Think You Know Paul the “Apostle”? Think Again.

Arch directed me to this article about Paul. The writer totally mirrors my thoughts and opinions.

Those of you who know me through my book are aware of my feelings about Paul. He is such a fraud that I try to undermine his “authority” every chance I get!

Following is the beginning of the article to give you a sampling:

Paul was a Pharisee.  One day he had a ‘revelation’.  He changed his name from Saul to Paul, and straightway preached his revelations about the ‘Christ’ in the synagogues.  Paul continued to have new ‘revelations’ that spoke ‘of’ and ‘for’ a Christ, but he was glaringly silent about the actual life of Yahushua (Jesus) and his teachings.  In Paul’s epistles we find him using the words ‘Christ, Son of God, grace, redemption, resurrection, etc.’, but we learn little or nothing about Yahushua and his actual teachings.  They’re virtually absent from Paul’s epistles.  What we learn about are Paul’s revelations.  Roughly 50% of the New Testament (13 epistles) is from Saul, a man who neither knew Yahushua in the flesh, nor was instructed by the apostles.  Rather, he taught by unsubstantiated revelation, Ezekiel 13:2-9.

Paul considered himself the ‘apostle’ to the Gentiles, primarily because his doctrine (called ‘that way’, Acts 19:9, 23) was rejected by Jewish Christians and the Asian churches alike; and he was forced to seek converts who knew nothing of Yahudim (Jewish) customs and the Law.  Paul’s doctrine was adverse to the teachings of Yahushua; and he was often in conflict with James, Peter, and John; the real apostles.  And by the way, Paul was not an apostle.

Paul spent an inordinate amount of time defending himself and his teachings from accusations of guile, lies, and covetousness.  None of the real apostles were so accused.  Paul’s core philosophy of justification by faith and abolition of Torah Law stands in opposition to Yahushua’s statements in the gospels.  Paul thought nothing of lying or practicing pagan customs if it meant gaining a new convert to his own brand of salvation, Romans 3:7, I Corinthians 10:14-21, 9:19-22.

Paul’s words speak for themselves.  His use of personal pronouns in his epistles (I, me, my, mine) is three times that of any other writer.  Paul urged his followers to follow him.  He preached by revelation.  Paul preached his doctrine in the ‘name’ of Christ, but his teachings were not in alignment with Yahushua’s teachings, John 5:43.

Think this is just one person’s opinion? I urge you to do some research. Outside of the bible, Paul is shown for what he really is by dozens of scholars. Further, whether Christians want to admit it or not, they are following the teachings of Paul … not Jesus.

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Another Ding in Paul’s Theology

Just read the following comment, made by Steve Ruis, which was in response to a posting at A Humanist’s Perspective blog entitled “An Atheist Analyzes Acts (1:1-11).” Steve’s thoughts are very similar to mine so I decided to republish them here.

Ah, but you gloss over the setting. The group remaining in Jerusalem, lead ostensibly by James the Just, Jesus’ brother and all of the remaining disciples remain observant Jews. They go to temple. They observe Jewish customs and holidays and respect the Torah by abiding by the myriad rules practicing Jews must. Does this sound like a group who will come to the conclusion that Jesus’ life and death have superseded the Torah, in fact the entire Tanakh? Why would they do all of this when Paul insists that it is no longer necessary (Jesus told him so in a vision). Why would Jesus have not told his followers what to do when his “sacrifice” was made? In fact, if Jesus were god, how could he have been sacrificed? And hadn’t the Jews outlawed human sacrifice centuries before and had wages a campaign to obliterate the practice to the point it was abhorrent to them? How could a self-respecting Jew proposed that a human sacrifice was the keystone to a new covenant with God?

(Actually, Jesus did not tell Paul much of anything during the Damascus Road “vision,” but that’s neither here nor there.)

The main point is that the believing Jews (the ones who saw Yeshua as the long-awaited mashiach) did not change their ways. They continued to follow the Torah, perform circumcisions, keep the Sabbath, honor the Jewish festivals, and observe dietary laws. Plus they visited the temple regularly to pray and await apokatastasis pantõn — the final establishment of all God had promised to Israel. It was Paul, the fake and self-declared apostle, that changed everything by declaring the Torah null and void and transforming Yeshua into a savior-god acceptable to his gentile audience.

If believers could only look beyond their embedded teachings of who Paul was (the “ideal Christian”) and visualize him during biblical times, they might see him for what he truly was … a “bombastic maverick, representing no one but himself and under no one’s direction” (Two Different Pauls).

As to Steve’s comment re: sacrifice — in the biblical tradition, sacrifice was a common practice or ritual — but it was NEVER human sacrifice. The only sacrifice acceptable to God as a sin offering by the early Hebrews was animals. Guess who originated the idea that the death of Yeshua (a human) was an acceptable sacrifice to God for the sins of humanity? Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

Then there’s the mind-boggling question that remains to be answered … if Jesus was God (as many believe), how could he have been sacrificed?

Born in Sin?

I’ve been following the comments to a post at violetwisp.wordpress.com (before you go there, be warned the conversation is very long — and some of it is totally irrelevant, but fun).

A frequent contributor to this particular posting is someone who goes by the handle of “Tiribulus.” In a comment made on November 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm,  this individual said,

“EVERYone descended from him [Adam] is conceived and born in sin and spiritual death.”

This is such a long-time traditional teaching of the church, I doubt any believer reading it would disagree. Yet I wonder how many Christians know where this “original sin” doctrine originated. (As a refresher — original sin is the Christian doctrine of humanity’s state of sin that resulted from the fall of man, i.e., Adam’s rebellion in Eden).

I decided to offer a brief history lesson on this subject. Much of the information is gathered from Wikipedia, but some is from other sources that I researched during the writing of my book.

The formalized doctrine of original sin was first developed in the 2nd-century by Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons, in his struggle against Gnosticism. Irenaeus believed that Adam’s sin had grave consequences for humanity, that it is the source of human sinfulness, mortality and enslavement to sin, and that all human beings participate in his (Adam) sin and share his guilt.

Later, another church father, Augustine of Hippo, further developed the doctrine. He taught the effects of Adam’s sin are actually transmitted to his descendants by birth, i.e, when the parents experience libido (or concupiscence), the “wounded nature” is transmitted to the soul and body of the new person.

Much later, Martin Luther asserted that humans inherit Adam’s guilt and are in a state of sin from the moment of conception. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear and/or faith in God.

Many years later, Protestant reformer John Calvin said this in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

Original sin, therefore, seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable to God’s wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which Scripture calls “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19).

Of course, various denominations (Roman Catholics, Methodists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah Witnesses, Latter Day Saints, et al)  each have their own individualistic definitions of original sin.

What’s important to note, however, is that the inception of this doctrine came from none other than the bible’s famous writer, orator, self-proclaimed apostle, and hijacker of the Christian faith: PAUL. It was he who first presented this idea in Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:22. Early church fathers such as those named above merely took his words and refashioned them to fit their own personal beliefs … and thus today the concept is thoroughly entrenched within the Christian faith.

As many in Christianity believe, Paul was instructed in a “heavenly” message from a disembodied voice that he was to go to the gentiles and “open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light” (Acts 26:18). In his efforts to do so, Paul began teaching them that the Law was not the answer because it didn’t have the power to save; this could only be accomplished by believing in Christ’s death and resurrection (a dying-rising savior).

However, convincing the Jews the Mosaic Law was now defunct was an entirely different matter. For centuries they had been told that anyone who didn’t uphold the words of the Law by observing them was cursed! (Deuteronomy 27:26)

So what did Paul do? He developed the “original sin” doctrine. He told them sin was in the world before the law was given (Romans 5:13) – and it was all because of Adam’s wrongdoing in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:12). He further asserted that with sin came death, and since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), the only way to life and salvation was by acknowledging that Yeshua was the Messiah/Savior.

It’s important to note here what the early Jews actually believed about sin:

According to early Judaic teachings (and maintained in modern-day Judaism), everyone is born innocent; that is, they enter the world free of sin.72 Throughout life, people may make choices that lead to sin, but it is not part of their inherent nature. To the Jews, sin is a violation of the divine commandments and is seen as an act (thought, word, or deed), not a “state of being”73 or part of the human condition. Further, God explained in Ezekiel (18:20) that sinners will be punished for their own sins, not for the sins of others.

—Things I Never Learned in Sunday School: Facts about the Christian faith that will surprise and astound you (OR, Writing…Etc, 2012) p. 62

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As indicated above, this concept of original sin is a mainstay of the Christian belief system. Yet few realize it was an idea born, not of God, but from a man who believed he’d had a “revelation” from on high. A man who taught doctrines and concepts that Yeshua, the messenger to the Jews, never mentioned, and who created a religion that Yeshua would never recognize.
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(72) My Jewish Learning, The Jewish View of Sin
(73) Wikipedia.org, Jewish View on Sin

Things I Never Learned in Sunday School

NanCover-ebookIt’s finally done! The book I’ve been writing for the past five years has finally come to fruition and is now available in both paperback and Kindle format through Amazon. Other eBook formats are also offered through Barnes & Noble, Kobobooks, Sony eBookstore, et al.

During my years in the Christian faith, I accepted what was taught in Sunday School and church without question. It wasn’t until I left the church that I began to investigate the history behind many popular Christian beliefs … with surprising results (i.e., things are not always as they seem).

In this book I challenge readers to go ‘outside the box’ and investigate what they believe. It is not a task for the faint of heart because it could very well mean discovering things that are in direct contrast to what you have been taught. On the other hand, it could result in a spiritual rebirth.

Some may find the contents of this book unsettling, but I believe you will find it difficult to put it down until the very end.

Visit my “Escape From Religion” blog for more details, book excerpts, and how to order your copy (at reduced pricing) of “Things I Never Learned in Sunday School: Facts about the Christian faith that will surprise and astound you.”