On Paul's Religion

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Through sophisticated statements on social media, certain prominent voices in the evangelical wing of Christendom have revealed their penchant for pitting Jesus' ethical teaching against that of the Apostle Paul. To elevate what Jesus taught over against what His apostles taught reveals a fundamental deficiency with regard to the doctrine of biblical revelation. Such false dichotomizing is ostensibly driven by a desire to distance oneself from the Apostle's condemnation of homosexuality and his teaching about gender role distinctions in the church. The desire to set Jesus and Paul at odds-or to subtly downplay the fact that the apostolic letters are, in fact, the very words of Christ-will inevitably backfire on those who believe they are helping others embrace a more tolerant brand of Christianity in the church.  

At the turn of the twentieth century, the church faced a form of theological liberalism in which theologians sought to disassociate Jesus and Paul. Although the driving factors in the theological liberalism of the twentieth century were somewhat different from our current ecclesiastical controversies, the method and desired end were strikingly similar. Attacks on the organic unity of Scripture led professors at Princeton Theological Seminary to proffer some of the greatest arguments for the defense of the unity and progressive development of the canon of Scripture. In his 1912 article titled, "Jesus and Paul," J. Gresham Machen confronted the liberal attempt to make Paul "the second founder of Christianity"--a redactor of Jesus' teaching. Machen wrote, 

"In recent years there is a tendency to dissociate Paul from Jesus. A recent historian has entitled Paul "the second founder of Christianity." If that be correct, then Christianity is facing the greatest crisis in its history. For--let us not deceive ourselves--if Paul is independent of Jesus, he can no longer be a teacher of the Church. Christianity is founded upon Christ and only Christ."[1]

Machen subsequently turned the content of that article into his much more developed work, The Origin of Paul's Religion--which is one of the greatest refutations of efforts to disassociate the foremost Apostle from the Savior.

Geehardus Vos, the great biblical theologian at Princeton, explained that the relationship between the biblical revelation about the earthly ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic writing is the relationship between "the fact to be interpreted and the subsequent interpretation of this fact." He wrote...

Read the full article here.

Posted December 2, 2019 @ 5:53 PM by Nicholas Batzig

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