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Thread: What is "Dead Faith?"

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    What is "Dead Faith?"

    A lot of people in their profiles answered: "No, there is no such thing as a "dead faith" because those who give mental assent to the truth will undoubtedly perform good works. " Yet, they affirmed that James is inspired.

    Jas 2:17, (KJV), Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    Jas 2:20, (KJV), But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    Jas 2:26, (KJV), For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    So if there is no such thing as "dead faith", then obviously James is talking about another type of faith. Some for example wrote that it is possible for men to believe the truth but not have good works. Yet, I think this is way off. Those who believe the truth will almost certainly walk in good works. It is impossible for a person to believe the truth without walking in good works.

    I think those who answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" and hold to James being in the canon are contradicting themselves.

    So, in very simple words - tell me what James means by "dead faith" if you believe there is no such thing as "dead faith."
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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Dead faith='no faith'

    True faith always produces good works because God has prepared them for us to walk in.

    It is the same as a man being DEAD in trespasses and sins, the Lord has not regenerated him or made him alive. Same analogy perhaps?

    Eileen~
    "To those who have no works-phobia, I will state that you are not trembling before the gospel" Robert R. Higby

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Some for example wrote that it is possible for men to believe the truth but not have good works.
    I think you need to be a bit more careful in the wording of the question, maybe? I answered that there is dead faith because it is not stipulated what faith is being spoken of. One of the things cited in James is that "the demons also believe [that God is one]". I agree with this.

    Luk 4:34 "Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"

    Likewise men can believe biblical assertions without being regenerated. They cannot believe the "gospel of [their] salvation" (Eph 1:13) though if there is no "their salvation" to believe.
    Gal 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    With the limited question and answers to these I had to answer 2 of them I don't know because I felt I was being herded into a pen I was not quite ready for.

    John
    The grace which saves us is eternal to us, as is also our election in Christ. Those who are in Christ have everlasting life by that virtue alone and it is also plain Scriptural teaching that when God loves, He loves with an everlasting love and therefore draws His own to Him. (Jeremiah 31:3). Now there can be no eternal saving grace, no eternal election in Christ, no experience of God's eternal love where a soul is not justified. These aspects belong together as integral parts." …John Gill

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    A lot of people in their profiles answered: "No, there is no such thing as a "dead faith" because those who give mental assent to the truth will undoubtedly perform good works. " Yet, they affirmed that James is inspired.

    Jas 2:17, (KJV), Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    Jas 2:20, (KJV), But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    Jas 2:26, (KJV), For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    So if there is no such thing as "dead faith", then obviously James is talking about another type of faith. Some for example wrote that it is possible for men to believe the truth but not have good works. Yet, I think this is way off. Those who believe the truth will almost certainly walk in good works. It is impossible for a person to believe the truth without walking in good works.

    I think those who answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" and hold to James being in the canon are contradicting themselves.

    So, in very simple words - tell me what James means by "dead faith" if you believe there is no such thing as "dead faith."
    Brandan:

    Dead Faith is AT BEST an expression that could preliminary, briefly, an a condensed compilation, af first glance of an expression that is in an of itself self defeating and oximoronic (emphasis in the "moron" of oxiMORON). That of course if taken as a prima fascia definition based on a not indepth outlook to its superficious meaning.

    How about that definition?

    Seriously, "dead faith" is NOT FAITH, not NOT HAVING FAITH. So, I would suppose that one that does not practice charity is dead in his faith because he is also dead in trespassess and sins. To say that one has "dead faith" and be saved is impossible in my view because it would imply that the God deals to us a measure of faith that is faulty. The opposite is not necessarily truth; in other words, one who practices charity does not do so because his faith is alive; there are other motivations for one to practice charity than simply being eternally saved in Christ. This type of charity ACCORDING TO PAUL is "dead"; So Paul teaches "dead charity", according to 1 Cor 13...

    What I love about myself is that I am as clear as a bell in expressing my views!

    Let me edit this to respond to the very good point Melted makes: The devil does have faith! However, the devil also confessed with his mouth that Jesus is the son of God in the same phrase and the devil was charitable to Adam wanting to feed him and make him wise and also to Jesus in attempting to spare him from the Cross by offering all the kingdoms of the world avoiding the suffering only if Jesus would worship him (read carefully the temptation in the desert).

    In my study about "faith" that I derived from John Robbins, saving faith is something different the combination of charity and belief or a declaration that Jesus is the Son of God and the faith taught by Jesus in Mark 11:23. A deeper meaning of the faith that God gives and the Holy Spirit sanctions as the assurance of the believer is beyond anything man can externally perform. The outward demonstration is merely a product of it without being an evidence of it! Perhaps we really should be discussing what we think about the kind of faith that the Holy Spirit sanctions as the assurance of the believer. It is more important to me than the what other men think of my faith because "I practice charity".

    What say ye?

    Milt
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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    There can be such a thing as dead works - as they are actions performed without believing. They are "bad works" if you will. But I do not honestly see how there can be something called "dead faith." There is either faith - or no faith. And I think James means something more than "no faith" because he says justification is by works - not faith alone. James believes there is a faith that does not justify.
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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    A Living and a Dead Faith


    The Lord receives His highest praise
    From humble minds and hearts sincere;
    While all the loud professor says
    Offends the righteous Judge?s ear.
    To walk as children of the day,
    To mark the precept?s holy light,
    To wage the warfare, watch, and pray,
    Shew who are pleasing in His sight.
    Not words alone it cost the Lord,
    To purchase pardon for His own;
    Nor will a soul by grace restored
    Return the Saviour words alone.
    With golden bells, the priestly vest,
    And rich pomegranates border?d round,
    The need of holiness express?d,
    And call?d for fruit as well as sound.
    Easy indeed it were to reach
    A mansion in the courts above,
    If swelling words and fluent speech
    Might serve instead of faith and love.
    But none shall gain the blissful place,
    Or God?s unclouded glory see,
    Who talks of free and sovereign grace,
    Unless that grace has made him free

    William Cowper
    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
    GALATIANS 5:22

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    A lot of people in their profiles answered: "No, there is no such thing as a "dead faith" because those who give mental assent to the truth will undoubtedly perform good works. " Yet, they affirmed that James is inspired.

    Jas 2:17, (KJV), Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    Jas 2:20, (KJV), But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    Jas 2:26, (KJV), For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    So if there is no such thing as "dead faith", then obviously James is talking about another type of faith. Some for example wrote that it is possible for men to believe the truth but not have good works. Yet, I think this is way off. Those who believe the truth will almost certainly walk in good works. It is impossible for a person to believe the truth without walking in good works.

    I think those who answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" and hold to James being in the canon are contradicting themselves.

    So, in very simple words - tell me what James means by "dead faith" if you believe there is no such thing as "dead faith."

    I was thinking dead faith was no faith at all. Faith is a gift of God...it is too bad this was not an option with respect to the new questions for the profiles. I would also say that the works that are done are also gifts from the Lord...it is too bad this was not an option as well in the new profile questions.

    The way I viewed it is either you have the gift of faith or you do not. Either God has given the gift of doing works out of thankfulness to Him or He has not.

    If the Lord has not given these gifts then simply...you just do not have them.

    Also, I should add, that common grace hinges on works without faith. Suppose"Good Works" of unbelievers is said to be common grace. Those who advocate common grace have to make a distinction between common grace and saving grace because common grace is without faith so the babbler says and saving grace is with faith.

    Nonsense..... there is but one grace of the Lord ....also a gift of the Lord to the elect alone.

    That is why I stress that both faith and works of thankfulness are gifts of the Lord to the elect only.

    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    There can be such a thing as dead works - as they are actions performed without believing. They are "bad works" if you will. But I do not honestly see how there can be something called "dead faith." There is either faith - or no faith. And I think James means something more than "no faith" because he says justification is by works - not faith alone.
    Brandon you are not representing what the book is actually saying here. I have already given my answer to you in private but I might as well give it in public so others know where I stand. Then they will understand my new avatar.

    Faith is a mental assent because it is a work of God in the mind and it is ALWAYS made manifest by a correct profession of the gospel and good works. A 'mental assent' without any good works is not a mental assent at all, it is a lie or deception. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit through which we take hold of the promise of salvation by grace. This happens in the mind as God reveals to the elect the truth. However, this gift is made manifest or shown to be possessed by good works and a correct profession of the gospel, for which we were created in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:10)

    What James referrers to as 'dead faith' is no faith at all, no 'mental assent' has taken place; rather they remain in unbelief.

    These are the words of the apostle reassuming the argument, that faith without works is dead, useless, and unprofitable; and the man that boasts of his faith, and has no works to show it, he calls a "vain man", an empty one, sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal; empty vessels make the greatest sound; such are proud boasters, vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind; but are empty of the true knowledge of God, and of the faith of Christ, and of the grace of the Spirit: the Syriac version renders it, "O weak", or "feeble man", as he must needs be, whose faith is dead, and boasts of such a lifeless thing; and the Ethiopic version renders it, "O foolish man", for such an one betrays his ignorance in spiritual things, whatever conceit he has of his knowledge and understanding: the character seems levelled against the Gnostics, who were swelled with a vain opinion of their knowledge, to whom the apostle addresses himself thus. The phrase, "vain man", is a proper interpretation of the word aqyr, "Raca", or Reka, used in Mt 5:22,See Gill on "Mt 5:22", which though not to be said to a man in an angry way, yet may be applied to men of such a character as here described; who were empty of solid good, and yet boasted of their knowledge...John Gill

    According to James there is a such thing as those who say they are Christians but they are nothing but God haters, untouched by the Holy Spirit and have no love in their hearts for their suffering brethren. Their lack of compassion shows their profession to be nothing more than lies. This is What James calls 'dead faith' which I understand him to mean, pseudo-faith or no faith.


    Jas 2:17, (KJV), Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (is not faith, empty)
    Jas 2:20, (KJV), But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without worksis dead? (is not faith, empty)
    Jas 2:26, (KJV), For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (is not faith, empty)

    James believes there is a faith that does not justify.
    James uses the vain babblers own profession of faith against them much like Paul uses a false doctrine to logically destroy itself in 1 Cor 15:29. The fact that James used the term ‘dead faith’ does not mean that he actually believes it exists anymore than Paul believes that baptizing the dead is proper ecclesiastical practice.


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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    I was thinking dead faith was no faith at all. Faith is a gift of God...it is too bad this was not an option with respect to the new questions for the profiles. I would also say that the works that are done are also gifts from the Lord...it is too bad this was not an option as well in the new profile questions.

    The way I viewed it is either you have the gift of faith or you do not. Either God has given the gift of doing works out of thankfulness to Him or He has not.

    If the Lord has not given these gifts then simply...you just do not have them.
    Amen Ray, this is my view as well.


    Also, I expressed my problem with the profile options with Brandon as well. The profile options I selected were the closest to my view but they do not represent my view accurately.

    Brandon if you think that faith is either 'A' or 'B' and we think it is 'C' what are we to select? This is also the logical fallacy of a false Dilemma.


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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Well I think y'all are making it complicated because you need to defend James as "canonical". That is what I think is sad and I'm sorry to see this position taken in light of all that has been said on this forum. I am convinced that it will be centuries if ever before God smashes the traditionalism that pervades the minds of men.

    James said there is a dead faith. He doesn't say it's "no faith at all." He says "works justifies - not faith alone." Nobody will tell me what that means. I'm really disappointed to see that none of you brethren have dealt objectively with this topic. I'm also quite astonished at some of the answers I'm reading in your profiles - especially those that said that "faith is something more than mental assent" or those that said that "faith is believing in your heart as opposed to believing in your mind." What, is there now an illogical dichotomy between "heart" and "mind?"

    I don't believe those that answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" are being intellectually honest. Sorry.

    Brandan
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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Well I think y'all are making it complicated because you need to defend James as "canonical". That is what I think is sad and I'm sorry to see this position taken in light of all that has been said on this forum. I am convinced that it will be centuries if ever before God smashes the traditionalism that pervades the minds of men.

    James said there is a dead faith. He doesn't say it's "no faith at all." He says "works justifies - not faith alone." Nobody will tell me what that means. I'm really disappointed to see that none of you brethren have dealt objectively with this topic. I'm also quite astonished at some of the answers I'm reading in your profiles - especially those that said that "faith is something more than mental assent" or those that said that "faith is believing in your heart as opposed to believing in your mind." What, is there now an illogical dichotomy between "heart" and "mind?"

    I don't believe those that answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" are being intellectually honest. Sorry.

    Brandan
    Definition of Faith:
    It is belief in the heart as opposed to just belief in the mind.

    I would not have selected the definition you give above because it left out believing in the mind. I selected this definition of Faith because I believe the love for God must be part of the believe also. The demons believe only in the mind but they hate the Lord. So why would you not agree that the Love for God which is a gift would not be part of this definition?

    John
    The grace which saves us is eternal to us, as is also our election in Christ. Those who are in Christ have everlasting life by that virtue alone and it is also plain Scriptural teaching that when God loves, He loves with an everlasting love and therefore draws His own to Him. (Jeremiah 31:3). Now there can be no eternal saving grace, no eternal election in Christ, no experience of God's eternal love where a soul is not justified. These aspects belong together as integral parts." …John Gill

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    Well I think y'all are making it complicated because you need to defend James as "canonical". That is what I think is sad and I'm sorry to see this position taken in light of all that has been said on this forum. I am convinced that it will be centuries if ever before God smashes the traditionalism that pervades the minds of men.
    It is not complicated Brandan. Look at how much crap and confusion is made of Christ's own words in John 3:16 or any other favorite arminian text taken out of context. Its the same problem...it is taken out of exegetical context and the whole counsel of the Lord has to be used to reject false doctrine. Also I have already told you that "traditionalism" is not why I promote James as canonical....... I agree....that will not hold up....just as rejecting "common grace" will not hold up based on tradition alone. We need the whole counsel of Christ...His sharp 2 edged sword.


    James said there is a dead faith. He doesn't say it's "no faith at all." He says "works justifies - not faith alone." Nobody will tell me what that means. I'm really disappointed to see that none of you brethren have dealt objectively with this topic. I'm also quite astonished at some of the answers I'm reading in your profiles - especially those that said that "faith is something more than mental assent" or those that said that "faith is believing in your heart as opposed to believing in your mind." What, is there now an illogical dichotomy between "heart" and "mind?"
    No it is because of a softened, contrite heart I answered the way I did. Another gift the Lord gives to the elect alone. I guess I will change it because the Lord says to love Him with all my heart, all my mind ...and all my strength...these are not things I possess apart from the Lord giving them to me. So yeah I will change it...heart and mind will be one here. Sorry


    I don't believe those that answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" are being intellectually honest. Sorry.

    Brandan
    Dead faith is as common grace......make sense??
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    James said there is a dead faith. He doesn't say it's "no faith at all." He says "works justifies - not faith alone." Nobody will tell me what that means.
    What does Paul mean when he states that we are justified by faith? Paul addresses the heresy that the elect are justified by works of the law. He does so by clearly establishing the doctrine of Justification by faith.

    James on the other hand addresses the issue of false professors (those who claim to have faith but faith is not manifested as it ought to be if it were the true gift of God).

    Brandon, if your problem is with the language used (as mine once was) then you have a bigger problem then just what’s stated in James 2. This is one of the things I did not have an answer for that forced me to change my view.


    I don't believe those that answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" are being intellectually honest. Sorry.
    I don’t believe you are being fair by only giving us three options in which none of them represent our view accurately.


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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hughes
    James on the other hand addresses the issue of false professors (those who claim to have faith but faith is not manifested as it ought to be if it were the true gift of God).

    Brandon, if your problem is with the language used (as mine once was) then you have a bigger problem then just what’s stated in James 2. This is one of the things I did not have an answer for that forced me to change my view.
    My problem is with more than the language. It's even with your interpretation. I'm sorry, but I think your position is dangerously - EXTREMELY dangerously close to legalism. And I think this is true for all those who believe James is "canonical" irregardless of their interpretation. We do not judge people by their works. Period. We judge all things by the Gospel.
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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    My problem is with more than the language. It's even with your interpretation. I'm sorry, but I think your position is dangerously - EXTREMELY dangerously close to legalism. And I think this is true for all those who believe James is "canonical" irregardless of their interpretation. We do not judge people by their works. Period. We judge all things by the Gospel.
    That is quite unfair Brandon... you know right well I speak the way I do because of Christ and the Gospel and not because of legalism. That would be like me stating that you reject James as canonical is extremely close to being antinominian...but that would equally be a load of crap.
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by jmgipson
    Definition of Faith:
    It is belief in the heart as opposed to just belief in the mind.

    I would not have selected the definition you give above because it left out believing in the mind. I selected this definition of Faith because I believe the love for God must be part of the believe also. The demons believe only in the mind but they hate the Lord. So why would you not agree that the Love for God which is a gift would not be part of this definition?

    John
    Ha...so I guess I do not have to change it after all...
    Greetings and salutations, el rana

    21There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.

    Proverbs chapter 19

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Gill
    A lot of people in their profiles answered: "No, there is no such thing as a "dead faith" because those who give mental assent to the truth will undoubtedly perform good works. " Yet, they affirmed that James is inspired.

    Jas 2:17, (KJV), Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

    Jas 2:20, (KJV), But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    Jas 2:26, (KJV), For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    So if there is no such thing as "dead faith", then obviously James is talking about another type of faith. Some for example wrote that it is possible for men to believe the truth but not have good works. Yet, I think this is way off. Those who believe the truth will almost certainly walk in good works. It is impossible for a person to believe the truth without walking in good works.

    I think those who answered that there is no such thing as "dead faith" and hold to James being in the canon are contradicting themselves.

    So, in very simple words - tell me what James means by "dead faith" if you believe there is no such thing as "dead faith."
    Brandon why don`t you just be content with what people believe ? It does not matter how you frame questions, unless God confirms a truth to someone heart it is fruitless. A million people read in the scriptures that God chooses people to salvation , and yet that same million people will reject the truth of Gods sovereign choice of Individuals.


    Many men I know believe in the Doctrines of Grace , But don`t defend (Awork ) it as God`s only Gospel.. Jude says contend for the faith !

    I have spoken to you about James 1:18 being one of the strongest gospel truths that God brought us forth by the word of truth, which I believe is the gospel promises....The regenerate elect person manifest there spiritual birth by beliveing the word of truth, yet you continue to say that James is no gospel centric..Thats because God right now has hid this from you... So why now attempt to use this strategy to prove your point ? I still love you though my brother...
    There is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what...is called Calvinism...It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else."

    charles spurgeon

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hughes
    Brandon you are not representing what the book is actually saying here. I have already given my answer to you in private but I might as well give it in public so others know where I stand. Then they will understand my new avatar.

    Faith is a mental assent because it is a work of God in the mind and it is ALWAYS made manifest by a correct profession of the gospel and good works. A 'mental assent' without any good works is not a mental assent at all, it is a lie or deception. Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit through which we take hold of the promise of salvation by grace. This happens in the mind as God reveals to the elect the truth. However, this gift is made manifest or shown to be possessed by good works and a correct profession of the gospel, for which we were created in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:10)

    What James referrers to as 'dead faith' is no faith at all, no 'mental assent' has taken place; rather they remain in unbelief.

    These are the words of the apostle reassuming the argument, that faith without works is dead, useless, and unprofitable; and the man that boasts of his faith, and has no works to show it, he calls a "vain man", an empty one, sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal; empty vessels make the greatest sound; such are proud boasters, vainly puffed up by their fleshly mind; but are empty of the true knowledge of God, and of the faith of Christ, and of the grace of the Spirit: the Syriac version renders it, "O weak", or "feeble man", as he must needs be, whose faith is dead, and boasts of such a lifeless thing; and the Ethiopic version renders it, "O foolish man", for such an one betrays his ignorance in spiritual things, whatever conceit he has of his knowledge and understanding: the character seems levelled against the Gnostics, who were swelled with a vain opinion of their knowledge, to whom the apostle addresses himself thus. The phrase, "vain man", is a proper interpretation of the word aqyr, "Raca", or Reka, used in Mt 5:22,See Gill on "Mt 5:22", which though not to be said to a man in an angry way, yet may be applied to men of such a character as here described; who were empty of solid good, and yet boasted of their knowledge...John Gill

    According to James there is a such thing as those who say they are Christians but they are nothing but God haters, untouched by the Holy Spirit and have no love in their hearts for their suffering brethren. Their lack of compassion shows their profession to be nothing more than lies. This is What James calls 'dead faith' which I understand him to mean, pseudo-faith or no faith.


    Jas 2:17, (KJV), Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. (is not faith, empty)
    Jas 2:20, (KJV), But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without worksis dead? (is not faith, empty)
    Jas 2:26, (KJV), For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (is not faith, empty)



    James uses the vain babblers own profession of faith against them much like Paul uses a false doctrine to logically destroy itself in 1 Cor 15:29. The fact that James used the term ‘dead faith’ does not mean that he actually believes it exists anymore than Paul believes that baptizing the dead is proper ecclesiastical practice.
    Very Good Mike..
    There is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what...is called Calvinism...It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else."

    charles spurgeon

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    Re: What is "Dead Faith?"

    Here are Christ's word's on 'dead faith' or 'no-faith'.

    Matt 13:5-7
    5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.

    Matt 13:20-22
    20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.[b] 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

    The following commentary by Gill:

    20 But he that receiveth the seed into stony places,.... Such a hearer, who is like to the stony ground on which the seed fell, is one that is not an accidental hearer of the word, as the former, but a settled constant hearer of it; and not one that is careless and negligent, but diligent and attentive, and has some understanding of what he hears;
    the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it: he is one that not only constantly attends upon it, but he receives it; he gives an assent to it, he believes in it historically, makes a profession of his faith in it, and holds it for a while, being under some convictions of the truth of it: and having some speculative notions of it, and light in his understanding and judgment in it, he has some flashes of natural affection for it, and delivers some outward expressions of pleasure and delight in it, like Herod, and the hearers of John the Baptist; but has no heart work, and so is like to the rock in stony ground; the natural hardness of his heart continues, it remains unbroken by the word, without any true sense of sin, and repentance for it, and destitute of spiritual life, and of true faith, love, and joy: hence, as his profession is taken up in haste, immediately, upon a flash of affection, and a little head knowledge, it does not last long, nor prove honourable.
    21 Yet hath he not root in himself,.... Nor in Christ; the word is not rooted in him, nor has he the root of the matter, or the truth of grace in him:
    but dureth for a while; a hearer of the word, a professor of religion, showing some outward respect to the word, and to the preachers of it:
    for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of the word; which is often the case, and must be expected by those who embrace the Gospel, profess the name of Christ, and are willing to live godly in him. Tribulation may intend some lesser and lighter troubles for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel; such as the revilings and reproaches of men, loss of character, and trade, &c. and persecution may design something more public and vehement; such as confiscation of goods, imprisonment, and danger of life, the most exquisite tortures, and death in the most cruel form and shape; things very disagreeable to flesh and blood, and which cannot be endured, and submitted to, by persons without a principle of grace, by one that has no root in himself. Luke calls this a time "of temptation", or trial, as it is either way, both by private troubles, and more public persecutions: these try men's principles and professions, and whether the truth of grace is in them or not; and where it is not in any person,
    by and by he is offended; at the cross; he shrinks back from it, does not care to take it up, and follow Christ; but drops his religion, and the profession of it; apostatises, falls away, and comes to nothing.
    22 He also that receiveth seed among the thorns,.... The hearer that is like to the thorny ground, on which the seed fell,
    is he that heareth the word; not a profane sinner, nor a reviler of religion, or a persecutor of the saints; but one that not only shows a love to the word, but who seems to have his heart broken under it, and by it, his conscience tender, and his life outwardly reformed; one, who besides his being a settled, diligent, understanding, and affectionate hearer of the word, and a believing receiver and professor of it, seems to have a thorough work of grace upon him, to have the fallow ground of his heart ploughed up, and to be truly contrite; the thorns being under ground, and not yet to be seen, but afterwards appear:
    and the care of this world; not the care of another world, nor a care about spiritual things in this world, nor even a proper, laudable care of the things of this present life, but an anxious and immoderate care of them; which, as thorns, is very perplexing and distressing to the persons themselves, and is what is vain and fruitless.
    And the deceitfulness of riches: in opposition to some riches, the riches of grace and glory, which have no deceit in them; and not riches themselves, bare worldly riches but the deceitfulness of them, is here taken notice of; for riches often delude, and lead persons out of the right way, out of God's way; cause them to err from the faith; they do not give the satisfaction they promise, and often do not continue, as is expected: and are as thorns, pungent to the owners of them, who pierce themselves through with many sorrows in acquiring and keeping them; and are frequently injurious to others, their fellow creatures; and in the issue are useless and unprofitable, especially with respect to the concerns of another world. Mark adds, "and the lusts of other things"; besides riches; and Luke adds, and "pleasures of this life"; meaning divers other worldly lusts and pleasures, such as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life: which also, like thorns, are distracting and afflicting, sooner or later; are vain, and unprofitable, and lead to destruction: and these are called "the pleasures of this life", in opposition to, and distinction from the pleasures of that which is to come, which are real and lasting: the phrase is Jewish [r];
    "says R. Judah, the prince, whoever takes upon him, hzh Mlweh ygwnet, "the pleasures of this world", to him are denied the pleasures of the world to come: and whoever does not take upon him "the pleasures of this world", to him are given the pleasures of the world to come.''
    Now these, all, and each of them,
    choke the word: by overspreading all the powers and faculties of the soul, as thorns do a field; by overtopping the seed of the word, and by hiding it from the influences of the sun of righteousness, and rain of grace; and by attracting everything in the heart to themselves; and by bearing and pressing down all thought, concern, and care for the use, fruitfulness, and increase of the word.
    And he becometh unfruitful: as in such circumstances he must needs be; or if there be any show of fruit in outward respect to the word, in an historical faith of it, in an external profession, and outward reformation, "yet brings not fruit to perfection", as Luke says; these in process of time shrivel up, wither away, and come to nothing.


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