Why did Martin Luther not
like the book of James?
Q. Why did Martin Luther want to REMOVE the book of James from the Bible?
(Submitted by: S. W.)
A. The Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia offers a concise explanation regarding one likely reason Martin Luther wanted the book of James REMOVED from God's word:
"Lutherans believe that faith is understood as trust in God's steadfast love, and is the only appropriate way for human beings to respond to God's saving initiative. Thus " salvation by faith alone," the distinctive and controversial slogan of Lutheranism. Opponents claimed that this position failed to do justice to the Christian responsibility to do good works, but Lutherans have replied that faith must be active in love and that good works follow from faith as a good tree produces good fruit." (page 264)
What comes immediately to mind is the correlation of Psalm 119 to Hebrews 11 that teaches we must put FAITH together with WORKS (actions):
"It was by FAITH that Abel OBEYED God. " (Hebrews 11:4, RSV)
"By FAITH Abraham OBEYED." (Hebrews 11:8, RSV)
"Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! Thou hast commanded thy precepts to be kept DILIGENTLY." (Psalms 119:1-4, RSV)
As you can see action is required. Additionally, consider the Israelites in Egypt, and why God gave them the lands of the heathen, pagan, Gentile nations:
"He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, and they inherited the labor of the nations, that they might observe His statutes and keep His laws. Praise the Lord!" (Psalms 105:44-45, NKJV)
A scripture in the New Testament that refutes Luther's teachings that you "only need faith and works would follow," is Revelation 14:12 :
"Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS of God and the FAITH of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12, NKJV)
The book of James also holds a very important scripture to the basic way of life Jesus Christ expects a Christian to walk.
"If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. " (James 1:26-27, NKJV)
This acceptable way is also supported by the Old Testament, and a theme that reoccurs often in Christ's teachings in both Old and New Testaments.
"Is it a fast that I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?
"Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?
"Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?" (Isaiah 58:5-7, NKJV)
Written by: Rick / Eileen Beltz