Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
GJ 9:1 (Wtr 68) p. 32
The Epistle of James. By C. Leslie Mitton. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1966. 255 pp. $4.95.
For many years ministers, teachers and Christians, in general, have neglected the book of James. The two claims laid against this epistle are an inferior text and an irrelevant message. In this exposition, C. Leslie Mitton explains how the inspired epistle fits into the wider message of the New Testament and gives a continuing relevancy for Christians of all times. Defying a minute outline and assuming the basic truths of evangelical faith, James shows the many sidedness of Christian truth. Love for God and for man is best expressed in conduct. Thus, the epistle deserves a New Testament spot and expounds faithfully a definite aspect of it.
Dr. Mitton accepts the traditional view of authorship by James, the half-brother of Jesus and leader in the Jerusalem church. Most of the matters of common introduction he keeps for an interesting and scholarly Appendix. He regards the addressee or twelve tribes to be a metaphorical expression of all Christians, the true Israel of God. The author often directs attention to the similarities of James’ teaching with that of Christ, and also the writings of Paul, John and Peter.
A striking feature of this book is the absence of heavily documented footnotes. Although less than seventy footnotes appear, Dr. Mitton considers various works and authors in his commentary. He quotes often from John Wesley and relies upon the writings of W. Barclay, J. H. Ropes and J. B. Mayor. The reader is expected to be acquainted with the works and argument of scholars as Jeremias (p. 105). Dr. Mitton cites antecedents in the Apocrypha for the wisdom teaching of James. He often refers to translations as the New English Bible and Phillips. The Bible text in this publication is from the Revised Standard Version.
Dr. Mitton sets forth interesting discussions on the perfect law, the relatives of Jesus and the supposed controversy between James and Paul. Concerning the controversy, the author explains that Paul desired the type of faith which produces love, while James shows true love out of faith and a proof of faith. Paul preaches the present privilege of acceptance by justification. Judgment is a separate issue and follows justification. For James, justification includes the final judgment. Therefore, James’ account of justification considers faith and works.
This well-prepared work is recommended for the serious reader of the book of James. Dr. Mitton is a minister in the Methodist Church of Great Britain, principal of Handsworth College in Birmingham and editor of The Expository Times. He holds the evangelical tradition within the Church. The reviewer’s copy has rolling t...
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