James is different. The brief letter was possibly written by Jesus’ older brother. Or not. It may have come from a synagogue pamphlet, a brief set of guidelines on how to treat other people, both in the synagogue and in the community. It has been condemned by theologians who say there is no direct reference to Christ and the teachings of the church. It has been lauded by those who love the scriptural inferences to Christ and the early church.
One thing is certain. The protestant reformer Martin Luther despised it. And that is probably understating. (He also felt that way about The Revelation to St. John) His introduction to the Book of James had these words: “I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle…..He (James) mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture….Therefore I will not have him in my Bible to be numbered among the true chief books.”
Sounds like a great book to tackle for four sessions beginning November 18. We will meet in our chapel, and meet from 7 to 8:15 PM. Our study guide is written by Dr. Carol Miller, a retired and redirected Methodist minister. It’s a great “stepping-off” point.
Voluntary cost, to cover materials, is a $5 donation per student. We do have scholarships available.
Here is our schedule:
1. The Mysteries of James. November 18
2. What is Faith? November 25
3. The Dangers in Ourselves. December 2
4. Warnings and Instructions. December 9
Please call our church office (815 895 2706) or let me know if you want to participate in this book study. It is the most evident example of the Jewish and early concept of “Wisdom.”
Blessings in and through this season,