110: ZINGCREED: Commentary on line 8 “…his will…”

8/ We support the actions of all those who follow in Jesus’ footsteps, genuinely trying to carry out his will with no thought for personal gain; such as the Catholic Workers who care for the homeless, the Quakers and their peace testimony, and the Anabaptists with their altruism.

church in latin america

Luther wanted to remove the epistle of James from the canon because it preaches ‘Justification by Works’ as opposed to the ‘Justification by Faith’ which is promulgated in the Pauline epistles. (i)

It’s a personal choice every believer must make; faith or works (why not both?)

Consider this: if you’re only in it to “believe stuff to get stuff” (i.e. believing the medieaval propositions of the Nicene creed in order to get to heaven) then Christianity for you is a self-centred project. You belong for purely selfish reasons. Empathy and solidarity for your fellow men don’t come into it.  Jesus’ ethical teaching can be ignored. Your beliefs make YOU comfortable and that’s all that counts for you. The Zingcreed is not about that.
There will, of course, be more blogs on the 3 named church groups which are  selected from among many other worthy contenders (Sally Army for one).

Many years ago I was trekking alone off the beaten track through a remote part of Turkey. Dusk was falling and I needed somewhere to put my sleeping bag for the night. A peasant invited me to kip on the verandah of his old wooden house. In the morning he gave me freshly brewed coffee and yogurt which his wife had made served up with honey from his own hives. What a breakfast! As I recall there were home grown tomatoes and unleavened bread too. An almost biblical meal one might say! I asked  my host why he had been so hospitable to a passing stranger like me. I was curious as to what motivated him because such kindness is almost unheard of in the UK. I knew several hundred words of turkish, so I know I got his answer right. It was that by doing such kindnesses he would go to Paradise when he died. Hmmm…

Sources:

(i) Tamez, Elsa “The scandalous message of James. Faith without works is dead.” Crossroad (2002)

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