Luther and "the epistle of straw"


“Sola Fide” huh?? Yea, Right! Faith without works is dead.

I just LOVE today’s first reading. One of my favorites (especially the whole “ignoramus” comment). :thumbsup:

Now I can see why Martin Luther wanted to rip the Book of James (or the “Epistle of Straw” as he so warmly called it) out of the Bible and just pretend he forgot to read it.

Reading I
James 2:14-24, 26

**What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one.
You do well.
Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus,
that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works
when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works,
and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness,
and he was called the friend of God.
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
For just as a body without a spirit is dead,
so also faith without works is dead.**
:clapping: :yup:


*“Whatever you do to the least of My brothers, you do to Me.” * That includes ignoring their need and neglecting to do good. We do ‘works’ because we have Faith, because, being Christians we cannot simply not pass by on the other side when someone needs help.

Satan and the other fallen angels believe in God. We not only have to have Faith, we have to act on that Faith.


Not everyone who says to me, *“Lord, Lord” *[ie, acknowldeges that Jesus is Lord] shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.[size=4][/size][right]Matthew 7:21



Yes at morning Mass as the Brother was reading the Mass I remembered that quote from having more than one discussion with a Protestant. I often wonder how Martin Luther justified his faith alone unless he just told all his followers that St. James messed up.


“Faith is an action verb.”

Quote from Jimmy Carter (and he’s a Baptist, even).


Hi IanS,

I agree that faith without works is dead. I think nearly every Lutheran would agree. I started to try to explain myself, but I found this on the LCMS website. It says what I wanted to.

The Christian is not saved by KNOWING that he has faith. By grace, God has given him faith in Jesus, and it is through that faith he is saved. For example, Abraham believed God (had faith, not just knew he had faith) and it was credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4:3). Yes, the Christian should bother whether he is doing Christ’s good works, even though he is saved by faith alone. It is God’s will and express command that the Christian should do good works, which the Holy Spirit works in him. Christ’s good works are indicators that the Christian has Christ’s faith and not something else. Christ’s good works will be the products of that faith, and those good works will be the public signs on which Christ will pronounce His public final judgment (Matt. 25)

*Sometimes I think that both Catholics and Lutherans are blind. Lutherans think that Catholics focus on works only, Catholics think that Lutherans focus on faith only, when really (and please correct me if I’m wrong) we both of us say that works are an outflow of faith, that faith without works is dead. :hmmm: I also think that “sola fide” gets overused, but that’s my :twocents:

side note:
Have you ever seen the full context of the “epistle of straw” quote? I went looking tonight in my Luther’s Works on CD-ROM because I didn’t remember seeing it. I found the it interesting. (Didn’t say that I agree, just that it was interesting.) I also read Luther’s logic for adding sola to fide in his translation work, but I’m sure that it has been overkilled in another thread. I’ll post it (or send it) if you want to read it for fun. :wink:

I’ll try to keep an open eye on this thread. We have colds running rampant around here (well, one 3 and a half year old who likes to infect the rest of us, well, ok, me, and it settles in my throat) so I don’t know when I’ll be back. FYI, I have been on the Queen Mary for visits. I don’t have a passport yet.:smiley:



[quote=TinaK]If only I could prove that my great-great grandma was Catholic

It seems that every other person I meet has a Catholic ancestor.


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