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Criticisms by Anonymous At Blog on Paul As Stage-Hand

These points below appeared in a submission by Anonymous in August 2010. They were so pithy and to the point that I thought it worth preserving here. They originally appeared at http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2010/07/pauls-theatrics.html

Acts 9 and 27 Inconsistency

Acts 9 says Paul fell, and his companions stood. Acts 27 says they all fell. Acts 9 says the companions heard the voice, but Acts 22 says they didn’t hear the voice. You can also check the Greek wording - if this is inspired text by the Holy Spirit, it would imply that the HS had one or more lapses of memory.

Depiction of Cretans

Is Paul’s description of the Cretans inspired?
Paul: “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said ‘Cretans are always liars..’ This testimony is true.” (Titus1:12) These two sentences carry within them a logical impossibility, which we are encouraged to believe is ‘inspired’ - if Cretans are always liars, and one of them claims ‘Cretans are always liars’, this is contradictory and cannot be true. Oops! It also contradicts the presumed universalist, non-discriminatory teaching of Paul.

Timothy's Circumcision

Paul’s contradictions relating to Timothy’s circumcision:
“Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him..” (Acts16:3) Compare this with “I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole Law” (Gal5:2+). Oops!

Jesus v Paul on The Law's Continuity

Jesus: “Do not think I have come to abolish the law (tOrah) and the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt5:17). 
Paul: “Christ.. by abolishing the law (tOrah)..” (Eph2:15). Oops!

Paul As A Pharisee

Paul the Pharisee vs Jesus on the Pharisees
Paul claimed, years after his Damascus road experience: “I am a Pharisee, a son (offspring) of Pharisees” (Acts23:6) [ Note the present tense ]. John the Baptist called the Pharisees, “You offspring of vipers..” (Matt3:7), and Jesus did the same, “You offspring of vipers..” (Matt12:34) and “You serpents, you offspring of vipers..” (Matt23:33), and “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matt23:13, 23, 25, 25, 27, 29 etc). The word ‘offspring’ implies an inheritance or genetic issue. He said “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.. [and again] Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees”, “..then they understood he was telling them of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matt16:6+) But is his antinomian and other teaching in any way obviously Jesus-inspired, or does it in fact sabotage Jesus’ key teachings regarding ‘works’ (Matt 7:24-27, 25:31-41 etc etc)

Paul's Self-Contradictions On The Law

Modern churchianity, founded overwhelmingly on the confusing teachings of Paul (“But now we are released from the Law.. we serve not under the old written code but under the new life of the Spirit” (Romans7:6). Compare this with “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law!” (Romans 3:31). Oops!) instead of the teachings of Jesus, is powerless and directionless.

Paul on Works

Works vs non-works: ‘Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward’ (Colossians 3:23-4) vs: “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal2:16). James, the brother of Jesus, repudiates this with “A person is justified by works and not through faith alone” (James2:24). Oops!

Paul Boasting and Not Boasting

Paul’s ‘boasting’ and ‘refraining from boasting’:
“Even if I boast a little too much of our authority.. But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to.. We do not boast beyond limits.. I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles.. this boasting of mine.. I repeat, let no one think me foolish. But even if you do, accept me as a fool, so that I too may boast a little. What I am saying with this boastful confidence, I say not with the Lord’s authority but as a fool.. I too will boast.. But whatever anyone dares to boast of – I am speaking as a fool – I also boast of that. Are they servants of Christ – I am a better one – I am talking like a madman.. If I must boast, I will boast of.. Though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it..” (2Cor10,11,12) If you will excuse me, this all sounds like uninspired and contradictory nonsense.

Paul's Permission At Pretension

Paul says he is ‘all things to all men’: 
“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might save some.” 1Cor9:20+. This does not sound good to our ears, which crave authenticity.

Is Paul The Thirteenth Apostle?

Is Paul the Thirteenth Apostle?
Jesus: “Truly, I say to you.. you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt19:28) . The New Jerusalem: “On the twelve foundations were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev21:12+). Jesus “called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority..” (Matt10:1). He says to his disciples, ‘you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning’ (John15:27). After Judas Iscariot’s demise, the apostles elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts1:26). The apostles had Jesus’ authority to elect Matthias. Has Paul taken his place? Is Paul, the unquestioned father of the evangelical church of today, now at the head of the twelve? If not, why not, in view of his decisive contribution? Or is he the ‘thirteenth apostle’?

Marcionism

In 144 AD Marcion issued a challenge to the view of the relationship of the Old and New ‘Testaments’. He insisted that Paul alone had the true gospel, not the twelve apostles. He eliminated from the Bible both the Old Testament and those parts of the New Testament written by members of the twelve apostles. He claimed that the Creator of the OT promised salvation only to those who are obedient, while the God of the NT redeems those who believe in him, but he does not judge those who are disobedient to him. In 207 AD Tertullian, a well-respected orthodox Christian apologist, wrote against this, saying Paul’s apostleship is dubious. Dr David L Baker in his book Two Testaments, One Bible (Inter-Varsity Press 1976/1991), says ‘There is in the church a habit of simply ignoring the Old Testament.. Bible study groups spend little time on Old Testament passages. It is clear therefore that the modern church, in spite of its official rejection of Marcionism and Neo-Marcionism, has often allowed implicit Marcionism in practice” (pp51-2).

Second Peter

The ‘2 Peter’ supposed counter-argument
This epistle from “Simon Peter” appears to confer ‘official approval’ on Paul: “Our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand..” (3:15)

The five-volume Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible notes that “Both internal and external evidence show with cumulative force the impossibility of ascribing the letter to Peter, the disciple and apostle.. No theory of secretarial aid can explain the differences in style and thought between 1 Peter and 2 Peter.”

 

Lawlessness

Paul: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything” (1Cor6:12), repeated again in
“All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up” (1Cor10:23) . “The Law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian..” (Gal3:24+). “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ” (Gal2:16). James, the brother of Jesus, repudiates this with “A person is justified by works and not through faith alone” (James2:24). Oops! The Jerusalem Bible says of the Epistle of James (who became the leader of the Jerusalem Christian community after Jesus’ ascent to heaven) “It takes a different view from Paul’s on the problem of relating faith to works, or it may be a rejoinder to what Paul had written”. Oops!
Jesus: “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” - Jesus then summarises the Ten Commandments. (Matt19:17). “Teacher, what is the great commandment in the Law?”..”This is the first and great commandment.. and the second is.. On these two commandments the whole Law and the Prophets hang” (Matt22:37+). “If you love me, keep my commandments”…John.. “I will give to each of you as your works deserve” (Rev2:23). The ‘Cheap Grace’ doctrine of today says that the Law has been abrogated, ultimately meaning these essential commandments no longer apply. No wonder there is so much utter confusion and lawlessness in the church.