Thursday, October 22, 2009
(I know it's been a full month since my last post, but here is the third and final installment since we ran the original piece on Mitch Pacwa, Sept. 3, 2009. Photo of Mitch in action.)
Mitch Pacwa and numerous other Roman Catholic apologists use the following verse to support the Roman Catholic teaching that we are saved, not by faith alone, but by faith combined with good works—that is faith plus good works.
James 2:24 : “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”
To hear Mitch and the others explain it (see three installments back), this one verse is all a Christian needs to read to know that the Roman Catholic gospel of free will choice (as Mitch notes, same gospel that Billy Graham preaches) is the true gospel. No matter how many times Christ tells us that he is the chooser (past posts) for the salvation of our souls (see immediately past posts), Mitch and Billy insists, we are the choosers.
Mitch claims that St. James, the individual who wrote the above verse, is telling us that our salvation is not a matter of the gift of faith that Christ alone can give us, but also a matter of our own good works—and both of them (faith plus works) are necessary for our salvation. Of course, in order to do that, Mitch may as well tells us that Jesus himself is a liar, because Jesus is clear on this matter and what he says totally contradicts St. James.
He who believes in me has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
He who hears my word and believes in the One who sent me, has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)
Jesus tells us we know we are saved if we believe in him as our only savior, if we have the faith to put all our trust in him for salvation, which is a gift that only he can give. (Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Romans 6:23 ..the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.)
The only real difference between Billy Graham’s false gospel and Mitch’s is that Mitch’s church puts its teaching in writing and condemns to hell anyone who believes that are saved by faith or trust alone in Christ:
“If anyone says that the faith which justifies is nothing else but trust in the divine mercy (of God), which pardons sins because of Christ; or that it is that trust alone (faith alone) by which we are justified; let him be anathema (accursed, condemned to hell).” -Council of Trent, session six, “Decree on Justification”, canon 12.
Once again, this teaching contradicts Christ’s own promises by denying that we are indeed saved through the gift of faith that comes only from Christ--the gift of being able to put our trust in him alone for our salvation. In making this a required belief, the pope and his bishops implicitly deny that Christ was the sole reason or basis for our salvation.
Because Mitch Pacwa is a Bible scholar, he should also know that, correctly interpreted, the verse in James 2:24 doesn’t have to contradict Jesus. So what is the correct interpretation of James 2:24 that allows James to uphold what Christ says about salvation? Let’s start by repeating the verse,
“You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”
As Mitch knows, the word “justified” can have more than one meaning. In this case the word “justified” is used as a verb in the same way that Jesus used it in Luke 7:25 (“wisdom is justified by all her children”). Here, the word “justified” is used as meaning “proof of a prior claim.” When we apply that meaning to James’ use of the word “justify” in this verse, we find that James was telling us: “works were proof of faith.” And that interpretation fits well with the rest of the Bible. James was merely saying that the good works we do, justify or prove our faith to those who observe us. As Christ told us “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
You see, it’s not always terribly complex as Mitch would try to have you believe. However, it is a benefit to the Roman church to try to make it seem as complex as possible. That way most people will throw up their hands in either exhaustion or fear and trembling and say, “Okay tell me what to believe and what to do and I trust that you the Roman Church will get me to heaven.”
If you believe what Jesus says about faith or belief in him, you don’t have to be exhausted or in a state of free and trembling. In fact, Jesus invites us to take comfort in him.
(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Another wonderful promise from the Savior of the souls of all who believe in him. --Bro. Jim