- Dimensions (1.0) — Introduction
- Dimensions (1.1) — Example: Faith versus Works
- Dimensions (1.2) — Life is Complex, so is God
- Dimensions (2.1) — Messianic Judaism & LDS Culture Juxtaposed
- Dimensions (2.1.1) — Messianic Judaism & LDS Culture Juxtaposed: Praise
- Dimensions (2.1.2) — Messianic Judaism & LDS Culture Juxtaposed: Blessing
- Dimensions (2.1.3) — Messianic Judaism & LDS Culture Juxtaposed: Worship Meetings
- Dimensions (3) — The Epitome of Every Virtue
The question of “Faith versus Works” is bogus at best and more likely a conscientious deception. No matter what else, it is an example of artificial dissonance.
Note: this is not the same as grace versus works, that would add yet a third dimension. Here we “simplify” by limiting to two.
It is of no interest to me to elaborate the history of this debate, define and explore related concepts like antinomianism, and/or to ultimately conclude the discourse. If you search the web, you will find more than sufficient material to understand this debate in great depth. Instead, I presume to use this as an example of how wrapped around the axle we can become when we misunderstand the question. In the present case, there appear to be several common flaws: (1) thinking that faith and works are opposites, (2) presuming that one is more important than the other, and (3) that faith and works are coincident.
Fundamental to the “question” is a lie, a lie that is communicated as a presumption of truth: that faith and works are opposite ends of the same line/axis/dimension. This creates an artificial conflict. The question disguises a bias that goes unchallenged. Regardless of the ensuing discussion, this polarizing bias is reinforced. In some cases, the very discussion intended to resolve the conflict deepens one’s belief that such a conflict actually exists. This is more subversive when the questioner knows these concepts are not uni-dimensional, but presents them as such in order to explore priority. Coincidence is another variation of the same uni-dimensional thinking, unifying the two independent concepts into one.
We can wrap up the entire dilemma by reconsidering the words “faith” and “works.” The “faith” referenced in scripture to support various positions is usually “faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” The “works” are more appropriately designated “righteous works.” These reformulations help because we can readily understand that there may be faith in many things, some of which are essentially opposite to faith in Christ. Similarly, we can readily grasp the concept of “unrighteous works.” Said differently, we can draw two distinct (orthogonal) axes/dimensions, one for faith, the other for works. These do not need to be in conflict with each other. These do not need to be coincident. We can imagine, for example, faith in an anti-Christ being coupled with unrighteous works. Figuring out the remainder of the two-dimensional plane is an exercise for the student.
By placing faith and works on separate axes, it becomes pretty simple to see that the question of “faith versus works” is inherently absurd, misleading, and obscures truth.