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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Some more links in the Paul - James discussion 

This is a followup to a couple of recent posts on this blog:

Those of you who have read Jennifer's comments in this blog know her view of Paul. If you didn't, she had a post in her own blog about the matter. Here is a small excerpt:

Why did Paul believe he was better than the apostles who had lived with Jesus, whom Jesus himself commissioned, even condemning them to hell? Why was he so opposed to circumcision when he was the one who ordered Timothy to be circumcised? Why would I want to emulate a man who was an egomaniacal, chauvinistic racist? (Ok, that’s my own personal question, not the [online Bible study] group’s)....

Let me close by saying that regardless of whether Paul was a fanatic or a fraud, it absolutely does not shake my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ or my commitment to follow him. It’s just one more reason why I have come to the conclusion that I need to live in the Gospels, absorbing and memorizing the words and actions of Jesus. I am convinced that is all I need to have an abundant life, full of grace and peace.

Jennifer posted some links to other material about Paul:


The major point in this essay is that Paul's apostleship wasn't recognized by others (which I guess means that the quote in 2 Peter 3:15-16 is believed to be spurious). In fact, the essay argues that Revelation 2:1-2 and 2 Timothy 1:15 provide a clue that the church of Ephesus rejected Paul, and God praised this action.

This same theme is picked up in http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/. This site also argues that it has the original Hebrew book of Matthew, and that the Greek book has small subtle changes.

I don't have time to visit the other sites right now, but they are http://www.beliefnet.com/story/143/story_14376_1.html and http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/.

The argument of the two sites I visited ends up becoming similar to the Mormon argument - namely, that Jesus established his church, but that it was wiped out, only to be rediscovered later. So, did Jesus say that his church would disappear for a time? Not exactly:

Matthew 24:35 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Ironically, this appears in the same Book of Matthew that some argue has been corrupted. From the same book:

Matthew 16:13-19 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Peter's Confession of Christ
13When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"

16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ,[a] the Son of the living God."

17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it.[d] 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[e] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[f] loosed in heaven."


Matthew 16:16 Or Messiah; also in verse 20
Matthew 16:18 Peter means rock.
Matthew 16:18 Or hell
Matthew 16:18 Or not prove stronger than it
Matthew 16:19 Or have been
Matthew 16:19 Or have been

Now Roman Catholics argue that the church that Christ built was built upon Peter himself, and that church was the Roman Catholic Church - the same church that includes the letters of Paul as part of its authorized Bible today. (To be fair, however, I once heard that the Catholics hold the Gospels in higher esteem than the rest of the New Testament, but I have not confirmed this.)

While I disagree with some of the conclusions that the writers above reach, but, as I noted in the comments to this post:

As those who have read my blog have noticed, I have a somewhat higher opinion of Paul than Jennifer does. However, that doesn't mean that the questions shouldn't be asked.

And the questions are being asked. Tune in to the online Bible study, which is about to look at...the Epistle of James. Yeah, that one.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

Notice that in 2 Peter 3:15, he does not refer to Paul as an apostle but a beloved brother. I had so many things to say about this that I posted about it. :)
I encourage you to read Jennifer's post, which is found here. I don't have an answer to her question, but I do plan to look at Paul's visits to Jerusalem as recorded in Galatians and Acts.
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