Sunday, November 15, 2020

781. Paul and James: The Elephant in the Bible Room

Christian theologians have always been concerned about the elephant in the room – the quandary or controversy regarding what appear to be conflicting statements by Paul and James about justification, salvation and righteousness. This week, we continue looking at the apparent differences or viewpoints between them and how it does not take away from the truth within the Bible as a whole or Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords. Interestingly, both men use Abraham as the example to make their case (examples in Romans 4 and James 2). They both quote Genesis 15:6 about how Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness.

Paul dives into a much longer explanation, using the context that Abraham was declared righteous by faith before any work was performed, including circumcision … when he believed God would provide a child. Whereas James jumps out of context to when Isaac was taken to the altar. If one is going to tout a mixture of faith plus works when it comes to salvation, those who hold to James’ view will need to be much more specific on exactly what type of works or action is needed to maintain their justification. That ingredient is always missing, leaving people in doubt and fear instead of peace.

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