Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jesus or Paul?

Do Christians, ministers, churches and Christianity focus too much on the apostle Paul? Are Christians becoming or have become Paulians? Do Christians focus more on Paul, read more of Paul, follow more of Paul than they do Jesus Christ? Would Christianity be different if Christians gave more importance on the teachings of Jesus rather than Paul? Building Church doctrines on Jesus rather than Paul? How would the church function and look if it focused, studied, preached, followed was influenced more by Jesus and the gospel than Paul's letters? Do you find it interesting that the apostle Paul never in any of his letters apologizes to the church or the families for persecuting the church and killing Christian? Would Paul have as much influence today if he had done what he had done to Christians? Would Christians listen to him, base church doctrine on him if Paul were present in modern times? Should the church focus more on Jesus than Paul? Why or why not? Why do we focus so much on Paul? Should we? Is it time for the church to base church doctrines on that of Jesus than Paul? Should we focus more on the gospels than on Paul and his letters? How can Christians, the church, shift its focus?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts?


Blogger sattler said...

There is an issue of Paul and Jesus. There's also a matter of the church and the Kingdom of God. There's even a question of Jesus and Christ. What lies underneath all of these is a tension between what faith needs to stay the same (i.e. authenticity and identity) and what what faith requires for renewal (i.e. relevance and incarnation). The way I put that recently was Why Jerusalem Needs Antioch (and Visa Versa):

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of the bible is the inspired word of God. All of it is exactly how God wanted it to be. Consider 2 Tim 3:16. The teachings of Paul and the other apostles have the same weight as Jesus because they were teaching with the authority of God. To say otherwise would indicate one does not believe the Bible is the inspired word of God or "God breathed". Giving more credence to the teachings in the Gospels than the rest of the New Testament also shows one believes there are contradictions present in the teachings.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous laymond said...

Anon. lets do exactly that lets look at what Paul said to Timothy-- and lets look at something else people like yourself tends to ignore-- when he said it.

2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
(lets look at what Paul said just before he said this)
2Ti 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them];
(Paul said here you have been taught by good teachers)

2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
(Paul says here the time which he learned As we see the time at which this was said determines a lot, starting when Timothy was a child. Therefore Paul could not have been speaking of New Testament Scripture)

2Ti 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

( the teachers that Paul thought so highly of was Timothy's mother and grandmother, Eunice, and Lois)
Paul had to be speaking of Old Testament Scripture "Holy Scripture" Scripture spoken by God guided prophets.
since there was no New Testament at the time he spoke it.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous laymond said...

Pardon me for going back to a previous post but-----
It's so strange to me that many today when asked what version of the bible they use, They nearly always answer another besides the KJV. When asked why, usualy say , it is easier to read and understand, or it has newer research back up.
But you ask why they believe in the "Trinity God" , they run to the KJV and 1Jo 5:7 as fast as their little fingers can run. Why ? not because it is harder to read, but because it backs up what they already believe. When actually there is no place in 1 John that says there was a trinity in God. The only reason the three was mentioned, was to insure a true witness.
Jhn 5:31 ¶ If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. (then he went on to disclose three witnesses,John, The Father, and scriptures) (that is exactly what John was doing in 1 John 5. nothing more.
Jhn 8:17 It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true.
Jhn 8:18 I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.

KJV 1Jo 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
1Jo 5:6 ¶ This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
1Jo 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
KJV - 1Jo 5:8 - And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

1Jo 5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1Jo 5:6 This is the one who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
NIV 1Jo 5:7 For there are three that testify:
* Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century)
NIV - 1Jo 5:8 - the* Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
* Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century)

Do you think the KJV people found something no one else has found, or do you think they made it to fit their belief, that God is three?

10:07 AM  
Anonymous laymond said...

Yes, I believe there would be a great difference in Church, if we only followed Jesus instead of Paul's directions.
I have heard it said that Paul has done with the pen, what he failed to do with the sword.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Stephen Phillip Porter said...

Hello Preacherman,

This is an interesting post. I think the problem isn't with Paul so much as with the people misinterpreting Paul.

It's just like Peter says, "And consider [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation--as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable [people] twist to their own destruction, as [they do] also the rest of the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

There's a book called Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined in His Own Time that does an amazing job putting Paul and his writings into perspective.

My blog is called Manifest Blog if you're interested.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Gary Mabry said...

Check out Matt 26 - Sheeps and Goats - judgement day - If you did not do this to the least of these - naked-hungry -thristy -in prison - you did it not unto me!

2:11 PM  
Anonymous David said...

I think we should quit giving focus on Paul and go back to the gospel and the red letters.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a red letter Christian. I base my life and ministry on the teachings of Jesus only.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Thom said...

The words and life of Christ, and His sacrfice for me are so real and vital. My desire is to be like Christ. Nothing trumps that. Still, Paul's life and his letters speak to me because of his imperfections and his desire to honor God with his life. His letters are divinely inspired and in God's Word for His purpose. Still, if I had only Paul's letters to read and no Christ? I would be be condemned to hell. As for Paul not apologizing? I think he was aware that he had been forgiven and changed and, in sharing God's power to do that to him, he has enormous impact.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Paul G said...

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was Jesus.
Jesus was and is and spoke the Word in Genesis who said, 'let there be light and there was light'.
Jesus is the spoken Word just as He is the written Word of God (the Bible) personified in flesh, Jesus Christ of Nazareth (John 1:1).

The Bible is Gods Word (Jesus Word) and not Paul's word or any other Apostles word.
Paul and any other man of God spoke and wrote by the same Spirit which was in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You and anyone who has received the same Spirit as did Paul, should be able to speak, preach, teach and write just as Paul did, and then it wouldn't be your words but the words of Christ Jesus who lives in you, and then all the glory would be to Jesus and not to Paul or you.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Paul G said...

I like your comment on the Trinity "the three witnesses".
You should have pointed that out on the Trinity post, 1 John 5 is great stuff!

Also, it wasn't Paul that persecuted the Church with the sword, but Saul of Tarsus was that murderer (Acts 8:1).

In Christ Jesus Saul died with Christ and was buried, and by Jesus resurrection Paul was raised and born again a new creation, a brand new man with a new name 'Paul, and old things have passed away and behold all things are new. ;-)

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you believe that the Bible is inspired than we have every right to imitate Paul - (1 Corinthians 11:1) Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. What’s wrong with that? As far as I know there is no passage where Paul the Christian was not Christ –like. We have every right to imitate Paul, but simply because he imitated Christ. Think about it, Paul was prophesied about and handpicked by Christ to be his vessel, to preach his gospel and handpicked to be the author of so many wonderful NT books. Giving thought to that I find it interesting that some would seek to blame Paul for the shape of the church. I challenge those of that opinion to bring one accusation against Paul. Paul himself challenged people in the first century to do it and they couldn’t and it still can’t be done. All that Paul did was out of love for people. Was he possibly harsh at times? Could have been. Was Christ harsh at times? Could have been, he did turn the tables over and drive people out of the temple, he did call people hypocrites. In fact I think we need more people like Paul who are not afraid to give everything up, who are not afraid to lose friends, and who are not afraid of being political incorrect in order that others might see their sins and come to the Savior. I think we need to be real careful of bringing accusations against our brother Paul – consider Jude 1:9 and 2 Pet 2:10-11.

Also here is some food for thought.

The church possibly before the early 60’s only had the written letters of James and Paul and somehow they thrived. If you put the book of Mark in the early 60’s the church would have had the book of James and 6 six books (Gal. 1& 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians and Romans) written by Paul from possible the early 40s to the 60s. So if we are going to go “back” to anything it would be the letters of Paul –( just sayin)

Paul wrote 6 books before Mark was written, 9 before Luke was written, and 13 before Matthew and John.

So to somehow say that the Gospels are more important than the other books of the NT is not right. Let’s do what Paul did and preach the whole counsel of God.


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