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April 26, 2010


Mark Northey

out of curiosity, what do you consider the "good evidence" that James was the (biological I presume you mean) brother of Christ?

When I became Orthodox obviously I accepted the ever-virginity of Mary, and learned that this was believed and taught by all the early Reformers as well and only changed over the past couple hundred years.

A couple points made to me were:
- If Jesus had other full-blood brothers why did he need to "give" Mary to his beloved disciple John to care for her ("this is your mother"/ "this is your son".)
- Mary as a pious Jew would understand her womb as Sacred, as a Temple.
- Joseph was likely much older than the likely only teenaged Mary (as he is portrayed in icons), and possibly a distant relative (he was betrothed to her more to care for her as we all know single women didn't have an independent place).



Dear Ron,

First of all, apologies to you and all of our readers about mistakenly attaching my name to the title. I was in a rush to post the article and frankly, it's the type of article I wish I had written. Brilliant stuff. Thanks for helping us ... it's going to be a big project still trying to get the Church to read the Sermon on the Mount again without Luther's lenses.

Nicely done,


Brian Zahnd

Hello, Ron.

Brad and I were discussing related themes yesterday as it pertains to the Sermon on the Mount. Luther (in his misunderstanding of the Law) tries to save us from the Sermon on the Mount, while Jesus saves us through the Sermon on the Mount; i.e. part of Jesus' salvific work is to lead us into the new (redeemed) way of being human.

In his sermon yesterday, Brad shared this quote from Luther:

"We are still sinners ‘even in the best life,' so let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world's standards in every sphere of life and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin. That was the heresy of the enthusiasts, the Anabaptists, and their kind. Let the Christian not attempt to erect a new religion of the letter by endeavoring to live a life of obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ!"


E.P Sanders and N.T. Wright have done a lot to rescue us from a misreading of Paul inherited from Luther.

In his great sermon Jesus makes it clear that he is not abolishing the Law (with its intent of producing a just and worshiping society), but fulfilling it. There is a world of difference between abolishing the Law and fulfilling the Law. Protestants have a long history of being confused on this point.

Thank you, Ron, for your always insightful writings.



thank you for this illumination.

perhaps if we had prisms fixed to our eyes, hearts and minds, we would be able to see and understand all angles, depth and dimensions.


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