Justified by Faith, Apart from Works

I recently listened to a train wreck of a sermon by a local Purpose Driven pastor. In his 44 minutes on the subject of faith, he achieved the remarkable feat of avoiding any mention of the proper object of Christian faith: Christ, and His life, death and resurrection for sinners.

The pastor defined faith by a number of its purported attributes. The fourth was this:

Faith is giving when I don’t have it.

Let’s leave aside the aspect of ‘giving when I don’t have it’, problematic though that is. There is a more fundamental error lurking in this statement.

Notice that the pastor does not say that faith results in my ‘giving when I don’t have it’. Neither does he state that ‘the kind of faith that justifies produces a desire to give’. Rather, he asserts that faith is giving. This is to confuse faith with the fruit of faith, namely the works that faith produces.

Though it might at first seem as if I am splitting hairs, maintaining the distinction between faith and works – especially with respect to justification – is foundational to a proper understanding of biblical Christianity (cf. the epistles to the Romans, Galatians, etc.). This distinction was a lynchpin of the Reformation. Against the Reformers’ emphasis on justification by grace alone (unmerited favour) through faith alone (apart from works), Rome erroneously insisted that justification is ‘not by faith alone, which some incorrectly teach, but faith that works through love’ (see the Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession).

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Hard-hitting Rap Video Tackles False Prosperity Gospel

IV His Son has posted the official video for his song, What Am I to Do, from his latest album The Justice System. Tackling the false prosperity gospel, naming names, and citing relevant Scripture, the video is well worth watching – and, more importantly, hearing – even if rap is not normally your preferred musical genre.

You can find out more about IV His Son on the Crown Rights Media website.

Elephant Room 2: may we now regard T.D. Jakes as Trinitarian and orthodox?

James MacDonald’s invitation to T.D. Jakes to participate in The Elephant Room 2 has been nothing if not controversial, as I outlined in my previous post. MacDonald’s invitation to Jakes was no doubt well intentioned, and part of the motivation was surely to help break down the racial divide still all too evident in the visible church within the United States. Such intentions are commendable.

Why, then, was MacDonald’s invitation to T.D. Jakes controversial? For two primary reasons:

  1. Since he began his ministry, Jakes has been associated with the heresy of modalism, and has hitherto refused to embrace orthodox Trinitarian creeds or formulas.
  2. Jakes has consistently preached a false prosperity gospel, promising people that God will bless them materially if they give generously to Jakes’ ministry.

The Heresy of modalism vs. the orthodox view of the Trinity

Before we can examine Jakes’ statements at the Elephant Room, it is necessary to understand both the heresy of modalism and the Church’s historic orthodox confession of the Trinity.

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