Chasing Down the Luther Quotes about James


Many have asked for the reference for Luther’s quote, which states that St Paul and St James stand in contradiction with one another on the doctrine of justification. You can find it in:

Preserved Smith’s The Life and Letters of Martin Luther on page 269. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911.

Yes the man’s first name is “Preserved.”

For your awareness, I provide a few more authentic quotes from Luther:

Therefore St James’ epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to these others, for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it.
(Luther’s Works 35, 362)

The epistle of James gives us much trouble, for the Papists embrace it alone and leave out all the rest…Accordingly, if they will not admit my interpretations, then I shall make rubble also of it. I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kalenberg did.
(Luther’s Works 34, 317)

We should throw the epistle of James out of this school [i.e. Wittenburg], for it doesn’t amount to much. It contains not a syllable about Christ. Not once does it mention Christ, except at the beginning. I maintain that some Jew wrote it who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any. Since he heard that Christians place great weight on faith in Christ, he thought, ‘Wait a moment! I’ll oppose them and urge works alone.’ This he did.
(Luther’s Works 54, 424)

Now let me ask any devout Bible-believing Christian whether these words honor the infallible and Holy Spirit inspired words of the canonical Epistle of St James.

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  • davidc

    This is the man the Protestants look up to? What if I started going around preaching that I thought 2 Corinthians wasn’t really part of Scripture and should be removed from the Bible? What would these “Bible-believing” Christians think of me and my ideas? They’d rightly call me a “heretic” and would reject that idea and not only that, but EVERYTHING ELSE I HAD TO SAY, since I dared to call what is the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God the words of man. Seems like M.L. wasn’t a “Bible-believing” Christian at all. To be a “Bible-believing” Christian is to believe the Bible, and the entirety of it, is the God-breathed Word of God and worthy of the greatest reverence. Is this not what a “Bible-believing” Christian is? He was nothing but a grossly narcissistic, proud man with serious psychological and spiritual problems. He was an arch-heretic, plain and simple. He preached a profoundly different Gospel from the one “once handed on to the saints”. Look at the fruits of his rebellion. “By their fruits you shall know them.” When his “theology” didn’t square with Scripture, instead of humbly realizing that his ideas might be wrong (since they don’t stand up to Scriptural scrutiny – the very thing he said ALL ideas MUST be able to do), he placed himself ABOVE THE WORD OF GOD and calls entire books of Scripture worthless. How dare he! And his response? “Doctor Luther would have it so!” Really, “doctor” Luther? And it was more than just the Epistle of James he wanted excised from the Holy Bible. And this is the man who Protestants look to as a theologian and “reformer” and “restorer of the true Church”? Really? It’s truly sad. May M.L. rest in your eternal peace Lord, for you alone know a man’s soul and nothing is impossible for you, even though we all know what St. Paul has to say concerning those who are schismatics and who cause division and what Jesus says regarding those who cause others to sin. It’s not good.

    • davidc

      (I’m not a big fan of Martin Luther)

      God bless all who truly revere the Word of God, including those who, due to the same M.L., have 7 books missing from their Bibles. More rotten fruits of M.L. The vast majority of them are historically ignorant and think their KJ Bibles are complete.