BUIES CREEK - The Epistle of James, in Biblical studies, isn’t without its controversy.
Martin Luther once referred to the New Testament book as an “epistle of straw” with “nothing of nature of the gospel about it,” and other scholars refer to it as “wisdom literature” that lacks the significance of the gospels of apostles like Paul and John.
But Campbell University Divinity School Founding Dean and professor Dr. Michael Gogdill views James in a more positive light, calling it a “faith in action” book that provides instructions for doing the work of God. Cogdill presented a daylong lecture on James during the Nov. 7 Prevatte Biblical Studies Lecture Series, an annual series designed to serve as a teaching tool for students, scholars and ministers alike.
“James talks about doing the word of God … not just hearing the word, but doing it,” Cogdill told those on hand in Butler Chapel in Buies Creek. “It’s a book of instructions for Christian believers who feel like they’re living in the minority. It’s preserving Christian values.”
The lecture came in three parts, focusing on all five chapters of the book, which touches on subjects of enduring trials and resisting temptations, the power of one’s words (both good and bad) and the power of prayer.
But Cogdill focused early on James 1:22 - “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only …”
“It’s one of those books you need to read and read often,” Cogdill said. “It was written as a communication for Christians living far from the homeland … and it fits today when we ask what it means to be a Christian believer in today’s society.”
The Prevatte lectures were endowed by the late E.J. “Jimmy Prevatte and his wife of Southport. The series is intended to bring “outstanding scholars to the University who are widely recognized for excellence in relating the message of the Bible to the ministry of the church.”
Story: Billy Liggett, Assistant Director for Publications