Originally posted by Cuirassier Originally posted by C. Matthew McMahon
If someone said to you, "Martin Luther invented the idea of justification by faith alone." "No one before Martin Luther has anything written on the subject until the 16th century."
Now we know that we can go exegete Scripture. But what about those who have exegeted Scripture before Martin Luther? (Middle Ages, Early Church, etc.)
What would you say to them? How would you deal with them?
I know I'm a relative newb here .... and it may just be me ....
... but I believe that if a person has "issues" with justification by faith alone, then what they really have issues with is the Bible itself. If exegeting Scripture is not an option for them, then their problem is much bigger than finding a theologian who lived and taught accordingly to particular parameters they are trying to set.
So, I say, to make sure my theology is not an "invented" one, let's remove Calvin from the discussion--and any other theologian, for that matter. Let us not "invent" - let us go back to Scripture. If they protest, and insist on bringing in the writings of another theolgian whose writings refute Calvin, then they are being inconsistent, and the discussion is moot.
If they agree to properly exegete, then they're going to have to face the realities of scripture head-on, and see that justification by faith alone is THE exclusive means of justification. Eph 2.8, Rom 1.16, etc.
I guess (and forgive my overly simplistic argument) that while I think it's good to show theologians before Calvin espoused reformed thinking, the real question is "what Biblical proof exists for the doctrine in question?"
Because they are non-inspired works of men, I believe I have to automatically build in an allowance for potentical error or inconsistency in the writings of theologians--however "good" they may be. Praise the Lord, however, His Word stands true and firm - and we can always put our "full weight" on it.
I hope that's not a silly or reductionist answer ...
[Edited on 4-7-2006 by Cuirassier]