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Facts about the book of James

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by RichardBurger, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. RichardBurger

    RichardBurger New Member

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    Facts about the book of James:
    Note; All scriptures are from the NKJ Bible:
    Everyone should be familiar with what James wrote in James 2:20-24
    20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
    21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
    22  You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
    23  And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend.
    24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

    The above is used by many to show that true faith must be accompanied by works if it is true faith.
    Let us explore what James wrote to see if his conclusions are based on facts.

    Genesis 15:4-6
    4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir."
    5 Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."
    6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.

    In the above we see that God accounted Abraham as righteous solely for his faith in His Promises, and not by anything that He did.  This event happened many years before Isaac was born. Paul accurately reports this.
    It is a fact that James is using Genesis 22 to base his conclusions. However, it seems that James did not consider the account in Genesis 15.  James conclusions are based on the account given in Genesis 22, many years after Isaac was born, when Abraham was well over 100 years old, and he agreed to offer Isaac.
     
    Okay, let us look at the facts:
    It is a fact that nowhere does the OT Scripture say that Abraham "was called God's friend" BECAUSE he was willing to offer up his son Isaac. In Isaiah 41:8 it states that God called Abraham His friend but nowhere in the context of the chapter does He say it was because Abraham offered up his son Isaac. Nor does it say in Genesis 22 that Abraham was accounted as righteous BECAUSE he offered up his son Isaac.
    What James wrote, as shown above, is a direct contradiction of the Gospel that Paul taught and the account given in Genesis 15:4-6. Abraham was righteous before God solely because he believed God’s promises.
    In my opinion, based on the facts, the book of James is devoid of the gospel of grace as taught by Paul. Here are some facts that support my opinion. I find them interesting.
    1. The word “Law” is found in 18 places
    2. The word “grace” is found in 2 places
    3. The word “Christ” is found in 2 places
    4. The word “Justified” is found in 2 place with the words “by works” after them
    5. The words “by faith” is found 1 time (justified by works and not by faith only)
    6. The word “cross” is not found
    7. The word “reconciled” is not found
    8. The word “sanctified” is not found
    9. The word “saved” is not found
    10. The words “in Christ” are not found
    Romans 4:1-7 Abraham Justified by Faith (Genesis 17:10)
    1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
    2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
    3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
    4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.

    David Celebrates the Same Truth
    5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
    6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
    7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered;
    NKJV
    So what do we do with the book of James? Should it be in the Bible? --- Of course it should. It was written to the believing Jews; JAMES Greeting to the Twelve Tribes; James 1:1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. --- The above is a fact. It was written to the believing Jews who were still under the law of Moses. --- to apply what James said to the grace church that is under Paul’s gospel of grace is wrong.
    Now will come those who will refuse to discuss the facts as presented above but will try to marginalize and demonize me for having the audacity to say the above. But facts are facts and truth is truth.
     
  2. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    I believe that Martin Luther refused to have James in his canon.

    [saying something to the effect of "it's an epistle of straw."]
     
  3. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    Well that was fun.
     
    Mister_T likes this.
  4. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    He did. One could almost admire the audacity of someone who espouses the doctrine of sola scriptura, and then proceeds to tailor the scriptures to his doctrinal preferences.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  5. Hawkins

    Hawkins Member

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    Martin Luther was designed to lead a reformation, not a Canon definition.
     
  6. Kathryn

    Kathryn Most Spoiled Woman Ever

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    When we formulate doctrine, we have to look at ALL passages relating to a particular topic. In my opinion, James balances other views by inconveniently insisting that works are evidence of faith - and that a lack of works is evidence of a lack of faith.

    Personally, this seems like common sense to me. Actions speak louder than words.

    If a person is claiming to be a person of faith but their life holds no real evidence of this faith - they need to examine themselves and re evaluate the difference between FAITH and BELIEF.

    Even the demons believe - and tremble.
     
  7. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    It isn't nearly as suprising as one would think.

    The biblical canon is but one of many canons in the Roman Catholic Church. He rejected or redacted most of canon law, so it's perfectly natural that he adjusted the canon of Scripture.
     
  8. xkatz

    xkatz Glory to God!

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    Well of course not. Martin Luther had no respect for the Jewish roots of Christianity, let alone Jews.
     
  9. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    James was the defacto leader of the whole Church.

    He maintained his mission to the Jews in Jerusalem.
    It was James who gave Paul authority to Preach to the Gentiles
    It was James that Paul consulted over the question of gentiles being free of Jewish Law.

    It is true that Paul and James came to different conclusions about "Faith and works"

    It is clear that Luther preferred "Paul's understanding" as it fitted into his general arguments far better.
    I believe that both Luther and Calvin were more interested in the logic of their own agenda, than any possibility that James might be right.

    If James is right.... the whole "Faith alone" edifice falls.

    Logic and authority is on James side.
     
  10. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    Yeah, he's the guy to whom Jesus said, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
     
  11. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    Do you really think that outweighs the evidence in Galatians and Acts that Peter deferred to James?
     
  12. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    Well, in Galatians 2, Peter holds primacy.... and also in Acts 15.
     
  13. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    Yes as the Gospels say...
    Jesus did ordain Peter for the Job.
    However James took on the role in Jerusalem, which became the early ruling centre.

    Perhaps Peter became more important to the Roman Christians when he was martyred and buried in Rome... even Paul had to play second fiddle in the emperors eyes and was buried outside the walls.

    I wonder if Peter was "promoted" in the writings to suit the emperors view of things.
    Perhaps "Editing" went further than selecting books.

    Rome saw Christ in majesty not as a servant. ... so some editing clearly went on.
     
  14. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    19,902
    Not seeing it.

    Galatians 2.11.-12: "But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he stood condemned. For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the circumcision."

    Peter defers to James; Paul does not defer to Peter.

    Acts 15.13-19: "And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Brethren, hearken unto me: Symeon hath rehearsed how first God visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After these things I will return, And I will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen; And I will build again the ruins thereof, And I will set it up: that the residue of men may seek after the Lord, And all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who maketh these things known from of old. Wherefore my judgment is, that we trouble not them that from among the Gentiles turn to God ... "

    Peter, Paul and Barnabas make their case, and James makes the decision.
     
  15. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    Which emperor are you referring to?
     
  16. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    As it is only supposition that editing went on, who knows when or by whom?
    But all Emperors expect compliance. The Christian Church was undoubtedly heavily influenced by their wishes. The power to persecute lay with the Emperors not the Bishops.
     
  17. RichardBurger

    RichardBurger New Member

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    The facts that I presented stand as correct since no one has been able to say otherwise. Paul points to a time (Gen. 15) where Abraham was declared (accounted) righteous, SOLELY, because he believed God's promises and James points to a time when Abraham did a work.

    The most debated idea on Christian forums is the idea of works. James is at the center of these debates. The problem is that the Christian religion blends what James said with what Paul said and in doing so destroys what each of them said.

    Are Christians saved (accounted as righteous before God) because they believe what Jesus did on the cross saves them or by what man does? --- With Paul it is the cross and with James it is by what man does. --- It is that simple. It is not by both. God will not share His Son's glory with man.

    To many this indicates that there were (past tense) two gospels being preached in the book of Acts. I am one of these. One only has to read Acts 21:20-21 and compare verse 21 with what Paul was teaching in Galatians 5:3-6 and realize that the believing Jews were only upset with Paul. If James and the elders were teaching what Paul was teaching in Galatians 5:3-6 then wouldn't they be mad at James too?
    Some are saying that Paul got permission to preach from James and the Elders. But this idea is not supported in scriptures. Jesus ordained Saul on the road to Damascus and changed his name to Paul.
    Galatians 1:11-17

    Call to Apostleship (cf. Acts 9:1-25) 11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
    12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
    13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.
    14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
    15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace,
    16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,
    17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
    NKJV
     
  18. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

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    Peter is mentioned first in both Gal. 2 and Acts 15.

    You didn't go back far enough in Gal. 2. Peter is mentioned first, that is primacy in ancient rhetoric. Because they saw that he was like Peter, they accepted him.

    And from those(K) who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me;(L) God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential(M) added nothing to me. 7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been(N) entrusted with(O) the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9and when James and Cephas and John,(P) who seemed to be(Q) pillars, perceived the(R) grace that was given to me, they(S) gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10Only, they asked us to remember the poor,(T) the very thing I was eager to do.

    And in Acts 15, Peter clears up the issue before they hear Paul:

    6(R) The(S) apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. 7And after there had been much(T) debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you,(U) that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear(V) the word of(W) the gospel and believe. 8And God,(X) who knows the heart,(Y) bore witness to them,(Z) by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9and(AA) he made no distinction between us and them,(AB) having cleansed their hearts(AC) by faith. 10Now, therefore, why(AD) are you putting God to the test(AE) by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples(AF) that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11But we(AG) believe that we will be(AH) saved through(AI) the grace of the Lord Jesus,(AJ) just as they will."
     
  19. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    I would not have thought any one would argue against "That we are saved by the Grace of God," However it is why that Grace is given that causes the friction.

    My belief is that Works provides the evidence, Faith the desire. But desire with out action is meaningless.
    Jesus giving examples of people doing good deeds out of their own good nature rather than reward, tends to support that.

    As to the leadership issue between James and peter. I would suggest the verses show that James was the decisive one who summed up and pressed the point. It is not at all unusual in Leadership, For the senior to leave leadersip to the more decisive person.

    James always seems to show more leadership... just as he did when Jerusalem was starving.
     
  20. dogsgod

    dogsgod New Member

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    Whom are we to suppose actually wrote these books of James?
     
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