Questions & Answers
Do you have any doubts about the authenticity of James?
I'll get to my question, I've always been able to get a pretty nice easy flow going through the New Testament, I have to jump a few potholes in Peter's epistles but the Epistle of James is like hitting a brick wall. Martin Luther (who I've always been a big fan of) called it an "Epistle of straw" and stated that it was not inspired, and that it was a complete contradiction to Christianity and to the rest of the NT. Early church fathers didn't accept it, and it wasn't quoted from until the 3rd century and wasn't accepted by many even after it was included in the Canon in 397 ad. I read some of your ideas about James, but I wanted to know if you have doubts about it's authenticity? Vinnie
Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts with me, bro!! :) I do understand your sense of schizophrenia from the upheaval in your thoughts. Of course, realize one thing: your fleshly mind was never able to accept the things of the Spirit, which means that the old logic rolling around your head STILL considers it absurd. Your spirit witnesses with HIS Spirit - the old logic retaliates in self-defense and self-preservation. :) By the way, your new heart is not hard, the old one was ... and it has nothing to do with who you are or with what God is doing in your life. Remember, He is NOT confused as to who you are vs. who you were. Ain't that just wonderful to know!!?
Ah ha, it's regarding the authenticity of the Scriptures (specifically James) of which you ask, huh? :) Well, put your seat belt on 'cause we're going for a ride!! I'll cut to the chase. I think the modern arguments and brouhaha over "Scriptural Authenticity", along with the doctrine of the "Canon of the Scriptures" as well as the doctrine of the "inspiration of the Scriptures" is a bogus attempt of the religious mind to control the "spirituality" of people. I can hear those wheels turning now! :) Ready to hear what I'm talking about? Okeedokee, here goes.
Where, oh, where do we get the idea that the writings of the followers of Jesus were supposed to be conformed to the image of the "It is written" of the Law and the Prophets so that, upon completion, we would finally have God's "authority" by which we would know everything God wants us to know? Even though I know that what I'm suggesting might sound totally and completely heretical and blasphemous, the reality is that these doctrines (as held by the "church") are the blasphemous results of the unbelieving religious mind. How so? Because they attempt to replace the ultimate reality of God's Word AND God's Will - CHRIST IN US - with an incomplete written revelation that would stand BETWEEN God and man. We're talking the difference between "written in stone" and "written on the heart", or the dead "stony heart" vs. the living "heart of flesh".
But do you see what we have done with this? We have listened to the voice of condemnation that demands that the ONLY complete revelation of God is that He gave us a "completed owner's manual" by which we might know what God wants of us! This is concentrated condemnation in Christian wrappings. Consider what this form of Christianity has produced over the centuries. It allows us to incorporate the miraculous work of Christ (i.e. the death, burial and resurrection) into the equation of truth so that we can hold it in reverence as one of the fundamentals of the faith while at the same time denying the completeness of it by attributing the completion to a written manuscript.
Guess who stands between God and man in this framework? Of course, the men who are able to interpret the manuscript for us!! How utterly devious. The doctrine of the "Authority of Scripture" isn't so much about God's authority at all. No, it's about the authority of the men who control it and mete it out for us in small enough portions so that it is obvious who has the "spiritual" upper-hand in the "hierarchy" of God's administration. Phooey!!
Keep in mind the workings of those who decided on the "Canon of Scripture", and also consider the fact that many of the "accepted" writings are no longer in the Protestant versions. And even before that, when these men were "deciding" and arguing over which writings were to be accepted and which weren't, who really made the final decision? God or men? And how many were considered "heretics" along the way by accepting or denying particular writings other than those "officially" agreed upon at the particular moment?
Ah, but we stand upon the "Inspiration of the Scriptures", do we not? Well, as suggested in your question, which ones ... like, should we accept James? And then, which version? And also consider that our doctrines claim that this "inspiration" is really only referring to the "original" documents in the original languages ... and yet no one for millennia have ever seen the "originals". And yet here we are examining these documents in every possible technical detail - even though we don't have the alleged only true "inspired" writings - to determine exactly what it is God wants us to do.
Now, in saying this I'm not actually questioning the fact that God has moved men in the past, but I am wanting to know why we let this doctrine of man teach us that inspiration is something far removed from us since the true and complete reality of inspiration is found in the person of Christ himself, the very same who is our life right now. You see, our "Christian" teaching has caused us to deny that the very living Spirit of Christ is reason we have received all things pertaining to righteousness, and have instead attributed it as being the results of a detailed examination of the writings of those men who were not telling us to find life in the writings but told us that the source of life was inside us because Christ was inside us.
What I'm saying is that these doctrines that purport themselves as being so godly are in fact very insidious because their real purpose has been made known through what they have produced. These doctrines are merely a "form of godliness", and yet they deny the truth of godliness by deception. The end result in the Christian community is very clear: we will defend the "inspiration" of the written word even though it means that in doing so we destroy the "inspiration" of the true Word by which God has spoken in these last days.
As far as James goes, I do not doubt the message he presented was the truth of the gospel. As far as it's man-made "authenticity" goes, I don't think ANY of the writings in the New Testament Bible were designed by God to become part of a "canon" that would become our only true authority. The Spirit of Christ is that to us. No, I do not question their truthfulness, I question the motivation behind the formation of the doctrines that tell us that God's revelation can be taught by a man just because he holds the position of "authority".
Well, I'm sure that's enough to put me in the halls of the heretics, so I'll stop there. Besides, it's past my bedtime. :) Please write and let me know what you think, okay?