When Jason Stellman converted to Roman Catholicism, one of the bible verses that convinced him was Matthew 12:36-37,
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Stellman believes that this text supports a future justification based on works, and was persuaded that he could no longer read it through a Protestant lens. So in his words, he switched glasses, started reading it through a Roman Catholic lens, and concluded that there will be a future justification based on works. But a closer reading of Matthew 12, as we shall see, reveals that he missed something very important. Jesus actually gave two examples of what He was talking about, and it is not what Stellman thinks. Continue reading Justification by Words→
We have spent the last week or so talking about interpreting Romans through the lens of the Jealousy Narrative. The Jealousy Narrative is imposed on salvation history by God Himself, Who said that, because the Jews had made Him jealous “with that which is not God,” He would make them jealous “with those which are not a people” (Deuteronomy 32:21). The Jealousy Narrative is seen in many places in Scripture. For example: Continue reading Why We Should Read Romans Jealously→
In Romans 2:6-10, we read what appears to be an explicit statement of salvation by works: God will render to each according to his deeds—eternal life to those who do well and “worketh good,” and wrath to those who “doeth evil” and disobey. Roman apologist Tim Staples of Catholic Answers explains the Roman Catholic interpretation:
Paul made very clear in Romans 2:6-8 that good works are necessary for attaining eternal life.
He cites James 2:24, as well. As we noted, Jason Stellman, a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, made the same point in his response to our post, “Romans 2:13 and the Jealousy Narrative.” There is a simple answer to Rome’s interpretation here, but to understand Paul and James, we will spend a few moments with Ezekiel, because both apostles appeal to him so explicitly. They both implore us to be doers of the law, and not hearers only (Romans 2:13, James 1:23-24), and they get this from Ezekiel:
… they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. … for they hear thy words, but they do them not. (Ezekiel 33:31-32)
My wife and I are both blonde, and our kids received that attribute from us. We often dine out with another family, of which both parents and all children are brunettes. We usually get separate checks, yet our families are mixed together at the table, so we make it easy for the waiter: “The blonde kids are all on our ticket.” If the waiter separated the ticket based on which side people were seated, our bill would include the dinner of some brunettes, and their bill would include some blondes. In an environment where there are two types of people that need to be distinguished, it is easier to highlight their outward attributes than their inward ones.
But it would be a mistake to say that I pay for their dinner because they are blonde. I pay for their dinner because they are mine, and you can tell they are mine by the color of their hair. There is no causal link between their hair color and my provision for them. Continue reading “The Blonde Kids Are On Our Ticket”→
Late last week, we observed that Jason Stellman, a former Presbyterian minister turned Roman Catholic, succumbed to Roman arguments on the meaning of Romans 2:13, which says “the doers of the law shall be justified.” Stellman expressed in his conversion testimony that he had to rethink his exegesis in light of Roman Catholic arguments, and could no longer justify the exegetical gymnastics he used to perform in order to force Romans 2:13 to fit into his “faith alone” paradigm. After conversations with Roman apologists, Stellman could no longer deny the plain meaning of the passage, and agreed that justification cannot be by faith alone. In that post, we agreed to provide an exegesis that shows that Romans 2:13 is much simpler to expound than Stellman realizes. The sheep of Christ must not be led astray by Stellman’s inability to see what the passage states so plainly.
To understand Romans 2:13, let us go all the way back to Moses, and the rampant idolatry of the Israelites: “They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger” (Deuteronomy 32:16). Because of their idolatry, Moses prophesied, God would one day stir the Jews to jealousy by a foolish nation: Continue reading Romans 2:13 and The Jealousy Narrative→