July 4 issue - As the shadows lengthened, he grew ever brighter. In a wooden pulpit adorned by a single, simple cross, Billy Graham‚ÄĒolder, slower, unmistakably weakened in body‚ÄĒstood illuminated by a mass of stage lights in the gathering darkness of a New York night. Now 86, he has prostate cancer, suffers from symptoms of Parkinson's and has broken a hip and his pelvis; there are shunts in his brain to fight hydrocephalus, and not too long ago, on an operating table at the Mayo Clinic, he believed he was dying.
Yet when he began to speak to a massive outdoor audience last Friday in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in the New York borough of Queens, the years fell away and his voice hit the old familiar notes. "You must be born again," Graham said during what he is calling his last American crusade. "Jesus said it's possible to start life all over again." As Graham preached from the third chapter of...
"33k - Numerous respected commentators note that the book of James is distinctly non-Christian in character."
Interesting, when my previous business parnter got caught up on the Christian Identity movement, he said the same thing.
He showed me the Christian Identity "pastor" who "documented" that the Book of James could never been permitted as Canon of Scripture in his opinion. The only problem with the book was that it was filled with half-truths and lies.
Since then, I have never found ANY "respected commentators" that come to the same conclusions as the Christian Identity on the book of James, let alone "numerous" commentators.
The Christian Identity movement is a seriously flawed Sect and their "pastors" of the "gospel" should be avoided as heretical...especially those who remove any books from the Canon.
I agree with you that in the course of our physical life we may suffer sicknesses and sufferings of various kinds as part of God's work to bring us to maturity in our faith. As in the case of Paul's "thorn in the flesh": to keep him humble.
What I want to highlight is the END of one's physical life. What was his condition when he died? What was the cause of his death?
In the case of Mr Graham, we're yet to find out so we can still pray for him.
Though right now, he embraces all kinds of religion in his inclusive doctrine: Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, etc and has led many away from the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, we may have to search beyond the Scriptures (without twisting its content, God forbid!) to enable us to say that he is truly a man of God.
No I'm not offended, nor am I a 'follower of Mr Graham' (heaven forbid!)
You are effectively saying that all sick people are so because, well.... it is God's judgement on them.
I am saying that sometimes this would be the case - God can use physical suffering as discipline - but certainly not always; there are several reasons for sickness in scripture and it does not mean automatically the person is 'out of favour'. As I pointed out, Jesus and Paul both suffered much physically thoughout their lives and not only at the end.
Similarly if one is in financial difficulty it COULD be God's discipline in some cases, but cetainly not in all. Again there are many examples of very poor people who were/are very Godly and righteous. The flip side is that wealthy people are not automatically being blessed by God - that is obvious! Indeed the money could be a snare of satan to lead their souls to destruction.
But like you I agree we should all pray for Billy G who appears to have strayed from the gospel somewhat. Poor man.
Jesus was crucified (martyred) by being obedient to the will of the Father. John the baptist was beheaded (martyred) by being obedient to the Father's will. Paul was beheaded (again, martyred) for the Lord. This kind of death was even prophesied by the Lord Jesus for some of those who will obey His word, that is, to preach the gospel. I mean His true gospel, not a diluted or corrupted one like that "prosperity gospel".
In this regard, I must tell you that I do not believe in the so-called prosperity gospel. That is a corrupted gospel.
There's a great difference between "death by being martyred or killed for the Lord" and "death by sickness".
Again, I say, and let's pray, the our Father in heaven may be merciful on Mr. Graham when he leaves his physical life that he may find himself in the bosom of Abraham. O, how we all need the grace of our Lord Jesus every moment of our days, specially our last days.
I do not mean to offend you if you are a follower of Mr Graham. That is not my intent and I apologise if you are offended.
I failed to insert the word "typically". I should have said that, typically, each commentator takes a different approach in his attempt to reconsile the teaching of James with that of Paul and Moses.
It is significant that scholarly commentaries upon the book of James often devote as much space to the attempted reconsiliation as is devoted to the commentary upon the rest of the text; this indicates the difficulty of the task.
Which "evangelical commentators" are you reading? And how many of them are candid regarding the difficulty of reconsiling James with Paul and Moses?
Russell wrote: "every commentator views as unsatisfactory the efforts of his predecessors.
Consequently, the book of James must be rejected as spurious."
Methinks thou dost assert too much. "Every"? Sure there have been famous rejections of the letter but MOST evangelical commentators do not draw the same conclusion, and MOST of them do not reject all the efforts of other evangelical commentators.
Luke 17:9-11 Does he thank that servant because he "DID" the things that were "COMMANDED" him?
(Christ explains through the parable, that we are servants of God, and that we must DO the things that God COMMANDS)
"So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say,"
(Again examining Christ's Word "WHEN", HAVE DONE", COMMANDED: So we see it is not "if" we work, it is "when" we work, when we "have done" in keeping His commandments.)
"We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do."
(After we have kept God's commandments. We say "WE HAVE DONE". We have works that we are required to do as Christians, yet we will not help but to do them if we are God's chosen, being slaves of righteousness.)
Matthew 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?'
There are those who will think what great things they are doing for God, yet they have had no mercy on the suffering. These on Christ's left hand side are focused on what "THEY" had done. They take glory from God and expect Christ to be impressed with their works. Truly we are not to be impressed by our own works, we are all unprofitable servants.
The teaching of the book of James cannot be reconsiled with the teaching of Paul and the teaching of Moses.
In particular, James claims that Abraham was justified by works when he sacrificed Isaac, whereas Moses declares and Paul affirms that Abraham was justified by faith long before Isaac was conceived.
Over the centuries, commentators and teachers have exercised much ingenuity and effort in their attempts to reconsile the two assertions, but no satisfactory resolution has been discovered -- every commentator views as unsatisfactory the efforts of his predecessors.
Consequently, the book of James must be rejected as spurious.
God is Spirit, God is love, when we are filled with The Holy Spirit, we will not be able to help, but act acts of righteousness through God's love.
We are told in the Book of James, that as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. Is he saying we are saved by works? No I don't believe he is saying that. James says, "I will show you my faith by my works". The acts of love and righteousness of the saints, is evidence of their faith. We are told that we are saved by grace through faith; then we are told that we practice the works that God has pre-ordained for us to walk in. So in essence the person who is saved by grace, yet their faith is evident because of the righteous acts that God is working through them. We must be careful, not to be hung up on our works, for we are told, that when we work a work of righteousness, we are to say: "I am an unprofitable servant".
Luke 17:9-11 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.
Our attitudes towards our works should be humble, for God has no need of human hands.
"If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?"
If we have any question of whether these words are in line with The Word of God? We have no need to look further than The Book of Matthew:
Matthew 25:34-36 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
Matthew 25:41-43 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
When a person is filled with The Holy Spirit, that person is filled with love and compassion for others.
Again, mighty works of God are done through faith:
Hebrews 11:33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
James also indicates faith as being a steadfastness in The Lord:
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
From my examination I would come to the conclusion, that The Book of James is indeed congruent with The Holy Scriptures:
James 2:14-20 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
33k - The book of Esther, even in the counterfeit Masoretic Text, makes no mention of God; obviously it was written to justify the acts of reprisal and revenge which characterize the unregenerate Jew. Neither Jesus nor the apostles make reference to the book, as they do to every other portion of the Old Covenant canon.
I previously have detailed some of the problems with the book of Revelation, including a high, literary style of Greek which is diametrically opposite to the simple, common style of the Gospel account and epistles of John.
RE James, don't rely upon my word or my references. Search out a theologian with a decent library; ask him to help you research the matter. But do see "The Expositor's Greek Testament".
Jude and II Peter are clones; neither appears to be authentic.
The works of faith, are evidence of a faith unseen:
Matthew 21:21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, YOU WILL not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.
Jesus decribes that we will work greater works, because He goes to The Father. Those who believe on Jesus will practice the same works as He:
John 14:12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
Paul commends Christians for their works of faith:
1 Thessalonians 1:3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
Our faith and the works that come with faith in Jesus Christ are the works of God:
Colossians 2:12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Rahab perished not, because of her act of faith:
Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
33k - Numerous respected commentators note that the book of James is distinctly non-Christian in character. One, for example, says that the only reason an unbiased reader would conclude that the book is a Christian document is the mention of "Jesus Christ" in James 1:1 and 2:1.
Authorship of the book is in question; but most attribute the book to James of Jenusalem, the nemesis of the apostle Paul.
Christians ought heed the exhortation, "Prove all things", of I Thessalonians 5;21, which is speaking specifically of demonstrating authenticity of documents which purport to be New Covenant scripture.
Jim - Why do you think James of Jerusalem a Christian?
He obviously is a wolf in sheep's clothing. I think that James of Jerusalem is the prototype of the pope, and the "mystery of iniquity which already works" of the second chapter of II Thessalonians. Regarding apostleship, James of Jerusalem is as queer as a three-dollar bill.
Amazing, Russell, no one else has put together that conclusion. Actually, other apostles, such as Mark or Paul, were a pain in the neck to be up also Paul, I see no long-lasting dislike from Paul on either these men. It was most likely a physical affliction, but one done by another Christian? This is entirely unbelievable.
Quote: "The end of one's physical life will tell if he is favored by God."
There are abundant biblical examples of the stupidity of this notion - like Jesus Christ (our model) who suffered all things and was visibly aged beyond his years. Or John the Baptist who was beheaded, despite there being 'no greater born of woman'. This so-called 'prosperity gospel' will only be swallowed by someone who has never read the bible.