Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Is Faith a Work? Of course not! But why not?

Roy Ingle (Arminian) says, "no." And that's fine. Properly considered, faith is not a work. But what is missing from his explanation is any cogent explanation of why obedient response to the command to "Believe," that is proclaimed in the Gospel is not properly a work.

For example, Ingle does not argue from the fact that faith is not a work because faith is a gift of God. As it is written:
Ephesians 2:4-10
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
You see, we are his workmanship, and we are made for good works. We are not our own makers who made ourselves by our works. All of salvation, even faith, is a gift of God. And from that faith come many good works. When we were dead in sins, he regenerated us unto good works.
Mr. Ingle makes the claim: "The idea that a person believes the gospel because they were first regenerated to do so has no biblical basis." What a remarkable claim! He quotes Ephesians 2:1-3 - if only he had read on to the following paragraph!
Mr. Ingle asserts: "The Arminian position is that all can be saved through faith in Jesus." I suppose that they all could be, if God gave all of them faith. But God does not, and without faith it is impossible to please God. As it is written: "But 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." (Hebrews 11:6)
While it is great that Mr. Ingle inconsistently affirms that faith is not a work (and we agree with him that properly understood, it is not a work), it is disappointing to see that this truth is held inconsistently with other views which tend to suggest that faith is a work.
What does Mr. Ingle have that he did not receive? Will he say faith? What makes Mr. Ingle any different from the reprobate? Will he say faith? And if he does, will he attribute this to his own running or willing? If he says, "faith," but confesses that this is from God, he preserves consistency. If he says, "faith," but attributes faith to the will or power of man, then he has effectively converted faith into a work, and holds a position that is internally inconsistent.