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Rebuttal to Dr. Michael S. Horton on: "Is Justification by Faith Alone?"

It amazes me that Protestants, the very ones who claim to go by Scripture alone, continue to this day to use a non-biblical phrase ("faith alone") to describe how one is justified. In fact, Scripture goes out of its way to avoid using "faith alone" in reference to justification. For example, St. Paul used the word "faith" and its derivatives over 200 times; and the words "alone" or "only" a few dozen times. Some of the appearances of "alone" or "only" occur right in the very contexts that address the subject of Justification (Romans 3:29; 4:12; 4:16; 4:23; Galatians 2:10; 3:2; 4:18; 5:13). Yet in not one instance did St. Paul feel compelled to combine the two words to specify how Justification was procured. What would have kept him from using such an all-telling, all-important, phrase, if, indeed, the concept of "faith alone" was on the forefront of his mind? A haunting question, indeed, for anyone of Dr. Horton's burden to contemplate.

The burden is compounded when we recognize that Scripture considers the phrase "faith alone" to have the utmost importance, since it uses it in one very crucial place - - the very place it decides that it is appropriate to nullify the concept that Justification is by faith alone -- James 2:24. In fact, not only does Scripture nullify "faith alone" as justifying, it reinforces its nullity by prefacing it with the clause, "You see, a man is justified by works" prior to adding "and not by faith alone."

Now, the way Dr. Horton tries to dismiss the fact that Paul refrained from using "faith alone" is to say that when Paul condemns justification by works, we are to interpret this to mean that Paul believed in faith alone for Justification. This may seem plausible to him, but it is quite wrong. Condemning works does not automatically mean faith is alone. There are other things that could be added to faith that are not considered works, and thus faith would not be alone. In fact, Paul condemned only one kind of work. He called them works of DEBT (Romans 3:28-4:4). How do we know there is a distinction? Because in the previous chapter Paul says that those who do good works will receive eternal life (Romans 2:6-7) and that those who obey the Law will be justified (Romans 2:13).