Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Jesus versus Paul… the false dichotomy: updated

Jesus versus Paul… the false dichotomy.

Some people are stating Paul taught contrary to Jesus.  I believe that if you read the Bible without the concept of continuity you miss the point.  Jesus also taught against many OT laws and traditions. This means inessence Jesus was a ‘false’ teacher of the OT if you read the OT as most Jews would have read it.  Yet, again, one must understand the concept of continuity and progressive revelation. For me, setting Paul and Jesus against each other confuses and hurts the value of understanding how to read the bible in a faithful way.  Even Paul spoke that he received his revelation from Jesus and not other men.

Paul addressed Peter's hypocrisy, which later Peter acknowledged.  I have no trouble with Jesus or Paul as Peter speaks of Paul as an authority and faithful to the teachings of Jesus. The issue I see with the Jesus versus Paul debate is the lack of understanding of the continuity of progressive revelation.  Paul speaks to the mature believer that there is no God but The One True one. That these pagan sacrifices to demons mean nothing in the reality of Christ. The idea is not to make someone who lacks maturity of faith in Christ who cannot deal or understand there is only One God.  Many new believers believed Jesus as one of the many Gods to choose.  Meaning that there was still the progression of understanding the concept of monotheism.  There are no other Gods but YHWH.

Therefore, in recap, Peter, an apostle who walked with Jesus saw Paul as authentic though they argued.  Peter later agreed he was untrue to the revelation given at the house of Cornelius where God declared all unclean animals clean… meaning that the gentiles were now grafted into the Kingdom.  The idea that many miss between Jesus and Paul is Jesus taught before the Cross, to Jews.  Paul speaks after the Cross to both gentiles and Jew and expresses the ramifications of the Cross and Resurrection.

I see Paul was much like Moses.  Moses and Paul were well educated in their culture (Moses in Egyptian understanding and Paul in Greek philosophy). Paul was well educated in Judaism as well so could speak to both Jew and Gentile. Peter was revealed that the gentiles were now accepted and Paul was commissioned to go to the gentile and preach the good news.  Paul speaks on some hard things, however as I read him more and understand the context, Paul is not a woman hater or a gay - basher, but was against paganism entering the worship of Jesus.  I can go into that more another time.  The main issue with Paul now, is that translators have a sort of twisted Paul’s words or switched out words like “sodomy” that had more violent intentions that included gay rape (Read up on Domitian and you will see exactly who Paul describes) and change it to homosexuality.  This has twisted the meaning of what Paul really stated to mean something he did not say. 

For more info, I recommend these two articles by Scot McKnight
Jesus vs. Paul: An Interview with Scot McKnight about the Gospel
Jesus vs. Paul

This saga continues as I try to explain to my friend that there is no God but The One True God, so eating meat sacrificed to idols means nothing if you understand that truth.

Are Allah or the moon god, or Zeus, Dagon, Moloch, the flying spaghetti monster, really gods?  Just that thought is idolatry. Again, you miss the continuity of how Monotheism evolved. Abram believed in the True God out of many gods... even the Jews believed this way until around the time of David. The understanding took time that God (Father, Son, Spirit) make up the One True God and there are no others.

Interestingly, Ireanius writes that when Paul writes "The god of this world has blinded them..." that this was contrary to Paul's own theology. Paul wrote it, "The God (the Creator of all) of the world has blinded them..." Paul did not, nor should any Believer in Jesus, acknowledge any other "god" as there is NONE to acknowledge 1.So, logic dictates eating meat sacrificed to idols is null and void as there is no other God. Instead, give thanks and the food is blessed. The caution is about those who still believe other gods exist and their conscious cannot allow them the freedom that is in Christ to overcome the fear of worshiping a false God.

I have eaten with many other religions and eat knowing that My God is great and the ONLY TRUE GOD while the god mentioned does not exist. My conscious is clear. Besides that.... The Law was given to the Jews, not the Gentile. I have never been under the Law as a gentile. Rather, I was grafted into the Chosen via Jesus, not by observing the Law. I came to believe by faith not works.

Again, the fact someone is even worried about eating meat sacrificed to other gods shows a lack of faith in Christ and exposes the idolatry in their own heart as they still do not believe in the One True God.


1. Translated by Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut. From Ante-Nicene FathersVol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103307.htm