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Friday, September 23, 2005

Faith and Works from a Better Angle

Churches -- and people -- like this almost put the question of faith vs. works to rest. Certainly they put it into perspective.

"Plains Presbyterian Church’s 450 members have welcomed refugees into their homes and into their church. More than 40 evacuees are living in the church’s brand-new Christian life center. The mix of residents requires round-the-clock volunteers, doing everything from assisting the elderly to providing programs for children. “It’s vacation Bible school every day here,” said Richard Bailey, associate pastor of Plains PCA."

When I read this, I can't help but think that regardless of the semantics of the theological debates that occur on the subject, this is what both sides of the debate really mean, or at least are supposed to. The Protestant can say we aren't saved by works, but will agree that the people of Plains Presbyterian Church are doing God's will by giving of themselves to people hurt by tragedy. The Catholic can say works are necessary, but will agree that it was grace born of faith that led these people do give of themselves. Both, I think, will agree that God looks down and smiles upon people who love their neighbors as themselves, and put that love into action.

The debates have their place, and the people on both sides of them are defending genuine faith. But for now I want to put debate aside, even if only for a moment, and thank God that He has put into the hearts of these people to treat hurting strangers with the same kind of love they would give to their own family members. Because whichever side you take on the theological question, I think most of us agree that this is the kind of response God wants of all Christians.

(Hat tip to Pilgrim of Slaves of Righteousness.)