#61: On the disparity of faith and works in James with Bob Hiller.

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It is no secret that James’s letter near the end of the New Testament has posed, perhaps, the most consternation among evangelical scholars throughout the ages. For interpreters who find incalculable comfort in the words of Paul to the Romans the Galatians that the faith that justifies is undeniably opposed to works, a predicament arises when James’s epistle is thrown into the fray. In fact, the beloved reformer Martin Luther even quipped that James is nothing but “an epistle of straw,” dismissing it as an apostolic piece of writing. But the fact of the matter is, the seeming disparity between the apostles Paul and James is nonexistent. They are not incongruous; rather, they work harmoniously to bring to bear the full evangelical consequences of the gospel. Such is what Pastor Bob Hiller and I talk about in this episode.

In this edition of the Ministry Minded Podcast, I am honored to talk with Bob Hiller and attempt to dispel the discord between Paul’s and James’s treatments on faith and works in order to show that both present a unique face of the gospel diamond. We also chat about his new book Finding Christ in the Straw and the fact that all useful theology will be inherently pastoral.


Finding Christ in the Straw: A Forty-Day Devotion on the Epistle of James, Robert M. Hiller 

On the sufficiency of sola fide in the spectacle of grace as seen in James,” article by yours truly 

A brief inquiry into the disparity between faith and works,” article by yours truly 

James 2:21–24 and the Justification of Abraham,” R. Bruce Compton, in Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal

Grace: So Much More Than You Know and So Much Better Than You Think, Brad J. Gray


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Bob Hiller serves as the senior pastor of Community Lutheran Church in Escondido, California, where he lives with his wife and three kids. He possesses a deep passion for the ministry of forgiveness and for preaching. Fittingly, Bob also ministers as the content editor for 1517’s project, The Craft of Preaching, a resource guide for pastors. He also contributes articles to 1517’s blog and sermons to the You Are Forgiven Radio show. You can connect with Bob via Twitter, @the_rev_bob.


Ad music: “Coffee Stains” by Finley, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Intro music: “West Coast” by Ryan Little, licensed under CC BY 4.0.