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June 14, 2010

Sola fide

Mike Potemra quotes Thomas Merton, Catholic himself, on the Protestant doctrine of sola fide (faith alone). Emphasis added.

To take one’s good works seriously is to be a pharisee. Only faith is to be taken seriously because only the mercy of God is serious. And if we put too much emphasis on the seriousness of what we do [we set ourselves up to be] judged as men who have taken seriously something other than His infinite mercy. . . . In taking faith seriously it is God whom we take seriously, not ourselves . . . God Who gives me faith and renews that gift, by His mercy, at every moment, in spite of my unbelief. This I think is one of the central intuitions of evangelical Christianity. . . . It is something, too, which many Protestants have themselves forgotten, becoming instead obsessed with faith as it is in themselves, constantly watching themselves to see if faith is still there, which means turning faith into a good work and being justified, consequently, by works.

Having fought so hard against idolatry, all too many Christians make a fetish of the Bible itself; preferring to venerate the text rather than read it. This would be bad enough in medieval times when access to the Word was restricted by class and and caste and the writ of human law. To make the same mistake now is to make a nonsense of Protestantism as an ideal. Better to have left things in the hands of the experts if we cannot be bothered to extend ourselves.

A little Greek and less Hebrew is all I am asking. It's not like it is THE WORD OF GOD or anything requiring an effort.

As to the rest, I am with Benedict XVI. A mustard seed is a key component of my Zombie Survival Kit.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at June 14, 2010 09:48 AM


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