In his Systematic Theology, John M. Frame writes, "Even though there are none to few definitions in the Bible, Scripture, not any theological definition, is our ultimate authority. Theological definitions must measure up to Scripture, not the other way around."1 [Emphasis mine.] Mr. Frame is exactly correct. This corresponds well with a favourite quote of mine from Don Fortner:
Our only rule of faith and practice is the Word of God. We have . . .no creed to defend,no denomination to maintain, andno confession to bind our minds.
"What do the Scriptures teach?" That is and must be our only concern. If the plain teachings of Holy Scripture appear to destroy or contradict our understanding of any doctrine, then let us relinquish the doctrine, or acknowledge the fact that our minds are both depraved and minuscule, and bow to the revelation of God.—Don Fortner
Apply both of those quotes to the doctrine of Sola Fide and then compare what Scripture actually says against the definition and meaning of Sola Fide: "we are justified by faith alone apart from the need for works." The truth is, we are saved by grace alone (Eph. 2:5, 8-9). We are saved by grace alone through faith in the death of Christ Jesus alone.
It is good for brothers in the Lord to wrestle through matters of faith, doctrine, theology, and truth, to learn from each other and to sharpen each other for kingdom use. If you are not stubborn and proud, and if you are open to challenges that examine your faith and encourage you to grow in truth, then here are some blog entries addressing the "Sola Fide" issue:
- By Faith Alone? I Don't Think So!
- Sola Fide?
- What Is Meant By Works?
- James' "Works": Commentary Evidence
- James' "Works": John Calvin's Commentary
- Final Words On James' "Justification By Works"
- Justification: Romans 4 and James 2
- Types of Works
- Formulas of Faith
- Faith: An Example
- A Frustrating Issue
- The Contrast Between Faith and Works
- The Dilemma
When our theological definition says "justified by faith alone" and the Bible says "justified not by faith alone," it is a very big thing! Emphasis regarding justification should not be placed on either faith or works. A heavy emphasis on either faith or works is a ditch from the truth. If the works we do are a means of being right with God, then they will damn us straight to hell. If the works we do are a means of being obedient to God through faith, then we are in the same arena with Abraham. Faith and works go hand-in-hand and cannot be separated. Our faith must work itself out (works) and our works must be done in and by faith. Faith alone and works alone will damn us to hell.
1 John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief, p.4.