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Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Need Your Help With a Project on James and the Family of Jesus

As most who have read this blog know, Uncle Cephas is a Christian who is interested in the history of Christianity and comparative religion. I have recently been reading some studies of early Christianity of both scholarly and popular nature, and this has given rise to a project: I'd like to know how reference to the Apostle James as the "brother of the Lord" (Galatians 1:19) impacted other people, especially those who might have received a more thorough Christian education when young.   

Did the New Testament's mention of Jesus' brothers (plural--cf. Mark 3:31; Matthew 13:55-56) cause shock or doubt; or, when you first encountered such mention in your study of the Scriptures, did you find it merely one more fact about the Lord?

I'd be interested in your posting your answers to such questions in the comments section. Feel free to offer anecdotes about your earlier Christian education, and how you understood the meaning of Jesus' having brothers.

Thank you.

矶法伯伯需要你的帮忙。 大家都知道我是基督徒,并且,对宗教历史有很大的兴趣。最近,我读不少关于基督教早期历史的书,包括学者的文品与比较流行的文字。如此,我想自己做一件事情:我要知道有多少兄弟姐妹原来知道使徒雅各叫做“主的兄弟“(加拉太书 1:19),而且,想知道者的消息如何影响了别的信徒。



  1. I grew up in the "Lutheran" tradition of sola scriptura etc, so we learned that Mary the mother of Jesus was a virgin only for the birth of Jesus. She then had children via Joseph who were Jesus step brothers and sisters. The veneration of Mary as "mother of God" is considered wrong theology and the REDEMTORISTS a heretical group of the Roman Catholic church (in fact the term "Queen of heaven" as a title for Mary is used by this group makes Mary synonymous with a pagan diety in the old testament,

  2. Thank you for your response, Anonymous. As another Protestant (of the Reformed persuasion), I also understand that Mary probably lost her virginity to Joseph some time after our Lord's birth, hence James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and at least a couple of sisters. Yet this was in no way taken to deny Jesus' virgin birth, or his being fully God and fully man in one person.

    However, I've recently read a book on James (not that good a one, I might add), which reports the existence of this wider Holy Family with a kind of breathless amazement, and an apparent assumption that it calls the whole of traditional Christianity into question. Since the author identified himself as an "ordained Lutheran minister", I was curious about how other Christian people may have reacted to the "discovery" of our Lord being part of a bigger family.

  3. Dear Kepha: The term "ordained Lutheran minister" does not necessarily equate with sound scriptural truth any more, as when I was young. The largest Lutheran body the ELCA has rejected its sola: scripture, faith grace and Christ heritage for the world's pagan view. This is why I left it. To be fair the Lutheran Church Missour Synod, Wisconsin Synod and many other smaller groups of the Lutheran tradition have maintained scriptural and gospel integrity and are still doing excellent work in this increasinly pagan society.

    1. Anonymous: While Reformed, I have a great deal of respect for the Missouri, Wisconsin, and similar Lutherans. I am well aware of some of the denominational politics in Lutheranism and the doctrinal positions they represent.