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Mon Feb 6, 2012, 04:13 PM

Is the Epistle of James ignored in by Evangelicals?

I'm not a Christan anymore, but when I was, I loved the Epistle of James. It is my favorite book of the Bible. I love quoting it to right-wing Christians, especially the part where James tells the wealthy their money will be a testimony against them on the last days. However, it seems to me that a lot of evangelical churches ignore it. I used to be Catholic and they seemed to at least try and follow that Epistle with their support of labor rights and belief in faith and works, but I've noticed a lot the Evangelical churches aren't very fond of it. I'm just curious if anyone else has noticed that?

My personal theory is that James's defense of the poor and attacks on the rich are too at odds with the right-wing worldview espoused by the majority of Evangelicals. Has anyone else noticed this or am I completely off base here? Oh, and any other James fans out there?

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Reply Is the Epistle of James ignored in by Evangelicals? (Original post)
white_wolf Feb 2012 OP
Lydia Leftcoast Feb 2012 #1
white_wolf Feb 2012 #2
rug Feb 2012 #3
Lady Freedom Returns Feb 2012 #4

Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 04:32 PM

1. Luther and Calvin bear much of the blame

Luther was so turned off by the Catholic church's selling of indulgences and taking money to say masses for the dead that he actually changed his German translation of the Bible. Where Paul says "The just shall live by faith" in the first chapter of Romans, Luther translated it as "The just shall live by faith alone." He also had past experience as a monk, where he realized that all the monastic discipline couldn't make him into a perfect human being, so he decided that works were irrelevant, to the point that he wanted to eliminate the Letter of James from the Bible. (I think others persuaded him not to.)

Calvin believed that people were predestined for heaven or hell, so what you did in this life didn't matter.

When I was a graduate student and knew some people who were doing graduate work in religious studies as devout Lutherans, they scoffed at the idea of good people vs. bad people as "works righteousness." This was a bad thing, in their minds.

While it's true, as Luther noted, that you can't make yourself perfect, the strictest Lutherans and the evangelicals have gone off in the other direction, saying that only faith matters and that if you do good works, it's only out of gratitude for having been saved.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 04:57 PM

2. Luther seemed to take faith alone to extremes.

I can't remember where I read it, but I recall he wrote something along the lines of "let a man rape a 100 women or murder a 100 men, it does not matter as long as he had faith in Christ."

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Mon Feb 6, 2012, 06:49 PM

3. He didn't mince words.

Chapter 5

1Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.
2Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten,
3your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days.
4Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
5You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
6You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Feb 7, 2012, 09:53 PM

4. I am Southern Baptist and a lot of my schooling was in James.

Those that overlook ANY of the teachings are not getting the whole teaching, however the mercy of Christ is a big part of James. That whole idea is a major corner stone of Christian faith. To overlook it is to overlook most of our faith.

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