by faith alone

It fascinates me that some groups in modern Christianity hold to phrase “by faith alone” so tightly.  As far as I am aware, the only location we see this particular phrase in scripture is in James 2:26.

ὁρᾶτε ὅτι ἐξ ἔργων δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος καὶ οὐκ ἐκ πίστεως μόνον.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Now I am the first one to admit that the phrase pistews monon might mean something completely different here in the context of James 2 than what is meant by modern ‘sola fide’ folks when they use the phrase. And this is sidestepping all of the other tricky stuff (like defining justification, works, etc). However, it just blows me away that a group focusing so much on the propositional truth of Scriptures would choose such a central phrase to be one of the touchstones of their theology when that phrase is directly contradicted by this verse.


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