“With regard to sola fide, he (Stellman) is quite right to see the very narrow position he was nurtured in as contrary to the teaching of the New Testament. The righteousness of Jesus Christ is imputed to sinners, and the instrument of a God-given faith is what receives that gracious gift. But the gift received is that of living faith, breathing faith, loving faith, the only kind of faith the living God bestows. It is sola fide, not nuda fide. Stellman was wrong to identify his previous narrow view of sola fide as the doctrine of sola fide itself.”
Stellman, like all the Reformers before him, held to Sola Fide, which is to say, “Faith Alone is the instrumental means by which a person is justified.” The faith that the Reformers held to and which they said “justified,” was always defined as a living, breathing, loving faith, but that living, breathing, loving, faith is alone the instrumental means by which men are justified. In other words, because faith, is by its very definition one that is living, breathing, and loving, it is the case that Sola Fide is the same thing as nuda fide when it comes to justification by faith alone. When Rev. Wilson tries to suggest that those who have held to the Historic doctrine of justification by faith alone are instead holding to the doctrine of justification by nuda fide he is inaccurate. As much as I dislike the theology of the R2K camp none of them hold to a doctrine of justification whereby one is justified by anything but a living faith, breathing faith, loving faith.
Is it the case that Rev. Wilson wants that living faith, breathing faith, loving faith to be a faith that justifies as it is no longer the alone faith, which by definition is living faith, breathing faith, loving faith? If so, then he is overturning the Reformational doctrine of “Justification by faith alone.” If faith is redefined to mean faithfulness then “faith alone,” becomes the oxymoronic, “faithfulness alone.” This yields a situation where I am justified by faith alone as my faith performs good works. So, in justification the proper living, breathing, loving faith by which one is subjectively justified is Nuda Fide. As a beggar, with nothing but living, loving, breathing, naked faith, I look to Christ alone who is my Faithfulness and eschew any good works clothing with which I might want to adorn my otherwise naked faith. If Sola Fide isn’t also at the same time Nuda Fide I am of all men to be pitied, for how much faithfulness adornment does my faith need to have in order to be justifying faith? In justification faith does its proper work when it, in the nude, rests in Christ alone and His righteousness.
Of course “nuda fide” could mean, for Rev. Wilson, that we are not justified by dead faith, but whoever taught that we are justified by “mortuis fide?” Does Rev. Wilson really believe that Stellman held and taught that we are justified by “mortuis fide?”
3 thoughts on “Sola Fide, Nuda Fide, Mortuis Fide & Rev. Wilson’s Comments On Mr. Stellman”
Excellent summary. Wilson is the master of creating false dilemmas.
I wanted to take this opportunity to enthusiastically agree with you. I thought exactly the same when I read that Wilson article.
Great minds think alike Rube.
Well … usually so. ; )