Showing posts from October, 2007

If Faith Without Works Is Dead, Then the COC Is 6 Feet Under

Folks in the COC love to quote James 2:26: "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead." They primarily use this verse to attack Calvinism, specifically the doctrines of irresistible grace and unlimited atonement. Frankly, I don't know enough about Calvinism to know whether this attack is even valid, but that's how I've heard this verse used time and again. They'll say things like, "You can't just sit back and wait for God to save you. You have to do your part, too!" But what does the COC mean by "works"? What works are we supposed to do to prove that we have faith and to save ourselves?

In my experience, the COC usually defines works negatively, as things Christians refrain from doing, such as drinking, dancing, smoking, gambling, swearing, watching R-rated movies, and wearing immodest clothing. The only works that are defined positively (as actions to be performed) are being baptized, trying t…