Father Answers Your Questions

Question Many Protestant religions believe that salvation is through Faith alone, while we believe it's Faith and works.  My Protestant friends quote Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast."  In the book of James it's clear to me that Faith without works is an empty Faith - one not living the Word. We cite James 2:17, "Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead."  While Faith and works makes more sense to me, the two passages seem to clash with one another.  Please explain.

Answer:  Many fundamentalist Christians tend to argue their point from a particular viewpoint and use scripture texts to back their points (called proof testing). They also argue using polemics, the taking of one view point versus the others. They usually use the "faith alone" and then say Catholic believe in "works alone" which is completely false. They do not like the passage from James and pass over it. As Catholics we believe that faith save us but good works issues from us as evidence of the Holy Spirit active in the baptized believer. There are many scriptures that clash with one another, but some fundamentalist who usually interpret the bible from a literal perspective would avoid those types of passages and arguments. I hope this helps.

Fr. Tom

St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base