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This article argues that the doctrine of sola fide is deeply problematic on the basis of two widely accepted philosophic principles, and then attempts to treat the problem exegetically. The article begins by showing that the “ought implies can” principle, which states that agents can only be held morally responsible for performing or not performing acts within their power, presents apparent problems for sola fide when examined alongside doxastic involuntarism, which holds that agents are incapable of choosing their beliefs. Sola fide, however, has been essential to the traditional interpretation of core Pauline texts. The author attempts to resolve the issue by reexamining Paul’s use of phrases that have in English been translated ‘faith in Christ’ and ‘works of the law’ respectively and, on that basis, offering a reinterpretation of the traditional dichotomy between faith and works.

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