American Catholic Truth Society







            Mr. Pike has made some extremely bold claims; claims in which I believe have absolutely no basis whatsoever.  Let us examine them.  I’d like to first draw your attention to two things Mr. Pike has said.  First off:


It is simply beyond the scope of this debate to address every single one of Mr. Tierney's arguments.  In this rebuttal, I will be sticking with the topics that are most relevant and appear to cause the most "damage" to the Protestant position.”


            I find this extremely interesting, and quite compelling, that in 2 rebuttals, he did not cover one assertion I made regarding what Jesus had to teach about justification.  As we both confess him as Our Lord and Savior and what we are discussing is ultimately how he relates to our lives, we should see what he himself has to say about justification.  I said in the beginning, The Evangelical cannot deal with the statements from Our Lord on not only the nature of justification, in that it is not entirely forensic in Christ’s eyes, but the basis for justification, which is not by Christ’s view Sola Fide.  The Silence from my Evangelical friend on this issue is quite compelling, and I believe is a serious blow to Sola Fide.  This debate is for you, not for Mr. Pike or me.  I offer you a complete reading of Scripture, indeed, Tota Scriptura, the totality of Scripture.  Mr. Pike only offers 3 chapters from Romans.  In order for his view to be true, he must harmonize his view with the arguments I have presented, and since he is taking the affirmative in this debate, I call upon him to do so.



There is no alternative.  It is up to Mr. Tierney to prove his position, and not just to "sling mud" over the debate.”


            I find it interesting this was put at the end of the debate.  Mr. Pike nowhere proves I am “slinging mud.”  That’s claiming I’m attempting to demonize my opponent; that I am dishonest, and hence it’s ad hominem argumentation, something that is not needed in a debate where people’s souls are at stake.  He has made further comments on Romans; let us take a look at them.  I believe what he omits from my statements is what is key to proving my case.


            He cannot believe I take at face value that Paul means the doers of the law will be justified.  Why on Earth would I take an Apostle at face value?  Paul says the doers of the law will be justified, which is in accord with Christ’s words (John 5:28), John’s words (Rev 20-22), and James’ words (James 2:14-25).  I think it is quite clear why I would take the apostle’s words at face value, because all these other areas in Scripture say the same thing. Are they hypothetical Mr. Pike?  I asked this before, and I don’t believe a sufficient answer has been given.


“What is Paul saying?  "The doers of the Law will be justified."  This cannot, and must not, be taken apart from Romans 3:28, "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." 


              You’re repeating yourself Mr. Pike.  Where did you show works of law equals every work people do.  All you said was you can’t divorce Romans 3:28 from Romans 2:13.  And that’s saying this implying I do.  Again you are simply saying we can’t take the Apostles words at face value.  I agree completely that we cannot be justified by works of the law, so quite saying I or any Catholic does! This is why I made the distinction and backed it up with Biblical evidence that God is not judging these people with the uncompromising law, and showed examples of those who were credited with righteousness for a work(Phinehas), and those who had an inherent righteousness in God’s eyes(Abraham and Zechariah).  This goes against the idea of mere imputation of righteousness.  This again, was not even touched upon by my opponent.


Either Paul is contradicting himself, or my interpretation is accurate in stating that Paul is demonstrating the impossibility of works of the Law actually saving anyone because all are evil.”


            You’re begging the question.  I once again said before that a man is not justified by works of the law.  Yet you say here Paul is showing the impossibility of works of the law justifying someone, which again, we Catholics agree, so you are once again arguing a straw man!  I argued that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law, but gave account after account from the Gospels, from Phinehas, and how repentance fits into Romans 2 to show that it is not works of the law that are justifying these people.  Furthermore, I pointed out that the works in Romans 4 are works of debt.  Interestingly enough, Mr. Pike omitted any reference to Phinehas in his rebuttal.  I say again, Phinehas was credited with righteousness for a work in Numbers.  The phrases are the same.  Furthermore, he does not deal with the question of Abraham back in Genesis 12.  How can Abraham be doing these things in 12, if as Mr. Pike asserted, he was justified in Genesis 15 when he was credited with righteousness?  Again, he has to show, with Scriptural support, that when Paul says works of law, he means works of love, works of faith, and every single work.  He claims that yes Paul is excluding all works, but does not show how, just merely states it as so.  I think where Paul says those who do not have the law with perish without the law as quite compelling towards the Catholic position, that we are not being judged by the uncompromising system of the law.  Again, this was not even dealt with.  I’m not saying Mr. Pike has to interact with every single word I write here.  What I am saying is that in order for anyone to take the Evangelical position he presents seriously, he has to interact with the main arguments against it, which he has not done.  He has not interacted with:


            The issue of Repentance in Romans 2


            The issue of exactly when Abram was justified


            My comments in my first rebuttal about Phinehas


            My statements from the Gospels


            If you re-read my opening statement, you find I spent a lot of time on Romans 2, Abram’s justification, Phinehas proving infused righteousness, and the Gospels as a whole rejecting Sola Fide.  I came here to interact with arguments, as that is what a debate is. This hasn’t happened so far, as my arguments have not been interacted with.


Given the universal depravity of mankind mentioned in Romans 3 ("There is none righteous, not even one" verse 10), the exegete realizes that Paul is demonstrating the hopelessness of mankind without the sovereign grace of God.”


            I believe here Mr. Pike has discarded the true meaning of this text, and read his own meaning into the text.  Paul was a good Jew.  Part of being a good Jew was knowledge of the Old Testament.  As a matter of fact, a lot of what Paul states contains references to the Old Testament.  Romans 3:10 is a classic example.  It references Pslam 14:3-6


"All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Will evildoers never learn - those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the LORD? There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge. (Psalm 14:3-6)


            Surely this does not say not one person calls upon the Lord.  The righteous here, whom God is their refuge, surely do call on the Lord.  What this is talking about is that people are evil because they choose to reject God.  This would connect righteous as a moral righteousness, and not a forensic righteousness.  Yet according to Mr. Pike, the righteousness being talked about in Romans 3 is that of justification, a forensic righteousness.  This further proves the Catholic point that those God has declared righteous are righteous, they are not piles of dung with snow covering them, as Mr. Pike believes.  This isn’t talking about the universal sinfulness of man, yet the fact there are evildoers who do not call upon the Lord!


            Now Mr. Pike will attempt to argue that man cannot choose God, by citing Romans 8:7, which reads:


Rom 8:7: For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law--indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (NRSV, emphasis added)  


            This however is a misreading of the text.  It does not say someone who is in a sinful state cannot approach God.  All it says is those who focus on the flesh cannot please God, something I completely agree with.  An example of this is Zechariah 1:3:


"Therefore tell the people: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Return to me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD Almighty." (Zechariah 1:3)


            I see no basis for any of Mr. Pike’s claims, being that it he again created a misrepresentation of the Catholic position, ignored what I had written on the subject, or took the Scripture out of context.



            Now then, onto the epistle of James.


.  Far too often, James is quoted as if it were contradictory to Paul's clear statements.  We know that the Scripture cannot be contradictory, however; and it is clear that Paul universally denies salvation by anything other than faith alone.  So we must ask, what does James mean?”


            Can anyone see him begging the question here?  James teaches faith alone because his interpretation of Paul teaches faith alone.  He’s yet to prove Paul has taught faith alone.  Furthermore, he knows very well Catholics do not claim there is a contradiction between Paul and James, so this is a useless polemic for him to bring up.  There is no contradiction, between James, The Gospels which Mr. Pike Ignored, Romans, Galatians, and the totality of Paul’s writings.  James is the clearest case of a denial of Sola Fide, and one cannot divorce his words from what Paul has written.  As I said before, the original Evangelical realized this, and wanted to burn the epistle of James at night to keep him warm.  Let us see if Mr. Pike knows more than Dr. Luther did on this epistle.


First of all, we must realize what James' intent is.  He is intending to attack empty faith-that is, a faith that produces no works.  A dead faith.  James 2 is basically one long "show me" argument.  James starts out by telling fellow believers how they ought to live.  He talks about persevering, humility, and patience.  He gives advice on what good works ought to be done.”


            And what are the consequences if these things are not followed?  They are quite grave.  The mere fact he is writing to people who are Christians, and then telling them if they show favoritism, they are convicted by the law as guilty, why would he write this if a Christian couldn’t do this?  Not what good works ought to be done, but what good works had to be done.  If one did not cease showing favoritism, he stands condemned before God.  This is a lot more serious than “Well I think you guys should do this.”


What us is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works?  Can that faith save him?" (verse 14).  Again, James is speaking to the brethren.  The topic is not changing-he is still dealing with the manner in which Christians should live.  In fact, everything from verse 14 through verse 26 could be taken as one single argument-you could skip from 14 to 26 and the meaning would be the same. “


            Since Mr. Pike is so big on “Exegesis” I would like him to show me where in the original Greek the word “that” is between Can and Faith.  It does not exist.  Furthermore, in his apologetic writings, when commenting on James 2, Mr. Pike omits the word “that.”  Why might I ask? (To see this, goto and read his commentary on James 2.)   Simple, it creates a distinction in the text that isn’t there, so he can build his false premise off of words he inserts into the text, much like Dr. Luther did with Romans 3:20 and 3:28.


            The simple fact is it merely says can faith save him.  Not can that faith, or his faith, but can faith save him.  I hammered this point in my opening statement, and Mr. Pike has ignored it.  Once again, we see a failure to interact with what I have written.  And he is not suggesting a way a Christian should live, but the way one must live if they are to be saved.  The faith must be a faith that works in love (Galatians 5:6), and this would be consistent with the numerous quotes from the Gospels I marshaled together talking about justification by works, which again, were ignored in this debate.  Remember folks, Mr. Pike is not telling us this is a possibility, or something we might want to believe, but what we must believe, or we are not Biblical Christians.  He has opened himself up to the challenge.  If my salvation depends on accepting his view, then there are some questions he needs to answer, which he has ignored. 


It is very important to understand the context that James is using here.  He is attacking empty faith, not the kind of faith that Paul talks about when he quotes the Old Testament in saying "the righteous shall live by faith."  That faith is genuine faith, real faith, and a real conversion.  It is what Paul means in Ephesians 2:10 when he says we are saved by grace "unto good works."”


            I thought James was writing to true Christians, but now you’re saying his target audience has an empty faith, which isn’t a genuine conversion.  If he’s writing to people who are Christians, which James surely sees it as, they wouldn’t have this empty faith.  So why is he writing about something no one should have?  I say he is writing to them because they are Christians, but their faith alone is not enough to justify them, which he shows with brilliance throughout the epistle. 


            He then attempts to make his way through the issue of Abraham in James 2 by saying justify has a different meaning.  Unfortunately, he has ignored everything I wrote on the manner, let me again quote a small portion, I would direct you to my opening statement to see the rest:


           Let us for a moment assume the Evangelical is correct, and the word justified in James 2:21 means vindicated or demonstrated.  The Greek word for justified is dikaioo, the same word Paul uses.  In verse 23, James quotes Genesis 15:6, the same verse Paul quotes about Abraham as being justified.  The word for righteousness is dikaiosune, the noun form of the verb dikaioo.  James then continues in verse 24, switching back to dikaioo, to say a man is dikaioo(justified) by works, and not by faith alone.  Now the Greek might get complicated, so let's take it slow here.  In verse 21 the Evangelical asserts it is justification before men, in verse 23, it's before God, and then back in verse 24, it is before men.  They must say it is before God in 23, because Paul and James have to agree on dikaiosune and its meaning, to both quote the same verse.  Yet this is completely incongruous. James could've used several Greek words for vindicated, demonstrated, but he used the word that means justified.  Why would he do this, is he attempting to confuse his audience?  Nowhere do we see a word appear in 4 verses this many times, and it means something different every time!  James is connecting Genesis 15 to Genesis 22, saying and the scripture was fulfilled, prophetic context.  In other words, Genesis 22 was not only a justification, but had he not been justified in Genesis 22, the justification from Genesis 15 would've been undone.  For this to be true, James has a different definition for the noun form, and the verb, which is crazy!”


            It is obvious Abraham was justified before God in Genesis 15.  Paul states that one is justified who trusts God who justifies the ungodly, and then their faith is credited to them as righteousness.  Therefore, when this act occurs in Genesis 15, he is credited with righteousness, and hence at this point was justified.  This holds especially true for Mr. Pike, since when one is credited with righteousness, it is an imputation of righteousness.  One cannot be re-imputed in his book.  This shows it is before God.  So therefore, when James references Genesis 15, he has to agree with what credited and righteousness mean with Paul, or there is a contradiction.  Both are talking about a justifying righteousness, and he is credited in Genesis 15 and 22.   I came here to debate, to interact with arguments, not to repeat myself.  So we see again Mr. Pike has completely ignored everything I have presented on the topic in my opening statement.  I’m not even going to repeat everything I have said, since I do not like repeating myself, I am going to direct everyone to my opening statement on James.


What James is saying is essential to understand.  Although we may prefer that James had used different words to illustrate his point of view, the fact remains that he did not use any of the words incorrectly, and we must determine their meaning from the context.  James is not speaking in the same context that Paul is speaking.  While Paul is speaking of the legal declaration from God (the technical justification), James is speaking of the works that flow after faith-genuine faith-exists.  In other words, James is describing the act of sanctification, not justification.”


            I believe here even Mr. Pike concedes that his position has a lot of things which weigh up against him, to the point I believe the mere fact he has gone to such lengths to ignore the plain meaning of the text, shows a lot.  He admits that justify, does not mean justify here, but sanctify.  Why didn’t he just say sanctify?  It surely would save us the time.  I could be doing many other things besides this debate had Scripture been more careful.  Yet this is still interesting, because if James can use these words interchangeably, why does Mr. Pike make the distinction between justification and sanctification that James surely isn’t making.  Paul certainly does not make it either, as he shows in First Corinthians:


  • "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." ( 1 Cor 6:11)

Note here we see sanctification before justification.  While I would not say Paul is arguing in chronological order here, I think the point is when one is sanctified one is justified, and vice versa.  He does not make a distinction between the two, and it seems by Mr. Pike’s admission, when James is using justification, he really means sanctification.  I again would like to ask, who Abraham is doing the work for in Genesis 22.  Is he doing the work for God?  Or is he going to show his son he is justified by sticking a knife in his chest?  Why did Abraham need to do the work before God if option number one is true, being he should already be eternally justified. Why does he have to be sanctify himself in front of God here?  If he goes with option two, how does attempted murder of your child prove you have faith in God to that child?


      Furthermore, he talks about the idea that Paul is talking about the legal declaration from God only.  That’s quite fine, with some qualifications of course.  Since he asserted earlier that justify means the opposite of condemn, and justify is entirely forensic, then that should mean condemn should be entirely forensic as well!  One is justified on something that is not real in Mr. Pike’s view.  The person is counted righteous, even though they aren’t righteous.  Hence, in a justification system which is entirely forensic, one should be counted guilty, irregardless if they are guilty or not!  I for one find this absurd, and that is why we rightly call the Evangelical view of mere forensic justification a legal fiction. A person who is convicted is actually guilty, but one who is innocent is not actually innocent.  Didn’t Mr. Pike cite scripture saying God would not acquit the guilty, to show forensic justification?  So how can God convict someone who is really guilty, yet let some off on a legal fiction, and still claim to be a fair just God?  I think it is quite clear; Mr. Pike’s ideas about justification directly contradict God’s holiness, his fairness, and his justice.


      Mr. Pike then summarizes by arguing that Paul is talking about justification before God, but James is talking about justification before men.  This brings us back to the issue of who the sacrifice of Isaac was directed toward.  It could not be directed towards Abraham’s friends or servants, since they were told to wait at the bottom of the mountain.  If it was for his son, then Mr. Pike is arguing that by attempting to murder his son, the father is proving to his son he is justified, which I find absurd, which brings us back to what I commented on above.  I have thus been able to substantiate my claim that not only has Mr. Pike ignored the majority of what I wrote, but the areas of my presentations he has engaged, have been nothing but straw men argumentation.  This I believe shows the absolute impossibility of Sola Fide being a consistent Biblical teaching.  With all this in mind, those of us who serve God must reject this theological novum.





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(c) 2003 Defenders Apologetics Ministry, Kevin Tierney, A.C.T.S. Scott Windsor