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Paul -- that only such faith as is active in charity and good works ( fides formata ) possesses any power to justify man (cf. According to this apparently correct opinion, the Epistles of both Apostles treat of different subjects, neither with direct relation to the other. James insists on the necessity of works of Christian charity, while St. Of late, Fathers Denifle and Weiss have shown that Martin Luther was acquainted almost exclusively with the theology of these Nominalists, which he naturally and justly found repugnant, and that the "Summa" of St.
Galatians 5:6 ; 1 Corinthians 13:2 ), whilst faith devoid of charity and good works ( fides informis ) is a dead faith and in the eyes of God insufficient for justification (cf. Paul intends to show that neither the observance of the Jewish Law nor the merely natural good works of the pagans are of any value for obtaining the grace of justification (cf. Thomas and the works of other great theologians were practically unknown to him.
Even Ritschl ("Christliche Lehre von der Rechfertigung und Versohnung", I, 3rd ed., Bonn, 1889, pp.
Original sin has so completely destroyed our likeness to God and our moral faculties in the natural order, that our will has lost its freedom regarding works morally good or bad, and we are consequently condemned to commit sin in every action.For, by stating that fiduciary faith alone suffices for obtaining both justification and eternal happiness, he minimized our moral faculties to such an extent that charity and good works no longer affect our relations with God. 25.) The harshness, want of harmony, intrinsic improbability, and contradiction of Holy Writ contained in the system soon brought about a reaction in the very midst of Protestantism. 1552), at once an enthusiastic admirer of Luther and an independent thinker, emphatically stated (in opposition to Luther and Calvin ) that the justifying power of faith consists in a real, instrinsic union of Christ with the soul, an opinion for which, as being Catholic , he was censured freely. 1551) likewise admits, in addition to an "imputed exterior righteousness", the idea of an "inherent righteousness" as a partial factor in justification, thus meeting Catholicism half way.By this doctrine Luther opened a fundamental breach between religion and morality, between faith and law, and assigned to each its own distinct sphere of action in which each can attain its end independent of the other. Paulsen of Berlin was therefore justified in eulogizing Kant, who followed Luther in this matter, as the Philosopher of Protestantism". Luther's most dangerous adversary, however, was his friend Melancthon, who, in his praiseworthy endeavour to smooth over by conciliatory modifications the interior difficulties of this discordant system, laid the foundation for the famous Synergisten-Streit (Synergist Dispute), which was so soon to become embittered.James was written against the unwarranted conclusions drawn from the writings of St. Of late, however, Catholic exegetes have become more and more convinced that the Epistle in question, so remarkable for its insisting on the necessity of good works, neither aimed at correcting the false interpretations of St. Whether Victorinus, a neo-Platonist, already defended the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is immaterial to our discussion.Paul's doctrine, nor had any relation to the teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles . James had no other object than to emphasize the fact -- already emphasized by St. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that in the Middle Ages there were a few Catholic theologians among the Nominalists (Occam, Durandus, Gabriel Biel ), who went so far in exaggerating the value of good works in the matter of justification that the efficiency and dignity of Divine grace was unduly relegated to the background.