Exegesis or Bible Butchery in James 2 - Pick one

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by BobRyan, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    This thread is for those who would agree with me that you are saved by grace through faith alone - not of works.

    Those who agree that at the moment of salvation - the New Birth, you are justified before God.

    Those who agree that sanctification is a process that begins at the moment of justification and continues on all through the rest of the life of the Christian.

    -----------------

    Ok so to that group I say -- look at James 2
    24"you see then that man is justified by works and NOT by faith alone"

    Now here is my question for the group -- will you choose Bible Butchery instead of exegesis when confronted with this text?

    Perhaps a bit MORE of James 2 just so we are perfectly clear on this exercise....

    21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works[/b] when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
    22 You see that
    faith was working with his works[b/], and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
    23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "" AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED[/b] GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,'' and he was called the friend of God.
    24
    You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
    25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works[/b] when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

    Now just so we are very very clear -- lets give an example of "Bible butchery" as a non-solution to the problem.

    Example:

    Now come on people - here is a case where we actually agree on the "by faith alone and NOT by works" details for justification - so no need for you to be afraid on this one.

    My point here is that IF we can ever get Christians to stop butchering texts that don't please them as "the only solution" to such problems - we go a long way to restoring a model for discovering true Bible doctrine.

    So let's start with this common ground problem where in fact we are in agreement in terms the bias we BRING TO THE TEXT -- now find a solution without butchering it..

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  2. tragic_pizza

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    So Justification and Sanctification. What's the problem?
     
  3. Shiloh

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    Tha problem is that BobR is a SDA's and that is a "WORKS" religion. He teaches that the 10 commandments are moral laws and they have to "keep" them including the Sabbath. We know that the Sabbath is a ceremonial law which the New Testament Christians are told in Col.2:14-17 not to be judged by. The confused SDA's try to tell us that the 10 commandments are God's laws and the other laws are laws of Moses.

    The SDA's believe their goddess Mrs. White's writings are inspired. As does the Mormans with their "Book of Mormans" and the Christian Scientists who believe Mary Baker Eddie's writings were inspired. They believe in her "investigative judgement" which began in 1844 and continues to this day to determin who will go to their heaven.

    The SDA's teach Salvation by works. This is not Biblical as we read in John 3:16, Eph. 2:8,9. Paul condemned this in Gal.4:9,10 when he said they were fallen from Grace in doctrine and now taught salvation by the law.

    Here is a quote from Mrs. White in their book, "Answers to Objections" by Francis D. Nichol, on page 402, "Those who accept the Savour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or to feel that they are saved. This is misleading. Every one should be taught to cherish hope and faith; but even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us,we are not beyond the reach of temptation...Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life."

    This is the sin of Seventh-Day Adventism.
     
  4. BobRyan

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    I don't claim that there is a problem between Justification and sanctification. I claim that even though we come to James 2 with a certain understanding of "Justification by faith without the works of the Law" from Romans 3... AND we have the view of "Saved by grace through faith not of works" from Eph 2 --

    We still have to work on something that is "exegetically correct" -- and honest - in terms of the text in James 2 "Justified by WORKS and NOT by Faith alone".

    We need to take a hard look at the text that is honest and above board - that fully embraces each inconvenient detail IN the text without simply glossing over it or worse - "rewriting it" to say the OPPOSITE of what it says.

    My example given in the OP shows a solution that simply rewrites the text using exact contradictions to the language used IN the text. My suggestion is that we avoid that approach and try something more honest to the text of scripture even though we do come to it with a prior bias.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. BobRyan

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    Uh! Then there is always the "avoid the text entirely and bash other denominations" solution given time after time by Shiloh.

    I guess that kind of non-answer appeals to some -- but most on this board have held to a higher standard.

    Now back to the topic...

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  6. Shiloh

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    This thread is for those who would agree with me that you are saved by grace through faith alone - not of works.

    Those who agree that at the moment of salvation - the New Birth, you are justified before God.


    Those who agree that sanctification is a process that begins at the moment of justification and continues on all through the rest of the life of the Christian.

    -----------------

    Ok so to that group I say -- look at James 2
    24"you see then that man is justified by works and NOT by faith alone"by Bob

    I gave the reason for your incorrect interpretation of James 2:24. You take one verse out of context and bulid a whole doctrine around it. Of course it is nothing new to you SDA's. Mrs. White your goddess of confusion set a date for the Lord to return and when He didn't she started a whole new "religion" which you have fallen for hook line and sinker.

    No Bob, you don't get Saved by works, the Baptist have told you that a thousand times. Salvation comes by Grace through Faith(.) Then......you WORK out your salvation.

    It is the faith that produces the good works.
     
  7. Shiloh

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    I might add: Bashing denominations is not my game, but exposing false doctrine is my aim.
     
  8. BobRyan

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  9. J. Jump

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    Bob I have to say this is not your typical post. Not sure what you are up to :laugh:

    And I happen to agree with you that modern day Christendom really struggles with James. Well they don't admit that they do, because the mainly say what you said and think they have solved the problem for themselves, but in reality they have made this issue even bigger.

    In order to correctly determine what is being spoken of in James, or any NT book for that matter, one must start from the very beginning. One must start with salvation, faith/believe and works and what is involved in each.

    The great thing about the Bible is that it leaves only room for one interpretation and that is The Interpretation, which is given by the Holy Spirit. All else, while we may think that it comes from the Holy Spirit is actually given my man.

    What we must constantly do is try to die to self long enough to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into ALL Truth regarding Scripture.

    Now with all that being said there is only one way that this Scripture fits into line with all other Scripture, and that is James is not dealing with eternal (spiritual) salvation.

    The question is how can we know that, and as you have rightly pointed out James talks about being saved not by faith alone, but by faith mixed with works. And we also know from Ephesians and Romans that eternal (spiritual) salvation does not have works mixed in before, during or after. So the context is not eternal (spiritual) salvation at all.

    James 1 actually tells us what he is talking about and that is the context of James is speaking of the salvation of the soul. The salvation of the soul is a process that is wrought by mixing faith with works, whereas the salvation of the spirit is by faith alone in the finished works of Christ alone.

    IMHO to see James in any other "light" is to place numerous contradictions on Scripture which can not be there.
     
  10. Dustin

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    Bob: True faith will produce works. That's what James is saying. Abraham believed God, and did something, he didn't just sit in his tent and think about all the faith he had in what God promised him.

    I said this before in another thread, James is exhorting believers to "put thier money where thier mouth is." James says "Oh, you have faith huh, well show me your faith, and do something with it."

    Not so theological, but correct at the very least.

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    Dustin
     
  11. BobRyan

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    Agreed. I have left the job of interpreting James 2 in some consistent way with accepted beliefs about Romans 3 and Ephesians 2 (accepted by all of us) -- as an exercise for each participant and reader.

    I did not provide the solution.

    True. And the point of this exercise is to work through the problem without trashing the text or "complaining that it even exists" as Shiloh did right out of the gate in response to "the mere quote of it".


    Ok. But he does deal with the term "justification" explicitly.

    And in connection with "bad faith" HE says "can that faith SAVE him" so although I think you are on the right track - we can not completely divorce the subject of salvation from his teaching.

    And that is the rub. We have to find a solution that it honest with the text in James AND retains the truths stated in Romans 3 and Ephesians 2.


    That is a new one on me.

    Please provide more details.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  12. BobRyan

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    Agreed. But the task is to use the very words of the text and show how it is true that "man is justified by works and NOT by faith alone".

    In other words -- if James had written "True faith produces good works - Abraham was justified by faith alone and then in his new born-again new-creation state he produced good works" then I don't think any of us would have much of a challenge interpreting the text easily with Romans 3 and Eph 2.

    So I agree with where you 'want' the text to go -- the problem is to show in the details of the text - that it's statement "justified by works and NOT by faith alone" is something we all could sign up to - stand up in church and say with a straight face - and fully believe.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  13. J. Jump

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    True. That is a word that I should have added into my little mix. When folks see the words salvation, faith/believe, saved, jusitification or justified, etc. they automatically assume a text is speaking to eternal salvation.

    You could even add in eternal life or everlasting life, and several other terms probably.

    Exactly. But context tells us what type of salvation he is speaking about. And because works are in the context the context is not eternal (spiritual) salvation.

    Unfortunately these days it s a new one on a lot of people. I will send you a PM, because the answer to your question need much more detail than time and space allow on here.
     
  14. BobRyan

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    Speaking of the term "Justification" used in James 2 "You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone"

    Ok so when it says "you see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone"... how should we read that?

    Justification implies a judicial legal action (From Just and Justice) where something is proven or declared to be upheld/innocent/defended/cleared-of-legal-charges etc.

    So how would you render this - in keeping with the text?

    As in "So you see that a man obtains eternal life by works and not by faith alone"???

    IS that what you are saying?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. hillclimber1

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    It doesn't take you any time at all to veer off the truth, does it? And what does SDA mean?
     
  16. J. Jump

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    Well this text happens to go hand in hand with the adoption texts. Unfortunately the usage of the word "adoption" has clouded its biblical meaning. When people speak of adoption today they think of it as being added to the family. But the Biblical use of the word means being approved. The literal rendering is son placement or son placing. Adoption means approving something for use.

    For example I like to play a dominoes game which for whatever reason is called Mexican train. There are several different versions or rules. So if I am playing with someone that plays different than I do and I like their rules I might "adopt" their rules the next time I play.

    Adoption in Scripture has to do with a child being approved and adopted into a position within the family not being placed into the family.

    And in order for this adoption to occur the child must be found blameless or justified. The Bible speaks of a finished justification as well as a continual justification.

    Jesus told Peter that if he didn't allow Him to wash him that he would have no part "with" Him.

    We are "in" Christ through salvation by grace through faith apart from works. But our part "with" Christ is based on allowing Him to continually wash us through the water (Word) and His blood which is currently on the mercy seat in tabernacle in heaven, which is "if" we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

    This goes back to the OT priest who was fully cleansed one time, but before he entered the Holy of Holies he must wash what had come in contact with earth. It was a partial washing that happened from time to time. If he didn't wash and walked into the Holy of Holies unclean or with blame then he died.

    This is a physical representation of what can and will happen to our soul if we skip the sanctification aspect of salvation or the salvation of the soul.

    Well unfortunately Bible translators have placed a HUGE hurddle in the way of many that study Scripture. First of all most every time the word eternal is used it a very poor translation. I'm specifically speaking of when used in front of "life". Some translations have changed the word from eternal to everlasting, which is a better translation of what they are trying to get across, but still a miss translation of the word most of the time.

    The Greek word is aionios, which is an adjective of the word aion. Aion means age. It's a period of time, and when used in Scripture it most often if not always is referring to the 1,000-year reign of Christ. That is the next age that awaits the saved. And we can either have life in that age, or we can lose our life in that age, according to Scripture. The word life is the same Greek word for soul. So it could be said and rightly so that we can find our soul in the coming age or we can lose our soul in the coming age.

    Which goes right in line with Paul's teaching on the judgement seat of Christ where he said that there will be those that suffer loss at the JSOC. Most Christians say that it will be a loss of rewards. However the text says it will be a loss of something that they are already in possession of, so it can't mean a loss of rewards, because those will not be currently possessed at the JSOC.

    By the way I fixed the PM. Sorry about leaving out the most important part. :laugh: Again IMHO this is the only way Scripture lines up with other Scripture without placing contradictions into the texts.
     
  17. BobRyan

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    I agree that there is some more leverage if we can insert the term "adoption" into the text... but sticking with the terms given "You see then that a man is JUSTIFIED by works AND NOT by faith alone" -- how do we interpret it -- using the words "IN" the text?

    As for "eternal" vs "everlasting" -- I have no problem with that substitution since I vew them as having basically the same scope and have made that same Aion argument in the case of eternal fire. In that case "eternal" references both the source (eternal God) and the context (until all is complete).

    However I don't see how this is solving the problem.

    I still have "For you see then that a man is JUSTIFIED by Works and NOT by FAITH ALONE".

    I will propose another failed solution as I did in the OP for reference.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  18. BobRyan

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    What kind of nonsense non-answer is that?

    (So many ways NOT to address the point -- so little time, eh HC?)

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  19. BobRyan

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    In the OP I gave an example of a failed solution of the form "you see then that a man is NOT JUSTIFIED by Works but by Faith alone -- and AFTER that comes good works".

    A solution that is in keeping with Romans 3 and Eph 2 but totally butchers James 2 which IS included in the "ALL SCRIPTURE" of 2Tim 3:16 that we are not to butcher - but rather read -- and study.

    Another failed solution would be on the opposite side.

    We could conclude "No one can enter into salvation by faith alone - they must have good works to come to Christ and be justified".

    That failed solution does no violence at all to the actual text of James 2. But it totally contradicts Romans 3 and Eph 2 so it too is unnacceptable.

    So we have the "boundary" conditions - neither of them is acceptable.

    Something in the middle I think.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. J. Jump

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    Well I thought I had explained that :laugh: But I guess it wasn't very clear :laugh: The justification that James is speaking of is a justification that qualifies one for the kingdom not for eternity. He is not speaking of eternal salvation, because his audience is already saved. He is speaking of a justification "for" them that is beyond what they already possess. One must be justified in order to have a position within the coming kingdom. If the "saved" individual is found with blame as he/she stands before the Judge on that day then they will not have a position within that kingdom as they will not have been justified.

    Well this is an area that I can't help on. I can only proclaim the Truth as I believe the Holy Spirit to have guided me, and the convincing part comes from Him.

    However I would say that the problem is solved because the text has not been changed, and it flows without contradiction when comparing it with other Scripture whether in the OT or NT.

    As long as one places James into a context of eternal salvation then contradictions are going to arise. And they will arise in two ways. One will say that the person that does not work will lose their eternal salvation while the other group will say that person was simply not saved. Neither of those arguments hold to the test of Scripture.

    He/She is justified by a mixture of faith and works for his/her place in the kingdom of Christ.

    Hope that helps.
     

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