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Featured Did Paul champion the Cause of Christ or corrupt it?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Dawnofhope, Oct 3, 2018.

?
  1. Yes, he championed it

    37.1%
  2. No, he corrupted it

    28.6%
  3. He changed Christ's message somewhat

    14.3%
  4. He made minor changes

    2.9%
  5. This poll does not reflect my thinking

    11.4%
  6. I don't know

    5.7%
  1. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    I had always believed Paul was one of the most important and influential apostles. This was my belief as a Christian and then when I converted to the Baha'i Faith. I'd always maintained that the New Testament provides an authoritative and authentic testimony to the life and Teachings of Lord Jesus. Both Peter and Paul are regarded highly in Baha'i theology. Jesus asked Peter to lead His church and Peter clearly affirmed the authority of Paul in one of his letters (2 Peter 3:13-18).

    I always unquestioningly assumed Paul's apostle to be affirmed by the Holy Spirit until I came across an internet discussion group called religious forum. Paul was clearly the focus of criticism from Muslims, Jews, ex-Christians, atheists and some who had developed their own unique theology. It seems those who would criticise Christianity see Paul as being a weakness and easy target. It has even been claimed Paul corrupted the gospel of Christ.

    To be clear Baha'is are not Christians and although we share many Christian beliefs we have some important differences. Christians believe in the exclusivity of Christ for salvation, a literally resurrected Jesus, and Jesus being physically God incarnate. Baha'is recognise Muhammad, Buddha and Krishna as being Manifstations of God along with Jesus and Moses. God manifests or reveals Himself through these Great Educators spiritually and not physically. We see the resurrection of Jesus as being of fundamental importance but of a spiritual nature. However we do not reject Paul as an Apostle of Christ.

    So what are the arguments for and against Paul? Did he really change the message of Christ? Didn't God/Jesus give the apostles the authority to speak on His behalf?

     
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  2. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    IMO, he championed it even though some of his interpretations and elaborations of what Jesus' taught might have had Jesus rolling his eyes a bit.
     
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  3. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    Do you routinely do unquestioning assumptions?
    Maybe there are more that need to be rooted out!

    Did you ever read the stoty of him being snake-bit,
    analyze it for credibility? It has a lot of details that
    make no sense, just are so against anything plausible,
    the story just cannot be true.

    Not that I believe the "Saul, Saul, why..." story either,
    but its a whole different class of "miracle".

    But if one thing about him is clearly false...
    what else?
     
  4. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    and the disciples said to Him.......see that man....
    he goes about as we do.....preaching and healing
    but he is not one of us......
    Tell him to stop

    and He replied.....
    He that does my Father's will is with us
    not against us
    Let him be

    apparently .....anyone can do so.....is allowed
     
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  5. rocala

    rocala Active Member

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    @adrian009 Thanks for posting this. In my reading I have contiuously come across opposing refences to Paul as the hero/villain of the period.
    I am hoping for some good informed responses here.
     
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  6. Windwalker

    Windwalker Veteran Member
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    Everyone back then had their own interpretation of what Christianity was. In fact, there was no "standard" or original Christianity at all. It was created by the followers in their own understandings of it, and only later when the edict went out to consolidate these different Christianities into a single belief system, that the war of politics called anyone but the ones who won out the day as "heretics" or "wrong thinkers". It's ridiculous. Paul's Christianity is just one variation of many back then. There never was an "authentic church". The whole "apostolic succession" thing was a made-up 2nd century invention to try to make their own group look like the "chosen ones".
     
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  7. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    I would say Paul did not live directly with Christ as a disciple and able to interact with him. He only read and heard about him, and this will obviously position him in a plane where he is bound to understand Jesus through his own concepts, theories, prejudices and understanding, imho.

    In Hinduism, great importance is given to direct relationship and company with the Master so as to connect with the life principle in him, rather than just read books or hear about him.

    Imo.
     
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  8. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    Jesus certainly gave authority. In fact Jesus purposely left the gospel in their hands on purpose.

    And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

    And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

    Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    Isaiah 52:6-10 King James Version (KJV)
    6 Therefore my people shall know my name: (The name of Jesus) therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: (It is God who speaks through the preachers of the gospel) behold, it is I.
    7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;
    (the bringers of the gospel) that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
    8 Thy watchmen
    (these are those God has appointed to be watchmen and warn the people of God) shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
    9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem:
    (this is the church restored that was fallen down) for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
    10 The Lord hath made bare his holy arm
    (The arm of the Lord is His ministers) in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. (Every eye shall see Jesus thanks to the preachers of the gospel)
     
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  9. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    I don't think Paul even knew what Jesus's message was.

    Paul never even met Jesus. He was a professional persecutor of the enemies of the Roman Empire. Jesus opposed pagan oppression of the Jewish people, even when it was being done by Jews.

    So, of course, Jesus's disciples weren't going to tell Paul what Jesus was up to. They didn't want to wind up crucified like Jesus was. They just gave Paul the sanitized, social reformer, version of Jesus. Little to do with Jesus's Message. But Paul took it and ran with it.

    Tom
     
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  10. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    See that's what I would call circular reasoning. You're assuming the point that Jesus is not who He said He is. Otherwise if you believed Jesus is who He says He is; then even though Jesus is gone up to heaven; yet Paul can indeed meet Jesus.
     
  11. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    No I am not.
    Jesus didn't say anything that you know about. Centuries after He died a Roman Warlord got some bishops to put together a collection of beliefs and writings attributed to people who might possibly have known something about Jesus.

    Then Constantine made it the official religion, creating the RCC.
    Tom
     
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  12. Kelly of the Phoenix

    Kelly of the Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    It just seems awfully convenient that the one with the most trouble trying to make himself as important as Jesus, constantly getting into trouble when he fails to copy his master, would end up the leader.

    Much like John, Paul took a Way that focused on doing for others and perverted it to a shallow attempt to promote the self. Instead of letting go of attachments, we are now to lick God's boots so He'll give us the VIP seats in heaven. Empathy was tossed out the window. John the Baptist and Jesus considered group identity to be far less important than being a good person. John, Paul, and perhaps Peter, all say "screw that" and fixate on how best to acquire all the gold stars on God's chart, which they pretty much decide requires group identity only with heavy amounts of boot-licking. They represent the people Jesus warned about when saying not everyone who calls out "Lord, Lord" will be saved.

    Yeah, I remember reading somewhere there are no venomous snakes in the area where he was bitten, so it didn't really matter.

    He also complained that his students didn't understand him. It's kind of dumb to give the classroom keys to the kids who flunked the class.

    Isn't Jesus supposed to be the comforter? I mean, isn't that the ENTIRE reason for the plot?
     
  13. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    Jesus said a lot and there is reason to believe the 4 gospels are legitimate.

    The real church was already doing fine and the merger of Christianity with Roman government was not right. The council of Nicaea tried to bring together different sects and churches under one set of rules. They basically voted on what they thought was right or not. That proves it wasn't from God because the truth is not up to a human vote.

    One thing they did well on though was preserving the scriptures we do have. However they also burned a lot of books that I wish we had today. We would know a lot more if it wasn't for the early Catholics burning everything that disagreed with their often bizarre opinions.

    For example Sabellianism. They were a large group and must have had books but they're all gone now as far as I know.

    But that's why He would send the Spirit of truth so that they would remember and understand all His sayings. They didn't have the holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2.
    The point of "another Comforter" is that Jesus is physically/bodily ascending into heaven. So the "another Comforter" is the Spirit of Jesus.

    In other words Jesus was going away bodily but send them His holy Spirit to be with them and teach them.
     
    #13 74x12, Oct 3, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
  14. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    The lack of "vipers" on the island is only a fraction
    of what is wrong with the story.
     
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  15. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    As interpreted by Paul, the simple message of Jesus begins to look like a complex doctrine of christology, salvation, and church.
    Every interpretation transforms the message, whether it is Paul's interpretation of Jesus or our interpretation of Paul. To avoid interpretation is to avoid understanding. The crucial question here is whether an interpretation remains in continuity with the original vision. Interpretation involves a risk, but the alternative results in mindless repetition of words we do not understand.

    Over a third of the New Testament consists of the letters of Paul the Apostle. These 13 letters were probably the first Christian writings collected as the inspired word of God, thus forming the core around which the Gospels and other New testament writings were gathered. Around the year AD 100, an anonymous author, writing under the name of Peter, referred to these letters as a collection and described them as Scripture (2 Pet. 3: 15-16).
    Would Jesus recognize his message in these letters? Jesus preached the arrival of the kingdom of God (Mk. 1: 14-15). Paul hardly mentions the kingdom and seems to focus on the person of Jesus himself. Jesus preached a God who loves all people unconditionally (Mt. 5:44) Paul divides humanity into "those pershing" and "those being saved" and insists on the reception of the Spirit as the decisive factor (1 Cor. 1: 18-2: 16).

    Our faith has been deeply influenced by Paul. This apostle transformed the agrarian, Palestinian vision of Jesus into a message that spoke to the urban workers, administrators, and philosophers of the Roman world. As interpreted by Paul, the simple message of Jesus begins to look like a complex doctrine of christology, salvation, and church. Both Luke and Paul agree on this puzzling initiative of God, who after providing his Son with Twelve Apostles now selects an enemy to carry the Gospel the ends of the earth.

    Source 'Studiying the Letters of Paul'
    Vincent Branick
     
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  16. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think he corrupted it, but he said many things that others have corrupted or twisted or misunderstood.

    Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you; as also in all of his letters, speaking in them of these things. In those are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unsettled twist, as they also do to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
    2 Pet. 3:15-16
     
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  17. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    Thank you. Would you elaborate please?
     
  18. CG Didymus

    CG Didymus Veteran Member

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    What would you define as the "cause" of Christ? And, did Paul "champion" that cause? It seems like the biggest thing Paul accomplished was to break away from the Laws Moses brought, to allow new converts, that weren't from a Jewish background, not have to worry about keeping the Law. It became their faith in Jesus that saved them, and not how well a person kept the Law. Which, to Paul, the Law was impossible to keep anyway.

    So whatever a Baha'i might think was the true cause of Christ, it became faith and trust in Jesus as being... what? Then all the rest of the NT stories become important. Jesus was a miracle worker and healer. He was the Son of God. And since he had the authority to forgive sins, he was made God himself. And to explain that, Christians invented the Trinity as an explanation how he could be God and man at the same time. He conquered death and rose from the grave and then ascended to the right hand of his Father. But who else did he conquer by rising from the dead? Satan.

    By the time we're done with all the Christian beliefs that are based on the NT, we have a Christian religion that Baha'i writings say aren't true. And, I'm sure Paul's writings are also part of what Baha'is would question as "The Truth". Unfortunately, the nice things you and other Baha'is say about the NT and Paul, I don't see how it really is supported by what Baha'is believe about Christianity. I think Trailblazer is much closer to the reality of how Baha'is believe... But, of course, Baha'is can't come out and say it so bluntly as she does. But, really, who cares about Paul, Baha'is say Jesus is dead and buried and never, never physically came back to life.

    If that one belief of the Baha'is is true, Christianity is already a lost and confused religion based on nothing real and substantial. Christianity got buried with Jesus. If Jesus is dead, then so is his Church. And anything Paul had to say can't bring something dead back to life. But was it dead? Did the Church believe that Jesus was dead? No. Was the Church confused and in need of leadership and guidance? Yes. In steps Paul. But, whatever he did, still doesn't change the fact that Baha'is don't believe in many of the basic beliefs and doctrines of Christianity, whether they came from Paul, Peter or any of the gospels. The big one being... Jesus rose from the dead.

    Without that, who even cares about Christianity? Believe in Jesus to get saved from hell? Hell no, Baha'is say that isn't true. So Christians can't scare people with that threat either. What's left? Do good because this nice guy Jesus said so? Even those that believe all the miraculous stuff about Jesus can't and don't follow what Jesus said. You need all that stuff to make Jesus special, then, from there, Paul can fine tune it and try to get people to believe it.
     
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  19. Dawnofhope

    Dawnofhope Veteran Member
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    I had assumed we all made assumptions that we hadn’t fully questioned. Of course that could be just another unquestioned assumption on my part lol.

    A strength of RF is we are exposed to different perspectives that causes us to reflect on our own.

    Acts of the apostles 28:1-6 records the story of Paul being shipwrecked on an island later thought to be the island of Malta. As you quite rightly point out there are no poisonous snakes on Malta, nor are there any records of such.

    I include links from a sceptic and Christian denomination (Catholic) that address the issue. For me it is not a deal breaker but provides a good opportunity to consider the authorship of Acts, when it was written and the likely sources of information.

    St. Paul and the Malta Snakes | Catholic Answers

    Opinion

    Baha’is and Christians both believe in the God of Abraham and His capacity to perform miracles.

    There are of course limitations as to credibility of course.

    Literal interpretation of genesis to conclude a young earth goes against all the accepted science that strongly argues the earth to be over 4 billion years old. Therefore a more credible explanation is necessary.

    There is much allegory and symbolism in the bible so even what appears to be historical narrative may not be.
     
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  20. Marcion

    Marcion gopa of humanity's controversial Taraka Brahma

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    The Christian projection of Paul in the New Testament is likely (almost?) completely fabricated or mythical with two main sources.
    Christianity is a syncretic or hybrid religion.
    Without the influence of this fabricated "Pauline" view there would be no Christianity (and we would have a very different type of religion). The image of Christ as we know it from Christianity doesn't exist if you try to remove the Christian Pauline projection.

    https://www.amazon.com/Fabricated-Paul-Early-Christianity-Twilight-ebook/dp/B006XXX04G
    http://www.egodeath.com/FalsifiedPaul/DeteringChapter1.pdf
    http://www.egodeath.com/FalsifiedPaul/DeteringChapter2.pdf

     
    #20 Marcion, Oct 3, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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