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#39677 Sat May 24, 2008 11:53 PM
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Hello everyone!
I am still deeply involved in my studies of the various Christian beliefs and am wondering what the Calvinist view(s) of James, the brother or relative of Jesus is? I know that Martin Luther did not agree with his book and was very bothered by it, however, I am reading several sources (yes, Eisenman is one of them) that seem to be saying that 1. James was Jesus' blood brother (younger). 2. That the early church was in his care before Peter (suggesting that he was actually the 1st pope) and 3. That he and Paul were very conflicted over the early developing church with regards to applying the Mosaic law to Gentiles and works vs. faith. How does your faith interpret James and his place in Christianity?

Thank you in advance for taking time with me! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/bow.gif" alt="" />

plt #39678 Sun May 25, 2008 8:02 AM
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plt said:
Hello everyone!
I am still deeply involved in my studies of the various Christian beliefs and am wondering what the Calvinist view(s) of James, the brother or relative of Jesus is? I know that Martin Luther did not agree with his book and was very bothered by it, however, I am reading several sources (yes, Eisenman is one of them) that seem to be saying that 1. James was Jesus' blood brother (younger). 2. That the early church was in his care before Peter (suggesting that he was actually the 1st pope) and 3. That he and Paul were very conflicted over the early developing church with regards to applying the Mosaic law to Gentiles and works vs. faith. How does your faith interpret James and his place in Christianity?

Thank you in advance for taking time with me! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/bow.gif" alt="" />

I don't claim to know a lot about this, so I'm sure others on this board can give you much better answers. However, as a Calvinist, I will answer with what I believe a Calvinist would say.

1. I think that the consensus is that James is Jesus's younger half-brother.

2. I am not sure whether the early church could be said to be specifically in James's care or Peter's care. However, most Calvinists would dispute that either was the first pope. I do not think a Calvinist would say that the "Pope" is a biblically defensible position.

3. A Calvinist would not believe that James and Paul are at all in conflict, but that their writings complement each other (beautifully). If you believe they are in conflict, then that means you are misinterpreting one or both of them.

John

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I agree with john (the poster) except to add or clarify that James, Jesus' half brother, is the same James in Acts 15. He was definitely one of the leaders of the church. I think that would be as far as we should go with that. The claims of James' status or any dispute with Paul probably comes from misapplying James' judgement in Acts 15. Possibly along with the judiazers in Galatians.


John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
plt #39680 Wed May 28, 2008 2:22 AM
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I know that Martin Luther did not agree with this book [the Book of James] and was very bothered by it


While Luther's views on this subject are certainly not above reproach, in his defence I would like to submit the following by John Warwick Montgomery:

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Even in his strongest remarks on the four antilegomena (Hebrews, James, Jude, Revelation), Luther intersperses positive comments and makes quite plain that the question of how to treat these books must be answered by his readers for themselves. If he can speak of James as an "Epistle of straw," lacking the gospel, he can also say of it-simultaneously: "I praise it and hold it a good book, because it sets up no doctrine of men but vigorously promulgates God's law." Since Luther is not exactly the model of the mediating personality - since he is well known for consistently taking a stand where others (perhaps even angels) would equivocate - we can legitimately conclude that the Reformer only left matters as open questions when he really was not certain as to where the truth lay. Luther's ambivalent approach to the antilegomena is not at all the confident critical posture of today's rationalistic student of the Bible.

Especially indicative of this fact is the considerable reduction in negative tone in the revised Prefaces to the biblical books later in the Reformer's career. Few people realize - and liberal Luther interpreters do not particularly advertise the fact that in all the editions of Luther's Bible translation after 1522 the Reformer dropped the paragraphs at the end of his general Preface to the New Testament which made value judgments among the various biblical books and which included the famous reference to James as an "Epistle of straw." In all the editions after 1522 Luther also softened the critical tone of his Preface to the Epistle itself; in 1522 he had written: James "wants to guard against those who relied on faith without works, and is unequal to the task in spirit, thought, and words. and rends the Scriptures and thereby resists Paul and all Scripture," but he subsequently dropped all the words after "unequal to the task." He also omitted the following related comment: "One man is no man in worldly things; how then should this single man alone [James] avail against Paul and all the other Scriptures?"


From
Lessons from Luther on the Inerrancy of Holy Writ

I think it more accurate to say, as Douglas Moo does, that although Luther had "difficulties" with this book, "we should be careful not to overemphasize the strength of his critique. He did not exclude James from the canon and quotes the letter rather frequently in his writings."

The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), 5.


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plt #39681 Sun Jun 01, 2008 9:00 AM
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plt said:
Hello everyone!
I am still deeply involved in my studies of the various Christian beliefs and am wondering what the Calvinist view(s) of James, the brother or relative of Jesus is? I know that Martin Luther did not agree with his book and was very bothered by it, however, I am reading several sources (yes, Eisenman is one of them) that seem to be saying that 1. James was Jesus' blood brother (younger). 2. That the early church was in his care before Peter (suggesting that he was actually the 1st pope) and 3. That he and Paul were very conflicted over the early developing church with regards to applying the Mosaic law to Gentiles and works vs. faith. How does your faith interpret James and his place in Christianity?

Thank you in advance for taking time with me! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/bow.gif" alt="" />
I don't know what Calvinism has to do with this. Any suggestion that a mere man can or should take the place of the Holy Spirit acting through all mature male saints seems to me like indescribable, if common, heresy.

One cannot get the merest glimmer of daylight between James and Paul. James was evidently writing to folk who knew Paul's writings, or who well understood justification by faith, at any rate. But they were on the verge, if not over it, of nominalism. So James said, ok, you are justified before God by faith, but before men you are justified by works- so let's see some! In a way, James is the best, most punchy book in the NT, when properly understood. Jesus' brother crunches dead bones, Halleluiah.

I can understand why that dreadful nominalist Catholic Luther didn't like him.

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xyz

I have a question for you.
What do you believe Calvinism is?

Based on you response, it appears you don't really know what it means.

Tom

xyz #39683 Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:00 AM
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xyz said:
I can understand why that dreadful nominalist Catholic Luther didn't like him [James]


In order to avoid the kind of twaddling word games that I have observed on the "For Whom Did Christ Die? thread, let me start right out with a confession of "insufficient theological education." My "incomprehension" of the meaning of your description of Luther is absolutely "genuine," and I am asking for clarification and/or explanation in good faith.

"Dreadful" I take to be your personal evaluation of Luther, and while I might be interested in knowing the reasons why you consider him or his theological views "dreadful," I think I understand pretty well what you mean by describing Luther in this way.

However, I honestly have no idea what you mean when you refer to him as a "nominalist Catholic." I have never heard Luther described in this way. I usually take the word "nominal" to mean "in name" or "in name only," and I would think of a "nominal Catholic" as one who identified herself as or bore the name of Catholic, but did not adhere to Catholic beliefs or practices (e.g., my mother in law). Luther ultimately rejected both the name and many of the central beliefs and practices of Roman Catholicism, and the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated Luther and anathematized him and his beliefs.

Of course, you actually refer to Luther as a "nominalist Catholic," which makes me think you might be referring instead to the old nominalist/realist controversy. Most scholars consider Luther a nominalist or at least a conceptualist with respect to the nature of universals, and generally speaking, the Roman Catholic Church has tended to favor realism while Protestants have had stronger nominalist tendencies. While I can understand why someone might call Luther a "nominalist Protestant" (although I don't know what his nominalism would have to do with his view of the Book of James), I'm really clueless as to why you would call him a "nominalist Catholic," and I think it is fair of me to ask for clarification. Please help me to understand what you mean or have in mind by calling Luther a "nominalist Catholic"?


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Tom said:
xyz

I have a question for you.
What do you believe Calvinism is?
Why do you want to know? Do explain what Calvinism has to do with this thread, because it appears to have no relevance to me.

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BradJHammond said:
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xyz said:
I can understand why that dreadful nominalist Catholic Luther didn't like him [James]

Please help me to understand what you mean
'Dreadful' because as antichrist as the pope he abhorred; 'nominalist' because he believed in intellectual, not real faith; 'Catholic' because he did nothing, in practice, but remove the sacrificial aspect of the Mass, and made no real advance on medieval religion, in James' terms. As subsequent history shows.

xyz #39686 Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:26 PM
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xyz

I am referring to the following comment you made.
Quote
I don't know what Calvinism has to do with this. Any suggestion that a mere man can or should take the place of the Holy Spirit acting through all mature male saints seems to me like indescribable, if common, heresy.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but it looks like you believe that Calvinists subscribe the notion
Quote
that a mere man can or should take the place of the Holy Spirit...
.
It is entirely possible that I am misunderstanding you; since almost everything you have said in most of your posts leaves me scratching my head. Believe me, I am not the only one on these boards either that has this problem with your posts.

Tom

Tom #39687 Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:49 AM
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Tom said:
xyz

I am referring to the following comment you made.
Quote
I don't know what Calvinism has to do with this. Any suggestion that a mere man can or should take the place of the Holy Spirit acting through all mature male saints seems to me like indescribable, if common, heresy.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but it looks like you believe that Calvinists subscribe the notion
Quote
that a mere man can or should take the place of the Holy Spirit...
.
It is entirely possible that I am misunderstanding you
It's possible. This:

'Any suggestion that a mere man can or should take the place of the Holy Spirit acting through all mature male saints seems to me like indescribable, if common, heresy.'

relates to this:

'2. That the early church was in his [James'] care before Peter (suggesting that he was actually the 1st pope)'

xyz #39688 Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:38 PM
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Ok

john #39689 Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:18 PM
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From my understanding - as limited a biblical scholar as I am - I would agree with "john" and "John C".


M Azingrace

[color:"blue"]...how sweet the sound[/color]

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