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spirit5er
Mar 18th 2007, 12:39 AM
1 "Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also.
2 And it was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain." (Galatians 2, NASB)


If the inerrantist-belief is true (i.e., that Paul and the Jerusalem apostles agreed 100% on the gospel), then what is this possibility of "running in vain" that he expresses concern about, so much concern in fact, that he chooses to present his gospel PRIVATELY to the Christian leaders in Jerusalem? Why privately? What risk did Paul seriously entertain, that he could control the possible damage more by presenting his gospel to the authorities in private?

I say it's because he felt there was a real and distinct possibility that James might disagree with his gospel, and if he learned of his with a PUBLIC presentation to James, the word would spread like wildfire that the undisputed original apostles believe Paul is a heretic, which would damage his ministry so much that it would rightly be referred to as a race that ended up being run in vain. This being a real possibility in Paul's mind, he'd opt to present his gospel to James PRIVATELY. So if James then disagreed with Paul in private, it would NOT spread so quickly that Christ's original disciples disagreed with Paul's gospel.

But if you say Paul wasn't worried that any Jerusalem apostle would seriously disagree with the Pauline gospel, then I'd love to hear your more contextually justified interpretation, that explains this fear or concern Paul expresses in the prospect of presenting his gospel publicly to the Jerusalem apostles.

How could there be any concern whatsoever? There was no possibility that James would disagree with the Pauline gospel, right?

And yet Paul wishes to do things privately....hmmm....

moonglow
Mar 18th 2007, 01:19 AM
http://www.searchgodsword.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=ga&chapter=002

Coffman Commentaries

Verse 2
And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running, or had run, in vain.

By revelation ...
From Luke (Acts 15:2), it is clear that the church in Antioch commissioned Paul and Barnabas to go to Jerusalem; but from this it is learned that Paul went by "revelation." As Macknight said, "The church at Antioch was directed by divine revelation to send Paul and Barnabas on this mission. So, he could justly say that he went by revelation."

There is also the possibility that Paul, at first, would not go, until specifically commanded by Christ to do so. It is a fact that Christ personally stood by Paul on occasions (Acts 22:18). Furthermore, Paul's reasons for going were not for the purpose of receiving instruction or of getting the apostles in Jerusalem to decide anything. He went there for the purpose of straightening out the error that, for the moment, was rampant in the church in that city. There is nothing in this whole episode that reveals "the Mother Church settling important matters of doctrine." See comment on this so-called council in my Commentary on Acts 15.

And I laid before them ...
Paul's efforts here were directed to the purpose of correcting false views prevalent in the church in Jerusalem; therefore, he laid the pure gospel before them. This does not mean "that Paul had begun to feel insecure about his gospel." It was an effort to unify the church.

Who were of repute ...
seems somewhat ironical. Ridderbos said, "It positively is not that." F8 However, Paul's mention of this, using similar and somewhat more emphatic terms, no less than four times in this passage would definitely suggest that very possibility.

But privately ...
Some scholars dogmatically assert that Paul's account of the "council" here cannot be harmonized with Acts 15:1 ff; but that is only because they fail to see that there were private discussions which took place before the public and more formal meeting later on. Huxtable noted that Luke mentions no less than three separate meetings in Acts 15:4,6,12. Even today large public meetings are usually preceded by private discussions of those in charge of them. Lipscomb said:

These private consultations were a wise precaution to avoid misunderstanding. Such private conferences are usually held in connection with public assemblies for the purpose of preparing and maturing business for final action.

Lest by any means I should be running ... in vain ...
If the Twelve had repudiated Paul's gospel, it would, in a sense, have nullified his whole life's work, making it to be largely "in vain." Paul definitely did not mean here that he had any question regarding his own redemption.
**********************************

Its not uncommon for church leaders to have private meetings...I don't really understand why you would come to the conclusions you have here.

spirit5er
Mar 18th 2007, 07:30 PM
http://www.searchgodsword.org/com/bcc/view.cgi?book=ga&chapter=002

Coffman Commentaries

Verse 2
And I went up by revelation; and I laid before them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles but privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running, or had run, in vain.

By revelation ...
From Luke (Acts 15:2), it is clear that the church in Antioch commissioned Paul and Barnabas to go to Jerusalem; but from this it is learned that Paul went by "revelation." As Macknight said, "The church at Antioch was directed by divine revelation to send Paul and Barnabas on this mission. So, he could justly say that he went by revelation."

There is also the possibility that Paul, at first, would not go, until specifically commanded by Christ to do so. It is a fact that Christ personally stood by Paul on occasions (Acts 22:18). Furthermore, Paul's reasons for going were not for the purpose of receiving instruction or of getting the apostles in Jerusalem to decide anything. He went there for the purpose of straightening out the error that, for the moment, was rampant in the church in that city. There is nothing in this whole episode that reveals "the Mother Church settling important matters of doctrine." See comment on this so-called council in my Commentary on Acts 15.

And I laid before them ...
Paul's efforts here were directed to the purpose of correcting false views prevalent in the church in Jerusalem; therefore, he laid the pure gospel before them. This does not mean "that Paul had begun to feel insecure about his gospel." It was an effort to unify the church.

Who were of repute ...
seems somewhat ironical. Ridderbos said, "It positively is not that." F8 However, Paul's mention of this, using similar and somewhat more emphatic terms, no less than four times in this passage would definitely suggest that very possibility.

But privately ...
Some scholars dogmatically assert that Paul's account of the "council" here cannot be harmonized with Acts 15:1 ff; but that is only because they fail to see that there were private discussions which took place before the public and more formal meeting later on. Huxtable noted that Luke mentions no less than three separate meetings in Acts 15:4,6,12. Even today large public meetings are usually preceded by private discussions of those in charge of them. Lipscomb said:

These private consultations were a wise precaution to avoid misunderstanding. Such private conferences are usually held in connection with public assemblies for the purpose of preparing and maturing business for final action.

Lest by any means I should be running ... in vain ...
If the Twelve had repudiated Paul's gospel, it would, in a sense, have nullified his whole life's work, making it to be largely "in vain." Paul definitely did not mean here that he had any question regarding his own redemption.
**********************************

Its not uncommon for church leaders to have private meetings...I don't really understand why you would come to the conclusions you have here.


I'd be willing to explain why i came to those conclusions. However, the tone of this board seems to be that you'll give answers and then that's it. Would you like to know why I came to my conclusions?

Frances
Mar 18th 2007, 08:06 PM
Its not uncommon for church leaders to have private meetings...I don't really understand why you would come to the conclusions you have here.
I don't understand why you made an issue of this either, and I would be interested to know how, and why, you reached your conclusions.

moonglow
Mar 18th 2007, 08:39 PM
I'd be willing to explain why i came to those conclusions. However, the tone of this board seems to be that you'll give answers and then that's it. Would you like to know why I came to my conclusions?

Oh sorry...I was asking it as a question. I guess I didn't do a good job in phrasing that right. sorry about that.


God bless

JesusisGod
Mar 18th 2007, 09:09 PM
Hi spirit5er.
Your mistake, like many other atheists, is that because the gospel is perfect, the preachers are also prefect. Are you also the type who sees some wrongdoing in a professed Christian and decides not to believe in Jesus because of it?? If so, how sad.

slightlypuzzled
Mar 18th 2007, 09:26 PM
At that point in his life, he might have had some questions about how it all 'dove tailed' together. As a former atheist, this type of meeting does not seem too damaging. Paul's emphasis here is that, while he was preaching among the gentiles and not keeping the law, he presented the Gospel he knew to ones who had walked and talked with Christ. It was these Apostles who added too the witness Paul had already received. Paul's vindication simply proves the reliability of what he had been taught. It is to be thought that it was this that also allowed him to say what he did to Peter later on:

20"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Paul had been told that what he received matched up with what the 'first Apostles' had witnessed to as the Gospel.
Notice, Paul went up in answer to a revelation; he did not decide on his own. It's quite possible that the revelation to go up had disturbed him some too. However, the upshot of the whole meeting was that both 'sides' were joined in one in presenting the Gospel that Paul had been taught. Paul, in this case, came out thoroughly vindicated. Peter, as was quoted above, is the one who ultimately has to change his life some.

OldChurchGuy
Mar 19th 2007, 01:27 AM
I'd be willing to explain why i came to those conclusions. However, the tone of this board seems to be that you'll give answers and then that's it. Would you like to know why I came to my conclusions?
Speaking only for myself, yes, I would appreciate understanding the conclusions.

Also, please explain the definition of inerrancy presented in the original post. It is my understanding inerrancy of the scriptures pertains to the reliability of the original manuscripts (which we do not have) compared to the many copies (which we do have).

I seem to recall that Paul and the apostles did have some disagreements on issues but will need to do some research on this.

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy

TEITZY
Mar 19th 2007, 02:16 PM
If the inerrantist-belief is true (i.e., that Paul and the Jerusalem apostles agreed 100% on the gospel), then what is this possibility of "running in vain" that he expresses concern about, so much concern in fact, that he chooses to present his gospel PRIVATELY to the Christian leaders in Jerusalem? Why privately? What risk did Paul seriously entertain, that he could control the possible damage more by presenting his gospel to the authorities in private?

I say it's because he felt there was a real and distinct possibility that James might disagree with his gospel, and if he learned of his with a PUBLIC presentation to James, the word would spread like wildfire that the undisputed original apostles believe Paul is a heretic, which would damage his ministry so much that it would rightly be referred to as a race that ended up being run in vain. This being a real possibility in Paul's mind, he'd opt to present his gospel to James PRIVATELY. So if James then disagreed with Paul in private, it would NOT spread so quickly that Christ's original disciples disagreed with Paul's gospel.

But if you say Paul wasn't worried that any Jerusalem apostle would seriously disagree with the Pauline gospel, then I'd love to hear your more contextually justified interpretation, that explains this fear or concern Paul expresses in the prospect of presenting his gospel publicly to the Jerusalem apostles.

How could there be any concern whatsoever? There was no possibility that James would disagree with the Pauline gospel, right?

And yet Paul wishes to do things privately....hmmm....

Ok the context in Galatians is to do with false Jewish converts to Christianity who were corrupting the Gospel message by teaching believers that faith in Christ alone was not enough to save but that they also needed to obey the OT laws (see Gal 4:9-11, 21, 5:2-4). This exact same situation was brought up at the Jerusalem council (see Acts 15:1) which Paul is referring to in chapter 2. Paul's main concern was that James, Peter & John may be swayed by the Jews who were teaching that it was necessary to keep the law to be saved. So before the Council takes place Paul speaks privately with these three leaders to see where they stand on this issue. Verse 6 describes the outcome of the meeting:

But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

James, Peter & John were in complete agreement with Paul and reassured him that nothing should be added to the Gospel message and this is confirmed by the following verses (7-10).

Now when Paul speaks about running in vain in verse 2 he is not expressing any personal doubt about the Gospel message and it would be foolishness to think so when we consider all that Paul suffered for the sake of the Gospel. In Gal 4:11 Paul uses the same expression to express his concern about the spiritual state of the Galatians who he fears have believed "another Gospel" which cannot save. So Paul's main concern is that the
purity of the Gospel message be preserved to prevent confusion and spiritual shipwreck in the churches he had already established. Paul knows all to well that the infiltration of false teachers with a false gospel into the churches could quickly undo all the hard work he had done and that such a gospel would produce false converts and heresy in the churches.

Cheers
Leigh

spirit5er
Mar 21st 2007, 06:21 AM
Hi spirit5er.
Your mistake, like many other atheists, is that because the gospel is perfect, the preachers are also prefect.

Not at all. I hear everybody saying apostle Paul was inspired by the same Jesus who inspired James, John, and Peter, but then i see Paul preaching a totally different gospel than they. Perfection has nothing to do with it, the problem is the unproven Christian assumption of inspiration.


Are you also the type who sees some wrongdoing in a professed Christian and decides not to believe in Jesus because of it?? If so, how sad.

No, I don't believe in Jesus because the evidence for the fundamentalist Christian opinion on him is lacking.

spirit5er
Mar 21st 2007, 06:41 AM
At that point in his life, he might have had some questions about how it all 'dove tailed' together. As a former atheist, this type of meeting does not seem too damaging. Paul's emphasis here is that, while he was preaching among the gentiles and not keeping the law, he presented the Gospel he knew to ones who had walked and talked with Christ. It was these Apostles who added too the witness Paul had already received. Paul's vindication simply proves the reliability of what he had been taught.

But I think Paul is lying when he says James gave him the right hand of fellowship.



It is to be thought that it was this that also allowed him to say what he did to Peter later on:

20"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Paul had been told that what he received matched up with what the 'first Apostles' had witnessed to as the Gospel.


That only confirms for me how gullible people were in the first century. The evidence that Paul's gospel contradicts the original Christian gospel is very good. If what you believe about Paul is correct, Paul should have said in Acts 21, "I will not engage in jewish rituals with you, because Jesus has instituted a new covenant, so the shadows are no longer operative."

But no, he chooses to go along with the request of the legalistic followers of James to make it appear he "keeps the Law", when in fact, he does NOT keep the law, insuring that what he did here was merely playing to the crowd and not anything that he personally believed was significant.


Notice, Paul went up in answer to a revelation; he did not decide on his own.

How hard is it to place a divine stamp of approval on what you wanna do, by simply insisting "God told me to do it" ? Not too hard at all.


It's quite possible that the revelation to go up had disturbed him some too. However, the upshot of the whole meeting was that both 'sides' were joined in one in presenting the Gospel that Paul had been taught.

Sorry, the evidence I've laid out so many times before indicates that Paul, being against legalism, was therefore against the original gospel which was originally legalistic.


Paul, in this case, came out thoroughly vindicated.

That's what he says. But I think he is lying about apostle James being in agreement with him, because the differences between the original Gospel and Paul's gospel are too striking for James to simply have said "I give you the right hand of fellowship."

or maybe you didn't notice that James invited legalistic heretical Christians to the council of Jerusalem to give their theological say-so at this meeting of Christianity's finest in an effort to settle an exclusively Christian question?


5 But certain ones of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed, stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."
6 And the apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.
7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them (Acts 15)

First, what's the likelihood that the Phariseeic Christians would have been there to give their theological input, if PAUL had led that council? They would have been tossed out of the joint and onto their ears. Read Galatians 1:6-9 if you think Paul was extremely intolerate of legalistic Christians and their theological point of view. Therefore, if there are Phariseeic Christians at this council, it is obvious that the guy who LED the council, the chief apostle, James, wasn't being stupid. He felt that their input was significant. That makes him contradictory to Paul, who in Galatians, is absolutely certain that legalistic Christians are to be cursed because they pervert the gospel of Christ.


Peter, as was quoted above, is the one who ultimately has to change his life some.

Sorry, that fearless spiritually mature magic miracle worker called Peter, in Acts, who pronounces death upon Ananias and Sapphira simply because they told a lie, doesn't give any appearence of needing to change his life. The Peter of Acts is a very far cry from the bumbling idiot in the gospels in whom Paul rebukes in Galatians 2. I'm willing to say that the book of Acts embellishes history to make the apostles seem far more important than they really were. Visions of Jesus, persecution for their faith, ability to know things that others can't know, jail doors opening all by themselves, mental telepathy, Acts has all the classic symptoms of an embellished history. When you see all these things in non-biblical ancient religious propaganda, your common sense tells you "most likely not true."

But when you see this stuff in the bible, then suddenly, it must all be true, and the least little doubt about it on your part is proof that Satan is trying to steal your joy...right?

DAISHI
Mar 21st 2007, 09:39 PM
I like how we can take a reading of the Bible and completely deny what it says and make up reasons as to why. If this were a case presented to me, it'd be so much conjecture there wouldn't be a leg to stand on. As a book of antiquity we approach it by our bias and attempt to fill in gaps, in order to suit our notion of what's actually going on.

JesusisGod
Mar 22nd 2007, 03:52 AM
Not at all. I hear everybody saying apostle Paul was inspired by the same Jesus who inspired James, John, and Peter, but then i see Paul preaching a totally different gospel than they. Perfection has nothing to do with it, the problem is the unproven Christian assumption of inspiration.

I guess we're seeing the Apostles words differently. A "totally different gospel"? You'll have to explain where you're coming from.



No, I don't believe in Jesus because the evidence for the fundamentalist Christian opinion on him is lacking.
Are you saying that if you and a good friend of yours were in a car accident....and your friend was killed....and you attended his funeral....and a few days later, your previously dead friend showed up alive at your house and told you God was for real....you'd pay no attention to him? That sure sounds like what you're saying. ;)

spirit5er
Mar 26th 2007, 04:51 AM
Ok the context in Galatians is to do with false Jewish converts to Christianity who were corrupting the Gospel message by teaching believers that faith in Christ alone was not enough to save but that they also needed to obey the OT laws (see Gal 4:9-11, 21, 5:2-4).

It is most unfortunate that this early in the debate about the authenticity of Paul's apostleship, you automatically assume Paul is right to condemn the legalistic Christians. I had hoped that you would recognize that Paul's legitimacy here needs defense, not presumption.


This exact same situation was brought up at the Jerusalem council (see Acts 15:1) which Paul is referring to in chapter 2.

Did you ever notice that the sort of legalistic Christians Paul cursed in Galatians 1:6-9, are exactly those whom apostle James invited to give their theological input in this exclusively Christian council that convened to decide a very Christian question?


5 But certain ones of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed, stood up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses."
6 And the apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.
7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know...." (Acts 15, NASB)

Would you mind explaining how James could have given speaking time to legalistic heretics at this council, whose message exactly mirrored the message of the Galatian heretics, if you still insist that Paul and James agreed on the Gospel? Do you think PAUL would have invited these heretics to give their theological say in this doctrinally critical council? If not, how do you explain James giving them speaking time just like Peter got?

Of course, the way out of the dilemma is to acknowledge that Paul and James disagreed on the nature of the gospel. And the words "after there had been much debate..." from Acts 15:7 indicate that my opinion is not very far afield of the truth.


Paul's main concern was that James, Peter & John may be swayed by the Jews who were teaching that it was necessary to keep the law to be saved.

Paul, who only saw a temporary "vision of Jesus", was concerned that three of those who actually walked talked and lived with the real Jesus for three years, might have been swayed by Jewish heresy of legalism?

Good answer. As I remember Jesus being asked "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus didn't respond "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and yo will be saved, you and your house."

He said "what is written in the law? If you would enter life, keep the commandments." When we examine the whole context, we discover that Jesus didn't say anything else that would allow justification by faith alone to slip in:


16 And behold, one came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?"
17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
18 He said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS;
19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?"
21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property." (Matthew 19, NASB)

Jesus says obeying the commandments, selling what you have, and following him, are the keys to eternal life. That's more legalistic than Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses preach! NOTHING in Jesus statement expresses or implies "justification by faith alone."

Now if you say there's nothing wrong with this, because before he died on the Cross and initiated the New Covenant of Grace, it was true, at the time that he said it, that you got eternal life by obeying the commandments....then I'll just have to whip out Romans 4 and remind you that Paul taught that "justification by faith alone" was true even back in during the Old Covenant, even before it clear back to Abraham through Moses, and then Paul quotes David, their distant descendent, to show justification by faith alone was true the entire time. We hear a loud thud in Romans 4 as dispensationalism bites the dust. We also find apostle Paul disagreeing very violently with Moses who said one's righteousness before God is made up of their obedience to his commands:


24 "So the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today.
25 "And it will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the LORD our God, just as He commanded us." (Deuteronomy 6, NASB)


So before the Council takes place Paul speaks privately with these three leaders to see where they stand on this issue.

Why privately?

Could you please explain why Paul felt so much consternation about meeting with the apostles in public, that he said in Galatians 2:2 he'd only meet with the greater authorities in private? Did he seriously entertain the real possibility that those higher authorities might actually disgree with his gospel? That makes good sense. He would then have been a good businessman, and realized that if they did in fact so disagree with him, a private meeting would keep a lid on things more than a public exposure, so he could then run back to his Gentile mission without facing a storm of criticism. Any good businessman can tell that if Paul feared a real disagreement from James, the last thing he'd wish to do is let this be known PUBLICALLY.

So please explain how Paul, who according to you was inspired by the same Jesus who inspired the Jerusalem apostles here in question....would wish to present his gospel to the undisputed authentic followers of Jesus, in private.....if you discount my interpretation and insist that he didn't really have any concerns about disagreement from the Jerusalem trio.



Verse 6 describes the outcome of the meeting:

But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.

James, Peter & John were in complete agreement with Paul and reassured him that nothing should be added to the Gospel message and this is confirmed by the following verses (7-10).


Paul sure does sin here! he talks about the apostles as "those who seemed to be something". The truth is, it was GOD ON EARTH who gave them their high reputation and standing as gospel teachers:


16 But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated.
17 And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28, NASB)

How then can Paul use such cavelier language and talk about those who SEEMED to be something?

The hypothesis which best explains Paul's anti-Christian lack of respect for these God-commissioned apostles, is that he took such attitude because there WAS real disagreement between he and they. Naturally then, we'd only expect to see him negating, to some degree more or less, their high reputation as gospel authorities.

And don't be too quick to conclude that "they added nothing to me" means they thought they didn't need to add anything to his message.

First, you sure do place an awful lot of trust in this man Paul. You act like whatever he says is absolutely accurate 1000%. Do you hold such high trust for the authors of other ancient religious propaganda outside the bible? Or are you always making special exceptions to the rules of historical investigation for your most favorite book in the whole wide world?

Second, I start out suspicious....thinking that a religious freak or zealot cannot be counted on to reliably report just the facts. How about you? I'm hoping you haven't lost all your skeptical sense. I hope that you do NOT believe everything some ancient religious propagandist says as soon as he says it. Do you really subject Paul to such critical thought processes, or have you assumed for many years that "there is no reason to doubt him"?


Now when Paul speaks about running in vain in verse 2 he is not expressing any personal doubt about the Gospel message and it would be foolishness to think so when we consider all that Paul suffered for the sake of the Gospel.

Skepticism of Paul defends itself from that possibility of foolishness when we remember that not only is it Paul's own self-serving statements that you are limited to to prove he suffered for the gospel, but that in some cases, his authorship of the epistles where those statement appear is also suspect. You are responding to me as if I'm a child in Sunday school, ready to just accept by faith anything and everything you have to say about "apostle Paul". Why do you talk that way? I am an atheist, not a Christian. If I said "evolution must be true, just look at what Richard Dawkins has to say about it...." you'd be offended that I would throw such an uncritical argument at you. Why then do you "quote Paul" as if there's no doubt that he always told the truth? Do you "just" believe, when a Mormon quotes the Book of Mormon to you? No. Therefore, neither do I believe that "what Paul said" constitutes the end of the discussion. He was a religious zealot and therefore must be treated the way you'd treat statements from any other religious zealot. How do you treat the self-serving statements of the original Mormon zealots? Oh they are sure they saw the gold plates from which Joe translated the Book of Mormon! Does that settle the matter for you? Suppose that you were not in possession of evidence of their deciet, the way you aren't in possession of evidence of Paul's deciet. Would you then believe their Mormon testimony, because you "have no reason to doubt them..." ? I'm guessing no. What I'm getting at is that you appear to have no problems being skeptical of everybody outside the bible, but when it comes to biblical characters, you lose your appreciation for critical thought.

Good job, because the bible condemns those who would doubt it, just like Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses condemn THEIR members who start thinking a little too critically.


In Gal 4:11 Paul uses the same expression to express his concern about the spiritual state of the Galatians who he fears have believed "another Gospel" which cannot save.

But it CAN save. You forgot that Paul said that this other gospel really isn't another gospel....


6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1, NASB)



So Paul's main concern is that the
purity of the Gospel message be preserved to prevent confusion and spiritual shipwreck in the churches he had already established.


Galatia was in the province of Asia:


15 You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes." (2nd Timothy 1:15, NASB)

Wow...those legalistic preachers who went around uprooting Paul's churches in Asia, such as the one in Galatia, must have had some pretty impressive arguments and credentials to not only convince the Paulists of their legalistic doctrine, but to do so after they had already come to accept Paul's doctrine. So they didn't just convert them, they got them to REJECT Paul's gospel after accepting it, and getting a Christian to reject their current Christian denomination in favor of another is much harder than getting the general joe unbeliever to simply become a Christian.

Or...The legalists didn't have good arguments or credentials, and so the great Asian apostasy from Paul is explained by saying Paul's churches were originally filled with rather gullible people who could be persuaded easily to believe almost any wind of doctrine that blew their way.

Which answer do you give to explain the massive apostasy from Paul? Stupid gullible Christians in Paul's original churches....or legalists with strong arguments and personal credentials as gospel authorities?


Paul knows all to well that the infiltration of false teachers with a false gospel into the churches could quickly undo all the hard work he had done and that such a gospel would produce false converts and heresy in the churches.

Could undo it "quickly" ?

Ok, so I guess that means yer going with the "gullible galatians" theory to explain the mass exodus from paul?

I'm an atheist, so you'd expect me to say yes, the early Christians were that gullible, but I don't. THAT level of gullibility is just too stupid to even seriously consider, for me. I choose the hypothesis that allows the Christians who populated Paul's original Asian churches to retain at least SOME vestige of common sense. I say that the legalists who swayed them all away from Paul, had better arguments for their legalistic version of the gospel, and they themselves were either equally as authoritative as Paul or else more so.

While that allows the first Christians to not be too gullible, it rips to shreds your idea that Paul was right, even if most of the lower continent of Christians turned away from him.

People have been known to turn away from false teachers. Just wanted to make sure you knew that was a valid hypothesis.

spirit5er
Mar 26th 2007, 05:13 AM
I guess we're seeing the Apostles words differently. A "totally different gospel"? You'll have to explain where you're coming from.

While Paul teaches that justification by faith alone was true even back during the Old Covenant:


2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."
4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due.
5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,
6 just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works:" (Romans 4)


...Jesus disagrees, and, while the Old Covenant was still in force before his death on the cross, he gives a legalistic gospel to somebody who asked how to get eternal life:

[QUOTE]17 And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."
18 He said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS;
19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?"
21 Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property." (Matthew 19, NASB)

Jesus obviously would never agree that one's justification before God is by faith alone. Otherwise he'd never have linked eternal life with obedience to the commandments.


Are you saying that if you and a good friend of yours were in a car accident....and your friend was killed....and you attended his funeral....and a few days later, your previously dead friend showed up alive at your house and told you God was for real....you'd pay no attention to him? That sure sounds like what you're saying.

I'd pay attention to him, and I've already paid 15 years worth of conservative Christian attention to the bible. You got me wrong, dude.

And to me...asking me what I'd do if my previously dead friend came back to life, sounds the same as asking me what I'd do if pigs suddenly sprouted wings. We all like to be objective, but sometimes the hypotheticals we're asked to consider are just not worthy of serious consideration.

I'll be happy to discuss with you in another thread, any evidence you have which you believe supports your theory that Jesus resurrected.

TEITZY
Mar 26th 2007, 02:20 PM
It is most unfortunate that this early in the debate about the authenticity of Paul's apostleship, you automatically assume Paul is right to condemn the legalistic Christians. I had hoped that you would recognize that Paul's legitimacy here needs defense, not presumption.

Paul was an Apostle chosen directly by Christ for the ministry of the Gospel and so I presume he was right. Furthermore, Paul's Gospel is in full agreeance with that of the other Apostles and the teaching of Christ Himself who also condemned the legalist religious leaders of His day in the strongest language possible. You yourself 'presume' Paul is wrong and yet provide no evidence to back up your claims.




Did you ever notice that the sort of legalistic Christians Paul cursed in Galatians 1:6-9, are exactly those whom apostle James invited to give their theological input in this exclusively Christian council that convened to decide a very Christian question?


Well it doesn't say they were invited by James, but even if they were this doesn't mean he agreed with them. In fact the purpose of having them there was obviously so they could be corrected for their erroneous teaching. What was the reaction of the Pharisees after Peter's address (Acts 15:7-11) that clearly condemned their legalistic approach to the Gospel? Verse 12 says the "whole assembly became silent". They didn't say a word! Later on, James in verses 13-20 clearly backs up what Peter has just said. Honestly, where do you get the idea that Paul's Gospel was in conflict with that of Peter & James? It's simply not in the text! You are like many liberals in the church today who take the Scriptures and twist them and try and convince others they are actually saying the opposite to what God intended them to say.



Would you mind explaining how James could have given speaking time to legalistic heretics at this council, whose message exactly mirrored the message of the Galatian heretics, if you still insist that Paul and James agreed on the Gospel? Do you think PAUL would have invited these heretics to give their theological say in this doctrinally critical council? If not, how do you explain James giving them speaking time just like Peter got?


Well it would appear that the encounter described in verse 5 occurred just prior to the council when Paul & Barnabas first arrived in Jerusalem, not during the council. Verse 6 indicates that the council was convened in response to the events recorded in verse 5. If verse 5 took place during the council when the Apostles and elders were already gathered together, why does verse 6 say, "Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter"? Obviously the events in verse 5 happened sometime before the official council was convened. During the council itself we only hear from Peter, Paul & Barnabas and James, no one else is mentioned.




Of course, the way out of the dilemma is to acknowledge that Paul and James disagreed on the nature of the gospel. And the words "after there had been much debate..." from Acts 15:7 indicate that my opinion is not very far afield of the truth.


So there was much debate. And where exactly does it say that during this debate Paul was opposing James in regard to the Gospel? It never says they were in disagreement and the following verses clearly indicate that they weren't.


Paul, who only saw a temporary "vision of Jesus", was concerned that three of those who actually walked talked and lived with the real Jesus for three years, might have been swayed by Jewish heresy of legalism?

Well sometime after the Jerusalem Council, Peter, Barnabas and the Jewish believers at Antioch were deceived by the legalizers from Jerusalem and had to be corrected by Paul (Gal 2:11-13). So Paul's concern prior to the council was obviously justified. Despite Peter's committment to the Gospel of grace, his desire to be accepted by his peers caused him and others to act in a hypocritical manner. Though Peter was personally rebuked and corrected by Paul he still acknowledged Paul's divine apostleship and his wisdom in spiritual matters (2 Pet 3:15-16). Read it, I think it describes your agenda quite well!




Good answer. As I remember Jesus being asked "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus didn't respond "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and yo will be saved, you and your house."

He said "what is written in the law? If you would enter life, keep the commandments." When we examine the whole context, we discover that Jesus didn't say anything else that would allow justification by faith alone to slip in:



Jesus says obeying the commandments, selling what you have, and following him, are the keys to eternal life. That's more legalistic than Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses preach! NOTHING in Jesus statement expresses or implies "justification by faith alone."

Now if you say there's nothing wrong with this, because before he died on the Cross and initiated the New Covenant of Grace, it was true, at the time that he said it, that you got eternal life by obeying the commandments....then I'll just have to whip out Romans 4 and remind you that Paul taught that "justification by faith alone" was true even back in during the Old Covenant, even before it clear back to Abraham through Moses, and then Paul quotes David, their distant descendent, to show justification by faith alone was true the entire time. We hear a loud thud in Romans 4 as dispensationalism bites the dust. We also find apostle Paul disagreeing very violently with Moses who said one's righteousness before God is made up of their obedience to his commands:


Well you seem to be good at ripping verses out of context but Jesus in verse 26 clearly states that salvation is the work of God not man. Furthermore in verse 29 He says that those who follow Him "inherit eternal life". If salvation is by works then eternal life is earnt, not inherited.

When Jesus told the rich young ruler that he needed to "keep the commandments" to be saved He was correct. Through the law the only way to be accepted by God and enter heaven was to keep the commandments PERFECTLY. God's standard is sinless perfection and so Jesus is throwing down the challenge to see if this guy will acknowledge that he is a law breaker and sinner. Instead of acknowledging his sin (the purpose of giving the law was always to expose sin for what it is and not to provide some means of salvation) he proudly says he has kept all the law. To expose his sin (love of money) and show this man that he has not kept the law perfectly, Jesus challenges him personally to put God & eternal life before his money. Note this command was not given to anyone else only the rich man. If people get to heaven by selling all they own and giving to the poor, then how do the poor who have nothing to sell get eternal life?

So Jesus is not teaching salvation by works at all but simply using the law lawfully to expose this man's sin. It wasn't the act of selling all His goods that would have saved this man, but rather such an action would have demonstrated this man's faith in God & Jesus and would have shown he loved God more than his money.


It's late so I'll try and get through the rest of your post tomorrow, Lord willing.

Cheers
Leigh

DSK
Mar 26th 2007, 02:52 PM
If the inerrantist-belief is true (i.e., that Paul and the Jerusalem apostles agreed 100% on the gospel), then what is this possibility of "running in vain" that he expresses concern about, so much concern in fact, that he chooses to present his gospel PRIVATELY to the Christian leaders in Jerusalem? Why privately? What risk did Paul seriously entertain, that he could control the possible damage more by presenting his gospel to the authorities in private?

I say it's because he felt there was a real and distinct possibility that James might disagree with his gospel, and if he learned of his with a PUBLIC presentation to James, the word would spread like wildfire that the undisputed original apostles believe Paul is a heretic, which would damage his ministry so much that it would rightly be referred to as a race that ended up being run in vain. This being a real possibility in Paul's mind, he'd opt to present his gospel to James PRIVATELY. So if James then disagreed with Paul in private, it would NOT spread so quickly that Christ's original disciples disagreed with Paul's gospel.

But if you say Paul wasn't worried that any Jerusalem apostle would seriously disagree with the Pauline gospel, then I'd love to hear your more contextually justified interpretation, that explains this fear or concern Paul expresses in the prospect of presenting his gospel publicly to the Jerusalem apostles.

How could there be any concern whatsoever? There was no possibility that James would disagree with the Pauline gospel, right?

And yet Paul wishes to do things privately....hmmm....

I found the following comment quite informative.

"In consulting the Christians at Jerusalem Paul had principally in view the formal indorsement of his work by the church and its leaders. Their formal declaration that he had not been running in vain would materially aid him in his mission. Μή πως is therefore to be taken as marking an indirect question, whether - not possibly; and the sense of the whole passage is as follows: “I laid before them that gospel which I preach to the Gentiles, that they might examine and settle for themselves the question whether I am not possibly running or had run in vain.” The investigation was to be for their satisfaction, not for Paul's." - Marvin Vincents Word Studies

JesusisGod
Mar 30th 2007, 03:55 AM
Hi spirit5er.

While Paul teaches that justification by faith alone was true even back during the Old Covenant:
True, but we must qualify Abes faith as tested faith.


...Jesus disagrees, and, while the Old Covenant was still in force before his death on the cross, he gives a legalistic gospel to somebody who asked how to get eternal life:
Would you say that Jesus knew what the young man was going to do (leave) before He told him how to be perfect?



I'd pay attention to him...
Exactly what the Apostles did.


...and I've already paid 15 years worth of conservative Christian attention to the bible.
Then stop blaming Jesus for it.



And to me...asking me what I'd do if my previously dead friend came back to life, sounds the same as asking me what I'd do if pigs suddenly sprouted wings.
That's because you're losing your hearing.


We all like to be objective, but sometimes the hypotheticals we're asked to consider are just not worthy of serious consideration.
You've already seriously considered what your reaction with coming face to face with the resurrected Christ would be.



I'll be happy to discuss with you in another thread, any evidence you have which you believe supports your theory that Jesus resurrected.
The only evidence I have is the only evidence any human can have that any other human ever existed (or in Jesus case, does exist). Know what it is?

TEITZY
Apr 5th 2007, 09:33 AM
Jesus says obeying the commandments, selling what you have, and following him, are the keys to eternal life. That's more legalistic than Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses preach! NOTHING in Jesus statement expresses or implies "justification by faith alone."



I'm probably wasting my breath, but what do you make of Jesus statement in Luke 7:50?

Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Cheers
Leigh

DaveS
Apr 14th 2007, 05:07 AM
spirit5er, I have many devout Christian friends that would agree with you wholeheartedly on the differences between Paul's gospel and all that came before; myself being in agreement. In fact they (we) tout those differences fervently.

I'm curious, you've said that you had dedicated yourself for a time to Christian thought. Was it the differences between Paul's gospel and what the others preached that turned you away from the Bible?

Don't mean to derail the thread.

Thanks.
Dave