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Old 01-20-2012, 04:46 AM
Status: "...We are closing in..." (set 7 days ago)
32,451 posts, read 7,768,245 times
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I don't usually start posts attacking an aspect of religion but respond to attacks or to claims for religion. This arose from a digression on the Evolution -theory or fact?' thread, about Paul and dishonesty and dissembling, if not lying, for his faith.

Paul immediately confesses to sinning; not just the blanket sin that the Abrahamic religions suppose we all have from birth but a specific sin: as a circumcised Jew, he does not observe the Jewish law as he should.

Romans 7.7 "What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”[ 8 But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. 9 Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10 I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11 For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12 So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13 Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of si

Paul admits here that he does not adhere to the (Jewish) law. Nor does anyone else since even the observant break it. His argument is that the law only makes men sinful, because without the law there would be no breaking of it. The Law then brings sin (you can save yourself the trouble of arguing as Paul says so) The only release from this sin is through faith In Jesus.

2.Cor 3. 13 "We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

Now I'm not saying that Paul is a liar because he is not perfect. It is a matter arising from this.

1 Cor 9. 19 "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

This is what I mean by dissembling. He misrepresents his behaviour in order to win converts. He pretends to the Jews to be an observing Jew, though he indicates here that he isn't and doesn't. He regards Faith in Jesus as releasing him from any obligation to observe the law. But didn't he say in Romans 2.25 "Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised."? It is clear that Paul does break the law but, in order to win converts, behaves as though he was still observant. Paul is certainly circumcised but happily accepts that his circumcision through breaking the law, has become what he is pleased to regard as uncircumcision. Wherein Law and the 'sin' it produced in him was replaced by a whitewashing release from sin in Faith in Jesus.

In Acts (While I regard Luke as unreliable, Bible believers presumably won't) we see Paul happily playing the observing Jew to still these questions about him (which we can surely see are quite justified) by those apostles who clearly were observing Jews.

Acts 21.17 "When we arrived at Jerusalem, the brothers and sisters received us warmly. 18 The next day Paul and the rest of us went to see James, and all the elders were present. 19 Paul greeted them and reported in detail what God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law."

We can see this as Paul advocates eating anything set in front of you, clean or unclean or even offered to idols, in order to not to cause the other to 'stumble', though Paul drawn the line at eating anything that you have been told was offered to idols.

1 Cor 10.27 "If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?"

and he advises his followers to follow his example

1. Cor 10.31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. "

1 Cor. 9.1 "Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord." (This shows that some at least doubted that he was indeed an apostle.)

1 Cor. 9. 3 "This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”[b] Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. 15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast. 16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel. "

Paul protests that he doesn't use his right (both in temple usage and scripture) to make a living and take a share of the proceeds. But he admits elsewhere that he does.

2 Corinthians 11.7 "Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you."

And, if he was not, why is anyone sitting in judgement on him, presumably as as apostle? The suspicion is that the apostles actually chosen by Jesus (as distinct from Paul who pretty much proclaimed himself one by divine appointment) don't make a living but share everything in the common purse. That Paul sees his authority under question in connection with that suggests that he did indeed take his living from the proceeds and his protestation are really that he could have helped himself to more. but didn't. But this is (I concede) reading between the lines.

Paul admonishes about boasting, judgement and malice, but he does not practice what he preaches.

1 Cor. 5.6 "Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."

Des Paul follow this example? Sincerity and truth or malice and wickedness? We saw above that he doesn't do good though he claims that he would like to. Bearing in mind that the Jesus party in Jerusalem were observing Jews and expected him to be observant too (which he evidently wasn't) it is not surprising that they sent to his churches that they should observe the law. Paul counters this and attacks the 'super apostles' by which we mean the actual followers of Jesus

2 Corinthians 11.3 "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”[a] 6 I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way."

He has made it perfectly clear that his knowledge is flawed, his visions of Jesus imaginary and his authority based on those visions doubtful and he himself is a bit of a twister.

1 Cor 7.29 "What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not;"

This shows that Paul expected the judgement soon, intheir own lifetimes and of course the gospel -writers echoed this. Paul was wrong which means that we cannot trust his visions.

2 Cor. 12 .2 "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell."

If Paul isn't talking abut himself, I know not where he got his gentile - friendly, uncircumcision, abolish- the- Law gospel as he sure didn't get it from the 'Super apostles' whose gospel he warns against. In fact he says so in Galatians:

Gal.1.11 "I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.".."15 But when God...was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus."

During his chats in the Third heaven. But his false interpretation of scripture at least makes the validity of this claim doubtful, (I would prefer not to speculate on his remark at Galatians 4. 13 "As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.") and his interpretation of temporal events is no more trustworthy.

2 Cor.11. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands." It is ridiculous and unhistoical to suggest that Aretus knew or even cared anything about Paul

His denunciation of the 'super apostles' goes on quite shockingly:

2 Cor.11.12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve."

And we cannot trust him in his Bible quotes either.

2 Cor 4. 1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God."

Just see how he twists the meaning of scripture.

Paul argues that if God decides to break his covenant with the Jews and bestow the promise of Abraham on gentiles who are we to argue? Is it unjust of Hm?

Rom 9. 4 "...the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.....it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. ....30 What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. 32 Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. 33 As it is written:

“See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

Isa 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that

believeth shall not make haste. It looks like he has interpreted the sense thus:Isa 28:7 the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink..they err in vision, they stumble [in] judgment. 28:8 For all tables are full of vomit [and] filthiness, [so that there is] no place [clean]. 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?... 28:10 For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little: ...yet they would not hear. 28:13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and take

following Paul, this is the stone laid in Zion which these people stumble over. The rules and regulations. but Isaiah goes on to say that the stone is a sure foundation. The idea is that none of them are worthy. No -one really observes the Law. This is the basis of the idea that God, disgusted with the Jews' failing to observe His Laws (Paul again changes his stance as Law observance is not the charge but observing the law but not being righteous and that is the charge made again and again in the gospels.)

Paul is Lying here or at least misrepresenting scripture. This refutes his claim to honesty. in II Corinthians 4.2 "But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God."

Craftiness and fiddling the word of God is what Paul does repeatedly

Paul's argument is that no-one is righteous. But why would that mean that the God - given Mosaic Law has thus become unable to save or was never intended to save, even if Paul is justified in saying that no - one keeps it or bad behaviour nullifies it? He justifies that view with God apparently saying so in scripture. But Paul compiles that passage of his by cherry - picking items from a lot of sources:

"There is no one righteous, not even one;" the nearest is Isaiah 41:26 "Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may know? and beforetime, that we may say, [He is] righteous? yea, [there is] none that sheweth, yea, [there is] none that declareth, yea, [there is] none that heareth your words."

Rom.3.12 "All have turned away, ...."
Dan 9.11 "All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. they have together become worthless (greek achreioo make useless, render unserviceable-a) of character) there is no one who does good, not even one." 13 "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit."

Paul quotes Daniel but not the bit about transgressing the law. It does not suit his thesis that transgressing the law should be the sin rather than turning away from just being a good person rendering the Law invalid.

Rom. 9.25 "As he saith also in Hosea, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved."

Hosea 2:23 "And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to [them which were] not my people, Thou [art] my people; and they shall say, [Thou art] my God." This is about the Hebrew people who had adopted foreign forms of worship:

Hosea 2.16 you will call Me [l]Ishi And will no longer call Me Baali. 17 “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,"

God is talking about His people returning rather than a foreign people becoming His. Paul has seriously distorted scripture to support his thesis.

Rom 9.27 "Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:"

Isa 10:22 "For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, [yet] a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness." (although Isaiah is referring to Assyria as God's tool of punishment, it can easily seem to refer to a latter day punishment, as Paul clearly sees it)

Rom 9.25 "and her beloved, which was not beloved"

This is not found. I have seen no reference to any text corresponding. I did notice that some commentators noted that Paul had twisted the meaning somewhat in order to make his point. The fact is that the stuff about whoredoms, flagons of 'new wine' and the like could be seen as a warning against following Gentile ideas and 'new' teachings.

Rom.3 11 "there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God."
Psa 14:2 "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God. 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy, (Niphal, corrupted, sour, like milk) [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one."

But these people (see Psalm 14 and 53 [the same] are the gentiles who 'eat up' the Jews. This does not relate to backsliding Jews.

Paul has gone further than just collect doubtfully relevant quotes: he has twisted the meaning of this passage. Instead of supporting Paul's argument than sinning has made the Law unable to save, and the Law was only there to increase the sin, the Law is a sure foundation and is the rule and benchmark for righteous behaviour.

Rom 10.19 "First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by [them that are] no people, [and] by a foolish nation I will anger you."
Paul's line is that God has lost patience with Israel and has turned to the gentiles as a way of shaming the Jews into believing the new teachings. We can see here the embryo of Christian theology. Paul was indeed the first Christian in the sense that we understand it now, never mind whether the Greek for 'Messianist' was applied to Jewish followers of Jesus.

Deu 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with [that which is] not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy
with [those which are] not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation."

Isa 65:1 "I am sought of [them that] asked not [for me]; I am found of [them that] sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation [that] was not called by my name. Isa 65:2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way [that was] not good, after their own thoughts;"

And what sort of people were those? Isa 65:3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon
altars of brick; 65:4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable [things is in] their vessels;
65:5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou."

Who do those sound like? Gentiles or observing Jews? God does not make cause with foreign gentiles, though He may sometimes use them to punish Israel (or so the prophets explain their frequent defeats).

In A.D 36-7 Paul fled Damascus. When he says he 'returned' does he mean that, after he was converted he went into Arabia and then 'returned' (for the first time) to Damascus or did he flee Damascus into Arabia and the 'return' to Damascus. Why would he go back where he had escaped from? At any rate, after three years he went up to Jerusalem and saw Cephus (Peter) and James, brother of Jesus (Odd that Paul swears that he is not lying. We have seen that he uses this term when he is not being totally honest or putting his own slant on events)
Then after 14 years (from when?) he went up to Jerusalem for the council. Since the earliest date from which this can be judged is around AD 36/7, this places what is evidently the council of Jerusalem around AD 50/51.

Galatians 2.1 "Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles." Acts 15.1 "And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."

Again he rather belittles the apostles of 'High Esteem'

Galatians 2.6 "As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along."

If he had been doing this all along it is clear that he is referring to his collecting amongst the Gentile churches for the famine. But that had been in AD 45. Why would James and Peter have been asking Paul to go on collecting for famine relief that was no longer needed? The whole NT report of the council looks like a cover - up. Paul talks of a revelation but Acts says that he went up to get a ruling. Effectively, he was summoned to explain himself. We already saw that Paul played the observing Jew upon arrival at the suggestion of James.

Acts 15. 4 "And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up,.."

It is not convincing that those who required circumcision by those who become converts were just a few Pharisees. Effectively the whole Jesus party were observing Jews and Peter's supposed speech against observance of the Mosaic rites, which silenced all there and won the case for Paul, does not fit with Paul's argument with Peter about not eating with Gentiles which also seemed to have persuaded many others.

Gal.2. 12 "For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray."

We see that it was James who sent these men. James was an observing Jew and Peter at least tried to be. How then can we believe the Gospels that show Jesus dismissing all these observances as irrelevant? And how can we believe Paul when he claims that nothing was added to his message, which was that the Mosaic law didn't matter, only Faith in Jesus. Luke in Acts goes a bit further supposing that James wrote a vague letter about abstaining from blood and Idols which we saw James referring to as having been sent out before the council, when Paul arrived.

Acts 15. 28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."

Acts 21. 20 "When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law. 21 They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. 22 What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come, 23 so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. 24 Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. 25 As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them."

While this is placed after the council it is surely before, as the missionary Journeys are shown in Acts as occurring after the council of Jerusalem when we have already seen Paul (probably on the last of these missions) going round the churches of Greece with the collecting tin.
And so in Galatians, we see Paul putting a gloss on what was actually laid on him at the council and admonishing the Gentile churches not to listen to those false apostles who are undermining his gospel.with a 'gospel' saying that they have to observe the Mosaic Law. Gal. 4. 20 "...I am perplexed about you! ....21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?" Gal,5 2 "I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law."

Paul as we have seen, does not keep the whole law. Indeed he condemns those circumcised who are zealous to keep it even though he is willing to play the observing Jew when he is trying to persuade. One could argue that he distinguishes between those who can't help it that they have been circumcised and those who decide to go for it, but that's a rather nice distinction, which of course Paul does not explain.

And we find echoes of that remark which I pointed out to our pal WilsonCole, the remark that looked as though Paul was saying that lying to make converts is not a sin.

Gal 5. 10 "I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view (than mine). The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!"

To claim that he is preaching circumcision is really trying it on.

I don't want to be unfair to Paul. His intentions were of the best. He wanted his fellow citizens - gentiles - to share in the Abrahamic promise of salvation and he spoke harshly of any who, he felt, were taking that away from them by insisting that gentiles could not unless they adopted the jewish law.

In some part this draws on a former post about Paul and his theology and relations with the apostles. Can be read here. (post #18)

Show and Tell.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 01-20-2012 at 06:16 AM.. Reason: restore the Italics to the quotes.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:20 AM
Location: South Africa
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Great post AREQUIPA
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Old 01-20-2012, 08:26 AM
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~ I've had my own issues with the whole counsel of Paul.

I've come to the conclusion in his letters
that we're seeing him also grow-in-The Lord.
Within contradictions.

What bothers me most is
his contradiction of some of the things Jesus Himself taught!
I think he should have 'conferred' more with 'The Apostles 0f The Lamb'!

Paul rebukes Peter for flip-flopping once.
When Paul does the same thing.

When people believe that every word Paul wrote
is the infallible inerrant Word 0f God?
I assure them they don't even believe what they call 'scripture'.
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:31 AM
Status: "...We are closing in..." (set 7 days ago)
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Thanks a million for your post - usually a post of this kind is stonily ignored.

As I suggested above, set out in more detail in the referenced link and have argued in post after post, it is Paul who went in the gospel direction from the more Torah -observant Apostles who of course followed the lead of their messiah who (it follows) was also an observant Jew. Paul initiates the movement away from circumcision and clean food and the the like and the gospel goes even further, adding to it a writing down of the Temple and dismissal of Sabbath observance.

The conclusion (and there is much more evidence to support this contention) is that the Gospels, and the Jesus depicted in them goes much further than Paul who did not identify Jesus with God, did not consider the Jews had a devil for a father and saw the resurrection in spiritual rather than physical terms.

The Gospels has a Jesus (and John, too) who is hostile to the Pharisees - his own people originally, and their laws and customs, and is more than partial to gentiles, Romans preferably, but Samaritans would do at a pinch. The gospels were written by Christians.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:11 PM
Location: On the Edge of the Fringe
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No !!! I have Railed against Paul all along. I won't re-rail

Bishop Spong put it best
"The word of Paul is the word of Paul, not the word of god" Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism 1992
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Old 01-20-2012, 11:59 PM
Location: South Africa
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The JWO, Red Letter Bible and Mid Acts folk tend to share the same opinion of Paul. It is a long study and I think you have touched most of the salient points relating to his alleged teachings. When you glance over at the xian forum, most texts cited are from Paul and very little from the gospels showing just how much credence Paul is given. Personally I do not think Paul existed and was a fabrication just like jesus was in the way of embellishment. The setting the scene for getting paid for being a religious guru in the way of misappropriated tithing was needed if the new Roman church was to survive. Some of the gnostic gospels paint a whole different picture of jesus and also were not first hand accounts. The pauline accounts do not infer a trinity and I have said elsewhere, I seriously doubt paul was a pharisee as claimed.

What also stands out as weird is why would jesus suddenly choose a total stranger to teach the gentiles when he had 11 surviving followers to pick from? I always took it to be that b/c Paul was a pharisee, he knew the scriptures of the OT and was best equipped to take this knowledge to the heathen/pagans. Based on the narrative of the gospels, jesus' ministry was not only to the jews but also to the gentiles. The pig debacle is evidence this was not a jewish community and the dude released of legion became the 1st witness to the gentiles about jesus, not Paul. The narrative also suggests jesus returned to this region. Initially he did the casting out and departed immediately.

Where the gospels tend to oppose the religious system (sometimes) of the day, Paul takes it to a whole different level and makes crap up as he goes along which anyway tends to be what folk still do today.

The damascus road incident lends credence to the concept of a complete turn around/repentance of his actions towards the xians and as the epistles continue, he makes erroneous errors and flip flops on doctrinal issues. Even the apostles have a Moderator cut: edigt moment with Paul's teachings but as he is not bugging the jewish xians to much he pretty much gets left to do his own thing. It is assumed that the disciples/apostles gave him their blessings but this IMO was fabricated.

The early church with Peter and co seems to fade away rather quickly and we are left only with the narrative of Paul and some minor interjections by Peter, John and James assuming these were actually their words. The apocalypse of peter is a real eye opener that deviates from the meek and mild deer leeder of the new church.

There is just too much info missing from that era so one has to wonder what was transcribed and not allowed to be included in the canon. Even Paul's account of speaking of the unknown god seems rather suspicious to me. Pagans would know what their edifices represented and the idea there was one conveniently pointing to that which they did not know about seems rather, well, convenient.

If anything, my guess is that Paul was not as successful as made out to be, his stuff just made the canon as it in time incorporated the pagan concepts and making jesus into a demi god was par for the mindset of that era considering early Greek and Roman pagan concepts.

Last edited by june 7th; 01-22-2012 at 08:03 AM..
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Old 01-21-2012, 04:18 AM
Status: "...We are closing in..." (set 7 days ago)
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Thanks. Intriguing post. I have to consider the possibility that the whole Christian thing is entirely myth and Paul was invented, the apostles were invented and Paul was invented.

I have to say that I am convinced that Jesus, his followers and Paul were real people, mainly because of the principle of embarrassment. There is so much that the NT material has to explain away and gloss over and which I have to think would not have been invented by someone making it all up - the choice of Crucifixion - the Roman rulers' penalty for rebellion, the disputes with the apostles - Paul has to explain his wrangle with Peter and questioning of his bona fides. The problem of Jesus being a Galilean and, not least, the fact that he was killed.

It is possible that it could have been the Jewish war and the liberal use of Crucifixion that influenced the Jesus story, and that Paul was an invention to take Christianity away from Judaism, but I am at the moment going with a real basis.

On the other hand, examination of the writings of Paul compared with Acts (by Luke) convinces me that his ideas were his own and were based more on his desire to extend the promise of Abrahamic salvation to his fellow - citizens than on any revelation from above. His tortuous argument with mined Bible - quotes out of context (the pedigree of Christian apologetics at least is venerable! ) are intended to justify this outcome.

Similarly I am convinced that examination of the gospels reveals that there is a huge amount of invention and Christian propaganda laid over an original common story of a Jewish messiah -candidate who was crucified by a Pilate, just as Tacitus reports. And Tacitus is the only historical mention of Jesus for which I go further than doubt.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 01-21-2012 at 04:39 AM..
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:35 AM
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Default Stealing From Peter To Pay Paul?

Peter being The Key Master.
Opened the door to The Gentiles for other Apostles.
Which Paul admitted. - Acts 10 - 14:27

So the door to the gentiles wasn't opened by Paul, but Peter!

"Men & brethern you know that a good while ago (it was well known)
God Chose Among us that by my mouth The Gentiles should hear
The Word 0f The Gospel And Believe. - Acts 15:7

As well at this time (acts 10) was when through The Apostle Peter.
The gentiles also first received The Holy Spirit. Just as The Apostles.

The Apostle Peter was the first Apostle to the gentiles.
Not Paul.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:51 AM
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~ Of course there was a rift between them.

Paul wanted to be an Apostle to The Children 0f Israel.
Paul had a zeal for Israel.

But, The 12 Apostles 0f The Lamb was reserved for
those who had walk with the Lord
from the time of John's baptism. - Acts 1:21-26

For Jesus told them, "when The Son 0f Man sits on The Throne 0f His Glory
you who have followed Me,
will also sit on 12 Thrones Judging The 12 Tribes 0f Israel." - Mat.19:28
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:40 AM
Status: "...We are closing in..." (set 7 days ago)
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I take your point that Paul says that Peter used to eat with the Gentiles and even says that he lived like a gentile. I find it strange and I don't know that Paul is to be trusted in what he relates, but yes, perhaps Peter was a sort of Nazorene liaison with the gentiles. Perhaps he did put in a word for Paul at the Council though the speech Luke ascribes to him doesn't convince.

That 15.7 remark reflects Luke's Pauline view that Jesus favoured Gentiles as more faithful than Jews, and the Apostles were already including gentiles as equals with those of the 'circumcision' who are shown as making a fuss about the need of the gentiles to be circumcised. However, even if some sort of 'way' was opened up to those gentiles who were interested in Judaism and who might convert (Helena of Adiabene was a notable one of these), I argue that even Luke's account as well as the epistles indicate that this didn't sideline the Jewish Law in the way Jesus is shown as favouring.

Paul's writings show that his doctrine that Gentiles needn't convert, but could be as much God's people simply through Jesus- Faith, was entirely his own idea and was not approved by the Jews (as he says himself) and there are indications in the wrangle at Antioch and the Council of Jerusalem and the sponsoring of 4 Jews at the suggestion of James, plus the deprecating references to the senior apostles and sneering a the 'super apostles', that the followers of Jesus, including Peter, did not agree with and even tried to undermine his doctrine.

I agree it does require a bit of consideration of the text but I have given support for it and have considered all of the Epistles and Acts in this respect.

As for the 'Twelve thrones' this is a remark that was circulating and picked up by Matthew and Luke (Q material) but isn't mentioned by Mark, which shows that it was not in the original Synoptic document. Further, Matthew places it at the Jordan in connection with the Rich young ruler and the disciples' reward, whereas Luke places it at the end of the last supper in connection with the 'who is greatest' wrangle.

This is not Jesus' own words, but something they saw fit to add in contradictory places in their gospels. It is not to be trusted or cited as proof of anything.

P.s I have to make it plain that Luke is not reliable either in the gospel or Acts, where he mixes up his history and lies about the reason Paul had to escape Damascus. His accusation that the 'Jews' wanted to kill Paul while Paul himself makes it clear that he was fleeing the Nabatean army shows that Luke was lying in order to smear the Jews.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 01-21-2012 at 10:51 AM..
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