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Harmonizing Paul and the Twelve

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Christianity is said to be the only religion that didn't start as the result of a supernatural vision experienced by its charismatic leader.  Yet, this description absolutely DOES fit Christianity if we recognize that it precisely describes what happened in the early church: Paul experienced a vision and spread a new version of Christianity--the one we actually follow today--to the non-Jewish people. 

  • At what point are Paul's gospel and the twelve apostles' version harmonized? 
  • Why does Jesus never mention during his time on Earth any of the things Paul is teaching? 
  • Since Paul's version is so different from the apostles' version, how can we be sure he's not a false prophet?  (Many people at the time thought he was)
  • If Paul's truth is the one we're supposed to go by, then why wouldn't Jesus have made any mention of those concepts during his earthly ministry?  Why would he choose twelve guys who would ultimately "get it wrong"? 
  • What early Christian records do we have which suggest that the churches founded by the apostles and NOT touched by Paul were taught Paul's version of the gospel...and were taught so by the apostles and not Paul?  (This perhaps would be the most convincing to me, seeing as all biblical attempts to harmonize Paul and the apostles are written by Paul's camp.)

Further information on those:

Acts 22:14: "14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles."

Seem a bit funny that if this were really Jesus that he would so purposefully hide this new truth from his closest followers...and reveal it instead to someone completely outside the fold.  The disciples were warned about imposters coming in Jesus' name.  Accepting Paul seems to go against all of those warnings, and the suggestion to avoid Jerusalem seems to be totally aware of that...which again is suspect if Paul's vision really did come from the genuine Jesus. 

Matthew 24:4-5

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

Matthew 24:23

"23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

Accepting Paul seems to imply that we and/or the disciples would have to:

  • Ignore the warnings about "others/imposters coming in Jesus' name".  Why would Jesus issue the above warnings if he meant for them to be ignored in the case of Paul? 
  • Accept that the message that Jesus gave his closest disciples was actually wrong/incomplete...and that instead, the correct truth came from some guy outside the fold who had a vision
  • Find a way to believe that the reason Paul was told NOT to go to the twelve after his vision was something OTHER THAN the reality that the twelve would prove to him he'd seen a fake. 

The Ebionites--the Jerusalem church founded by the apostles--seemed to reject Paul completely.  If the apostles eventually accepted Paul's version, why did their church never adopt this belief?  

  • Irenaeus asserted that the Ebionites "use the gospel of Matthew only and repudiate...Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate fromt he law." (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies" 1.26) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103126.htm)
  • This continued: Eusebius said that the Ebionites "thought it was necessary to reject all the epistles of the apostle [Paul] whom they called an apostate from the law." (Eusebius, "History of the Church" 3.27) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm)
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All the Apostles were trained and taught by Jesus, and as all disciples must also they received revelation from the Father in heaven to understand Scripture.

This includes Paul,  and they all are in complete and perfect harmony with all Scripture, TORAH, PROPHETS, PSALMS and NEW TESTAMENT.

The differences men in error claim are quite common and wicked, like the Judaizers were as warned about in Galatians,

and the many other warnings against following any false gospel (which are seen here on the forum every day, and most all other forums possibly without exception) remain in tact, as does all of YHWH'S WORD, and ALL SCRIPTURE.

When YHWH gives understanding of Scripture,  there is no conflict, no contradiction, and nothing to "harmonize" as it all fits beautifully together as YHWH SAYS, as JESUS TAUGHT/ TEACHES,  as YHWH REVEALS in SPIRIT.

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Saul was a well respected and fine leader.

1 Then some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 So Paul and Barnabas engaged these men in sharp debate. The two of them were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 Sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, recounting the conversion of the Gentiles and bringing great joy to all the brothers. Acts 15:2

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You haven't provided any argument as to why they should be considered inconsistent.

They preach the same gospel; namely that Jesus the promised Messiah, the perfect Son of God, suffered the cross as recompense for the sins of the world – that all who call Him Lord in truth, by faith receive His salvation through grace. There is no gospel inconsistency between Paul’s teaching and the other gospels. Jesus taught the Jews (i.e. those condemned under law), but Paul preached to the gentiles (i.e. those condemned under justice). But the gospels are are the same - reconciled at the cross.

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4 hours ago, stillseeking said:

Christianity is said to be the only religion that didn't start as the result of a supernatural vision experienced by its charismatic leader.  Yet, this description absolutely DOES fit Christianity if we recognize that it precisely describes what happened in the early church: Paul experienced a vision and spread a new version of Christianity--the one we actually follow today--to the non-Jewish people.

Jesus is the founder of Christianity not Paul;  And Jesus is God.  So God is the founder of the Christian faith, not Paul.

  • Quote

     

    • At what point are Paul's gospel and the twelve apostles' version harmonized? 
    • Why does Jesus never mention during his time on Earth any of the things Paul is teaching? 
    • Since Paul's version is so different from the apostles' version, how can we be sure he's not a false prophet?  (Many people at the time thought he was)
    • If Paul's truth is the one we're supposed to go by, then why wouldn't Jesus have made any mention of those concepts during his earthly ministry?  Why would he choose twelve guys who would ultimately "get it wrong"? 
    • What early Christian records do we have which suggest that the churches founded by the apostles and NOT touched by Paul were taught Paul's version of the gospel...and were taught so by the apostles and not Paul?  (This perhaps would be the most convincing to me, seeing as all biblical attempts to harmonize Paul and the apostles are written by Paul's camp.)

     

     

1. They are not out of harmony.  There is no contradiction between what Paul preached and what Jesus taught.

2. The Bible is a system of progressive revelation and the Lord gave Paul and expanded knowledge of these things.   Paul was led and inspired by the Holy Spirit to author many of the books in the NT.   So Paul expands on Jesus' teachings under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   And there is no contradiction between Paul and Jesus.

3. Paul's letters were apparently circulated throughout all of the churches, even the ones he didn't found.  Peter sends out a general epistle written to all of the churches at that time, and reference Paul, as "our brother Paul"  and refers to his letters as Scripture (II Peter 3:15-16)

Further information on those:

Quote

 

Acts 22:14: "14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles."

Seem a bit funny that if this were really Jesus that he would so purposefully hide this new truth from his closest followers...and reveal it instead to someone completely outside the fold.

The disciples were warned about imposters coming in Jesus' name.  Accepting Paul seems to go against all of those warnings, and the suggestion to avoid Jerusalem seems to be totally aware of that...which again is suspect if Paul's vision really did come from the genuine Jesus. 

 

God wasn't hiding anything from anyone.  He had a purpose and a plan for Paul to take the Gospel to the Gentiles.  There were already several apostles to the Jews.  

 

Quote

 

Accepting Paul seems to imply that we and/or the disciples would have to:

  • Ignore the warnings about "others/imposters coming in Jesus' name".  Why would Jesus issue the above warnings if he meant for them to be ignored in the case of Paul? 
  • Accept that the message that Jesus gave his closest disciples was actually wrong/incomplete...and that instead, the correct truth came from some guy outside the fold who had a vision
  • Find a way to believe that the reason Paul was told NOT to go to the twelve after his vision was something OTHER THAN the reality that the twelve would prove to him he'd seen a fake

 

No, because Paul was not an imposter and God worked miracles through Paul to prove it.   It is true that they probably had to be convinced, but the Bible teaches that they were convinced.

There is nothing that Jesus gave His disciples that is at odds with Paul.  Nothing about it was wrong or incomplete.  Our understanding of everything Jesus taught is incomplete, but Jesus did not preach an incomplete Gospel.
 

Quote

 

The Ebionites--the Jerusalem church founded by the apostles--seemed to reject Paul completely. 

 

 

 

The Ebionites were not a church an were not founded by the apostles.  The Ebionites were post apostolic and are first mentioned  during the 2nd century.  They were not the Jerusalem church.  They were heretics.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, stillseeking said:

Christianity is said to be the only religion that didn't start as the result of a supernatural vision experienced by its charismatic leader.  Yet, this description absolutely DOES fit Christianity if we recognize that it precisely describes what happened in the early church: Paul experienced a vision and spread a new version of Christianity--the one we actually follow today--to the non-Jewish people. 

  • At what point are Paul's gospel and the twelve apostles' version harmonized? 
  • Why does Jesus never mention during his time on Earth any of the things Paul is teaching? 
  • Since Paul's version is so different from the apostles' version, how can we be sure he's not a false prophet?  (Many people at the time thought he was)
  • If Paul's truth is the one we're supposed to go by, then why wouldn't Jesus have made any mention of those concepts during his earthly ministry?  Why would he choose twelve guys who would ultimately "get it wrong"? 
  • What early Christian records do we have which suggest that the churches founded by the apostles and NOT touched by Paul were taught Paul's version of the gospel...and were taught so by the apostles and not Paul?  (This perhaps would be the most convincing to me, seeing as all biblical attempts to harmonize Paul and the apostles are written by Paul's camp.)

Further information on those:

Acts 22:14: "14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles."

Seem a bit funny that if this were really Jesus that he would so purposefully hide this new truth from his closest followers...and reveal it instead to someone completely outside the fold.  The disciples were warned about imposters coming in Jesus' name.  Accepting Paul seems to go against all of those warnings, and the suggestion to avoid Jerusalem seems to be totally aware of that...which again is suspect if Paul's vision really did come from the genuine Jesus. 

Matthew 24:4-5

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

Matthew 24:23

"23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

Accepting Paul seems to imply that we and/or the disciples would have to:

  • Ignore the warnings about "others/imposters coming in Jesus' name".  Why would Jesus issue the above warnings if he meant for them to be ignored in the case of Paul? 
  • Accept that the message that Jesus gave his closest disciples was actually wrong/incomplete...and that instead, the correct truth came from some guy outside the fold who had a vision
  • Find a way to believe that the reason Paul was told NOT to go to the twelve after his vision was something OTHER THAN the reality that the twelve would prove to him he'd seen a fake. 

The Ebionites--the Jerusalem church founded by the apostles--seemed to reject Paul completely.  If the apostles eventually accepted Paul's version, why did their church never adopt this belief?  

  • Irenaeus asserted that the Ebionites "use the gospel of Matthew only and repudiate...Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate fromt he law." (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies" 1.26) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103126.htm)
  • This continued: Eusebius said that the Ebionites "thought it was necessary to reject all the epistles of the apostle [Paul] whom they called an apostate from the law." (Eusebius, "History of the Church" 3.27) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm)

Your post flies directly in the face of the entire Epistles portion of the New Testament.  Paul received his training from Jesus, just as the Apostles did, just in a different way.  There was not two different Gospels, i.e. Paul's and Jesus'.  Paul focused on a different area of the Gospel because he was sent, specifically, as an Apostles to the Gentiles.  There was no disagreement between Paul and the other Apostles.  All the Apostles viewed Paul as just as valid an Apostles as themselves.  

Paul did not start Christianity.  Jesus started Christianity, and in the way we understand that term today, the Church began on the day of Pentecost.  Paul was not even an Apostle at this time, nor was he yet oppressing the Church because until this point, the Church did not exist.  The Church was already established when Paul joined it.  Your use of Acts 22:14-20 is not applicable, and you interpret it incorrectly.  Jesus is telling Paul the majority of the Jews will not accept the Gospel.  It has nothing to do with the already existing Church, or the other Apostles.

I don't know where you got this stuff, or what your intentions are here.  It seems to be another one of those "Paul wasn't a real Apostle" threads. 

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When YHWH gives understanding of Scripture,  there is no conflict, no contradiction, and nothing to "harmonize" as it all fits beautifully together as YHWH SAYS, as JESUS TAUGHT/ TEACHES,  as YHWH REVEALS in SPIRIT.

That doesn't help with the understanding of the question at hand.  Do you have any insights on this? 

Quote

You haven't provided any argument as to why they should be considered inconsistent.

Quote

2. The Bible is a system of progressive revelation and the Lord gave Paul and expanded knowledge of these things.   Paul was led and inspired by the Holy Spirit to author many of the books in the NT.   So Paul expands on Jesus' teachings under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   And there is no contradiction between Paul and Jesus.

Let's start with Torah observance. 

Quote

Peter sends out a general epistle written to all of the churches at that time, and reference Paul, as "our brother Paul"  and refers to his letters as Scripture (II Peter 3:15-16)

This probably wasn't Peter.  2 Peter is one of the most disputed authorships of the entire NT - even ahead of Revelation:

2 Peter was recognized as canonical by the Councils of Hippo and Carthage in the fourth century, and this is the more significant because these Councils rejected the Epistle of Barnabas and 1 Clement, because they were not of apostolic origin. . . . At the Reformation it was regarded as second-class Scripture by Luther, rejected by Erasmus, and regarded with hesitancy by Calvin.

(https://bible.org/article/2-peter-peter’s)

Quote

No, because Paul was not an imposter and God worked miracles through Paul to prove it.   It is true that they probably had to be convinced, but the Bible teaches that they were convinced.

Miracles prove nothing and in fact were one of the signs of a false prophet or false Christ:

Matthew 24:23

"23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

Quote

The Ebionites were not a church an were not founded by the apostles.  The Ebionites were post apostolic and are first mentioned  during the 2nd century.  They were not the Jerusalem church.  They were heretics.

Source?  They followed the teachings of the apostles and NOT those of Paul. 

Quote

Your use of Acts 22:14-20 is not applicable, and you interpret it incorrectly.  Jesus is telling Paul the majority of the Jews will not accept the Gospel.  It has nothing to do with the already existing Church, or the other Apostles.

Please explain why Acts 22:14-20 isn't about what I said it is about (Paul being told by Jesus not to go into Jerusalem and tell the twelve). 

There's also this:

Acts 9:26 "When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple."

Quote

Your post flies directly in the face of the entire Epistles portion of the New Testament.

Quote

It seems to be another one of those "Paul wasn't a real Apostle" threads. 

I ask the question because I have trouble accepting that Paul is a trustworthy source, yes.  I'm not sure why that seems to make you angry.  If he indeed is a trustworthy source, I would hope to discover information that could lead me to this conclusion. 

It sounds like you aren't really interested in helping with the concern I posted.  If that's the case, then I would prefer that this discussion only contain the responses of those whose intention is indeed to help. 

Thus far, I'm not convinced.   Seeing as Paul wrote most of the materials that we as Christians rely on for instructions on salvation and how to live, it seems that establishing his legitimacy is pretty important--especially when we're warned about false prophets with a description that seems to fit him. 

If he's legit, then I trust that God will allow that truth to prevail. 

Edited by stillseeking
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13 hours ago, stillseeking said:

Christianity is said to be the only religion that didn't start as the result of a supernatural vision experienced by its charismatic leader.  Yet, this description absolutely DOES fit Christianity if we recognize that it precisely describes what happened in the early church: Paul experienced a vision and spread a new version of Christianity--the one we actually follow today--to the non-Jewish people. 

  • At what point are Paul's gospel and the twelve apostles' version harmonized? 
  • Why does Jesus never mention during his time on Earth any of the things Paul is teaching? 
  • Since Paul's version is so different from the apostles' version, how can we be sure he's not a false prophet?  (Many people at the time thought he was)
  • If Paul's truth is the one we're supposed to go by, then why wouldn't Jesus have made any mention of those concepts during his earthly ministry?  Why would he choose twelve guys who would ultimately "get it wrong"? 
  • What early Christian records do we have which suggest that the churches founded by the apostles and NOT touched by Paul were taught Paul's version of the gospel...and were taught so by the apostles and not Paul?  (This perhaps would be the most convincing to me, seeing as all biblical attempts to harmonize Paul and the apostles are written by Paul's camp.)

Further information on those:

Acts 22:14: "14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles."

Seem a bit funny that if this were really Jesus that he would so purposefully hide this new truth from his closest followers...and reveal it instead to someone completely outside the fold.  The disciples were warned about imposters coming in Jesus' name.  Accepting Paul seems to go against all of those warnings, and the suggestion to avoid Jerusalem seems to be totally aware of that...which again is suspect if Paul's vision really did come from the genuine Jesus. 

Matthew 24:4-5

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

Matthew 24:23

"23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

Accepting Paul seems to imply that we and/or the disciples would have to:

  • Ignore the warnings about "others/imposters coming in Jesus' name".  Why would Jesus issue the above warnings if he meant for them to be ignored in the case of Paul? 
  • Accept that the message that Jesus gave his closest disciples was actually wrong/incomplete...and that instead, the correct truth came from some guy outside the fold who had a vision
  • Find a way to believe that the reason Paul was told NOT to go to the twelve after his vision was something OTHER THAN the reality that the twelve would prove to him he'd seen a fake. 

The Ebionites--the Jerusalem church founded by the apostles--seemed to reject Paul completely.  If the apostles eventually accepted Paul's version, why did their church never adopt this belief?  

  • Irenaeus asserted that the Ebionites "use the gospel of Matthew only and repudiate...Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate fromt he law." (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies" 1.26) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103126.htm)
  • This continued: Eusebius said that the Ebionites "thought it was necessary to reject all the epistles of the apostle [Paul] whom they called an apostate from the law." (Eusebius, "History of the Church" 3.27) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm)

 

even one passage from the 2nd epistle of St Peter (who was the head of the Church on this earth after Christ was taken up into the "Heavens") proves that Paul was a true Apostle:

2 Peter 3:15-18 "regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen."

there is no contradiction in the holy scriptures, there can be contradiction only in somebody's mind

Blessings

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17 hours ago, stillseeking said:

Christianity is said to be the only religion that didn't start as the result of a supernatural vision experienced by its charismatic leader.  Yet, this description absolutely DOES fit Christianity if we recognize that it precisely describes what happened in the early church: Paul experienced a vision and spread a new version of Christianity--the one we actually follow today--to the non-Jewish people. 

  • At what point are Paul's gospel and the twelve apostles' version harmonized? 
  • Why does Jesus never mention during his time on Earth any of the things Paul is teaching? 
  • Since Paul's version is so different from the apostles' version, how can we be sure he's not a false prophet?  (Many people at the time thought he was)
  • If Paul's truth is the one we're supposed to go by, then why wouldn't Jesus have made any mention of those concepts during his earthly ministry?  Why would he choose twelve guys who would ultimately "get it wrong"? 
  • What early Christian records do we have which suggest that the churches founded by the apostles and NOT touched by Paul were taught Paul's version of the gospel...and were taught so by the apostles and not Paul?  (This perhaps would be the most convincing to me, seeing as all biblical attempts to harmonize Paul and the apostles are written by Paul's camp.)

Further information on those:

Acts 22:14: "14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath appointed thee to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear a voice from his mouth. 15 For thou shalt be a witness for him unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. 16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name. 17 And it came to pass, that, when I had returned to Jerusalem, and while I prayed in the temple, I fell into a trance, 18 and saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they themselves know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 and when the blood of Stephen thy witness was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting, and keeping the garments of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee forth far hence unto the Gentiles."

Seem a bit funny that if this were really Jesus that he would so purposefully hide this new truth from his closest followers...and reveal it instead to someone completely outside the fold.  The disciples were warned about imposters coming in Jesus' name.  Accepting Paul seems to go against all of those warnings, and the suggestion to avoid Jerusalem seems to be totally aware of that...which again is suspect if Paul's vision really did come from the genuine Jesus. 

Matthew 24:4-5

"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

Matthew 24:23

"23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

Accepting Paul seems to imply that we and/or the disciples would have to:

  • Ignore the warnings about "others/imposters coming in Jesus' name".  Why would Jesus issue the above warnings if he meant for them to be ignored in the case of Paul? 
  • Accept that the message that Jesus gave his closest disciples was actually wrong/incomplete...and that instead, the correct truth came from some guy outside the fold who had a vision
  • Find a way to believe that the reason Paul was told NOT to go to the twelve after his vision was something OTHER THAN the reality that the twelve would prove to him he'd seen a fake. 

The Ebionites--the Jerusalem church founded by the apostles--seemed to reject Paul completely.  If the apostles eventually accepted Paul's version, why did their church never adopt this belief?  

  • Irenaeus asserted that the Ebionites "use the gospel of Matthew only and repudiate...Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate fromt he law." (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies" 1.26) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103126.htm)
  • This continued: Eusebius said that the Ebionites "thought it was necessary to reject all the epistles of the apostle [Paul] whom they called an apostate from the law." (Eusebius, "History of the Church" 3.27) (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm)

I think it would be appropriate to consider other passages from Acts such as Acts 9:1-31.  In particular, Acts 9:26-30.

26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.  Acts 9:26-30 NIV

From this, it appears that apostles (with the coaxing of Barnabas accepted Saul/Paul) and that it was the Hellenistic Jews that rejected Paul.  I think that the passage in Acts 22:18 would be referring to the Hellenistic Jews rejecting Paul rather than the apostles rejecting Paul given that Acts 9:29 explicitly says that the Hellenistic Jews tried to kill him.

From other passages in Acts, it appears that one of the controversies in the early church was the extent to which the Law of Moses needed to be observed.  Some Jewish believers seemed to believe it was necessary; others did not.  Acts 15:1-35 contains more information on this.  Here are a few passages from this chapter.

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”  6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question.  Acts 15:5-6 NIV

After consideration, the apostles and elders in Jerusalem decided that it was not appropriate to force the gentile converts to keep the law of Moses but rather just a few requirements to avoid deeply offending Jews.

28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.  Acts 15:28-30 NIV

Based on the passages in Acts, it would appear that the Ebionites were more akin to those believers of the party of the Pharisees than the apostles and elders.  Indeed, it seems like the believers who were Pharisees were in disagreement with the apostles and elders on this issue.

 

 

 

 

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26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He talked and debated with the Hellenistic Jews, but they tried to kill him. 30 When the believers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.  Acts 9:26-30 NIV

This does demonstrate that he eventually had a few moments of agreement with the apostles.  Still, why would Jesus have him go all the way to Jerusalem, have a vision, and leave...instead of meeting up with the followers of Jesus there?  Something just doesn't fit.  Furthermore, let's explore why Jews might be objecting to Paul--could it be his insistence that it was ok for new believers not to be Torah-observant? 

Matthew 5:17

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Heaven and Earth are still here, so I'm not sure how Paul can argue that the law isn't in effect.  Apparently these Jews had the same concern. 

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28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.  Acts 15:28-30 NIV

This is essentially a repeat of a few verses earlier, where we see that there is an additional assertion tacked on:

Acts 15:19

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

In the early days, any foreigners living among the Jews would have been expected to eventually assimilate the Jewish law and lifestyle.  That certainly seems to  be the suggestion here.  It sounds like what's essentially being said here is, "Give them just these few commands to start out with, because we know they'll be studying in synagogue every Sabbath to faithfully learn the rest in due time". 

 

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