've always said that one of the main problems that Catholics have is CONTEXT. The truth is staring them right in the face, but they can't see it because "Mother Church" won't let them.