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The Evidence of Spiritual Faith (1 of 17)
The Epistle of James has had a hard fight getting into the Canon of the New Testament. However, from the very beginning it has been regarded as Scripture, but certain segments of the Church through the years have raised questions. The last real objection was Luther, and we know why in his case. Luther was born, raised, educated and pastored in the Roman Papal System, which was built exclusively upon human merit, works. He was born again, climbing up the steps in Rome trying to scratch out a relationship with God. From that day on, he rejected all works. We know how his ministry rocked the Church to Her very foundations and was the final blow that brought the Protestant Reformation. When Luther read James 2:14 ... "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?" and James 2:17 & 18... "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works," he could not reconcile that in his heart and mind with "justification by faith" as taught by Paul in Romans and Galatians.
The earlier leaders of the Church had not had the same experience as Luther. Why did they hesitate in including the Epistle of James?
For example, the Latin speaking church did not accept James until the middle of the Fourth Century. The first list of New Testament Books ever to be compiled is the Muratorian Canon. That dates to about 170 A.D. James was not included, but by 350 A.D. James was in the Canon.
The Syrian Church was late in accepting dames. The Greek Church was late in accepting the Letter as well, although earlier than the others.
In every area of the Church this tension over faith and works was a grave concern; not to the extent that a Luther affirmed, but it was the issue. Origen, head of the School of Alexandria, ...
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