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Ep. 146 Stating and Defending the Reformed Protestant Doctrine of Salvation Through Faith Alone

Bob uses both Bible texts and intuitive arguments to state and explain the controversial Reformed Protestant doctrine that a person is saved not through good works, but by believing in Jesus.

Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:

The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.

About the author, Robert

Christian and economist, Chief Economist at infineo, and Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute.


  1. Marko on 09/16/2020 at 6:42 AM


    I think this episode is TOTALY INSANE. Everything that you said today is not just wrong, but I would say evil. Especially the last 10 minutes where you wanted to illustrate everything with the example of Anakin, Hitler, son and Joseph.

    Even if god existed, as I hear more and more from you and other Christians, I must conclude that Christianity is not the good theory that explains it. Let us go with the order:

    1.) Yes, it was great that Luke convinced Dart Vader not to serve the evil emperor any more. But, the damage Vader did before that moment must count something. As a minimum he can not simply go and join Yoda, like nothing happened. This, again does not talk badly about the god’s justice, but about Christians that attribute this super unjust justice to some possible god. Thoughts count, actions count more. All the innocent people that suffered due to Vader’s evil, must count something. Also, what kind of justice standard are you promoting? If someone took you all your possessions, and at the end of his life came to you asking for forgiveness and even if he was truly honest and changed man, why would you forgive him? Even if he gave you back all that he stole, you had your life ruined, because you had to live on the street as a homeless person for years. He repented, but you had your life ruined anyway. That must count. There is no undo operation, suffering already happened. Now, if all you will say is that Christian God will do the undo operation, and will erase the memory of the victim after putting him into the heaven, so he will not remember of the previous suffering, still this can not undo the suffering that already happened. World remembers that happened. Justice can not work like that. Hell no, Vader can not play with Yoda.

    2.) Disowning the son: this is totally wrong. Of course you are going to disown your son after some threshold. Because the fact you raised him, does not mean you may continue loving him after everything he does. A serial rapist son, a serial killer son, etc. You don’t accept that, you disown that person. Unless, he has some brain tumor that provoked this behavior. I thought Christians were strong on free will and fighting evil. Why does it matter if an evil person is a stranger or our child? Everybody is personally responsible for his sins. And, no, not all the sins are equal, and yes, I throw the stone into a serial rapist, even though I stole a candy in the supermarket yesterday. There’s no place for utilitarianism here. You may help the son sinner in different ways, but you can not love him and you will not give your life for a son that burnt the church with 100 people inside. And no, there can not be a god that loves his children whatever they do. What kind of a monster that creature would be?

    3.) Hitler can never enter the heaven. Even if god existed and heaven too, nobody could be ever surprised to see Hitler in heaven, because that’s an impossible thing to happen. Even if Hitler truly realized how wrong he was 5 minutes before he got him shot in Berlin’s bunker. For the same reason as Vader. And if Christians believe Hitler can enter heaven under some circumstances, well, Christianity is patently wrong, insanely wrong.

    4.) God owning everything. This is may be the worst part, where I disagree with you mostly. No, not every creation is the same and no, the creator does not have the right to do with people everything he wants to. Creating a stone, a star or a planet, is one thing, creating a moral understanding creature is another. The second category is not subject to the same rules as the first one. Nobody can do with humans what he wants to do, simply, becuase he created the laws of physics that created humans. Sorry, does not work like that. Can not work like that. Nothing pushes me further away from Christianity than this belief that god has an absolute right. This is totally evil.

    5.) The Joseph story. This is pure evil, again. Doing bad to one person in name of doing a greater good is 1:1 utilitarianism. And it is equivalent to a mad doctor that takes 5 organs from 1 random person showing up in the hospital for a check-up to save 5 other persons needing exactly those organs. Utilitarianism is bad in this sense, and it is equally bad when your god is doing it.

    I am sorry Bob, for being so strong, but I respect you so much for other things you say and do, so instead of ignoring you, I am criticizing you. For this one, I apply what your friend Tom Woods said: everybody has the right for one wrong thing in their life. In your case, it is this understanding of god. And I repeat, even if god existed, all what you said can not not be attributed to him. That would be a god monster. In one of the next comments I will offer you a much better theory.

    • David on 09/20/2020 at 10:34 AM

      If everyone is allowed one wrong thing why allow yourself such an excess?

      I am sorry for being so much stronger than you, but I care for you so much that I want you to resolve your daddy issues.

      That’s what you sound like and it’s gamma.

      • Marko on 09/23/2020 at 6:44 AM

        OK, point taken. I could have written my comment to Bob in a more constructive and calmer way. But, I was angry at Bob. And I am sorry for that. Again, anger is not an excuse. Let me try to explain my critics, hopefully better this time.

        There are 2 approaches towards the important philosophical concept, the concept of god. One is by faith and another is by reason. In the early Christian centuries, before this religion was divided in various branches, there were important Christian scholars that tried their best to explain the god, as a scientific theory (even though, the name of this methodology was given later) instead of promoting the faith.

        Now, even Tom Woods, when he talks about god, I think he uses this approach. In his episode 272 “Am I a Dummy for Believing in God?”, he attempts to rationally explain the necessity for a god through the primal mover. I don’t say I accepted his explanation, but I certainly appreciate the method. There is something to discuss about. With faith, all discussions are off. It all ends up with I like chocolate, and your like vanilla. And thanks to that Tom pushed me into learning much more about Christianity and some other religions. He gave me a gift of knowledge that there were many people approaching god in a rational way. And thanks to him, I got out of the wrong race ‘religion is irrational, atheism is rational’. He helped me understand there are no prohibited areas, no tabus for a scientific mind. God is as a good study subject as gravity or anything else.

        In this episode, from what I understood, I might be wrong, but this is what I got, Bob is going exactly in the opposite direction, to embrace faith. I am wondering why. How is that contributing to reaching greater level of truth? Bob is a PhD, he is a brilliant mind, his other lectures and his ways are extraordinary. He defends Austrian economy from the accusations it is a cult. Bob is a hyper-rational machine. In all aspects, but god. Why defending the faith instead of following the method of the early Christian scholars? Especially in case of Bob.

        Because, otherwise, if faith is OK to approach god, why shouldn’t it be OK for anything else? Why don’t we accept socialism, because it sounds so nice, or because there are so many people that accept socialism with faith? I think that every time we lower our judgement standards, and faith is inferior to reason, we commit huge mistakes. And I think I found an example of this behavior even with Bob. Otherwise, he would never have said that we should not be surprised that Hitler may enter heaven under some circumstances. Like who are we to judge the superior mind of god. But, superior mind is part of the theory we still need to defend (not to prove, because there is no proof in science, but to defend, that is a different thing). Instead, Bob is doing the circular thinking. He justifies certain actions by assuming something that is still intellectually open. I know you may not like it, but I have to say it, not even early Christians made it. Their attempts were very good, but not good enough, we still do not have a good theory of god. Unfortunately, the history of religion and especially of the branches went all much more in the faith, instead of reason direction to defend the concept of god, and then atheist, rightfully won, because there is nothing to defend with faith. I think anyone really wanting the truth, should not run away from analyzing god, but analysis requires reason. There cannot be shortcuts in this. Faith is a wrong shortcut. Also, it pushes away people away from the god defenders. And there are also other side effects. It may push away people even from the libertarianism and Austrian economy. They might think, if the proponents of libertarianism defend the faith methodology in one field, they might do it even in another. This would be their logical mistake, because someone may be right in one field and totally wrong in another, but Bob being a public speaker, I think, should not underestimate these aspects of non-intended consequences.

        • Leighton Anderson on 09/28/2020 at 9:25 PM

          You might be unclear about exactly what faith is. That’s OK, I think Bob is too.

  2. Dan on 09/18/2020 at 11:15 PM

    Dude, literally no one believes that works saves you. Not the Catholic, not the Orthodox, not even the freaking Mormons. All agree that if you’re baptized but don’t have faith in Jesus then you’re not being saved. Everyone agrees that the first step every Christian must take on the path of God is to have faith. The debate is over how the grace of God is given to the believer, what the believer must do to access the saving grace of God, not over “faith vs. works.” Everyone agrees that you have to do something, they’re just arguing over what.

    • Leighton on 09/28/2020 at 9:23 PM

      Dan, you are right about this. That makes the whole thing a straw man.

  3. Dan Coats on 09/19/2020 at 4:38 PM

    Hey Bob,

    Great content! God bless!

  4. Devout Atheist on 09/24/2020 at 6:44 AM

    No offense, Bob, but your “I was a devout atheist” doesn’t resonate with me (born & raised atheist) at all. How many years were you an atheist? Seems to me you WERE raised on this stuff, then you experimented a bit in college, and then you went back, even if to a slightly different form.

    • Robert Murphy on 09/24/2020 at 4:31 PM

      OK, suit yourself. I am quite confident I could pass a Turing test of what an atheist would say in response to various things. I don’t remember exactly, but I would say I was an atheist for at least 8 years.

      In any event, you describing it as “experimented a bit” is totally off. Like I said, I was getting ready to write a book on the topic. It wasn’t like, “Hmm I think I like chocolate ice cream now” it was “This is a defining element of who I am.”

  5. Forum User on 09/26/2020 at 5:05 PM

    I don’t understand why so many rational people can claim to be atheists. Everything cannot come from nothing, so god exists. Simple. At the very most, agnosticism is half rational, but even then, everything cannot come from nothing, so god exists

    • Bill on 09/27/2020 at 8:04 AM

      I’m non religious. Agnostic you could say. I think Atheist is sort of a loaded term. I think your logic that something can’t come from nothing therefore God is pretty ridiculous. What is God? Why can God come from nothing. Your whole argument tries to prove catastrophically way too much. Which God do you believe in? Is God then reality itself? So ill defined as to be nonsensically useless.

      My contention is that whether God exists is totally unprovable and unfalsifiable. You can choose to believe in God as a matter of faith or assertion alone, that is fine. I do not chose to do that. And if God is so petty as to torture me for eternity because I don’t believe in what I can’t know in any concrete way then so be it.

      I’m not one of those wackjob Atheists that wants to ban people praying in public or schools or anything. I’m totally indifferent.

  6. Baus on 09/30/2020 at 5:42 AM

    Good stuff, Bob!
    I pray the Lord uses your clear message to convict sinners and bring them to saving trust in Christ.
    Lots of resources here for your listeners who would like to find out more:

  7. Nicholas Moore on 10/28/2020 at 6:21 AM

    I get nervous whenever someone starts to explain the gospel, because most end up teaching Works Salvation. I was relieved that you taught the truth. But I recommend a KJV. It’s better.

  8. Kevin Craig on 10/29/2020 at 4:23 AM

    I cannot be justified *BY* works,
    I cannot be justified *WITHOUT* works
    Where’s the contradiction?
    Is there something else I need to know? 🙂

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