Addendum to “High Octane Faceoff in Jerusalem”

Addendum to “High Octane Faceoff in Jerusalem

Discovering more disputes between best Christians

 

Question Mark

 

Prelude

 

We saw earlier how James contravened Paul in key theological doctrines about Law, Deeds and Faith. Where James believed that mere faith without support of deeds and observance is dead, Paul believed that one can achieve Salvation merely and only by faith. They both had their own polemics on the exactly same doctrines opposing each other.

On the foregoing, we discovered more assertions from the writings attributed to James wherein he has yet again stressed on the strict observance of Laws even though he was amongst the first to become “Christian” and follow Jesus (peace be upon him).

More dispute between Apostles

 

According to Paul’s doctrine and standard Christian exposition thereof, the Old Testament Laws are used merely and only to let man the knowledge of sins in them. Once known, it is the (only) alleged blood of Jesus (peace be upon him) which purges them off their evils, not the works of the Laws:

The great advantage that he had found by the law. 1. It was discovering: I had not known sin but by the law, Rom 7:7. As that which is straight discovers that which is crooked, as the looking-glass shows us our natural face with all its spots and deformities, so there is no way of coming to that knowledge of sin which is necessary to repentance, and consequently to peace and pardon, but by comparing our hearts and lives with the law. Particularly he came to the knowledge of the sinfulness of lust by the law of the tenth commandment…” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Romans 7:7-14)

 

Every part of Divine revelation has its use, in bringing the sinner to Christ for salvation, and in directing and encouraging him to walk at liberty, by the Spirit of adoption, according to the holy commands of God. And mark the distinctness, it is not for his deeds, that any man is blessed, but in his deed. (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, James 1:22-25)

 

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb 9:22)

 

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Eph 1:7)

On the foregoing, we have a well defined process working in Pauline theology for remission of sins and subsequent salvation:

(i) Know sins via Old Testament (OT) Laws.

(ii) Get them purged by the only way – the alleged blood of Jesus (peace be upon him)

 

Notice that Paul has restricted the usage of OT Laws merely to let men know sins. Moreover, Paul unabashedly asserts that the God-breathed-Laws were merely revealed to “increase wrongdoing”:

law was introduced in order to increase wrongdoing; but where sin increased, God’s grace increased much more.” (Romans 5:20)

Paul even believed that (A) without Laws there would be no sin and (B) he was pure enough not to be influenced by the evil desire of lust until God’s Tenth Law “stirred” it in him:

(A) “For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom 4:14-15. King James Version, e-Sword)

 

(B)  “Shall we say, then, that the Law itself is sinful? Of course not! But it was the Law that made me know what sin is. If the Law had not said, “Do not desire what belongs to someone else,” I would NOT have known such a desire. But by means of that commandment sin found its chance to stir up all kinds of selfish desires in me. Apart from the law, sin is a dead thing.

“Imyself was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life, and I died.  And the commandment which was meant to bring life, in my case brought death.”(Romans 7: 9-10)

However, contrary to Paul’s theology and extremely low opinion of God’s sacred Laws, James proposed an entirely different doctrine for the earliest Christians!

For James it was imperative for Christians to follow and execute the Laws not merely read it in the Old Testament Books. We read that in the Epistles of James:

“Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put in into practice. Whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks closely into perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it, but puts it into practicethat person will be blessed by God in what he does. (James 1: 22-25)

In the first place notice that James does not:

(i) Consider OT Laws to be revealed to “increase wrongdoing”.

(ii) Uphold to the concept that where there is no Laws, there is no transgression.

(iii) Believe that God’s Sacred Laws “stir” sin in humans.

In fact contrary to Paul, James exhorts his disciples to (not merely read OT Laws but) practice them as well! Here is a very important observation to be made with regards to the differing modus operandi of the Laws as understood by Paul and James.

We have already seen that Paul understood OT Laws to merely serve the purpose of scanner which elicits sins in men. However, James believed that more than just an X-Ray machine, Laws if put into practice can even “set people free”.

In fact, James goes over board to rebuke all who merely uses OT Laws as “mirror” or X-Ray machine. For him, once OT Laws reveal sin in men, sinners need to execute what Laws require to “set themselves free”. The foregoing contradicts Paul’s approach to OT Laws in two ways:

(A) With regards to the functionality of OT Laws. As already stated, James saw more functions in Laws than to merely elicit sins of men in men. They should be used to emancipate men and attain salvation.

 

(B)  The ongoing Jamesian assertions also contradict traditional Pauline doctrines that people are emancipated ONLY through the alleged blood of Jesus (peace be upon him). As observed, James being the earliest Christian (apostle!) had no scruples to explicitly state that Christian believers can be set free off their sins by putting Laws into practice.

 

Notice James did not give importance to the alleged blood of Jesus (peace be upon him) for the remission of sins, which is most important in Paul’s Christianity, – over observance of Laws.

Remember Paul claimed that there can be NO remission of sins but through the alleged blood of Christ (peace be upon him) (c.f. Heb 9:22), however, according to James, people can remit their sins so much so that they can be “set free” by merely observing the Laws.

Simulated Polemics between best and earliest Christians

 

In order to wind up the dispute that was there between James and Paul, if we were to simulate their polemics against each other then we might have the following:

Paul: “Christ has brought the Law to an END” (Romans 10:4)

James: But Jesus taught, “Think NOT that I am come to destroy  the law…”In fact, he also taught that anybody who teaches to “end” the Law would not enter heaven:  “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”(Mat 5:17-19)

Paul: Laws and its rituals are “useless” and merely “outward rules” (Hebrews 9: 12-14, 9-10)

James: What, Laws are “useless”??? But why did Psalmist used to “pant with open mouth and tears in eyes” to follow the “useless” rituals of Laws. (Psalms 119:129-136) (By the way, with whose authority did Paul impute OT rituals to be “useless”?)

Paul: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Gal 2:16)

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom 3:20)

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Rom 3:28)

James: My brother, what good is it for someone to say that he has faith if his actions do not prove it? Can that faith save him? Suppose there are brothers and sisters who need clothes and don’t have enough to eat. What good isw there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!” – If you don’t give them the necessities of life? So it is with faith: If it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead.(James 2: 14-17)

“But someone will say, “One person has faith, another has actions.” My answer is, “Show me how anyone can have faith without actions. I will show you my faith by my actions. (James 2:18)

“My brothers, what good is it for someone to say that he has faith is his actions do not prove it?” (James 2:14)

Paul: “But now God’s way of putting people right with himself has been revealed. It has nothing to do with law, even though the Law of Moses and the prophets gave their witness to it.” (Romans 3: 21)

“Indeed, we are Jews by birth and not “Gentile sinners,” as they are called. Yet we know that a person is put right with God only through faith in Jesus Christ, never by doing what the law requires.” (Galatians 2:15-16)

 

James: “Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. Whoever listens to the word but does not put it into practice is like a man who looks in a mirror and sees himself as he is. He takes a good look at himself and then goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks closely into perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it, but puts it into practice – that person will be blessed by God in what he does. (James 1: 22-25)

(It seems that James’ God was unnecessarily “blessing” observers of Laws since according to Pauline assertions nobody is put right with God by observing the Laws!)

According to Prophet Ezekiel, contrary to Paul, God was putting right all of them who were observing the Laws:

“I may warn an evil man that he is going to die, but if he stops sinning and does what is right and good – for example, if he returns the security he took for a loan or gives back what he stole – if he stops sinning and follows the laws that give life, he will not die, but live.” (Ezekiel 33:14-15)

Prophet Nehemiah taught Laws is a complete way of life:

“But your (God’s) people rebelled and disobeyed you; they turned their backs on your Law…In your great mercy you sent them leaders who rescued them from their foes. When peace returned, they sinned again, and again you let their enemies conquer them. Yet when they repented and asked to save them, in heaven you heard, and time after time you rescued them in your great mercy. You warned them to obey your teachings, but in pride they rejected your laws, although keeping your Law is the way of life. Obstinate and stubborn, they refused to obey.” (Nehemiah 9:26-29)

Paul: But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” (Gal 3:11)

James: “Do: You believe that there is only one God? Good! The DEMONS also believe [have faith]– and tremble with fear. You fool! Do you want to be shown that faith without actions is useless? (James 2: 19-20)

Paul: “What shall we say, then, of Abraham, the father of our race? If he was put right with God by the things he did, he would have something to boast aboutbut not in God’s sight. The scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” A person who works is paid his wages, but they are not regarded as a gift; they are something that he has earned. But the person who depends on his faith, not on his deeds, and who believes in God who declares the guilty to be innocent, it is his faith that God takes in to account in order to put him right with himself. (Romans 4: 1-5)

“For we have quoted the scripture, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.When did this take place? Was it before or after Abraham was circumcised? It was before, not after. He was circumcised later, and his circumcision was a sign to show that because of his faith God had accepted him as righteous before he had been circumcised. (Romans 4: 9-11)

 

James: How was our ancestor Abraham put right with God? It was through his actions, when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. Can’t you see? His faith and his actions worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actions. And the scripture came true that said, “Abraham believed God, and because of his faith God accepted him as righteous.” And so Abraham was called God’s friend. You see, then, that it is by his actions that a person is put right with God, not by his faith alone.” (James 2: 21-24)

“It was the same with the prostitute Rahab. She was put right with God through her actions, by welcoming the Israelite spies and helping them to escape by a different road. So then, as a body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without actions is dead.” (James 2:25-26)

 

Conclusion

 

Apart from the fact earliest Christians, not Muslims, have objected to the doctrines coined by Paul; James did all he could to thwart Paul’s preaching, however, very evidently James went silent with only a few of his epistles making to the Bible as compared to the deluge of Pauline epistles!

 What is more interesting is, even after the scarce number of Jamesian epistles, it can be verified that James and Paul – two of the earliest Christian apostles disagreed on the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity, including, the functions and capacities of alleged blood of Jesus (peace be upon him).

Furthermore, it is not hard to realize that even after fewer number of James’ epistle in the Bible, he had more purpose, validity and scripturally supported reasons for his doctrines, as contrary to Paul’s theology which inundates the Bible! 

Thus, we request sincere Christians to reconsider, not Mohammad (peace be upon him), but at least James (and other biblical figures like Psalmist, Ezekiel, Nehemiah, John (peace be upon him), etc).

End Notes:

  • Unless otherwise mentioned, all biblical texts are taken from Holy Bible, Good News Edition, Today’s English Version.
  • Emphasize wherever not matching with original, is ours.
Advertisements
Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Comments

  • DAWAH REFUTED  On March 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Lets look first on Paul’s perspectives that we can notice from his writings

    1. Pauls’ writing clearly gives a very fine line between contextualizing and assimilating

    (1 Cor 10:18-21)18 Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

    In those letter above Paul forbids for any believers in partaking pagan sacrifice ritual,So in every freedom there will always a core guidance.

    2.However Paul doesn’t forbid in eating food that has been offered to idol as long as just for eating and not doing it as part of pagan ritual in reference to point 1 above

    (1 Cor 8:4,7)“Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist….. 8Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.

    Although Paul doesn’t forbid yet he encourages not to eat that kind of food not for the sake of oneself rather for the sake of others who have weak conscience that they might not stumble over this
    (1 Cor 8:9-13)But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? 11 So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. 12 But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

    3. Paul teaches that believers have liberty of Christ in what to eat & what not to eat in regard for their own position toward God, nevertheless this liberty is limited to other person’s conscience as explained in point 2 above.

    (1 Cor 8:9)But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak
    (1 Cor 10:23-24)“All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.

    This liberty is based on how a believer applies his/her faith on Christ
    (Romans 14:14,22-23)I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean…The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. 23 But those who have doubts are condemned if they eat, because they do not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

    4. Another Paul guideline is everything he did can not become a stumbling block for the brethren while also can be contextualized with the effort in reaching unbelievers

    (1 Cor 9:18-23)What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel. 19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings

    Again notice although Paul tells that he has contextualized himself in being as if weak to weak people and being as if under law to those who’s under law he still stand on his principle to not becoming a stumbling block to the brethren as explained in point 3 above.

    Now, let’s see how New Testament identifies sacrificial offering of OT

    (John 1:29)The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
    (Heb 10:4)Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach.

    (Heb 13:11-12)For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood.

    NT describes clearly how all rituals and offerings in OT is substantially representing Christ, connecting it with 4 points before concerning Pauls’s perspective, then the rational conclusions are:

    First, Logically Paul had committed in not to become a stumbling block to his fellow believers in that case his evangelization methods (especially if it was publicly displayed) could be in anyway hindering believers faith, so surely his purification act was not a stumbling block

    Second, What Paul partook was an ordained ritual by God and not some pagan ceremony so he indeed not breaking his principle in not joining some pagan ceremony to worship idols. This also tells us that in all liberty that we’ve being given still believers can’t override the core principal in this case the forbidden to worship idol

    Third, In the case for animal sacrifice apparently in that time, Christians acknowledged it as Old Testament symbol of Messiah seemingly before temple’s destruction Christian’s also acknowledged all ceremonies and rituals as symbolizing Christ but not as symbol of waited Messiah nor as a tool to be forgiven rather it was a symbol of Risen messiah without any regard toward the animal sacrifice as the source of forgiveness. This ceremony essentially doesn’t contradict NT because NT has never told that animal sacrifice is forbidden but rather it forbids if any kind of sacrifice being believed as source of man’s forgiveness.

    • qmarkmark  On March 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks for your notes brother “Dawah Refuted”!

      You said, “First, Logically Paul had committed in not to become a stumbling block to his fellow believers in that case his evangelization methods (especially if it was publicly displayed) could be in anyway hindering believers faith, so surely his purification act was not a stumbling block

      Second, What Paul partook was an ordained ritual by God and not some pagan ceremony so he indeed not breaking his principle in not joining some pagan ceremony to worship idols. This also tells us that in all liberty that we’ve being given still believers can’t override the core principal in this case the forbidden to worship idol”

      It is not our concern whether Paul’s participation in the ceremony was stumbling block or not OR whether it was monotheistic of paganistic? We are concerned why Paul participated in OT rituals when they have been brought to an end? Why did Paul participate in OT rituals when they were “useless”!

      You surprisingly said, “Third, In the case for animal sacrifice apparently in that time, Christians acknowledged it as Old Testament symbol of Messiah seemingly before temple’s destruction Christian’s also acknowledged all ceremonies and rituals as symbolizing Christ but not as symbol of waited Messiah nor as a tool to be forgiven rather it was a symbol of Risen messiah without any regard toward the animal sacrifice as the source of forgiveness. This ceremony essentially doesn’t contradict NT because NT has never told that animal sacrifice is forbidden but rather it forbids if any kind of sacrifice being believed as source of man’s forgiveness.”

      Our query remains the same! Why did the earliest Christians who best understood Christianity still “acknowledged ALL ceremonies and rituals” of OT when according to Paul it was useless and has been brought to an end by the alleged death of Messiah (pbuh)!!!??? Please address this??

      Sincerely,
      Ibn Salim Khan (Q.M.)

  • DAWAH REFUTED  On March 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

    =========================
    It is not our concern whether Paul’s participation in the ceremony was stumbling block or not OR whether it was monotheistic of paganistic? We are concerned why Paul participated in OT rituals when they have been brought to an end? Why did Paul participate in OT rituals when they were “useless”!
    =========================
    MY REPLY :Have you ever read carefully on my explanation ? Haven’t I said that the ritual is useless ONLY if it’s regarded as source of atonement? participating or not participating on that ritual has no effect upon one’s redemption no better than putting or not putting up a Christmas Tree.

    You said:
    =======================
    Our query remains the same! Why did the earliest Christians who best understood Christianity still “acknowledged ALL ceremonies and rituals” of OT when according to Paul it was useless and has been brought to an end by the alleged death of Messiah (pbuh)!!!??? Please address
    =======================
    MY REPLY : Please NOTICE the uselessness is ONLY in performing it as the way to redeemed one’s sin, as matter of fact its usefulness is way much more beyond that.
    -It’s useful as a tool of celebrating Chris Dead and Resurrection
    -It’s useful to confirm the Judaic origin of Christ Atonement
    -It’s useful as a tool of spreading the Gospel because it is a live explanation for the compatibility between Christ and the sacrifice.
    -It affirms the Jewishness of the disciples

    So why being so uptight about it by prohibiting it? how can you consider yourself FREE if you are still rigid and bound by dogmatic shackles?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: