Thomas Schirrmacher When we published the author’s Sovereignty and Responsibility in 2002, I stated in my foreword, Is it possible to say something new on this topic, or has everything been said already? Can one do better than Augustine, Luther or Wesley? And if the author from his personal theological tradition as a leading Reformed Systematic theologian simply stands on one side of the old fight between Calvinist and Arminian Christians, why bother publishing his analysis? I am convinced that this book is a breakthrough on the topic of Sovereignty and Responsibility. On the one side the author is very old fashioned, using the Bible as governing source of theology and being deeply rooted in historical theology. But his emphasis on the Bible at the same time makes him very modern and innovative, because he does not stop with the situation, playing the Bible against the Bible, as is often the case in the debate on this subject. He wants to listen to the Biblical arguments of others and examine very thoroughly, whether or not he has taken their Biblical arguments into account. The Church of Christ has to battle for theological unity and cannot leave out certain Biblical elements and revelations, because they do not fit in traditional theological systems. Henry Krabbendam has done the Church a major favor by asking the question, whether we really have built our Systematic theology on the whole of Holy Scripture. Henry Krabbendam is well prepared for his major task. He was or is teaching as Professor of Systematic Theology, Apologetics and Evangelism on three continents, in the USA (Covenant College), Uganda (Africa Christian Training Institute, ACTI) and in Germany (Martin Bucer Seminar, MBS), near to his origins in the Netherlands. Everywhere he is listening carefully to local Christians. And he does not only know the academic world, but has been active in evangelism, apologetics as well as in organizing Christian work in Africa and elsewhere. Thus he knows his theological ‘enemy’ from personal encounter and working together in evangelism and theological training.” James! And now James! With the purported theme of holiness as both the essence of this Epistle and the crowning piece of the Christian life! Can Henry Krabbendam prove this thesis in a word-by-word explanation of this Bible book, which has been understood in a divergent way for such a long time? For years I have been after the author to publish his exegetical, yet pastoral, Notes on James, an Epistle that has been an age-old battleground as it allegedly presented an opposing view to Paul’s teaching of grace. In many churches of the Reformation the Epistle of James has unjustly been put aside, whether intentionally or not. To be sure, rarely this was done as clearly and bluntly as in the case of Martin Luther, who never really understood why James was part of the Biblical canon and therefore moved it toward the end of the German Bible. But all too often James was either neglected, or a great uncertainty prevailed how to understand him and how to incorporate his message into the overall framework of the Christian and Protestant faith. Often people perceived James to be more or less Roman Catholic! Henry Krabbendam now demonstrates · That James is a teacher of grace as all other apostles · That James only can be understand against the backdrop of the complementarity of truth present in all Christian teaching · That James’ pastoral and practical heart nevertheless makes him a superb systematic theologian · That James’ message of holiness and the message of the Reformation are not alien to each other, but belong together as two sides of one coin. This commentary is what I would like all commentaries to be · Oriented to practical life, that is a life of holiness, but nevertheless discussing the text itself in detail · Pastoral, yet exegetical · Detailed, taken the inspired Word seriously word by word, and at the same time not lost in details, but systematically putting the pieces of the puzzle together in terms of both Dogmatic and Ethical Theology · Extensive, but nevertheless a great help to everyone, who wants to prepare a sermon or a Bible study on a small portion of James, because he can quickly and easily move from section to section. Everybody, who knows Henry Krabbendam, recognizes that he put his life’s experience and his very heart into the writing of this Commentary. It contains a message that he has preached on three continents to students and pastors for decades. I pray, that all readers with these Volumes on the Epistle of James in hand will more fully understand the will of a Holy God for our life (1 Thess. 4 3a), and become excited to pursue holiness (Heb, 12 14) in every day life through the power of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
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