Scott, Jesus clearly teaches the opposite. Jesus said the Law would endure until there was a new heaven and earth; until then not a jot or title would pass away. Matt 5:17-19; Luke 16:17 (a totally 2d time in a different context where Jesus repeats this.) Jesus taught least would a man be called who taught you to disobey the Law (give Moses), but greatest who taught you to obey the Law. (Matt 5:17-19.) When Jesus resurrected and was about to ascend, His final words were to teach “all men everything that I commanded you.” The Great Commission, as it is known. (Matt 28:16-20.)
But you teach that Jesus came to Paul and gave a completely opposite teaching that the Law was abrogated, extinguishing the Lord’s commands on the Law, etc. You are banking your eternal regard as Jesus describes it all on Paul. But Jesus warned many would come in the wilderness, like outside Damascus, where they will come in His name, like saying “I am Jesus.” (Acts 9:5), but you will know it is not the true Jesus speaking if He is not seen from “east to west” like lightning, but instead is seen only by one man (Paul) while those with him “heard the voice but saw no one.” (Acts 9:7). See Matt 24:4-5, 26-27. Our Lord warned of an imposter Jesus – a false Christ — coming to the wilderness to decieve many. The prior verse Luke describes Paul as uttering “murderous threats” — hardly a man of spiritual discernment of what is happening in his encounter with “Jesus” in the wilderness outside Damascus.
So Scott, please ask yourself whether you are you listening to the messengers of the true Christ, like Matthew delivered? Or have you come to prefer the message of the “Jesus’ whom someone claims to have seen in the wilderness but no one else did? These Jesus-delivered tests do not merely apply to Joseph Smith to dismiss him as Smith too claims he saw a light and voice Jesus in the wilderness at age 14 — the very first spiritual encounter he claims. The same test applies equally to Paul. The proof this is material is you can see that Paul is at odds with our Lord on a fundamental point.
By the way, you are citing Hebrews for the notion that the New Testament did away with the original testament. But have you ever studied the rationale in Hebrews? in Hebrews 9:16? It reads: “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator." (Heb. 9:16, KJV) Barnabas who wrote Hebrews (per Tertullian) is saying in context that Yahweh/Father died at the cross, but did not revive for if he did, and the testator lived, then the New Testament would go away. But the New Testament lives because the original testator is dead. This same horrible notion is in Romans 7:1-7 if you read it carefully. It says when the “husband” (Yahweh at Sinai in context) dies, the Law between his wife and Him dies, but if he lives, the Law between them is alive. So you see, both Paul and Barnabas predicate the law’s abrogation on the supposed permanent death of Yahweh — albeit never saying His name — because otherwise if the testator (Yahweh) lives or the husband (Yahweh) lives, then the original testament would revive, but as long as He remains dead, we get to enjoy the New Testament. If that blasphemy alone does not convince you who Paul met on the Road to Damascus, I don’t know what can possibly move your soul to listen to Your Lord Jesus. The utter insult on God in Romans 7:1-7 and Hebrews 9:15-17 is the predicate of the doctrine you are relying upon.
I urge you to reconsider. Yahweh spoke from heaven 2x in Jesus’ ministry – both times He said of Jesus ‘Listen to him.” Similarly, in Deut 18:18-19 reads
“18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.”
Do you want to be called to account as “least”? (Paul’s Latin name Pauxilus, FYI, means “least.”) Or to be called “great” in the kingdom of heaven? Please brother make the right choice. This is why I insist the NT are Jesus’ Words Only — whom Paul never quotes except the liturgy — another hint. Blessings and Shalom, Doug
Scott's Response July 25, 2013
Scott responds below with essentially a condescending notion that I don't "understand what we believe," when I once believed it too! He insists I "must be able to think from that position," but indeed, I did! I was there, and thought about the issues I am raising. Here is Scott's response:
You will never be able to convince me or anyone like me until you understand what we believe, and then you must be able to think from that position.
First, to understand this position, you must think from the understanding that Jesus fulfilled and continues to fulfill the Law and the Prophets (Matt 5:17-19). See, the references to “fulfill in Matthew 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:14, 35; 21:4; 26:54, 56; 27:9, 35 etc. How else are we to interpret “fulfill” when the word refers to fulfilling the coming of Christ? You must realize that Jesus saved us from the Law nailing it to the cross (Col. 2:12-17). Also, Jesus expanded upon the commands that Jesus presented from the Old Covenant, but establishing principles of the New Covenant. As you presented Luke 16:17, the Law and Prophets are until John the Baptist, and certainly not one jot or tittle will fail. Amen. Yet, this does not make your points or affirm another Sabbath from the Old Covenant.
Romans 7:1-7 refers to the believer, who dies with Christ being no longer under the Law. “[T]he law has dominion over a man as long as he lives” (Rom. 7:1). “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ” (Rom. 7:4). “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7:6). This is our position based on Scripture for which you must be able to think from to understand.
Hebrews 9:16-18 is clearly referring to Jesus’ death establishing the New Covenant, and His sacrifice appeased the law of the Old Covenant (Heb. 9:11-15).
To think like us, you will have to think from all of the Christian Scriptures including Paul’s writings (Romans to Hebrews). You can’t reject Paul, and then quote Luke, who was his close associate that joined him at Troas and wrote the Gospel and Acts while with Paul through 2 visits to Jerusalem. You cannot refer to Matthew’s Gospel without explaining how Matthew was accepted alone as “Scripture” and the other writings rejected. Luke referred to Matthew as one of the previously written narratives, and his writing was added to Matthew (Luke 1:1-3, 1 Tim. 5:18, 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Without Paul, then Peter and John are excluded for being in fellowship and accepting Paul’s epistles as Scripture too (2 Pet. 1:16-21, 3:15-16, 1 John 1:1-4). All the churches of the world accepted Paul, so you would have to conclude that the spread of Christianity was an erroneous and heretical form.
Why has the law for the priests, worship, and the Temple changed (Heb. 7-10)?
You have got to understand that when you come to Christ and the Bible with an honest heart and without any other teachings. This understanding of the New Testament is where we always arrive.
My Reply To Scott July 25, 2013
Dear Brother Scott,
As I explained to you once before, I have believed identically to you,and believed the Law was abrogated, etc. I am only saying you must follow Jesus' teachings, and no one else. I fully accept Luke, and Luke's Acts. You have not read my writings, so you don't understand what I even believe. Please read my article Luke is A Non-Pauline Gospel. http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/recommendedreading/465-luke-is-a-legitimate-gospel-history.html
In that article, you will see conservative Christians scholars generally agree that Luke's Gospel contradicts Paul (for it too teaches the Law continues in Luke 16:7), and that obeying the Law is the key to eternal life (Luke 19:16-26).
And conservative Christian scholars generally believe that Luke's Acts reveals Luke does not know the epistles of Paul as Luke depicts Paul as (a) murderous and with murderous threats on his lips in Acts 9:1 when the vision of Jesus happens, although Paul says prior to his conversion he was "as touching the Law, righteous," as a Pharisee; (b) as Paul never being appointed an apostle by Jesus in the 3 vision accounts in Acts 9, 22, and 26, but only as a "witness" (martus), at odds with Paul's repeated claims in his epistles to be an apostle; and (c) embarrassingly quotes Paul endorsing the Law's total validity at odds with the epistolary Paul. See Acts 24:14:
"14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets...." (Acts 24:14 NIV.)
As these examples are all at odds with the epistolary Paul, you will read in my article that conservative scholars say Paul had a secret doctrine that either Luke did not know about or was willing to keep from the book of Acts. (I think the former, as the latter unjustly implies duplicity upon Luke's part.) Thus, Luke's Gospel and Acts are precisely the most important books in the NT to read! They don't help you. They help Jesus' point in Matt 24:4-5 and 24-27 about an imposter Jesus...a warning to be taken seriously!
What we need to realize is that Paul hid himself from even Luke! So by your citing Luke's Gospel and Acts to me as if they prove I am wrong means you don't understand that they are the greatest proof that Luke is what helps us most see Jesus' warnings in Matt 24:4-5 and 25-27 fit Paul. Luke was oblivious how so. He was simply honestly recording events and statements involving Paul.
I think Mormons might say the same thing you say to me in response to followers who believe Jesus' warning in Matt 24 applies to the vision of Joseph Smith in the "wilderness" of a great light, and a voice that says "I am Jesus" (kid you not!) at age 14. What would you think if followers who question Smith were told like you tell me that they "must" simply think and believe the way the rest of the Mormons think in order to even raise the issue?
Joseph Smith knew the problem Matt 24 represented. Did you know Joseph Smith retranslated those verses in Matt 24:4-5 and 25-27 in a special 'oracle' from Jesus that said 'Christianity got it wrong' and hence removed the parts of Jesus' warning that implicated his vision as an imposter Jesus?
But most Christians do the same thing as Joseph Smith by simply ignoring Jesus' warning of an imposter Jesus, insisting that they don't see the application. See my article at this link. It is time we obey Jesus's warnings, not Paul's subversion of God's Law. Then we might listen to Jesus, and take seriously His words and commands.
Blessings, and Shalom, Doug
Scott's Response July 26, 2013
No one should have to read your article or mine to know what the Truth is. Yet, I have read your articles and I will look this other one. I find it quite unfathomable to not consider Luke’s writings apart from under the Apostle Paul when Luke traveled with Paul when Paul wrote 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Galatians, Romans, and 1 & 2 Corinthians. you accuse Paul of deceiving Luke. How do you know that?
These “scholars” that you speak of are not “most”. These claims against Paul are without 2 or 3 witnesses. Again, you cannot reject Paul and not reject Peter and John who accepted Paul (2 Pet. 1:16-21, 3:15-16, 1 John 1:1-4). Most people cast out Paul for their reasons, because they do not homosexuality being condemned or women learning from men and subordinating. Those of the kind of so-called “scholars” that speak against Paul. Show me that I am wrong. I think you know that this is true.
What witnesses do you have against Paul? What weaknesses do you find of his defense in 2 Corinthians and Galatians?
My Reply to Scott 9/1/2013
I apologize for not responding sooner. I work as an attorney, and I have had numerous work pressures that have prevented an earlier reply. The Labor Day weekend is my first break in over a month.
First, you find it unfathomable to read Luke without reading Paul in context. I agree with you. That is how you know there is a problem. The Christian scholars I mention mostly defend Paul, and say Luke got it wrong based upon Paul's contrary epistles or that Luke deliberately hid Paul's "secret doctrine." I fairly present their arguments in my article Luke Is A Non-Pauline Gospel.
So good Christian scholars agree Luke never calls Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, and by mentioning Matthias in Ch. 1 as replacing Judas, actually excludes the concept. But Paul says he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. The scholars note the contradiction, and they say they prefer to accept Paul's version.
But what is the duty of a true follower of Jesus -- our Lord? We are to be Bereans. Unless Luke lied about Matthias, Paul cannot be a true apostle of Jesus Christ. For Christ tells us multiple times there are only 12 into eternity to sit on the 12 thrones to judge the 12 tribes. (PS 2 tribes were of Gentile stock. 2 sons of the Egyptian wife of Joseph). So the KOG is an inclusive one -with only 12 judges - the 12 apostles, including Matthias.
Paul also in front of Luke says the Law is still valid and he believes in all of it, and all the prophets. Paul says this under oath in a courtroom!
"14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets...." (Acts 24:14 NIV.)
We all know the Epistolary Paul teaches the opposite. What can we say about Luke's intention in recording Acts 24:14?
Luke's gospel repeatedly affirms the Law, and its continuity. Jesus in Luke's Gospel tells the rich ruler (not identified as a Jew, FYI) that eternal life depends upon keeping the Law, quoting several of the 10 commandments. Luke 18:18-29 NIV. Jesus in Luke's Gospel teaches "17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law." (Luke 16:16-17 NIV.) These are words similar to Matt 5:17-19 given at the Sermon on the Mount. But in Luke this is a second and different occassion, suggesting Jesus stressed this point.
So unlike the Christian scholars cited in my article, I think the better explanation -- using Berean testing -- is Luke honestly believed Paul's statement to Felix. This implicates Paul then in likely keeping to himself his views that Luke would regard as apostasy from the teachings of Jesus. Paul defends acting Law-adherent around those who thought the Law was still valid (which includes Luke obviously), explained in Paul's letter to the Corinthians:
"For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without the law as without law... that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 1Corinthians 9:19-22
The only other solution is that Luke was being duplicitous - which actualy Rackham suggests or implies, saying Luke was keeping from us Paul's secret doctrines that were properly not for the masses to hear. (Again, please see my article cited above for proof.)
You have therefore misunderstood me again as saying not to read Luke and Pauline Epistles together. Rather, I defend reading them together. This is the greatest way of knowing Luke was in the dark about the most fundamental doctrines of Paul that cast Paul as an apostate FROM JESUS, which Luke would certainly have been able to recognize had Paul said anything against the Law. This means Paul behaved around Luke -- someone Paul knew carried a different Gospel from Paul's Gospel - with circumspection, just as 1 Cor. 9:19-22 defends as appropriate ethical behavior.
Then you say the scholars I cite are not "most" -- and lacks 2 or 3 witnesses for support. First, I am glad to see you are invoking the Law given Moses to do a Berean testing on me. But let's do the same thing with Paul. Luke even showed that was proper by citing the Bereans. (But even a Berean can make a mistake if Paul is using the ethics of 1 Cor.9:19 in their presence to keep the Bereans in the dark.) So let's see by looking at my article whether I have 2-3 witnesses for this conclusion:
Witnesses pro that Luke Could Not Have Known of Epistolary Paul For Luke Would Not Deliberately Want to Contradict Paul: F.C. Bauer, R.B. Rackham (top evangelical expert on the book of Acts), and Wikipedia (summarizing this view among many other scholars). So I do have 2-3 witnesses. I would also include Paul and Luke, for they are directly contrary to one another on numerous points (which is the basis for the scholarly acknowledgement of the problem in the first place).
Finally, you say people cast out Paul for their dislike of his doctrines, and imply that is what I am doing. As I have said repeatedly, if Paul were a true prophet, it does not matter if we like what he says. We follow it. And I stick by that. Perhaps you are curious why I went down this road. I was a faith-alone, dispensational, law-is-gone guy and pro-eternal security believer before I ever asked the question about Paul.
However, I came to view Jesus's parables of weeping and gnashing as unquestionably directed at Christians in 7 of the 9 passages. Hell was the threat. Hence, eternal security cannot be true. My concern about Paul's validity was that he had many eternal security passages (which are pretty clear). I have a scholar certificate in classical languages, and I can read Greek, and tried every solution imaginable to reconcile those verses in Paul to Jesus, but I just could not do it. (Of course, as Corner proves, Paul has many different verses that support Paul rejects eternal security. But then I could not erase the contradiction between those verses and many other passages in Paul which are cited in support of eternal security.) So I asked my wife one day: why are we bothering with Paul?
So I decided to do a Berean testing using the test for a false prophet given by God to weigh / examine subsequent prophets for validity. And that is an objective clear test: do they contradict the 10 commandments (Isaiah 8:20)? Or do they tell you not to follow the Law given Moses (Deut 13:1-5)?
Because Paul teaches in Romans 7:1-7 and elsewhere the law is gone even for Jews, and the Sabbath is gone (one of the 10 commandments) in Col. 2:16-17 & Romans 14:5-6, I had my answer. I concluded we have only one task as a result: we must return and listen solely to our Lord Jesus. The Father spoke those words from heaven: "Listen to Him." God never said listen to Paul.
That obedience to the Father will eventually reform your doctrine to a non-Pauline Jesus'-teaching centric one. That may result in popular Pauline doctrines disappearing, but the good news is then Jesus-doctrines will rise as a result.
For example, I realize now that Jesus taught "heaven maimed" or "hell whole" -- any of us who does not give up his sins by cutting them off (maiming ourselves in a spiritual sense) will go to hell whole. (Mark 9:42-47; Matt 18:8-9.) That is not part of the modern popular gospel. Repentance from sin is optional in most congregations.
I was an evangelist-missionary for 5 years prior to my realization about Paul, and we struggled whether we should teach what Jesus teaches, or give a sinner's prayer with no confession of sin, and turning from sin. We could not decide because of Paul's doctrine. Each evangelist was free to modify the sinner's prayer as they saw fit. But without Paul now, I would not ever hesitate to preach repentance. But I can emphatically say I did not come to this view about Paul so I could preach repentance. Instead, I wanted to know if we have to listen to Paul when Jesus speaks so diffently. I now have the answer, and frankly a great spiritual peace. I just obey Jesus.
Blessings, and Shalom.
How will you stand before God on the Judgment Day if your charges against Paul are found to be baseless?
Again, I have been consumed with legal cases, and did not have time to respond until this Labor Day weekend. Sorry.
This is an important question. If I am being obedient to God's commands and teaching people to follow only Jesus and His teachings, I don't see any problem. I will explain why.
First, there are two types of Berean testing I am applying to Paul.
First, I am testing Paul for prophetic reliability--whether Paul's words are from God, as most claim for Paul or that Paul implied he was a prophet. I use Isaiah 8:20 (a false prophet is anyone teaching against obeying any of the 10 commandments) and Deut. 13:1-5 (a false prophet is anyone seducing you from following the Law). Jesus also said you would know the false prophets by their "lawless fruit" (Matt 17:15-23) --ANOMIA (Matt 7:23). Anomia means either negation of the Law given Moses or violation of the Law given Moses, according to the Liddell Scott dictionary. So Jesus teaches once someone puts themselves out as a prophetic voice -- claiming to hear voices or messages from God / the Lord, then it is proper to measure that claim against their "fruit" and whether they work "lawlessness" or "negation of the Law given Moses."
Hence, Paul's doctrine on the Law or other lawless behavior by Paul are fair issues but solely because the person at issue is claiming a prophetic role (or others insist upon it for that person). Very importantly, in this context, Jesus taught us to ignore that the one being examined does "signs and wonders" and even "exorcisms" in His name; those "signs and wonders" count for nothing, Jesus said. Jesus says He can still tell such miracle workers "I never knew you" if they worked ANOMIA. (lawlessness / negation of the Torah). (Matt 7:21-23.)
Second, I am testing Paul on his claim to be an apostle. Jesus approved such testing by the Ephesians in Rev. 2:2. The Ephesians put on trial those who "say" they are apostles but found they were not, i.e., are not among the 12 appointed (which is later the number of apostles referenced in Rev. 21:14.) Jesus praised their actions.
Hence, Berean testing using verses and analyzing fruits is itself proper, and commended by Holy Scripture. I cannot get in trouble for obeying those commands.
Second, what I think you really are asking is: what if people do what I am saying -- remove Paul from equal or higher status with Jesus, and stop reading him as equally authoritative or at all? In that case, what do I risk? Jesus told us His words will judge every man. (John 12:48.) Paul did not utter one unique teaching quoted from Jesus -- Paul's epistles only quote of Jesus'teachings is the liturgy borrowed from Luke.
Thus, subtracting Paul's epistles does not cause the loss of one word of the teaching of Jesus. Also, thousands were converted by Peter in his first sermon -- Acts 3 -- long before Paul had his Damascus Road Experience in Acts 9. Thus people did get saved without Paul's Epistles. Even Gentiles like those at Antioch and Cornelius.
Thus, even if I was wrong, it does no harm to just listen to Jesus. People got saved that way long before Paul. My concluding sentence to my book Jesus Words Only puts it clearly: "A Protestant should agree there is nothing dangerous in following Jesus' Words alone. There is, in fact, only danger in not doing so." (Page 516).
Thanks for asking,
It appears that you reject Paul as a fraud, because he went into the Temple with those who had a vow (Luke 21:15-26). Is this it? Is that all? Because you cannot understand this passage, then you have developed a theology to prejudicially see Paul to be a fraud. Yet, in Acts 21, James and the church elders accepted Paul and his teaching, but you reject him because of the accusation of Jews’ slanted accusations of him in Jerusalem, who believed about Paul to, “teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs” (Acts 21:21).
You also appear to think that Paul’s epistles were not immediately circulated. Before his death in 67 AD, Peter notes Paul’s writings were throughout the world as far as Pontus and Bithynia. You go to some peculiar extent to remove Hebrews from being Paul’s writing as we know that the writings bears his marks. If you accepted Hebrews as Paul’s writing as much as you accept it as scripture, then you would clearly see that Paul was absolutely and completely consistent in his teaching and practice, and you would not be wrangling for no reason to reject an Apostle of Christ and forget Christ’s words that came from him by the Spirit of Christ.
What will be the end of you on Judgement Day? Will not be found to be in error being so contrary to the faith and any overt truth that believers have held throughout the centuries?
The converted God-fearers of Galatia were not to go from Paganism through Christ unto keeping the Law, so Paul had every good reason for writing them. Therefore, Paul corrected them You have not considered that the Law was passing away although Paul acted as when Timothy was circumcised to be a Jew to the Jews (Acts 16:1-3, 1 Cor. 9:20). Paul kept the Law as custom and civil law to be accepted in teaching the Truth.
You must see that the sacrifices of the Law and purification have been covered by Christ, and yet James and elders encouraged Paul to go to the Temple. Why? With you confessing the atoning sacrifice of Christ, what Apostles and Christian leaders would permit any of this unless respecting the Law was acceptable? You cannot say that the atoning sacrifice fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system, and then judge Paul guilty for removing the Law of Moses when he did respect the sacrificial system of Law with consent of the church elders and James. Reread and rethink your whole theology. Read Paul as inspired and understand him before you condemn him without 2 or 3 witnesses. Otherwise, you are rejecting Scriptures and will be judged by God.
I apologize again that work overwhelmed my ability to respond until this Labor Day weekend. I will organize my response by the topics you raise.
1. Paul’s Acceptance v. Charge of Fraud.
You say Paul was not being deceptive in response to James request. You emphasize that Paul was accepted in Acts 21 by the leadership. James is that leadership. He is the Bishop of Jerusalem. Whether James continued to accept Paul as a true brother very much depends upon whether Paul misled him to “accept” Paul or not.
So let’s be a Berean. James relays a charge in Acts 21:21 that others made that Paul is guilty of “apostasy” (the true Greek term in that verse) from the Law given Moses. This means Paul was accused by others to James as teaching against the continuing validity of the Law given Moses by God. (We know independently that Paul teaches in Romans 7:1-7 that Jews too are no longer subject to the Law any more because the death of Christ made us dead to the Law; Paul concludes he is no longer “under the Law.”)
In Acts 21, no answer of Paul is recorded to James’ mention of apostasy. James comes up with an idea of how Paul can silence those people claiming apostasy by Paul. Paul could obey the vow ritual from Numbers 6 from the Torah / Law. Paul went along. This reassured James that the charge of apostasy was false. We know from Paul’s letters that the charge is true — as apostasy was defined in those days to be the negation of the Law given Moses. So Paul’s obeying the vow would be intended to make James believe Paul is not an apostate because that is the very reason James asked Paul to perform the vow.
We also know Paul believed such deceptive behavior is not necessarily sinful. Paul repeatedly confesses in his letters that such an approach of guile and deception is totally proper behavior when the end justified the means. First, Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19 said he obeys the Law when around those who believed the Law was still valid as a means of opening the door to the true gospel (as Paul saw it). Second, Paul elsewhere admits using ‘guile’ to capture the Corinthians as converts. “But be it so, I did not myself burden you; but, being crafty, I caught you with guile. (2 Cor. 12:16, ASV.) However, a couple of verses from the supposedly abrogated “Old Testament” come to my mind.
First, Psalm 5:6: ” deceitful men the LORD abhors.” And finally, “Cursed is he who doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully.” Jeremiah 48:10. But Paul teaches that the authority of all those passages have been done away with, and Paul advances a new morality.
Incidentally, in reliance upon Paul, the Jesuits taught that deception — casuistry — was a proper evangelical tool. Schaff records “in fact, they made “casuistry a separate science,” and defended “the permissibility of acts which are sinful in themselves, but may be justified or at least pardoned, under extenuating circumstances…[such as ] a pious fraud or lying for a good purpose.” (Schaff, Theological Propaedutic (1893) at 441.)
I do not reject Paul as a fraud though for this reason alone. This is just one of the examples of ANOMIA (lawlessness or negation of the Law) that Jesus told us to test whether someone is a true prophet or not. (Matt 7:21-23). I think deception to spread the gospel is wrong. I think that is the kind of fruit Jesus meant for us to use to identify the false prophets.
2. “Paul’s Letters Were Circulating in 67 AD”
As to Peter’s references to Paul’s writings, at least those in the NT, there is no mention by Peter that Paul’s letters had spread to Pontus and Bythinia. In Second Peter 3:16 is the only mention of Paul’s letters anywhere in the NT other than in Paul’s own letters. Nothing is mentioned there on their location. The fact First Peter was written to Christians in those two communities does not prove at the time of Second Peter that any of Paul’s letters had been circulating to those communities, especially because nothing in Second Peter says it is a follow up to First Peter. Second Peter does not identify the location of the recipients of Second Peter. Hence, your assumption is not supportable.
Even so, if Peter mentions an unidentified epistle of Paul in Pontus or Bythnia does not prove Peter knew of Paul’s anti-Law epistles (Galatians, Corinthians, Romans, etc.) as of Acts 15 or Acts 21. First, those events are prior to 67 AD — the book of Acts ending at 62 AD. Also, Paul could have written to communities different letters that do not discuss the Law at all, like Philemon, Timothy, etc. In fact, it is quite self-evident from Acts 21 that James – the Bishop of Jerusalem — had not read any of the anti-Law epistles of Paul. He heard rumors of an “apostasia” (Acts 21:21) from Moses, but obviously had no physical letter that could support the charge. Hence, the letters you surmise existing as of 67 AD can be just like the first letter to the Corinthians which Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians. They can be lost letters that perhaps had nothing to do with anti-law doctrine.
What we do know is that Luke of Antioch at the time he wrote his gospel and Acts (which I date to no later than 58 AD because that is the chronology that ends in Acts), Luke did not know of Paul’s epistles. For otherwise, Luke would not want to deliberately contradict Paul, as Luke’s Acts does on numerous issues. See my article Luke Is A Valid Non-Pauline Gospel.
3. Epistle to the Hebrews.
I have no motive to separate Paul from Hebrews. It is just a fact it was first attributed to Barnabas, not Paul. This was in 205 AD by Tertullian. Origen, a pupil of Tertullian in the late 200s said the author was unknown. Later the Catholic Church attributed it to Paul. I did an extensive article on this at my website. (See Author of Hebrews.) I do not care one way or the other if Hebrews is written by Paul. But I am just being honest that it appears very unlikely and untrustworthy to say Paul wrote it. It makes no difference to me because both Hebrews and all Paul’s letters equally lack apostolic authority, and hence equally lack authority equal to Jesus’ words.
4. “The Law Is Passing Away”
Scott, you write: “You have not considered that the Law was passing away although Paul acted as when Timothy was circumcised to be a Jew to the Jews (Acts 16:1-3, 1 Cor. 9:20).” But Jesus said at two distinct times the opposite – that the Law is not passing away. Jesus said: “17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.” (Luke 16:16-17 NIV.)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “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 tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:17-19.
So the one who like me teaches us to follow the Law — which has far fewer commands on Gentiles than it does on Israelites – Jesus says what? I would be called “greatest in the KOG.” I can only hope. And what if someone teaches against doing so? Those in the KOG will call them “least” – ironically the meaning of Paul’s full name of Pauxilus. (A hint from Our Lord Jesus?)
You bring up the issue of sacrifice. Fulfilling the atonement principle by a perfect sacrifice of our Lord’s blood does not abolish the Law of Sacrifice. It accomplishes it, making atonement available to all to those under the Law. If that same Law of atonement was abrogated at Christ’s death as part of the supposed abrogation of the Law given Moses, then the Law of atonement to pay for sins no longer existed since 35 AD. Paul taught the latter point, i.e., the Law was done away with by Christ’s death. (Romans 7:1-7). But this teaching wipes out the relevance of that past payment by our Lord to satisfy our need for atonement because that need only exists if the Law continued today. But if the Law including the Law of atonement was abrogated in 35 AD, and your personal sin was no longer subject to the Law given Moses, then you have no need for atonement any more, do you? Jesus’ sacrifice would become a meaningless act under a defunct statute if Paul is correct.
On this score, you write: “You cannot say that the atoning sacrifice fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system, and then judge Paul guilty for removing the Law of Moses when he did respect the sacrificial system of Law with consent of the church elders and Jame.”
Your statement clearly assumes that a payment for a sacrifice under the Law given Moses, as Jesus did, is the same as removing the Law given Moses thereafter. One has nothing to do with the other. In fact, removing the Law given Moses in 35 AD would destroy the relevance and availability of the atonement principle established in the Law for you and me. In other words, why does your unsaved neighbor need the atonement sacrifice in 2013 if the Law given Moses was abrogated in 35 AD? He would not. We would have to find God’s principle of atonement on some other subsequent bases than the Law. However, the Gospels clearly present it as an atonement done at Passover in compliance with the Law of Moses.
But if Paul is correct, and Christ’s death was “the end of the Law” (Romans 7:1-7), we cannot rely upon that atonement because we are supposedly no longer under that very same Law after Christ’s death. It is that Law which exclusively authorizes such Passover atonement to effectively pay for sin.
In other words, if Paul were correct, then Christ’s atonement only helped people up through 35 AD, i.e., the crucifixion, but thereafter, Jesus’s sacrifice would have no relevance to pay for sins because, if Paul were correct, the atonement of Christ was under a Law now supposedly abolished thereafter. While you might like to imagine you can pick out one part of the Law given Moses — atonement — and say ‘I get to take that benefit without its burdens of the other parts of the Law,’ that would be clearly unreasonable. All the Law applies or none of it.
The fact remains I would only have the need of atonement today if the Law still existed. And I then could only use today Jesus’ atonement from 35 AD — which was a true Passover atonement — if the Law given Moses gives me that right. But if that very same Law was abolished in 35 AD, as Paul insists, we all lose that right. Paul’s doctrines are nonsensical because they end the continuing validity and accessibility of Jesus’ sacrifice to all. It renders Jesus’ sacrifice a nullity to anyone who sinned after the crucifixion, if Paul is correct.
Yet, in Acts the true apostles preach atonement after the cross. That alone tells you they believe the Law given Moses continued. If it was only in the process of passing away, then this means once it “passed” completely away that Jesus’ atonement no longer paid for anyone’s sins. If that is true for you Scott, by what LAW can you still invoke Jesus’ atonement at Passover in 35 AD? If you recognize you cannot cite the Mosaic Law any more, then you have no covering for sin. Because you cannot take only one part of a Law you like and apply it to yourself without taking the burdens. Why? Because that is the only good faith way to read a covenant — you cannot read what you get exclusive of what you must give.
Eugene's Support for Scott's Argument
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:27)
What covenant was that? The covenant that replaced the Old Testament. The same covenant that the book of Hebrews refers to multiple times. The same covenant (Law) that was replaced according to Romans 7.
You can’t hang on to the Old and keep the New at the same time. Jesus spoke of a New Covenant (Testament) that come to pass through the shedding of His blood. That’s no different that what the other inspired writers referred to when they compared and contrasted the covenants. Simple enough.
The sad part is that people who quote Matthew 5:17-19 as a justification for keeping the Sabbath and biding it upon others, along with other various parts of the Old Testament, never seem to follow through with animal sacrifices, traveling to Jerusalem to keep the feasts, keeping the command to stone those who violate certain aspects of the Law, and many other plainly seen examples. I’m not being facetious here; if the Law of Moses has been replaced then I wonder why people pick and choose what they want replaced, or least what they’re not going to listen to?
My Reply to Eugene July 26, 2013
Eugene. In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus teaches the great teach to obey the Law and those who teach you not to are the least. The clear import of that is that those teaching the Law do better than those teaching against obeying the Law. When Jesus condemns the Pharisees, and says they are leading their followers to hell, do you remember what Jesus said why? Put Paul out of your mind, for he says the Pharisees obeyed the Law. But Jesus says the OPPOSITE. Jesus said the Pharisees were very good about teaching tithing but ignored all the "weightier commands of the Law" - which incidentally appears both in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42-44 ("left undone" the weightier commands of the Law).
So this is very much whether you will obey Jesus' words or Paul's words.
You say that I cannot defend Jesus' meaning without admitting we still need to sacrifice lambs, etc. for atonement. However, if I teach Jesus' satisfied the atonement Law in the Mosaic Code as the perfect Lamb, thus making any other sacrifice inferior, as Hebrews correctly analyzes, that means the Mosaic Law of atonement has been satisfied by the most perfect atonement possible, and no other is necessary. But notice, this means the Law of atonement continues for you and me in the 21st Century because we invoke a payment made 21 centuries ago to satisfy our atonement need under the Law given Moses which Jesus said would not "pass away" until the heavens and earth pass away. (Thank God!) But if Paul is right that the Law of Moses is abrogated, done away with, nailed to a tree, etc., we frankly would not be able to use Christ's atonement because the very Law which gives it validity afterwards, per Paul, has been abrogated.
Here's an analogy to make this easier to understand: If a law required that any debt incurred under any provision of a legal code can only be discharged by delivering a living cow, for example, but then the entire code is abrogated, and there are no more debts under that law but now we only owe the "debt of love" (as Paul puts it in Romans 13:8) in a new legal code called the "Law of Christ," this means one can satisfy a debt differently under the new law. Since that earlier code is gone, so too with it the principle of payment by use of a living cow. There is no longer any relevance to the old payment system by using a living cow. Hence, in this analogy, how can anyone try to invoke the old law on how living-cow payments were once used when the old law is defunct, and no longer applicable? It is like trying to use an old currency system to pay debts under a new system that no longer recognizes any part of the old system -- all of which was "nailed to a tree" and done away with.
So you see, the problem is not with my notion that Jesus made the perfect sacrifice which can be invoked to this day. Rather, the problem is yours how you can explain to God you are invoking an atonement under a system of debt payments you claim thereafter was abrogated?
Furthermore, Scott's notion that "fulfilling" -Greek plerothe -- is wrong. This is clear from Scott's many cites, e.g., Matt 1:22, "took place to fulfill (plerothe) what the Lord said through the prophet". Plerothe means nothing more than "come to pass." Even "satisfying" a Law does not mean annulling it. Satisfying a prophecy does not mean setting aside the prophecy. Satisfying the role of a sacrifice to atone for sin as Jesus did does not obliterate the Law of atonement. You and I still will seek to ask God to apply Jesus' sacrifice as our atonement for sin, implicitly recognizing the atonement principle from the Law given Moses is alive and well. Thus nothing in "fulfill" means obliterating, doing away with, nailing to a tree, etc. That is a distorted reading.
Blessings and Shalom, Doug