Three car pileup

Horrible accident on the PCH (Protestant Coast Highway): sola fide and total depravity smashed into Psalm 15. Psalm 15 came out of the calamitous scene unscathed, but the two Protestant doctrines are on life support.

1 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy mountain?
2 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right,
and speaks truth from his heart;
3 who does not slander with his tongue,
and does no evil to his friend,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
4 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 who does not put out his money at interest,
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.

Sola fide was obviously critically wounded by the psalm’s sole appeal to righteous deeds to describe those who will “dwell on [God’s] holy mountain.” Of course, this might not be a problem for dispensationalists but for the Reformed and others who insist that Israel was saved by faith just like they themselves are, it poses a bit of a problem. Once again, it doesn’t rule out the necessity of faith, but the psalm makes it flatly absurd to suppose that one’s deeds have nothing to do with his salvation.

The Reformed doctrine of total depravity was similarly damaged in the collision. Those who hold it insist that there is not one single person who does good, but this psalm repeatedly and in detail describes the lives of the righteous. On the Reformed understanding it would seem that the psalm is talking about…nobody whatsoever. The empty set. But that is entirely silly. This isn’t Seinfeld, and this is not a psalm about nothing.

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Posted in Apologetics, Protestantism, Sola Fide
6 comments on “Three car pileup
  1. Devin Rose says:

    Love it Fred!

  2. aquinasetc says:

    I aim to please, Devin. :-)

  3. Bryn says:

    Having driven on PCH for seventy years, I can relate to the logic of this exposition.
    (I was one of those in that pile-up.) Is it fair to infer that vehicle Psalm 15 was built from
    divine metallurgy? Thanks for this spatial/chronos truth.

  4. aquinasetc says:


    Ps. 15 is made from the purest adamantium. :-)

    I spent some time on the PCH too, as you know, but I got off the highway before coming to the scene of this terrible collision.

  5. Best I can figure, Captain Jack (let the reader understand) told us that the Bible didn’t always fit neatly into our systematic theology. Why no one ever asked the obvious: “What makes our systematic theology right in the first place?” I don’t know. Even in a Sola Scriptura mindset, wouldn’t you change your theology to comform to the Bible, and not the other way around? On the other hand, as you well know, that’s what people are claiming to be doing.

  6. aquinasetc says:

    That sums things up so thoroughly as to make further comment unnecessary.

    Looking back, I really do not understand how I actually held some opinions that I evidently did. On one occasion I claimed the WCF said no such thing about **blah blah** … except it did. I was appalled at myself for having actually believed it (no, I don’t remember the specific subject, and that is probably for the best).

    Becoming Catholic was an exercise in eating crow or being humbled. Take your pick of descriptions.

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