Some Verses Mention Only Faith ?

By far the most common method for trying to prove "faith only" salvation is to quote verses that predicate salvation upon our faith and mention no other conditions, John 3:16 being a prime example. But as we will show, this is not a sound argument.

There are many, many passages stating conditions for salvation, yet not one (that I can remember) even states both belief and repentance in the same verse. Yet everybody agrees that both belief and repentance are prerequisites to salvation from sin. According to the above reasoning, how could repentance be necessary to salvation, when repentance is not mentioned in John 3:16? For that matter, according to the above reasoning, how could faith be necessary to salvation, when only repentance is mentioned (and not faith) in Luke 13:3?

Following are some other salvation texts that demonstrate the fallacy of the reasoning we are addressing is this message:

Matt 6:14-15 only says we must forgive others in order to receive forgiveness of our sins from God. Does that prove neither faith nor repentance are necessary?

John 5:25 only says we must hear God in order to receive forgiveness of our sins from God. Does that prove neither faith nor repentance are necessary?

Rom 10:9-10 only says we must believe and confess in order in order to be saved. Does that prove repentance is not necessary?

Acts 2:38 only mentions repentance and baptism as conditions of pardon. Does that mean faith and confession are not necessary?

I Pet 3:21 only shows that water baptism is a condition of salvation. Does that prove faith and repentance can be left off?

To counteract this point, knowledgeable Baptists debaters say that belief is sometimes used as a package word or synecdoche. A synecdoche is a commonly used figure of speech where a part of something stands for the whole of that something. For example we might say "twenty head of cattle" when we mean twenty whole cows. I Peter 3:20 speaks of eight souls being saved by water, when it was the whole person that was saved in the flood, not just the soul.

Notice the following quote from one of the more experienced contemporary Baptist debaters – "Faith (is) a ‘package word’. … The Bible package contains repentance, trust, love and the presence of the Holy Spirit" (quote from Bob L. Ross in the "Elkins-Ross Debate," pages 205-206).

Since Mr. Ross admits "faith (is) a package word," and says that faith includes things other than faith (trust) itself, including repentance, love, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, his position cannot be proven by a passage simply because it only mentions faith, because he admits the word includes other contributions.

The question then becomes → does faith, when used as a package word (sometimes called a synecdoche), include obedience to baptism or not?

To answer this, both Mr. Ross and I use the method as put forth by another Baptist (Owen): "If Scripture speaks of something as necessary for eternal life, that ‘something’ must be part of true belief."

So it all comes back to → do the baptism passages teach the necessity of baptism to salvation? The faith passages do not reflect on the baptism passages, because complete faith could (does) include obedience (James 2:22b) to baptism; as Mr. Ross puts it, "faith (is) a package word."

Instead of picking out one verse to the exclusion of others, the proper method should be to take what every verse says. Jesus says in Matt 4:4 that we should live by "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." All conditions listed by the new testament law as being necessary, are necessary, no matter what verse we find them in.

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