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Posts Tagged ‘James 5:16’

I was watching the History Channel the other day when a program on the Protestant Reformation was being aired and not long after it had started, it became apparent that whatever research the producers had done, it surely did not prevent a number of mistakes or misinterpretations on Catholic Christianity. Among the things that were  said, something caught my attention and made me wonder how many non-Catholic viewers could potentially have been mislead by some of the statements made during the show. 

According to the presenter, one of the main reasons for Martin Luther’s break up with Catholicism was his contrary views on Purgatory, since he believed in salvation by faith alone and imputed justification, as opposed to infused justification, as held by the Catholic Church.

Now, I am not  questioning Luther’s real motifs or beliefs; but rather the brief explanation provided on the Catholic dogma of Purgatory. The presenter explained that Martin Luther opposed the teaching of purgatory because he did not believe that the prayers of any living believer could ‘save’ those already deceased.  Such statement could not possibly be legitimate, because this is not what the Catholic Church teaches neither on Purgatory or Salvation! (more…)

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I am sorry for my frustration, but I am tired of trying to understand fundamentalism! I had no idea things could become so blurred for human minds to grasp them on account of a fundamentalist approach to things…It is like the world is ‘black & white’ and don’t you dare saying it isn’t!

Now, consider the statement below:

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16)

I was reading an article on a  Christian website about the need for Christian unity. After a long assertion the poster stated that Christians need pray for unity, and that the best prayer for this is the Lord’s Prayer. I was puzzled, but read it on… Obviously, I DO think the Lord’s prayer is a powerful prayer, and I plan to write a whole post on that soon, but why is it so effective in this particular issue of Christian unity? I wondered…

The author’s explanation came as a bit of a shock to me: James said that the prayer of the righteous avails much. Jesus was the most righteous person on earth, thus, His own personal prayer – the Lord’s prayer – is the most powerful prayer!!

The Power of Prayer

How much power does Jesus’ prayer hold? James said that the prayer of a righteous man “avails much” (James 5:16-18). It is difficult to find a prayer uttered by a man more righteous than Christ; therefore, to those who esteem Him a righteous man, this prayer will hold great sway as it outlines Christ’s will for us. Never mind its influence on the mind of the Father as He provides for His children. The question for us is, “Do we feel any need to do our part to recognize the fulfilment of the Lord’s prayer?”

Frankly, I can’t get my head around as to how someone would assert on the Power of Lord’s prayer using James 5:16. I am sorry, but I convinced that anything Jesus would have said in prayer,  as the beloved Son of God (Matthew 3:17),  would have been powerful enough for God to hear and answer him. NOT because of the words themselves, but because who was praying them! 

Now, what James is actually trying to convey in James 5:16 is the following: Since all righteous persons are favoured by God (Psalms 37:29-32), He hears them (Matthew 13:43). In the following verses James  goes on to make his point clear using Elijah as an example, who, unlike Jesus, was not the Son of God but a very righteous man and a mortal human being, like the rest of us:

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain;[…]. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit”. 

With his example of Elijah, James is clearly encouranging us to hold fast to God’s commandments and be righteous people if we want Him to hear our prayers. The righteousness in each individual is the ‘key’ to being heard, this teaching complements very well what John said in John 9:31: God doesn’t listen to sinners.

Therefore, dear reader, I might be ‘tired’ of fundamentalism, but I will never tire of voicing the dangers of mixing fundamentalism in religion!!

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