How do Protestants deal with James on faith and works?


Yes of course it is Jesus telling John the apostle what to write to the 7 churches…we know this …I posted it once…for brevity sake said apostle the second time…was gonna put in “wrote” so that you could not get “technical” and critique forgetting previous statement that it was Christ thru the apostle…it is somewhat pertinent that John was an apostle, don’t you think?


That is a very Protestant thought, and twas the powerful force and motivation behind many reformers, who did so placing community standing, property and limb at jeopardy


Then how come i do not have the gift of infallibilty, for I too am a sinner, with human weakness and failings, needing salvation by grace alone ?
Why not go all out for grace and say I am infallible in the spirit,when discerning truth? Why would He lead me to fowl waters? Is He sleeping?

You deny once saved always saved, making salvation conditional, then say for the church, comprised of such graced men, that it is once right always right with no conditions, carte blanche , impossible to err(when dealing with truth) ???

Of course we are all fallen sinners but we are all new creations in Christ, capable of knowing all truth, as little children according to Johns epistle, to live holy and perfect lives, to be able to hear His voice…individually and corporately (church)…as we abide in Him, so He will abide in us (conditional)…for the individualand and for the Body the church…

Infallablity as a specific decree is a very late comer (1800 years later) and was not needed due to the above…in Christ all things are possible, even guidance into all truth was enough, if i may so humbly suggest.


I agree of course it is difficult. I suspect, had I lived in Luther’s time, I would have been a Lutheran, or been drawn to other Reformers such as Wycliffe or Tyndale.

We must always beware of leaven, but this refers to an attitude. There is nothing morally wrong about forbidding a person to take up their mat and carry it. It reflects a misunderstanding of the Spirit of the law, but it is not the same as directing someone to do evil.

There are times when it comes to a choice between the two, but such cases are quite rare. And even though they disobeyed, they still submitted themselves to the disciplines (scourging) and rejoiced in it. They (as well as Paul) could have avoided them, and fled from such discipline, but by submitting to it, the Kingdom was expanded. As in the prophetic words of Gamaliel, Acts 5:39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”

Submitting to misguided authorities is what makes them realize they are opposing God. Joan of Arc is a good example.

I don’t think I understand the question. Men are always in need of reform. The teachings of Jesus are not. The problem at the Reformation was that doctrines were changed. The Church has acknowledged that a great many of Luther’s complaints were valid, which is why they were addressed at Trent. But the Teachings of Christ do not need to be changed.

I think you may be confusing disciplines and doctrines here. I agree that there are often challenges when such disagreements exist. This is why we place our trust in Jesus to remain in Headship of His church. It is He who will resolve these dilemmas. But these issues are also why Jesus created a hierarchy for the Church. We listen to our local ordinary, then the one over him, and so on up to the successor of Peter. When this structure does not exist, dissension and division run rampant. Human beings require authority, and while I agree that this authority should not bear an attitude or deportment of “supremacy”, Jesus gave the care and feeding of the sheep to one man. He only prayed for that one may, so that when he had repented, he could strengthen his brethren. The successor of Peter is the visible sign of unity of the Church.


You mean, like praying the Rosary? It is not binding on all the faithful, and those who receive it will benefit from it, but other congregations may have different practices, such as the Jesus Prayer.

There are no doctrines that are not Apostolic. The One Faith was whole and entire when it was deposited once and for all to the Church. Nothing can be added or subtracted.

I don’t think there has ever been “unanimous consent”, as there have always been those who disagree, espouse an heretical position or defy the Teachings of the Church. In fact, the vast majority of the Empire fell into Arianism, such that only a small minority of Bishops remained orthodox.

I think this is a very salient question, as this is essentially what precipitated the Reformation. Anyone who has studied the Medici Popes and the late Medieval period of the Church can see centuries of corruption growing in the highest levels. Personally, I think it began when the seat of the Roman Empire was moved to Constantinople. The infrastructure of Rome was so decimated that the only person in authority able to take control of the public works of the city was the Bishop of Rome, who was made “Pontiff” and given secular authority. From that point until the Reformation, the conflation of Church authority with secular contaminated the Church. Jesus was clear that His Kingdom was not of this world, yet the Popes behaved more and more like secular rulers, and the Bishops became corrupted by avarice.

But that is just one of my personal rants. What works in these cases is what has always worked, the faithful practice the faith, grow in holiness (sometimes in spite of the leaders), pray, fast, and approach their leaders with piety. St. Francis is such an example, whose faithful obedience to even corrupted priests brought about conversion. The devil likes to strike the shepherds so the sheep will be scattered, and it is up to the sheep to hear His voice and follow Him so that we are not scattered. He will, as He did most powerfully in the letters of Revelation, correct the wicked. Dividing is not the answer.

Councils balance popes, and vice versa, are you thinking that a council was in need of reform? No amount of bad behavior on the part of a Pope, though damaging to the Church, will allow the gates of hell to prevail. God will intervene to preserve His Holy Bride, even if it requires the life of that Pope.


I believe we have and can learn much through our separated brethren. In fact, heresies and persecution is what fuels the Church. If there were not early heresies, there would not have been a need to define the NT canon, or define the Trinity, hypostatic union, etc. These disagreements and rebellions force the Church to seek “all Truth” and the Holy Spirit to guide us through perilous times.

As one who has been so personally enriched by sojourning among my separated brethren, I can attest that there are many gifts and opportunities that have not been, even to this day, made as available in Catholic communities as are needed. I just read a post the other day of a young adult who wanted a fellowship with Catholics and there was nothing, so she is attending a Protestant community. For me, it was insatiable hunger for scripture, which my Baptist and Methodist pastors, teachers, and friends taught me to read and pray. I never learned this in the CC. I still do not think it is taught enough.


To be fair, the CC does affirm both a visible and invisible Church. Protestants affirm the one but not always the other, though some Protestants also acknowledge elements of visibility. It is usually the Apostolic succession that is rejected.

The problem is that, for a Protestant, each person has to discern for themselves if the leaders are acting in accordance with the Head, and the HS. This creates as many different perceptions are there are belly buttons, which is why we see the constant divisions. It is not a lack of sincerity, just a lack of structure, and a lack of trust that Jesus can work through a visible church.

Yes, especially because he had previously written about those who had defied his apostolic authority, and the damage they were doing to the Church as a result.

I have no doubt they believed what they were doing was right. They ended up replacing the Pope with other forms of authority, and Protestant Rulers became every bit as intolerant and persecutory as the Catholic. It is human nature.

I am not in a position to judge if the Holy Spirit has ever protected you completely from error, as He did the writers of Scripture. But the gift of infallibility is for the Church. Individuals can benefit from it to the extent they are in unity with the Church. I think this is hard to explain to someone who does not perceive the Church as an entity separate from the “body of believers on earth”. The Church is Holy, and undefiled. She is incarnational, as is her Head. She has fallible believers as members, but the Divine elements of the Church is what keep her from falling, not the people.

Despite your hostility and animosity toward Catholicism, I think you are too humble for this. I think you are aware of your frailties and imperfections, and would not take such an attitude upon yourself.


Are you saying that the CC is “foul water”? I don’t think you believe God is leading you to the CC anyway, so I am not sure what the reference is here. Suffice to say that God may lead us through quite a few “foul waters” to get us where He needs us to be. He led the Israelites into brackish water, and he threw Job into the sea. I don’t know if you ever watched the dissection of a whale, but their bellies are quite foul!

He threw Paul into the sea (and put him through quite a few other sufferings). Many of the Apostles and saints were tortured. St. John was dipped in boiling oil, which had to be a foul experience. Why would God lead someone through foul waters? To get to the other side!

Actually, the CC does not deny OSAS. We just understand that no one has completed the process of salvation until the end of this life, but of course, once a person has completed this life, their salvation can never be taken from them, nor can they “loose” it. They are “always saved!” A great chasm has been fixed, so that they cannot go back from whence they came.

God’s salvation is not conditional. He gives us the choice if we want to spend eternity with HIm, or not. It is we who are given the freedom. His salvation is always there for each and every one who calls upon His name.

No, we don’t believe that all who belong to the Church are in a state of grace. There is plenty of dead weight! Being baptized and becoming a member of the Body does not mean a person walks in the grace of that baptism.

The error in your thinking here, which I am not sure you can shake, is your definition of the Church as “comprised of…men”. Yes it is comprised of all those who are in Christ, but that is not all of it. It also contains all those who have gone before us in the faith. And most importantly, Her Head, and the HS which is her soul. It is these divine elements that protect her from error, not the “men”.


Actually, Jesus gave the Church infallibility, and we see it at work already at the Jerusalem Council. Though the “decree” may be late, the understanding is not… Like the concept of “Trinity”, the decree may have come later, but the faith is unchanged.

On the contrary I would say that the gift of infallibility is need precisely because of what you state. We are all given the HS, called to live holly and perfect lives, to hear His voice, abide in Him. But we all hear and understand differently what He is saying. The gift prevents all those individual voices from pulling against one another.

If this individual guidance were sufficient then Jesus would not have set up a hierarchy. But He knows the heart of man, having made us, He knows what we need.


Respectfully when questioning, examining what is written and other sources were there not 12 Apostles out there also feeding, caring and literally died horrible deaths, recorded outside sources also, established, starting many churches to strengthen the followers and brethren’s also living in the time of Jesus, St Peter being also 1 of the 12 Apostles? Where the Apostles called to restore His Spoken Word, becoming teachers? What was being lost sending them out, calling out to all?

The word >Only< St Peter, made me pause. :thinking:

Has one forgotten to mention James the Brother of the Lord also, who ruled with the Mother Jerusalem council in Jerusalem for 32 years? This James St Paul mentions within his own Epistles, having to meet with on the matter of circumcision along with St Peter, Barnabus, the Jerusalem Council and other brethren’s in serving the Lord? Yes Jesus prayed for St Peter because St Peter was having issues within himself also? Denied Jesus 3 times? Did the others do so also?

Respectfully did Jesus also have such issues with his own Temple Scribes> teachers of the Law? Pharisees? Saduccees? Highly learned men serving within His Temple?

Those called to serve Him?> Jerusalem Council? Sanhedrin Courts? Scribes were Teachers of the Law? There were others Priest who serve upon His alter within? Elders? Jesus calls them out, judges them? >Matthew Chapter 23?

Wheat grow among the tares in all walks in life, has since the beginning of time has it not?
Jeremiah calls them out? 8:8 why?
Amos calls them out? why?
Malachi calls them out? why?
Jesus calls them out? why? Matthew 23?
Recurring theme all throughout the bible, is it not?

Jesus call those out those who taken their seat on the chair of Moses? why? Mathew 23:1-11?

Was the wheat perfectly planted or over time, as written within Scripture, Matthew 15:8-9 was taking place? Great question?

One of God’s great prophets Jeremiah 8:8 is stating what?

Was John Baptist , Jesus fully aware also, God’s Spoken Word was being lost? or added to? or subtracted from? being replaced maybe, putting man’s traditions as be heavier matter over the Law, His Spoken Word, stating in Matthew 23?
Thus Matthew Chapter 23?

Acts 7:48 " However the most High does not dwell in houses made by hands" Jesus time Temple was still standing, would he had said Temple, being a Jew?:thinking:

Where does he seek then to dwell? rest within? and be worshiped and gloried?

Peace :slight_smile:


They ignore it or say that this letter never should have been in the Bible.


I have never heard any Protestants say any such thing!


A minute’s of homework would have found this gem.

"St. James’ Epistle is really an epistle of straw, for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it.” — Martin Luther


I am familiar with the statement. What I am saying is that Lutherans do not accept this opinion, and do not have this attitude toward the letter. Neither have any other Protestants I have met. So, how about a source within the last 100 years?


A few more minutes of homework would’ve uncovered that this comment from Luther only appears in early editions of his Preface to the New Testament. Later editions, published during Luther’s life, do not contain the statement, see LW 35:358, fn.5. If Luther saw fit to retract the comment, why is it so often brought up?


Submitting to arrest and punishment, is not submission. Not teaching was the command.

yes and know(not what we are talking about) they did fell Jerusalem …and Paul did flee more than once (over the wall?)

yes like eating a fish. Gotta watch out for the bones when taking the meat…yet if too many bones it becomes dangerous to life and health (error dealing with salvation/justification) and thus Luther did finally protest.

Again, may not be about converting your leaders, but comes a time when it is about preserving right doctrine that affects lives of the sheep.

You said obey your leaders, that reformers are best when they do that. But what about if you are a lay person and your bishop/priest is a reformer. Do you disobey them and then obey a distant pope or arch bishop etc ?

Not talking about reforming men , but bad doctrine and practice.

yes , but failure to either can get you censured or excommunicated (as was threatened over Easter observance). The pope was asking eastern congregants to deny their apostolic foundation as to the observance.

well, you said a mouthful here. Yes Peter was unique leader, first amongst equals some say. As to the text, Peter needed the prayer because he fell the most , save for judas, the worst. He needed restoring more than the others, but yes to lead the others, not rule over them (no where does he rule over, but always lead). And as has been pointed out the apostles were also delegated by Christ Himself. And in Revelations , we have only two distinctions of foundation: Christ the cornerstone, and the twelve apostles.

But yes, Peter was the first to use the keys of the kingdom preaching to Jews and gentiles, opening up the flood gates, to which the apostles spread out over all Judea, Samaria , to the ends of the world (India, Spain), also opening new doors, Jesus having the keys, as per Revelations.


yes it was , once, given nature of such office…why I think Jesus did not institute in the first place…too much power in one man…certainly one had to be first though to use keys ( preach)…cant be like three stooges and all go thru at the same time, but the door has long been open, and feet clad with the gospel keys greatly multiplied


Not sure what you mean, for I meant it was difficult to against grain, against CC,for reformers, to say no to leaders. One would be drawn to safety, in comfort zone, of tradition, not just of church but of society itself, which was intertwined with church…only a a rare breed would speak to the contrary of declared doctrine and practice.

Do you mean you would have been drawn (to Lutheranism etc…) due to weakness in your Catholic faith, or drawn because of your goodness (if indeed Luther and Wycliffe had righteous message) ?

“Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Mat 16:12

So no resurrection, no angels, no spirit, justified by works of law, and obligation to tradition of elders are not doctrine, not teaching?(Poole commentary)

yes , and I would say rare enough over the last 2000 years ( a handful or two of points of contention)


This is also a big area of contention. What you see as clarify and explain, we (non-Catholics) see as adding doctrine.


They did not obey the command, but they accepted the consequence for not doing so.

Actually, Luther’s complaints did not have much to do with salvation/justification as many abuses happening.And in fact, it has been well established that there is no dichotomy between what Luther thought about justification and what the CC teaches.

Of course, and this is why the Church needs the gift of infallibility. If error is taught, the faithful may pass through the gates of hell. Jesus will not let this happen.

Some of the best Reformers have been bishops, priests, and abbots. Men are always in need of reform. Why would anyone want to rebel against reform? I think we are having a misunderstanding because I am talking about changing doctrine and you are talking about changing men’s behavior. None of us have the right to change the doctrine of Christ. It was delivered once for all to the church. It is a seamless garment that it is our duty to preserve, not unravel.

Well there is a great difference between doctrine and practice. Practices, especially those contrary to the gospel (“selling” indulgences, for instance) need to be corrected. But that is because they are abusive practices, not doctrines. All men who are engaging in abusive practices, or those contrary to the doctrine of the faith, need reform.

1 Timothy 1:3 [ Warning against False Teachers ] As I urged you when I was going to Macedo′nia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…

ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν = heterodoxy

No “different” doctrine is permitted. What we have received from the Apostles is to be preserved without change.

The protestant reformers created heterodoxy.

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