There are competing soteriological theories in the gospels


There have always been competing Christian groups that emphasized works vs faith. As it turns out this debate may be as old as the Bible itself.

Not only does Paul and James appear to be on two very different sides of this debate, but the four Gospels seem to take very different stances.

It’s possible that this is not a contradiction, that “both are true” and there does exist various theological explanations that zip them up together. However, it’s certainly fascinating that both groups of texts focused *solely* on one side of the equation, and fully ignored the other.

See this for more info.



  1. Didn’t the whole “Faith vs. works” debate start heating up with Martin Luther vs. the Catholic Church? Then again, the biblical writers even argued about the necessity of circumcision, so, I guess it’s even longer than that.


  2. The question we need to ask, I think, is do the different gospels “contradict” each other, or do they complement? I’m not trying to be cute here, and I’m in no danger of ever being nominated as Devout Christian of the Week. However, remember that the NT is a human creation, out together by the Patristic thinkers. To think that they did not notice the “contradictions” grossly, I think, underestimates their intelligence and perception. Perhaps they included the books they did in order to present the entire picture; that it’s not one over the other, but both in conjunction. Even within Romans, Paul is not entirely consistent. He’ll tell us it’s faith alone, and then make a statement two lines later that clearly indicates (IMO) that he believes in works as well. So it’s about the message as a whole, not any one piece of it. The evangelists and Paul, as godly as they were, didn’t individually have the entire answer. Each needed the other to round out the picture.


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