Is Faith a Work Created by Man?

, posted by SEA

Here are some edited comments by one of our members posted in our private discussion group concerning the Calvinist claim that the Arminian view of faith makes faith a work created by man:

When they make that charge, they conflate the faith/works debate and the free-will/determinism debate into a single issue. This approach has textual problems, because when the Bible discusses faith-vs-works, it does so in a specific context that is not obviously related to predestination [cf. Rom. 4:4-5; Eph. 2:8-9]. It also has a logic problem, because from a Calvinistic perspective, we have to wonder what was the point of the faith/works distinction in the first place. In other words, if we cannot boast in our faith because it is predestined by God, then we also cannot boast in our works because they are predestined by God. But the Bible specifically says that salvation is by faith rather than works, lest any man should boast. Paul’s explanation is not very meaningful if free-will, not works, is what gives us a reason to boast.

Some Calvinists try to resolve the issue by saying that neither faith nor works has anything at all to do with our salvation. But that also strips Paul’s words of their meaningfulness. Why emphasize faith, if we are to regard it as such a small thing?

But a straightforward reading avoids these questions. If we just set aside the obsessive free-will/predestination focus, the text makes sense. God has not given us a way to earn forgiveness; instead, he just calls us to trust in what Christ has done for us. That trust is important, but by definition it means relying on God instead of ourselves. Thus, we do not boast.