What’s Wrong with Christ…”alone”?

Roman Catholics have Christ… plus the pope, and your good efforts Why He Died?_8144 by jaciii (off&on)and your penance.

Many Protestants have Christ… plus your ‘decision’ and your ‘seriousness’ (your fruits), or ‘your experience’.

The Orthodox have Christ…plus your ‘efforts’ to become better.

The Christ  ‘alone ‘ crowd seems to be a pretty small group in comparison to the ‘plus’ groups.

Why is Christ alone, never enough for many of these folks?


Just wondering out loud.



14 Responses

  1. St Stephen,

    Some of it seems to be a lack of faith in the gifts we receive whereby we know we are saved. Without faith in the promises of what we hear in our ears through preaching we need something else. Not buying into the dual promises we receive in baptism means some navel gazing is in order. And the denial that Jesus located himself in the Holy Supper for the forgiveness of sin creates the need for a false Messiah to reassure us. Christ have mercy!

    I’m sure there are other reasons but that has been on my mind lately.

    God’s peace. †

  2. St. David,

    I think you’re right. When we refuse to trust in the promises and the means by which those promises are given, we invariably fall back upon something from our side of the equation.

    If I remember correctly (and I don’t have to go back too far), our side of the equation is where all the trouble is.

    Not trusting God seems to be our specialty.

    His peace and grace be with you,also, my friend.

  3. St. David,

    I enjoyed your latest post at Five Pint Lutheran:



  4. I’m not a lutheran….but I’m with Luther on this issue!

    “Faith, if it is to be sure and steadfast, must lay hold upon nothing else but Christ alone, and in the conflict and terrors of conscience it has nothing else to lean on but this precious pearl Christ Jesus. So, he who apprehends Christ by faith, although he be terrified with the law and oppressed with the weight of his sins, yet he may be bold to glory that he is righteous. How? Even by that precious jewel Christ Jesus, whom he possesses by faith.”

    Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians, page 99

  5. I think some people just don’t know how to accept a free gift with no strings attached. They just MUST contribute to it, no matter how often they’re told they can’t.

  6. I think Luther explained the situation well in his intro to his 2nd Commentary on Galatians:

    “I have taken in hand, in the name of the Lord, once again to expound the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians; not because I desire to teach new things, or such as you have not heard before, but because we have to fear, as the greatest and nearest danger, that Satan take from us the pure doctrine of faith and bring into the Church again the doctrine of works and men’s traditions.

    “The devil, our adversary, who continually seeks to devour us, is not dead; likewise our flesh and old man is yet alive. Besides this, all kinds of temptations vex and oppress us on every side. So this doctrine can never be taught, urged, and repeated enough. If this doctrine is lost, then is also the whole knowledge of the truth, life and salvation lost. If this doctrine flourishes, then all good things flourish.”


  7. Religion always feels the need to add ‘something’ to faith alone. Man, through his pride, feels there must be some kind of human part in the salvation role.

  8. I think in most cases it is cased by a refusal to admit how depraved we really are. Rather than give up all hope in themselves and cry out to God for mercy like the tax collector in Luke 18 9-14; they are looking for salvation in the same way the rich young ruler was. They want to know what they need to DO to be saved and like the RYR the more they pursue salvation by the works of the law the higher the bar will be raised.

  9. They see God, rightly, as pure holiness from the point of view of “under the law” and thus it is counter intuitive to fallen human thinking. It can’t be THAT good of Good News. And so we think ‘being shaped into Christ’s likeness’ means basically though not so crassly thought, Christ +, other christ’s that are not. Christlikeness that the pietist formulate is along those lines of improvement…whatever they are. They are actually in the opposite direction and not in the shape of the Cross at all, rather they are in the shape of the serpent or serpent likeness.

    Thus, ‘being shaped into Christ’s likeness’ means to take on the cruciform, to be put into suffering (passive = passion) and nakedly trust in the mercy of God to the very OFFENSE of human reason, affections and experiences. It is to say that ‘being shaped into Christ’s likeness’ means to suffer only to trust nakedly the Gospel. It is to say that ‘being shaped into Christ’s likeness’ or being made “cruciform” would be to, as Forde once stated, “God may make a man do NO good works so He may at last save his soul”. That’ ‘being shaped into Christ’s likeness’ or the ‘cruciform’ shape we take. To have this IS to SUFFER the cross and so HAVE TO trust nakedly in Christ alone.


  10. You appear to be preaching to the Lutheran Choir here, Old Adam.

    Where are the evangelobaptisticostal-type posters to argue that they aren’t really Christ + ‘ers? Why are they silent?

    I would have expected them to be here arguing that they are SO much more Christ alone than Lutherans that they don’t need the sacraments, and that they are SO sure of their belief in Jesus that nothing else matters other than their continuing sanctification-holiness journey.

    Maybe you have won them over?

  11. “Maybe you have won them over?”

    You never know, it happened to me.


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