Friday, February 19, 2010

Save whose soul?

James 5:19-20 (ESV)
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, [20] let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Now shoes soul is being saved by bringing the sinner back? It seems Christ saved our souls. That is what I remember from Sunday school. So it is possible that I might play a part in saving another person’s soul, “blessed are the feet “ and all. But it seems to me redundant that if by conversing with a lapsed member of the church and bringing him back to faith in Jesus, that his soul is saved. So reading this it seems to me he is saying I can save my own soul and cover a multitude of sins by bringing another brother back to the truth. But then if my soul is in danger, and I have so many sins that need to be covered, aren’t I just another blind man, leading another blind man? How am I going to bring someone to the truth, if I don’t know it? And if I know the truth isn’t my soul already saved? I mean isn’t that the truth I am trying to bring the other man to realize? That we are saved by Christ’s death and resurrection?
Am I over thinking this? Or is this one of those reasons no one knew what to do with the Book of James until the Council of Trent thought it would be nice to canonize it so they could try to use it against those Lutherans spouting Sola Scriptura? In the end James has a lot of good things to say. I can see why the early church didn’t want to do away with this book altogether, even if it was a bit troubling for them. But it is also to see why it has been so controversial. No one is really sure who this James is. 2,000 years later it is doubtful we are going to find any new evidence concerning that question. Neither does the message it has seem to reconcile very well to the Gospel as it was proclaimed by Paul. There are quite a few things in this book that are just highly questionable. But hey, we’ve closed this chapter for now.


Steve Martin said...

"But hey, we’ve closed this chapter for now."

Thanks be to God!

James. Yes, it's in the Bible...but there are so many barnicles over the gospel, I prefer it not.

Thanks, Bror.

Brigitte said...

Well, the guy who is being confronted is being saved, hopefully. But the messenger, too? It makes me think of, was it Ezekiel, who was told: you better prophesy like you're told or else their blood and sin will be on your own head!? You have no options, here.

Maybe, this is what James is doing. He is talking about himself. It's my job to blast you like this.

Christ saves via the word and therefore the messenger, so the messenger "saves" in a sense and is "saved" also by saying what is given him to say.

Bror Erickson said...

Yes. I always think about that passage in Ezekiel, it cuts to the bone. I have to realize there is a lot of blood on my head. So many times I should have said something and did not. And I thank God he forgives me those sins too.

Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

Brigitte said...

We know it is am impossible task. You can't do it perfectly. Hence, you love the gospel so much. And you have something to preach.

It is possible to be too conscientious. You can drive yourself crazy. This does not serve either. I think I've done it to myself in some settings.

Bror Erickson said...

One thing that bothers me about this comparison though is that in Ezekiel is that in Ezekiel I'm given the duty to warn, but I don't have to convert them or even get them to stop doing wicked things. yet in James I'm supposed to convert them to save my soul. Don't like the odds of that one.