Justified by Confessions of Faith Alone?

Two men went up to the temple at the hour of prayer. One was a Calvinist who stood tall and upright; his nose nearly reaching the third heaven. One was an Arminian who fell to his knees expecting sawdust but found none; he bowed his head anyway.

The Calvinist, dazzled by the glory of his double-wide phylactery, prayed thusly, “Lord, soli, sola, and solus. I thank thee that I know my catechisms and my creeds and my confessions, and that I am not depending upon any of my self-wrought works like this poor semi-pelagian over here. I believe in justification by faith alone. Not like those papist dogs. This is all my hope and plea; I affirm Thy great decree!”

The hunkered Arminian did not know most of those terms, having never read them in his Scofield Reference Edition Bible, but he knew that he had spoken unkindly to his wife, provoked his children, and probably cheated more than usual on his taxes. So with rather poor theology he intoned toward heaven while staring solemnly at the floor, “Dear God, I’m just here today, um, I’m a sinner, Father God, Lord, please forgive me. I, um, Father, don’t send me to hell. God, um, Jesus have mercy on me. Amen.”

I tell you that one of these men went home justified. The other went to General Assembly and told all of his fellows that he had once again bested an uncatechised Philistine.  The former affirmed what he did not believe while the latter believed what he did not affirm.

Thus endeth this little parable.


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