I honestly love Calvin and consider myself a child of the Reformation, but he really missed it on one point that now Kills Assurance for thousands and thousands of true Christians
Frankly, this study may be too difficult for you to handle emotionally or intellectually (some people just aren’t free to question their heroes), but if you want to make sense when you talk about faith-and-works, your search is over.
“Faith Alone in Christ Alone” has become a muddled catch-phrase that we simply must return to its true meaning for Christianity to be a vital force in our day-to-day lives.
WHO AM I?
Hi, I”m Dr. Fred R. Lybrand — I received my doctorate in Applied Theology (D.Min) from Phoenix Seminary (not the University of Phoenix), my Masters in Bible from Dallas Theological Seminary, and my BA in English Literature from the University of Alabama.
I’ve served for over 24 years in the pastorate, and recently retired to pursue writing and speaking full-time.
WHY SHOULD YOU LISTEN TO ME?
Well, this is a tough one. There is no real reason you should listen to me; however, if you’ve had this sneaking suspicion that you really should get off the bandwagon of judging others based on the works you see….well, you’ve come to the right place!
This is a life-work on my part, and I’ve squeezed the issue into a thorough 300-pages-600-footnotes black box. If you love freedom, you are going to find out that I am a fanatic for it. The book has been available for a year, and as of yet, no one has answered the argument I raise about faith-and-works. Growing up in the home of a lawyer, and attending lawschool myself, plays into the detailed way I’ve sought to tackle the topic.
HOW WILL THIS HELP?
Has anyone ever taken a Bible and shown you how you can know for sure you are going to Heaven? May I?
If you don’t know for sure you are headed to Heaven, it is simply because your faith is in something that is ‘unsure’ by its nature. Do you trust a church, and institution, or your parents? Great, but we all know they can be mistaken. If they are mistaken about some things in this life, how can you be sure they are solid in what they say about the next one?
More than likely, the real culprit is WORKS. Works (what you do…how you’ve been good or bad) tend to go good and bad. WORKS are an unsteady measure. Obviously, if you are trusting in your own works (even if only as an “evidence” of your faith), then your confidence will rise and fall with the tide of your experience.
Instead, if you look at Jesus and His promise and work on your behalf—assurance is guaranteed, and you’ll never have to look back at your shakey actions again! It really is a matter of getting Back to Faith in Christ instead of your own self, reasonings, works, or John Calvin.
BACK TO FAITH is a fresh look and a head-on encounter with the issue about faith-and-works that has plagued the Church since the beginning. Don’t listen to me…look what others have said:
“Fred Lybrand’s analysis of the common saying, ‘Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone,’ exposes the logical and biblical fallacies inherent in Calvin’s famous statement. With careful exegesis he dissects James’ discussion of faith and works with fresh insight into this controversial passage. When I read his doctoral dissertation I immediately encouraged him to publish it so that many others could benefit. The book is well written and finally puts Calvin’s cliché to rest—where it belongs.”Jody Dillow, ThM, ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary Co-Founder, BEE World
I’ve just finished reading an exegetical work on the second chapter of James that resolves the tension that most everyone finds in that chapter between James and Paul. Right from the start, by reading his dedication to both John MacArthur and Zane Hodges I realized this book was going to be different from anything I’ve read before.Kevin Lane, Author, Fale-Safe for Fallacy
Are you worried about knowing if a loved-one who believed in Christ by faith alone, but who fell away from the faith, could still greet you in heaven? Have you lost your own confidence and assurance about your own place in God’s future? Have you struggled with the passages that clearly say God will judge what we do. There are answers that elevate faith AND honor works.
Do you find Christians busily judging the eternal destiny of others based on works rather than by faith alone in Christ alone…but don’t know how to biblically invite them to stop it? There are answers that honor faith and works without concluding a need to condemn those around you or under your spiritual care.
The heart of what you need to know about these issues is just ahead in this surprisingly readable assessment of the relationship between faith and works.
If we can kill the cliche, we can recover our faith.
“In his initial edition of the Institutes, John Calvin defendedforensic justification by faith as an act by God which changed the position of the sinner before a holy God independent of his condition on earth. After years of pressure from the Council of Trent and their accusations of license, Calvin remarried justification and sanctification, a throw back to his Augustinian roots. Fred Lybrand addresses this remarriage with insightful exegesis from a dispensational point of view. The result is a valuable contribution to the discussion.”Dave Anderson, ThM, PhD,Dallas Theological SeminaryPresident, Grace School of Theology
“If the saying is true that sacred cows make good hamburgers, then Lybrand has served up a gourmet burger indeed by putting a longstanding cliché through the grinder of objective scholarship, logical analysis, and biblical exegesis. With forthright fairness he puts to rest a largely unchallenged cliché that asserts works are essential to faith. This saying has shaped Christian theology and practice for centuries, not without damage to the gospel and its believers. Lybrand unravels it one strand at a time until we are left alone with the simple biblical truth that faith and works can be related but are distinct. You will feast on and savor this book!”Charlie Bing, ThM, PhD; DallasTheological SeminaryFounder & Director, GraceLife
“Many times in Christendom, phrases, slogans, and words are used as though they are Biblical, when in fact many times they are not. Fred Lybrand examines one of those statements and challenges the truth of it from a careful handling of Scripture. Any believer would be educated and edified through reading this work.”Larry Moyer, ThM,Dallas Theological SeminaryPresident & CEO Evantell
“It requires tremendous tenacity and expert dexterity to adapt a doctoral dissertation into a book that most readers will discover to be not only enlightening to the mind but spiritually satisfying to the soul. This is such a book. The theological implications of this study are staggering to certain formulations of Westminster Calvinism and the practical implications will both comfort and convict every Christian.”Fred Chay, ThM, DMin, PhDDirector of Doctor of Ministry Studies,Associate Professor of Theological Studies,Phoenix Seminary
“God’s policy for saving the human race is grace. Grace, by definition, is not from works. But the Enemy has continuously diluted and destroyed grace with the subtle and not-so-subtle addition of works to faith and thus offered ‘another gospel.’ The cliché that ‘we are saved by faith alone, but he faith that saves is never alone’ is another of the most subtle and egregious attacks on grace. The statement may sound solid at first blush, but Dr. Lybrand’s thorough research exposes the multi-level fallacies hidden in this statement. The pure gospel of God’s grace excludes all human works as the basis or validation of God’s work which makes the sinner right with him. This study is much needed and should be read by every student of the Bible and theology.”Dr. Robert Dean, Jr., ThM, PhD, Dallas Theological SeminarySenior Pastor, West Houston Bible ChurchAdjunct Faculty, Chafer Theological Seminary
“As Fred Lybrand points out, the Reformation cliché of ‘…the faith that saves is not alone’ has captured the minds of many for centuries. With convincing logic, thoughtful theology, and sound exegesis, as well as insightful practical observations, Lybrand sets the captives free. This book is a ‘must read’ for all who have been bothered by, flirted with, argued against, or who have embraced the idea that faith is not alone.”Dr. G. Michael Cocoris, Pastor, The Lindley ChurchRené Lopez, BA, Trinity International UniversityThM, and PhD candidate, Dallas Theological SeminaryScripture Unlocked Ministries
“Maintaining veneration for Calvin, this work resolves inherent contradictions to the Gospel found in the Reformed tradition.Lybrand reiterates “faith alone in Christ alone,” and works accompanying salvation are “normal but not necessary” while cogently requiring the reader to reexamine theological traditions. My prayer for the mindful Reformer: Read and wrestle with these words. Be willing to abandon all, for the clarity of the Gospel cannot be undervalued.”Jay Quine, ThM, PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary;President, College of Biblical Studies
Honestly, I think Calvin would appreciate our struggle…and the effort to stay logical and biblical.
– F. R. Lybrand
Here is an audio of of a talk on Back to Faith delivered at the Chafer Seminary Pastor’s Conference in Houston, Texas (March 2010).
You may listen or download:
Click here to download: Does Works Really Prove Faith? -Fred Lybrand