A clear, accurate, and holistic theology of James that is hermeneutically faithful and helpful to contemporary churches. The theological themes in James include wisdom for the community, consistency in the church and Christian life, suffering and testing, the poor and the rich, words, love and mercy, and prayer. James both stands in the tradition of the Old Testament law, prophets,and writings, and incorporates the teachings ofJesus - making it an important unifying book.
Morgan accomplishes a seldom-attempted task. Arguing that it is theology applied, he lays out a biblical, coherent theology of the epistle of James that connects its particulars to the big picture of the Bible.
Christopher W. Morgan (MDiv, PhD, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of theology and dean of the School of Christian Ministries at California Baptist University in Riverside, California.
Scholarly but accessible, clearly written but not simplistic, Chris Morgans Theology of James is an excellent example of biblical theology for the church.
"Dr. Morgan delivers a robust theological exposition of James with an eye to the needs of the contemporary church. His insights into James' pastoral burden are sure to help teachers and preachers of the Word. Dr. Morgan has succeeded where many biblical commentaries often fail in that he goes beyond the minutia of textual detail to clearly uncover the biblical theology behind the exhortations and teachings of James. His passion for church reformation comes through clearly as he brings before the reader a fresh presentation of the pastoral burden of James. Dr. Morgan chooses key themes from James and shows how they are developed, assisting the reader to see the pastoral heart of James in a new and more unified theological light. His insights related to James' theme of Christian consistency in faith and practice issues a personal challenge to every reader and will help further equip teachers and preachers of the Word with a robust biblical theological exposition of James."
So often the epistle of James has been relegated to the back corner of theological studies, as though it has nothing of value to add to the broader discussions. Castigated by Luther as being simply the epistle of works, James has suffered general neglect and even abuse in the Protestant church. Chris Morgans A Theology of James: Wisdom for God's People provides a very helpful restorative to this problem. While wisely not arguing that an entire systematic theology can be drawn from this short text, Morgan deftly shows how James canand doesinteract with the questions of the larger theological field in a clear, concise manner. This book will be a much-needed addition to any pastors library, a great guide for any Bible-study group studying James, as well as a highly useful supplement to any college or seminary course on James. Intended as an accessible book for any reader, Morgan manages to avoid the error of dumbing the text down or watering down the punches that the text itself gives. Morgan shows how the various key themes of the text: wealth and poverty, wisdom, speech, and the law all work towards James emphasis on the consistent Christian life, while explicating what that consistency looks like. Having examined the main themes of the epistle, Morgan then also examines some of the key concepts in systematic theologyGod, Jesus, the Spirit, the church, etcshowing how James adds to a canonical picture on these various topics. Ultimately, Morgan then moves these doctrines and the epistle forward by showing how these topics are all dynamic and active and should affect the life of every Christian, allowing the text to speak its relevance to the church today. Through all of this the epistle of James is illuminated while allowed to speak in its own terms. For those wishing to get a good introductory grasp of the theology and message of James, this book is an ideal place to start.
"Too often the theology of James is ignored or forgotten in the evangelical church. Chris Morgan reminds us in this wonderfully lucid, practical, and faithful rendition of James's theology that James's teaching is not only in accord with the gospel but fundamental to the gospel."
Morgan has produced a no-frills study rich with potential for injecting new fervor into churches tired of the status quo. Read it! It will make you eager to explore new frontiers of witness and self-giving, even to the point of suffering, for Jesus sake. In other words, Morgan not only explains to us Jamess teaching, he also commends to us the costly pattern of Jamess sold-out life.
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