Jesus says we should not receive payment for preaching the gospel (Mt 10:8); but Paul says we should receive payment for preaching the gospel (1 Cor 9:11).
Jesus warns us to beware of thieves and robbers masquerading as pastors (Jn 10:1/8); but Paul admits to robbing churches in the name of receiving wages from them (2 Cor 11:8).
Jesus asks us to baptise as we preach the gospel (Mt 28:19); but Paul dismisses the importance of baptism (1 Cor 1:17).
Jesus says in preaching the gospel we should build on other men’s foundations (Jn 4:38); but Paul says he is determined not to build on other men’s foundations (Rm 15:20).
Jesus says we should not swear or curse (Mt 5:34-37); but Paul swears and curses (2 Cor 1:23; Gal 1:9).
Jesus is against the use of deception (Jn 1:47); but Paul boasts of using deception (2 Cor 12:16).
Jesus says we should disregard public opinion (Lk 6:26; Jn 15:18-19); but Paul actively courts public opinion (1 Cor 10:33; 1 Cor 9:20-22).
Jesus says God is not the God of the dead (Lk 20:38); but Paul says God is the God of the dead (Rm 14:9).
Jesus says believers will never die (Jn 11:26); but Paul says believers died with Christ (Rm 6:8).
Jesus says he was a ransom for only some people (Mt 20:28); but Paul says Jesus was a ransom for everybody (1 Tim 2:6).
Whose report do you believe?
I only believe the report of Jesus Christ.
Jesus says we should beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees (Lk 12:1); but Paul proclaimed himself a Pharisee even as a
Christian (Acts 23:6).
Jesus warns that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 7:21); but Paul says everyone who
calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Rm 10:13).
Jesus asks men to preach the gospel (Mt 28:18-19); but Paul says he did not receive his own gospel from men (Gal 1:11-12).
Jesus himself was circumcised (Lk 2:21); but Paul says if we are circumcised we would be estranged from Christ (Gal 5:2-4).
Jesus says children of God are born spiritually (Jn 3:3); but Paul says children of God are adopted (Rm 8:15).
Jesus says God must be the only father of believers (Mt 23:9); but Paul proclaims himself the father of some believers (Phile 1:10; 1 Cor 4:15).
Jesus says there is only one pastor and he is the one (Jn 10:16); but Paul says there are many pastors (Eph 4:11).
Jesus says there is only one teacher and he is the one (Mt 23:8); but Paul says there are many teachers and that God
ordained him as a teacher (1 Tim 2:7).
Jesus says we should pray in private and not on street-corners (Mt 6:5-6); but Paul says we should pray everywhere (1 Tim 2:8).
Jesus says we should not eat food sacrificed to idols (Rev 2:14); but Paul says it does not matter if we eat food sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8:8; Rm 14:14).
Whose report do you believe?
Jesus says in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word is established. Listen to the views of the following eminent bible scholars. How come so many people can see that Paul is not a disciple of Christ?
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence; writes in his “Letter to William Short:” “Of this band of dupes and imposters, Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus.”
The renowned English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, in his “Not Paul but Jesus,” declares: “It rests with every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle within himself to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul he will adhere.” “By the two persons in question, as represented in the two sources of information- the Gospels and Paul’s Epistles – two quite different, if not opposite, religions are inculcated: and that, in the religion of Jesus may be found all the good that has ever been the result of the compound so incongruously and unhappily made,- in the religion of Paul, all the mischief, which, in such disastrous abundance, has so indisputably flowed from it.”
The eminent theologian, Ferdinand Christian Baur, in his “Church History of the First Three Centuries,” writes: “What kind of authority can there be for an ‘apostle’ who, unlike the other apostles, had never been prepared for the apostolic office in Jesus’ own school but had only later dared to claim the apostolic office on the basis on his own authority? The only question comes to be how the apostle Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical facts of the life of Jesus. He bears himself but little like a disciple who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches from the Master whose name he bears.”
The renowned Mahatma Gandhi, the prophet of nonviolence who won freedom from England for India, in an essay titled “Discussion on Fellowship,” writes: “I draw a great distinction between the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus and the Letters of Paul. Paul’s Letters are a graft on Christ’s teachings, Pauls own gloss apart from Christ’s own experience.”
Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, wrote in his essay “A Psychological Approach to Dogma:” “Saul’s (Paul’s name before his conversion) fanatical resistance to Christianity was never entirely overcome. It is frankly disappointing to see how Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in.”
George Bernard Shaw, a devout Christian and winner of the The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, observes in his “Androcles and the Lion:” “There is not one word of Pauline Christianity in the characteristic utterances of Jesus. There has never been a more monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of Paul’s soul upon the soul of Jesus. It is now easy to understand how the Christianity of Jesus was suppressed by the police and the Church, while Paulinism overran the whole western civilized world, which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was adopted by it as its official faith.” “The conversion of Paul, was no conversion at all: it was Paul who converted the religion that has raised one man above sin and death into a religion that delivered millions of men so completely into their dominion that their own common nature became a horror to them, and the religious life became a denial of life.” “No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition, than Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus.”
Jesus says in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word is established. Listen to the views of the following eminent bible scholars. How come so many people can see that Paul is not a disciple of Christ?
The American philosopher, Will Durant; in his “Caesar and Christ,” writes: “Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ. Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known. Paul replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change.”
Robert Frost, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943, in his “A Masque of Mercy,” writes: “Paul, he’s in the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out of Christianity. Look out for him.”
Gerald Friedlander, Jewish Minister of the West London Synagogue, writes in “The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount:” “Paul has surely nothing to do with the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon says: ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves’ (Matt.vii.15). This is generally understood as a warning against untrustworthy leaders in religion. Does the verse express the experience of the primitive Church? Might it not be a warning against Paul and his followers?”
Martin Buber, the Jewish philosopher, writes in “Two Types of Faith:” “The Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount is completely opposed to Paul.”
H.G. Wells, famous English science-fiction writer, observes in “The Outline of History:” “It is equally a fact in history that St. Paul and his successors added to or completed or imposed upon or substituted another doctrine for- as you may prefer to think- the plain and profoundly revolutionary teachings of Jesus by expounding a subtle and complex theory of salvation, a salvation which could be attained very largely by belief and formalities, without any serious disturbance of the believer’s ordinary habits and occupations.”
Frederick Watson, a notable Christian scholar, writes in “Inspiration:” “In particular, in the case of St. Paul’s Epistles, we can also see that they all arose out of historical events which can never occur again. We observe in them not only his circumstances and the circumstances of the Church to which he was writing, but also himself- his personal feelings, human passions, zeal, indignation, love, sorrow, and the like. These are not always of the highest morality.”
The famous mystic, poet and author, Kahil Gibran, declares in “Jesus the Son of Man:” “This Paul is indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. He speaks not of Jesus nor does he repeat His Words. He would strike with his own hammer upon the anvil in the Name of One whom he does not know.”
The famous theologian, Helmut Koester, declares in his “The Theological Aspects of Primitive Christian Heresy:” “Paul himself stands in the twilight zone of heresy. In reading Paul, one immediately encounters a major difficulty. Whatever Jesus had preached did not become the content of the missionary proclamation of Paul. Sayings of Jesus do not play a role in Paul’s understanding of the event of salvation. Paul did not care at all what Jesus had said. Had Paul been completely successful very little of the sayings of Jesus would have survived.”
Don’t allow yourself to be brow-beaten into believing lies. Find out for yourself. Paul preached about a Jesus he did not know.
In the book “Christ or Paul?” the Rev. V.A. Holmes-Gore writes: “Let the reader contrast the true Christian standard with that of Paul and he will see the terrible betrayal of all that the Master taught. For the surest way to betray a great Teacher is to misrepresent his message. That is what Paul and his followers did, and because the Church has followed Paul in his error it has failed lamentably to redeem the world. The teachings given by the blessed Master Christ, which the disciples John and Peter and James, the brother of the Master, tried in vain to defend and preserve intact were as utterly opposed to the Pauline Gospel as the light is opposed to the darkness.” “If we apply to Paul the test ‘by their fruits ye shall know them’, it is abundantly clear that he was a false prophet.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Danish Christian philosopher and theologian, observes in “The Journals:” “In the teachings of Christ, religion is completely present tense: Jesus is the prototype and our task is to imitate him, become a disciple. But then through Paul came a basic alteration. Paul draws attention away from imitating Christ and fixes attention on the death of Christ the Atoner. What Martin Luther, in his reformation, failed to realize is that even before Catholicism, Christianity had become degenerate at the hands of Paul. Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ. Paul threw the Christianity of Christ away, completely turning it upside down; making it just the opposite of the original proclamation of Christ.”
Ernest Renan, French theologian and expert of Middle East ancient languages and civilizations, writes in his book, “Saint Paul:” “It is vain for Paul to talk. He is inferior to the other apostles. He has not seen Jesus. He has not heard his word.The divine logia and the parables are scarcely known to him. The Christ who gives him personal revelations is his own phantom. It is himself he hears, while thinking he hears Jesus.” “True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the gospel words of Christ, not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger and a hidden rock; the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology. Paul is the father of the subtle Augustine, of the unfruitful Thomas Aquinas, of the gloomy Calvinist, of the peevish Jansenist, of the fierce theology which damns and predestinates to damnation. Jesus is the father of all those who seek repose for their souls in dreams of the ideal. What makes Christianity live, is the little that we know of the word and person of Jesus. The ideal man; the divine poet; the great artist; alone defy time and revolutions. They alone are seated at the right hand of God the Father for ever more.”
Leo Tolstoy, a devout Christian and probably the greatest Russian writer ever, writes in “My Religion:” “The separation between the doctrine of life and the explanation of life began with the preaching of Paul who knew not the ethical teachings set forth in the Gospel of Matthew, and who preached a metaphisico-cabalistic theory entirely foreign to Christ; and this separation was perfected in the time of Constantine, when it was found possible to clothe the whole pagan organization of life in a Christian dress, and without changing it to call it Christianity.”
Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, writes in his “The Quest for the Historical Jesus” and “Mysticism of Paul:” “Paul did not desire to know Christ. Paul shows us with what complete indifference the earthly life of Jesus was regarded. What is the significance for our faith and for our religious life, the fact that the Gospel of Paul is different from the Gospel of Jesus? The attitude which Paul himself takes up towards the Gospel of Jesus is that he does not repeat it in the words of Jesus, and does not appeal to its authority. The fateful thing is that the Greek, the Catholic, and the Protestant theologies all contain the Gospel of Paul in a form which does not continue the Gospel of Jesus, but displaces it.”
Bishop John S. Spong, Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, USA, writes in his book, “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism:” “Paul’s words are not the Words of God. They are the words of Paul – a vast difference.”
William Wrede, famous German Lutheran theologist, observes in his book “Paul:” “The oblivious contradictions in the three accounts given by Paul in regard to his conversion are enough to arouse distrust. The moral majesty of Jesus, his purity and piety, his ministry among his people, his manner as a prophet, the whole concrete ethical-religious content of his earthly life, signifies for Paul’s Christology nothing whatever. The name ‘disciple of Jesus’ has little applicability to Paul. Jesus or Paul: this alternative characterizes, at least in part, the religious and theological warfare of the present day.”
Rudolf Bultman, a theologian, writes in his “Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul:” “It is most obvious that Paul does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his views. When the essentially Pauline conceptions are considered, it is clear that Paul is not dependent on Jesus. Jesus’ teaching is- to all intents and purposes- irrelevant for Paul.”
Walter Bauer, an eminent German theologian and scholar of the development of the early Christian churches, writes in his “Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity:” “If one may be allowed to speak rather pointedly the Apostle Paul was the only Arch-Heretic known to the apostolic age.” “We must look to the circle of the twelve apostles to find the guardians of the most primitive information about the life and preaching of the Lord. This treasure lies hidden in the synoptic gospels.”
Michael Baigent, author and speculative theorist; and Richard Leigh, best-selling novelist and short-story writer, declare in “The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception:” “Paul is in effect the first Christian heretic, and his teachings, which become the foundation of later Christianity, are a flagrant deviation from the ‘Original’ or ‘pure’ form extolled by the leadership. Whether James, the ‘Lord’s brother,’ was literally Jesus’ blood kin or not (and everything suggests he was), it is clear that he knew Jesus personally. So did most of the other members of the community or ‘early Church,’ in Jerusalem, including of course, Peter. When they spoke, they did so with first hand authority. Paul had never had such personal acquaintance with the figure he’d begun to regard as his ‘Savior.’ He had only his quasi-mystical experience in the desert and the sound of a disembodied voice. For him to arrogate authority to himself on this basis is, to say the least, presumptuous. It also leads him to distort Jesus’ teachings beyond recognition, to formulate, in fact, his own highly individual and idiosyncratic theology, and then to legitimize it by spuriously ascribing it to Jesus. Paul knows full well what he is doing. He understands the techniques of religious propaganda.”
Paul is the wolf in sheep’s clothing Jesus warns us about. Beware of him.
And here is a contribution from Da_Commentator on the same page and thread:
A BIT OF CHURCH HISTORY
1. In 144 A.D., Marcion, a defrocked bishop, claimed that only Paul had the true gospel. Marcion insisted the twelve apostles, including Matthew and John, were legalistic. Marcion claimed they did not have the true gospel of grace of Paul. Marcion adopted as the sole correct narrative of Jesus’ life an account similar to Luke’s gospel. However, it omitted the first three chapters and had several other omissions. As Marcionism spread throughout the Roman Empire, and had its own churches and liturgy, the apostolic church rose up to fight Marcionism as heresy. The key spokesperson of the early church was Tertullian of Carthage, North Africa.
In about 207 A.D., Tertullian wrote Against Marcion. He reminded everyone that Paul’s authority was subordinate to the twelve apostles. Tertullian insisted Paul could not be valid if he contradicted the twelve or Jesus. Tertullian even noted that if we were being scrupulous, we must note that there is no evidence, except from Paul’s own mouth that Jesus made him an apostle. Since nothing can depend on one witness (John 5:31 “If I bear witness of myself [alone], my witness is not true.”),
Tertullian said we cannot conclude Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ.Tertullian’s points were designed to counter Marcion’s preference for Paul. Marcion blatantly marginalized Matthew, Mark and John’s Gospel to suit his preference for a Pauline Jesus. Marcion could see the contradictions between Paul and the writings of the twelve apostles. Marcion decided to choose Paul over Jesus as presented by the twelve.
The early Christian Church felt compelled to rise up and brand Marcion a heretic.For three hundred years, the apostolic church had to fight vigorously Marcion’s rival church system. The Marcionites had adherents in numerous cities alongside the early church. Marcion was not battling the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Rather, Marcion was being fought by the universal Christian church that predated the era of modern Roman Catholicism.
2. Martin Luther’s view was that the Synoptics (i.e., Matthew, Mark & Luke) did not contain the pure gospel. Paul and the Gospel of John instead, were all that you needed to know about the true gospel. Luther wrote in 1522, that Paul and John’s Gospel “far surpass the other three Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke.” Paul and John’s Gospel are “all that is necessary and good for you to know, even though you never see or hear any other book or doctrine.”
Luther also wrote even more bluntly elsewhere that Paul had the truer gospel than what is presented in the Synoptics: Those Apostles who treat oftenest and highest of how faith alone justifies, are the best Evangelists. Therefore St. Paul’s Epistles are more a Gospel than Matthew, Mark and Luke. For these [Matthew, Mark and Luke] do not set down much more than the works and miracles of Christ; but the grace which we receive through Christ no one so boldly extols as St. Paul, especially in his letter to the Romans. Thus, Luther like Marcion, knew there was something different in the Synoptics.
He did not acknowledge Jesus contradicted Paul’s doctrine. Yet, if Paul’s doctrine were true, then why would the Synoptics omit it? If Paul and the Synoptic- Jesus taught the same thing, then why do Luther and Marcion insist the truer gospel is in Paul’s writings? Besides Luther’s down-playing the Synoptic Gospels, Luther also rejected the Book of Revelation. He claimed it was uninspired. He dismissed it with a conclusory statement that he could not see the “Holy Spirit” in it. Luther declared it was “neither apostolic nor prophetic,” and he claimed that “Christ is not taught or known in it.” Yet, in Revelation, Jesus is talking much of the time.
Also, Apostle John is certainly the human hand involved. Luther’s reason for rejecting the Book of Revelation is easy to deduce. Numerous Pauline thinkers have recognized the anti-Pauline emphasis on salvation by faith and works in Revelation. This is highly dangerous to their Pauline doctrine because Jesus’ message was freshly delivered after Paul died. For that reason, modern Paulinists urge the rejection of Revelation as inspired canon. It thus takes little to realize what caused Luther to reject the Book of Revelation. Christ was present in Revelation, but it is not the Christ of Paul.
3. Disciples & discipleship
It is clear that Paul acknowledges a group of people with some claim to status within the earliest Christian communities based on their relationship with Jesus prior to his execution. In particular, Paul names James, Cephas (Peter) and John (Gal 2:9), and refers in a general way to “the twelve” among the witnesses to the resurrection (1 Cor 15:5).
On the other hand, Paul has no use for such claims to status, as his dismissive words make clear: And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were, makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who were of repute, added nothing to me; but on the contrary…(those) who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised; only they would have us remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do. —Gal 2:6–10
Those with high esteem in Paul’s eyes, only included the males from the original disciples. There is no reference to the many women who were among Jesus’ disciples. No mention of Mary Magdalene. No mention of Mary, the mother of Jesus. In addition, Paul tends to replace Jesus’ calls for personal discipleship, with the requirement to “have faith” in Christ (Gal 2:16) or in God (Rom 1:5), and to “wait for His Son from heaven” (1 Thess 1:10). This is far removed from the call to radical discipleship that runs so powerfully through the early Jesus tradition.
4. Teaching with authority
The earliest traditions describe Jesus as a distinctive teacher with a unique sense of personal authority. Paul makes virtually no appeal to Jesus as a teacher, or as an authoritative source of instruction. There are only three occasions that “the Lord” is invoked by Paul as the authority for some opinion (1 Cor 7:10; 9:14; 11:23–26). Paul invokes Christ as a divine authority figure, as the risen Lord, rather than as Jesus, the authoritative teacher of divine wisdom. Not surprisingly then, Paul’s writings do not draw upon any of the classic parables and aphorisms of Jesus. Even though these seem to be have been characteristic and distinctive aspects of Jesus’ activity as a teacher, they have left no trace in the Pauline tradition of the New Testament.
5. Jesus at the table
The early traditions preserve the memory of Jesus as one who shared table fellowship with a diverse circle of people, and for whom the shared table was a powerful symbol of God’s domain here and now. It is of interest then, to note that Paul describes his own personal argument with Peter, over just such an issue (Gal 2:11–14). In this context, Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians for their diminishment of the “Supper of the Lord” into an occasion that re-affirmed social distinctions is especially significant (1 Cor 11:17–22).
Is it possible that Paul’s concern for radically inclusive table rules reflects the influence of Jesus’ own practice within the early church? And yet, even on this issue, Paul never cites the example of Jesus’ own behavior to support his vehement denunciation of Peter and the Corinthians!
Was he unaware of such a tradition? We can hardly fail to note that Paul’s words in Rom 14:17 (“the kingdom of God does not consist of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”) seem quite at odds with the earliest Jesus traditions.
6. In parables
Paul is silent on this core memory concerning the historical Jesus. There is no hint of the tradition that Jesus taught in parables, even though this seems to have been especially characteristic of Jesus’ ministry as a teacher. None of the classic parables (e.g. the Samaritan, the Prodigal, the Shrewd Manager or the Corrupt Judge) seem to have left any mark on Paul’s tradition. And Paul never uses the genre of parable himself.
7. Submission to civil Authorities
Paul has nothing that alludes to Jesus’ struggle with the Jerusalem authorities (Mark 11:15,17; ). There is no hint of Jesus’ critique of the Temple, nor his radical threat to destroy the whole system of religious brokerage that was centered upon it. Indeed, Paul’s views on submission to the civil authorities (Rom 13:1–7) run quite contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Had Jesus followed Paul’s advice there may have been no crucifixion.
8. Kinship in the kingdom
This thread from the Jesus database reminds us that Jesus experienced estrangement from his biological family on account of his vocation (Mark 3:20–35; Thom 99:1–3). It seems that Jesus subordinated natural kinship ties to the new relationships shared with disciples and companions (Luke 14:25–27).
In keeping with his less celebratory demeanor, Paul relativizes human relationships such as marriage (1 Cor 7:26–27).
HOWEVER, THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END, AND NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE DISPLACED BY MORE MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN THE COMMUNITY. To his credit, Paul seems to have practiced what he preached and remained single (1 Cor 7:8), even though he acknowledged that others acted differently (1 Cor 9:5).
9. Public & private piety
Paul is seen to observe traditional Jewish piety more scrupulously than Jesus. Purity rules constituted one of the points where Jesus was in conflict with his Jewish tradition(Mark 7:1–16). Paul has a certain ambivalence here. He affirms in principle that food rules make no difference at all to a person’s relationship with God (1 Cor 8:8; Rom 14:20). Yet he also argues that rules about food, like ritual and calendrical requirements, should not be ignored if doing so would cause any spiritual harm to another Christian (Rom 14:1–23). In observing traditional Jewish piety, not only does Paul invoke his apostolic privations (2 Cor 11:28) and personal spiritual disciplines (1 Cor 10:24–27), he also exhorts people to imitate his behavior (Phil 3:17).
This is rather different from Jesus’ instruction that acts of charity are not to be publicized (Matt 6:3) and personal devotions are not to be paraded before others (Matt 6:6). Paul’s use of “competitive giving” (2 Cor 9:1–5) to ensure that the Christians of Macedonia contribute at least as much as those in Achaia also seems blissfully untouched by Jesus’ emphasis on simple trust and uncomplicated generosity. Finally, the “Lord’s Prayer” would appear to have left no trace in the tradition that Paul knew. This tends to reinforce the conclusion that Paul’s own practice of public piety, and even his understanding of prayer, was informed by sources other than the Jesus tradition.
It is only when we come to the passion that we find a significant drawing upon the Jesus tradition in the writings of Paul. The primary text is the account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:23–26), but there are significant references to the death of Jesus elsewhere in Paul (1 Thess 2:14–16; 1 Cor 1:18–25; 2 Cor 13:4a; Phil 2:8; Rom 5:6–11).
Here we have come to that aspect of the Jesus tradition that had real importance to Paul. Even so, we do not get a detailed exposition of the circumstances of Jesus’ death or of its theological significance.
From the various passages we can be sure that Paul included the following elements in his understanding of the passion: betrayal to and arrest by the Jewish religious leadership the previous night; the Roman authorities executed Jesus by crucifixion; he was buried. In addition, for Paul, this ghastly event had cosmic significance as an action that provided (in fulfillment of the Scriptures), a sacrificial death through which sins could be forgiven and reconciliation achieved between the estranged elements of the universe.
We began with questions relating to Paul’s possible knowledge of Jesus. First, we wanted to identify what Paul may actually have known about Jesus? It would seem that Paul had little access to the earliest Jesus traditions. Neither the content nor the form of the earliest Jesus tradition seems to have left much of a trace in Paul’s writings. This finding confirms the scholarly consensus that Paul made little use of Jesus traditions in his writings.
Scholars generally concede that we can learn almost nothing about Jesus’ life or teachings from Paul. If Paul were our only source we would know that Jesus had been born as a Jewish male—after an apparently natural conception. We would know that his death by official execution was given great theological significance by Paul—but we would not have any description of the events leading to his death.
We would know that Paul believed Jesus to have been experienced as still alive after his execution, but we would have no narrative accounts of the Easter tradition, the excellent teachings of Jesus, etc. Paul’s theological and religious focus was more on the exalted Lord who was expected to return from heaven in the near future as the Christ. The one who had pointed people to God’s rejuvenating presence in their daily experience had become (in Paul’s version of the gospel) the divine agent through whom the power of God could and would be experienced upon his re-appearance.
Paul appears to have been captured by his religious experience of the living Jesus. This Christ became, for Paul, the focal point for the presence and action of God (2 Cor 5:19). However, as it happens, through the critical research of generations of biblical scholars—including the Jesus Seminar, today’s Christians may actually have access to more reliable traditions about Jesus than even Paul enjoyed. Those who wish to honor the sage of Galilee might do it best by moving beyond veneration to the more challenging project of embracing, with openness and trust the more reliable traditions about Jesus.
There are MANY, MANY other sources and examples that can be found for discussion about this issue, but for now I am going to leave you with this much and pray you will seek to root out the truth for yourself, allowing the Holy Spirit bear witness within you. I realize this will be extremely controversial and some will think me to be a “rebel rouser” by even bringing it up, however that is not at all my intent (to sow discord).
Having said that, I also have felt for quite some time that we just haven’t gotten to the root of the problem when it comes to the infiltration of the Christian church by the enemy and what route has been taken. I believe it is important to know where things started to go wrong in order to heal the offense. I am not trying to “bash” Paul and I acknowledge that many have came to know God on a personal level in thanks to his teachings (myself included), but at the same time whenever there is a contradiction found within the ministry, or a cause of confusion, we must make it clear!
There is no confusion to be found in the one True God and He makes it abundantly clear, all confusion and duplicity comes from the enemy! Furthermore, it is important that we hold all doctrine up to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to test it’s soundness!
With the onslaught of evil and the battle we are becoming engaged in, it is imperative that we are receiving and teaching the TRUTH of God’s Word, and nothing else! We can expect a great apostacy and as the Bible clearly states, “even the elect shall be fooled” by false doctrines and teachings. It is our responsibility to seek the truth and in order that we might be partakers in His eternal kingdom, we must follow only Him!