Do Anglo-Catholics Believe in Salvation By Faith Alone?

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by Justin Haskins, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    I think the question is pretty straightforward. I suppose, to make it even more clear, I could qualify this by saying, "by salvation by faith alone, I mean as Martin Luther explained it at the time of the Reformation."

    Although I am very familiar with Anglicanism in general, the BCP, etc., I can't seem to find a straight answer on this question.

    -Justin
     
  2. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    The "by faith alone" statement can be quiet packed and different people mean different things when pulling it out. Maybe this blog post by an Anglican priest could help understand why you are unlikely to get a straightforward answer:

    http://conciliaranglican.com/2011/02/20/but-how-are-we-saved/
     
  3. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Thanks for this. I actually read that post before, and it alludes in the post to people who hold a view that would definitely NOT be in line with traditional, Reformation Anglican thinking.
     
  4. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Great quote my Augustine in your signature, by the way.
     
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  5. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Salvation by faith alone is unbiblical. We believe in justification by faith:

    XI.
    Of the Justification of man.
    WE are accounted righteous before God, only for the Merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
     
  6. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    With all due respect, you're playing word games (probably unintentionally). I specifically asked if Anglo-Catholics believed in sola fide as defined by Martin Luther, who would, of course, say justification is by faith alone. Hopefully, you now understand what I'm asking.
     
  7. zimkhitha

    zimkhitha Active Member

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    I guess I do not understand then. Let's get someone else to respond.
     
  8. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    My friend justification and salvation are very different concepts. In your thread title you had asked about the latter.
     
  9. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    For an Anglo-catholic view on the Sola fide issue, at least as it was viewed by the Oxford Movement folks, I suggest reading this section of Tract 90:

    http://anglicanhistory.org/tracts/tract90/section2.html

    It's not a true stance for all ACs but should give you a view of the landscape on this issue.
     
  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    This is a very true statement.

    James 2:24 states "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." And later in verse 26, "faith without works is dead."
     
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  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I think you'll need to identify what you mean by Martin Luther's definition of Sola fide, I don't think it's a static thing. His ideas changed during his life and ministry. Then there is the lutheran view of Sola fide put forth by his followers in the Book of Concord, and then again, there's the definitions bandied about by various Lutherans and lutheran groups today. I think the definition you want to compare the Anglo-catholic view with is a moving target unless fleshed out a little more.
     
  12. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    I don't want to get into a long discussion about faith, works, salvation, regeneration, sanctification, or the different meanings of those terms, which have been radically different throughout history in various circles. You say "salvation" and "justification" are two different things, but if you believe a person, once truly justified, never falls from that position because that person will persevere until the end, as Calvinists do, then the distinction between the two terms is much harder to pin down.

    If possible, let's just shift the question to this: Could someone please explain the difference between the Anglo-Catholic view of justification and salvation and the Roman Catholic view of justification and salvation? In other words, if I asked you, from the Anglo-Catholic view, what must a man do to be saved, what would you say and how would that differ from the Roman Catholic view?

    I think that question would get to the heart of my question without having to debate the other issues (since I know the Roman Catholic view and most of us here probably do as well).
     
  13. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Sorry for any confusion I caused in the first question.
     
  14. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Justin, I consider myself an Anglo-catholic. I can give you my thoughts but I must warn you that unlike the RCC, ACs have no centralized authority. That being said, I only speak for myself and others may disagree with my position. It a diverse group, the Anglo-catholics.

    In general, Anglo-catholics stress the adherence to the catholic and living tradition of the Church, especially the early tradition of the Apostles and church fathers and ecumenical councils --the first four of which are most important. The latter 3 clarify and expound on the former.

    Now to your question. Salvation is not earned. It is a gift. On that the scriptures, the creeds, the fathers, and the councils all agree.

    So much like in Jesus's response to the rich man when he asked a similar question to the one you ask now ("what must I do to be saved"), the answer is "with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible".

    However, to receive and abide in the state of grace given by God, faith AND OBEDIENCE are necessary. Faith is first and absolutely essential, for as St Paul wrote to the Hebrews, "without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb 11:6).

    But, as St. James teaches, "faith without works is dead". Faith is only beginning on the road to salvation. Even demons can recognize that Jesus is the Lord, the incarnate Word of God, but they are not saved. To remain in the state of salvation, we are to have faith and be faithful, that is, keep the
    commandments. Our Lord said, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."

    Polycarp wrote very nearly the same in his Letter to the Philippians: "forasmuch as ye know that it is by grace ye are saved, not of works, but by the will of God through Jesus Christ. Wherefore gird up your loins and serve God in fearand truth, forsaking the vain and empty talking and the error of the many, for that ye have believed on Him that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from
    the dead and gave unto him glory
    and a throne on His right hand; unto whom all things were made subject that are in heaven and that are on the earth; to whom every creature that hath breath doeth
    service; who cometh as judge of quick and dead; whose blood God will require of them that are disobedient unto Him. Now He that raised Him from the dead will raise us also; if we do His will and walk in His commandments and love the things which He
    loved, abstaining from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, false witness; not rendering evil for evil or railing for railing or blow for blow or cursing for cursing; but remembering the words which the Lord spake, as He taught; Judge not that ye be not judged. Forgive, and it shall be forgiven to you. Have mercy that ye may receive mercy. With what measure ye
    mete, it shall be measured to you again;
    and againBlessed are the poor and they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God."

    But there is a problem. We cannot, of ourselves, keep His commandments. How then can anyone possibly hope to remain in the love God? In His mercy, Christ appointed his Church to provide all that a person needs to be saved. Shortly before He ascended into Heaven, Our Lord laid upon the Apostles (through them, us) the Great Commission:
    "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

    From this we see that Christ our Lord commanded and empowered His church and it's ministers to preach the Gospel throughout the world, to administer the sacraments, and to teach the believers the keep His commandments.

    The church administers the sacraments, the chief of which are Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, as instruments of impartial Our Lord's sanctifying grace to the believer empowering him to better keep the commandments and to be absolved when he does not keep them.

    Not to receive or give the sacraments their due respect as the means of grace which regenerates the believer, signs and seals him for eternity, and feeds him with the bread of heaven in his journey, is a grave sin.

    So, to sum up, I, as an Anglo-catholic, believe that salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ - that faith justifies a man - and to remain in the state of grace - the believer is called to live in obedience to Christ by keeping this commandments - and the believer requires the sanctifying grace imparted in the sacraments to keep those commandments.

    How that differs from the RCC, I'll let you decide. I don't truck much with indulgences, or in other methods or shortening or eliminating my time in purgatory.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016
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  15. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    Wow, great response. Thanks very much! One question below ...
     
  16. Justin Haskins

    Justin Haskins Active Member

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    I think you've done a very nice job LL laying out the case (or at least your case) for salvation from the Anglo-Catholic perspective. It's very thoughtful and clear. Truthfully, I don't see much difference in your view from the Lutheran view, assuming we define "faith" in a way both sides understand. Lutherans would say the good works flow from the faith one receives by grace from God, but the good works are necessary in that if a person doesn't do good works, that person doesn't have a true, justifying faith. Justifying faith is, from the perspective of many Protestants (as I understand their writings), faith that, by necessity, includes good works. In other words, you break faith and works into two categories, but Lutherans would essentially keep them in one category, under the heading of "justifying faith" or some other similar term. Either way, the end result is the same. A person who recognizes God but does not have true faith in God (which is to say truly trusts God and devotes himself to God's commands) has "dead faith," which is not justifying faith at all.

    The reason I brought up the Roman Catholic connection is because, frankly, I don't think the Roman Catholic Church teaches the Gospel. The reason I say that, having grown up Roman Catholic and still living with the vast majority of my family as Roman Catholics, is because the Roman Catholic Church teaches there are situations in which a living faith does NOT lead to salvation. For instance, if one openly questions the supreme authority of the papacy WITHOUT ignorance, knowing it is a mortal sin (according to the RCC) to do so, having done it freely (without coercion), that person has committed a mortal sin and that person should expect to be damned to hell. No matter how passionate that person's faith is and no matter how hard that person strives with God to be a good person of God, that person will be damned, unless he repents and asks forgiveness and then does penance, all according to the Roman Catholic system, of course.

    There are about a million other situations that also apply, and taken together, the true understanding of salvation in the RCC is "salvation by faith in God, which means doing everything the church tells you, (almost) no matter what."

    I don't see such a teaching in the Bible or in the earliest church fathers. In fact, the teaching of salvation by a living faith is taught EVERYWHERE, and nowhere is it said that no matter how much faith you have, you're damned if you don't believe some obscure doctrine or another, such as the various teachings about Mary or the supremacy/infallibility of the papacy. This is why the Western (Roman) church declared for centuries after the Great Schism with the Eastern Orthodox that there was no salvation outside of communion with the West, because the West is the true church with the true teachings and the true authority. It didn't matter how much living faith the EO members had, only that they weren't conforming to the teachings of the Roman Catholic leadership.

    This is the biggest reason why I think the Protestant Reformation was so important. The Gospel was, in essence, recovered. Now, a great many other teachings which were likely valid were also thrown out in the various Protestant churches in their effort to recover a "pure" Christianity, but AT LEAST some branches of Protestantism recovered the Gospel after centuries of being told the only way to heaven was to do everything the papacy said.

    At any rate, that's my view, for whatever that's worth. I don't think your view is much different from many Protestants, although I admit that in America, where I suspect you live, things are a bit different than they are elsewhere in the world. Popular evangelicalism, Baptist theology, etc., has in some circles made a lot of errors very common, including teachings related to salvation.
     
  17. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Anglo Catholic view too is a moving target, afaik.
     
  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Hi Justin,

    Apologies, I seemed to have overlooked your post above. I agree with you that my view of justification is little different from Luther's, but then from what I've been told, the Roman Catholics and Lutherans have reached an accord stating that their respective views, when rightly parsed and interpreted, are largely the same as well.

    I disagree with you about the RCC not teaching the Gospel. They teach, as far as I've heard, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners by sacrificing himself for the sins of the whole world, by rising again, by establishing his church, by ascending and sending forth the Holy Ghost. That's the gospel. They err in adding a great many things to the deposit of faith that must be believed and obeyed in order to be saved...but that does not take away what the Holy Spirit has implanted...although it certainly can distract from it. For that reason I see the RCC as a sibling church, wayward though she may be.
     
  19. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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