Was Luther Wrong? James Tells Us How Not to Read Paul (Romans 8:1-11)

April 2, 2017

Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.

Today we will read Romans chapter 8 verses 1 to 11, and we will discuss whether "Luther was Wrong: James Tells Us How Not to Read Paul" (Romans 8:1-11).  Luther misunderstood Paul's doctrine of salvation by faith. The author of James directly addresses this misinterpretation of Paul.

In Romans, Paul tells Roman Christians not to condemn those who do not follow the Law or despise those who believe differently.  In fact, he says we should allow one another to be "convinced in our own minds, because we will all be held individually accountable to God and must, therefore, follow our own conscience. Paul is not excluding those who do not share his opinion.

Many Christians think Paul teaches "salvation by faith alone and not by works."  The first problem with this phrase is that Paul is mostly talking about ritual practices such as circumcision and dietary laws, not good works.  The other problem with the phrase is that Paul never really says that, and James specifically refutes it.

 

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