• Service times

    Services times are:

    Saturday night 7:30 pm for our Chinese/English service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

    Sunday 10 am for our English language service (Senior Pastor Jeff Whittaker).

    Sunday 11:30 am for our Chinese (Mandarin) language service. (Pastor Daniel Choi.)

  • Contact details…

    Physical and postal address:
    4 Inverary Avenue,
    Epsom,
    Auckland 1023,
    NEW ZEALAND.

    Email:
    epsombaptist@clear.net.nz

    Telephone:
    (0064 9) 6306010

    Contacts:
    Rev. Jeff Whittaker
    Pastor Daniel Choi

  • Church Officers…

    Church Treasurer: Ann Guan

    Church Secretary: Margaret Whittaker

    Church Deacons: Anne Bartley, Ian de Stigter, Kristy Choi, Willa Hui, Donglan Zhang and Alfred Zhou.

Wisdom from James…

Recently I preached a short (five) sermon series on the book of James. The peculiarities of this book are well known. Martin Luther wrote it off as a ‘strawy epistle,’ disliking what he perceived as its emphasis on works rather than the marvelous grace that he had encountered in the book of Romans. (In fact, Romans does address right behaviour as well. The differences between the two books are usually overdrawn.) I think a lot of the struggle we have with James is a result of missing its genre. Scattered throughout James are statements that could well have been plucked from Proverbs. For example, James 1: 5 reads: If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God… and James 3: 13: Who is wise and understanding among you? To me, these references to wisdom, along with treatment of themes also familiar from Proverbs (speech, right action) mark out the book of James as belonging to the Wisdom genre. James is, I believe, a New Testament Wisdom book.

wisdom

As interesting as that is, I think that the overarching concern of the book of James is also often misunderstood. This may be due to a cultural blind-spot. I think that the issue that James addresses is this: How do rich and poor get on within the body of Christ, in fact within the same church? James is redolent with references to two groups: the lowly poor, and the rich. Encouragements to the poor to have patience, to be rich in faith, and to watch how they speak of others (their rich brothers and sisters?) abound. Similarly, the rich are advised to reflect on the transience of riches, to use their money for the relief of their poor brothers and sisters, in fact to mourn riches hoarded rather than used wisely.

As the world shrinks with telecommunications, the book of James must surely be becoming ever more relevant to the issue of how can believers in the first world live rightly by poor believers in the developing world. Similarly, for those believers in the developing world, James has wisdom to live by. What does James – this New Testament Wisdom book dealing with the way rich and poor live together in the body of Christ – say to you?

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