It is misleading to build a thelogical system on certain texts in Paul's epistles without first taking into account the Hebrew Bible and the Synoptic accounts of the Gospel as it came from the lips of Jesus. (Minister, A. Buzzard, 1998)


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What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Southworth's Nazareth or Tarsus

In the section below are notable quotes from Horatio Woodburn Southworth, To Nazareth or Tarsus? (J.S. Ogilvie Publishing Company, 1901).

While this book is set forth as a fictional dialogue between a clergyman and "the Man," it is an exposure of flaws in Paul's reasoning, his inability to speak clearly, and the dubiousness of the claim that Paul's words are inspired. Southworth professes love and compassion for Paul, and he seeks to exalt Jesus over Paul, and thus we find Southworth's general spirit compatible with the aims of this website. Not everything Southworth says would be the manner we would express it, nor do we agree with all his points. Instead, we provide this for general education because its few flaws do not detract from its significant merit.

To appreciate the Biblical proofs offered by Southworth, one can download the entire book from at this link. Or here we provide a PDF of the original pages that contain the portions addressing Paul. (These pages are retyped below for easier access.)

Incidentally, Southworth years later promoted Augustine's idea that Christ as redeemer was "buying back" from Satan the "God-given but misused power over man," and Christ's death was thus not to appease God's anger over sin. (H.W. Southworth, Divine Love (1911) at 20.) Southworth was thereby reviving an old idea from Augustine in De Trinitate. (Id., at 21.) Thus,  this shows Southworth was a writer on Christian topics other than just on Paul. 

Biographical details. Southworth was superintendant of the Sunday School at Christ's Church of Springfield, Massachusetts in the late 1800's.1 Other than that detail, nothing is known about him.

Here are his interesting general quotes about Paul from his book.

Southworth's Purpose in Writing

Page 52
'I have studied that man, Saul of Tarsus, as I have never searched the life of any other man. It is a most absorbing subject.'  [The Man Speaking]

'And you find that he is
Page 53
'The most complex character that I have investigated. Unreservedly I concede him to be, facile princeps, the Christian poet of the first century. Poet surely, and with all of the "divine madness" of the poet. The "divine" in a poetical sense. The "madness" we will consider in this analysis.' As he said this he laid a roll of manuscript on the study table.

'Yet I beg that you will recognize that in this attempt to prove that Paul's mind was disordered, and also in that which I shall say to you here to the same effect, my only sentiment is pity for his sufferings—which are so apparent. Wherever I express contempt or indignation it is only nominally directed against him. My contempt is for those who have refused to recognize Paul's incapacity to develop a system of Christian theology; who have accepted his vagaries as divine truth, and have demanded their general acceptance. It is against these alone that I make my complaint. For I recognize in him an earnest seeker after righteousness. Nay, more; he highly attained to righteousness; for his innate revulsion to that which was unrighteous was an integral part of his nature. Yet he seems to me to have been saturated with an intense egotism that gave its color to his beliefs and utterances.'

Paul's Pride /Envy Caused Rejection of The 12

Page 55
And the intellectual pride which had substituted these metaphysical subtleties for the pure faith bequeathed to the simple Galilean fisherman was clearly traceable to the malign influence of an intellectual pride, which clearly had its impulse, at least its excuse, in the scholastic vanity of Saul of Tarsus; who held in such unmistakable contempt the message given to those humble attendants whom our Lord had chosen as his apostles.

Page 112
'By the side of this deep, placid stream of thought you let run the wild, turgid flow of uncurbed emotion that the early chapters of Galatians display. It does not need either scholar or scientific philologist to recognize that this flow has no higher source than the heart of a man who is chafing under keen personal disappointment. Envy of the apostles has grown almost to hate. Truth is no barrier in the unrestrained rush of chagrin and evident jealousy.

Jesus' Words Only

Page 98
'Some time the church will have the courage to accept those teachings of the Spirit—which our Lord repeatedly and so plainly emphasized —and will relegate the poet Paul, to his own sphere of brilliant irresponsibility.'

Page 113
'And yet the church has been so "falsely true" to what it has construed as a divine message, that it has practically told the world that it has so little faith in the convincing power of the great underlying truths of Christianity, that it does not dare to eliminate these statements of a disordered mind; statements that might be ignored if they did not deny important truths.

Answer to Paul's Claim To Inspiration

Pages 115-116
[The Clergyman asserts Paul's claim to inspiration]
'No; not a semblance of support,' the clergyman said. 'A divine hand reaches down and grasps it, through the revelation vouchsafed to St. Paul. That which you condemn—that "my gospel" which he received, "not with flesh and blood," but by direct inspiration, was his authority.'

And to this the Man answered:

'When a Mormon elder can obtain an additional wife only by receiving a revelation; when to a Koman pontiff a coveted additional power can come only through a revelation; or when a Paul must witness the collapsing of the chain of reasoning upon which his whole system of dogma is dependent, unless he can fasten its first link to a revelation, we have a right to consider the frailty of human nature, and to recognize that an intense and longing contemplation of any object of absorbing interest makes the mind—especially a mind so ready to entertain visions as was St. Paul's—unfitted to discriminate between actual revelation, and a conviction founded on a believed need of establishing a cherished theory. To my mind it is illogical to claim that our Lord should have left any important element of his mission to be developed at a later period, by any method so unreliable— through opportunities of deception and dangers of self-deception—as are revelations. For my part I find a sufficiency in that which our Lord alone has taught, and I can find no compensation for the undermining effect of the flood of revelations which have their inception through Paul.'

Paul's  Negative Influence on Morality

Page 59-60

To this the Man replied: 'Any really great leader must be the master of himself; and nothing could be more confusing, in our attempts to establish the moral responsibility of each individual, than is Paul's statement that he was possessed by an influence, independent of himself, that impelled him to do wrong contrary to his intent.*

'Hence if we were to allow, generally, this shifting of moral responsibility—through the attributing the culpability for sin to an external power, either personal or impersonal; which was not simply an influence, but an irresistibly impelling power—we should lower moral standards through weakening of individual responsibility.

'Thus Paul's influence did not make for moral conditions. Paul's influence was certainly bad in this respect. I do not forget that elsewhere— indeed almost immediately—Paul takes an entirely contradictory attitude; but this is another instance of that vacillation which adds to our confusion; and adds to our distrust of the man, of his doctrines, and of the validity of his claims to inspiration. Paul may have caused— surely furnished the palliation of—the Manichasan tenet of inherent evil in the flesh. In our estimate of what constitutes moral reponsibility nothing could be more confusing than are these statements of Paul.

* Rom. vii. i: "So it is no more I that do it (evil), but sin that dwelleth in me." Rom. vii. 25 : "So then I myself with the mind serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin."

Paul Is Malleable - Any Interpretation Fits

Page 67

"Paul's theology has two elements, the logical and the mystical, which are seldom wholly separated from each other, and it is these elements that have permitted his ideas to be so readily modified or construed or combined as to form the foundation of varied systems of theology; for Paul's variety and complexity of expression, his varying metaphors permit such varied construction that they are readily adaptable to any interpretation in favor of which the student is prepossessed."

Paul's Doctrines Contradict Themselves

Page 105
'As I said, these men make no demands on me. They do not tell me that I can find the way to heaven only by accepting the guidance of the disordered mind of Saul of Tarsus, one-half of whose utterances it is necessary to ignore in order to believe the other half.

Page 111
'Will the time ever come that you will be content to teach the simple creed of a natural God and a consistent gospel? For that gospel can never be consistent while you demand belief in statements diametrically opposed to one another.

Paul's Misuse of Proof Texting From The Bible

Page 210
"One phase of his intense self-absorption is shown in the inappositeness of his quotations from the Scriptures. It could not be from ignorance that he failed to quote them pertinently. That he had them in mind is evident, for he was constantly denouncing the law, and the denunciatory passages would have eminently attracted him."

Further Information on Southworth

Horatio Southworth, The First Millenial Faith (London: 1893) version