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Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Famous Fruit Test





I'm packing for a trip out of town this weekend, but I wanted to at least make a short post on the new entry at Candy's blog.

Candy talks a lot on her blog about "passing the fruit test." She says that you can judge whether or not a person is a Christian based on the fruit which they produce. However, something really jumped out at me as she elaborated on this.

Because all saved Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling and guiding them, meaning that they automatically do good works.

She then contrasts this with another group of people.

On the other end of the spectrum, is one who does good works, but does not have saving faith. In other words, there are some people who call themselves Christian, but they do deeds/works in order to get them into heaven. They call Jesus Lord, but their lack of faith in the sufficiency of Jesus’ sacrifice as evidenced by still trying to earn salvation, prevents them from being saved, and getting into heaven.

I think the problem with this, is that the only difference here is one of internal motivation. If two people are producing good works, then how do you tell which one is producing an "automatic" good work, and which one is doing good works to try and earn their salvation?

Unless someone specifically tells you that they are volunteering at a soup kitchen to earn their salvation, I don't think you can judge whether or not they are saved, by Candy's criteria. In the end, it is Jesus who will judge the living and the dead, not any of us.

We've written a lot already on faith versus works, and if you click on the tag at the bottom of the post, you can read through those previous posts. We have discussed most of Candy's points already.


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8 comments:

Sal said...

Because all saved Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling and guiding them, meaning that they automatically do good works.

I was not aware that being saved eliminated Free Will.

Unless Candy means something else by 'automatic'.

Tracy said...

Excellent point made Kelly!

I need income, u do 2! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Elena said...

I wonder at what point will your obsession with Candy become psychotic.

Probably about the time I start taking drive bys like you seriously.

Moonshadow said...

by still trying to earn salvation, prevents them from being saved, and getting into heaven.

I'm appalled at how mechanical her view of God is. She could never pray with Merton, "But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you."

A Reformed Christian I know from Bible study is a professionally trained social worker and we were discussing "works" a while back. FYI, the Reformed think Catholic sacraments are "works" to earn salvation, so I already stood condemned.

Anywho, I observed to her that motive cannot be assessed with certainty - not even by the one performing the good work! I mentioned that, according to Kohlberg's theory of moral development, the exterior actions at any level are indistinguishable, regardless of motivation. Your typical fire-and-brimstone preacher would reach people at Kohlberg's lower levels, but I've always thought that Catholic Moral Theology operated at the upper levels, inspiring Catholics to ascend the scale.

Sal said...

Nice blog, Moonshadow!

Nancy Parode said...

I just discovered one of the things Moonshadow mentioned...I was very surprised to learn that a Christian friend of mine considers Holy Communion to be a works-based means of salvation (his words).

Huh?

Moonshadow said...

considers Holy Communion to be a works-based means of salvation

And, you know, we're not shy about it. We prayed this yesterday, in the Ordinary Form:

accept the offering of your Church
and make it the sacrament of our salvation.


and also after Communion:

may the eucharist you give us
bring us to salvation
and keep us faithful to the light of your truth.


Now, Reformed in particular believe that Baptism and Holy Communion are ordinary means of grace, like us, but the grace is somehow limited to the Elect, just as the Atonement is. So, not every Reformed Christian who receives Communion in their church really has the hope of salvation ... but Catholics do.