Paul: Apostle of Christ or False Prophet?

written by Christopher Macfarlane

Due to confusion regarding the position of the Protest! Station regarding this topic, it seemed necessary to give the following disclaimer: I do not hold to this view whatsoever, but only wish to represent this position fairly.

A few weeks ago, a subject had arisen unlike any I had ever heard before. It concerns the reliability of the apostle Paul, stating that he was in fact an apostate – or false teacher. The following are various arguments made against Paul:


1. There are 22 references to Paul being an apostle. Only 2 are made by someone other than himself. These two references were never made by Jesus or the apostles, but by Luke – the close companion of Paul.

2. Paul does not write like anyone else. That is, he uses many personal pronouns. It has also been said that this is why he is not believed to have written Hebrews… because Paul is always talking about himself, and his accomplishments. Statistics have even been made concerning how many times he has spoken about himself: Romans – 103 times; 1 Corinthians – 175 times; 2 Corinthians – 103 times; Galatians – 69 times.

He is also accused of being conceited, because of his openness about God choosing him especially to be a light to the Gentiles… misusing a text intended specifically for Isaiah.

“For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you to be a light to the Gentiles that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.” Acts 13:47

3. Paul was the only one to refer to himself as an apostle. None of the other apostles referred to themselves as apostles.

4. Paul has made references to himself being the “greatest” apostle:

Working harder than the rest:
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all…”. 1Corinthians 15:9,10

Belittling the other apostles:
“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. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles),  and when James, Cephas (Peter), and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”  Galatians 2:6,7,9

“But when Peter had come to Antioch, Iwithstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews played the hypocritewith him so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straight forward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter beforethemall, “if you being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?” Galatians 2:11-14

This rebuke in Galatians is viewed as hypocritical because of the following:

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without the law as without law… that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” 1Corinthians 9:19-22

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”   1Corinthians 10:31-33

5. There are only twelve apostles

Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Revelation 21:14

“Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His Glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matthew 19:28

6. Paul was wrong about the purpose of the Law

Paul’s reason:
“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, that (for this purpose) every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law no  flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.”  Romans 3:19,20

God’s reason:
“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments,that (for this purpose) it might be well with them and with their children forever!”  Deuteronomy 5:29

“And the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always,that (for this purpose) He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, ifwe are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.”   Deuteronomy 6:24,25

Paul:
Where is boasting then? It is excluded, By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law.   Romans 3:27,28

God:
“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”     Micah 6:8

7. Paul and James have differing views of justification

Paul:

What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something of which to boast, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  Romans 4:1-3

…just as Abraham “Believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness“.  Galatians 3:6

James:
Was not Abraham our father justified byworkswhen he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”   James 2:21-23


8. Paul is a liar, and he knows it.

Paul concerning the Jerusalem Council:
“Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles… 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. But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter… and when James, Cephas, and John who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They desiredonlythat we should remember the poor, the very thing which I was also eager to do.”   Galatians 2:1,2,6-7,9-10

What happened at the Jerusalem Council:
But regarding the Gentiles who have believed, we have written a letter, having decided that they should avoid meat that has been sacrificed to idolsand blood and what has been strangledand sexual immorality.” Acts 21:25


*Paul lied about his conversion to King Agrippa

Paul’s conversion:
And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Yahshua, whom you are persecuting, It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” And the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  Acts 9:3-19

Paul’s conversion testimony to the Jews:
Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Yahshua of Nazareth, Whom you are persecuting.’ …So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ Acts 22:6-15

Paul’s lie to Agrippa:
“While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we all had fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me and saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are  you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You , Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Yahshua, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes and to turn them from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision…”  Acts 26:12-19


9. Peter wrongly affirms Paul

Peter’s affirmation:
“…and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” 2Peter 3:15,16


Jesus prophesied that Peter would be misled later in life:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you bound yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch forth your hands, and another will bind you and take you where you do not wish.”  John 21:18

but, the following verse says:
“This he spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God.”   John 21:19

But it is argued that this was only the commentary of John, and not necessarily the intention of Jesus, as it wouldn’t make sense as a picture of crucifixion.

In a nutshell, Jesus told Peter that he would slip in the future. This prophecy concerned Peter’s affirmation of Paul.

10. Jesus confirms the apostasy of Paul

* Jesus tells the Ephesians that Paul was a liar:

Jesus:
“And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.” Revelation 2:2

Paul claimed to be the apostle to Ephesus:
“Paul, an apostle of Yahshua by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus,”  Ephesians 1:1

Paul in Ephesus:
“And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the way before the multitude…”   Acts 19:8,9

“This you know, that all thoseinAsia have turned away from me.”   2Timothy 1:15

* Paul is Balaam

Jesus:
But I have a few things against you: You have some people there who follow the teaching of Balaam, who instructed Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel so they would eat food sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality. In the same way, there are also some among you who follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Revelation 2:14-15

Similarities between Balaam and Paul:
>Both were on a road
>There was a divine vision and blinding
>Both are asked why they are persecuting
>Both are told that it is difficult to kick against the pricks
>Both taught that it was okay to commit fornication and eat meat sacrificed to idols

Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 8 that it is okay to eat food sacrificed to idols as long as you are not a stumbling block to others who may not understand.

It is argued that Jesus did not speak of sexual immorality and adultery as separate, but the same. So, when Paul permits remarriage, it is considered adultery and fornication.

Paul:
But if the unbeliever wants a divorce, let it take place. In these circumstances the brother or sister is not bound.God has called you in peace. 1 Corinthians 7:15

Jesus:
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:32

_____________
QUESTIONS:
I know this was a long list, but it is in no way a complete list. There are many other arguments. Can you add to it? Have you ever confronted this topic? What do you think? Is this dangerous?

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30 thoughts on “Paul: Apostle of Christ or False Prophet?”

  1. Um, we are sorry to see Ryan in this state. We do not know what may have possessed him to get even worst, but we can only be reminded of these words…"…this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21)Sola Fide,G

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  2. This poor guy "G" is so lost that it's indescribable, he again quotes the words of our Savior and attributes them to Paul. Lord forgive him.Please notice that "G" is calling out to his god whom he calls "Um". His spirit is truly in a dark place… let's all pray for him. The enemy is ravaging "G", let's hope he turns back from the darkness which he has embraced, and pray that he stops calling on the names of false gods. Granola DeoR/sarcasm ____________________________________________________________________Like a city breached, without walls, is a person who lacks self control

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  3. hi Ryan, hi Michael, hi G. I have a question for my own understanding. I'm a bit nervous right now so I hope it's okay with you Ryan if my question is for the other guys. If what i believe is against yours i'm not taking anyone's side so please don' think that. also i'm not good in arguing why i believe what i believe so please dont ask me to try. G, i was going to ask you a question but in fairness to Ryan, i will address it to Michael instead. I hope you understand. hi Michael. My question is related to the verses that G posted above. I would like to admit that i am not well versed in defending and explaining my faith like everyone here. All i do know is that i believe. I have always been puzzled by some of the questions that G gave to Doug like how do people who are blind and can't read the bible or cannot study it thorougly still be christians? Like how do they know that they're not being decieved? i don't know if my question makes any sense to you, sorry. those passages from John 6 do make sense to me reagrding faith but i wanted to get your opinion about seeing spiritually. Would that be okay? sorry for the interruption, everyone.Jen

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  4. [G, i was going to ask you a question but in fairness to Ryan, i will address it to Michael instead. I hope you understand.]Yes, I understand perfectly, Jen. Of course, it is entirely up to Michael as I do not wish to burden him on the point I presented above. It is a study that covers a wider set of topics like regeneration, sanctification, and justifcation among others (a human attempt of explaining the things of God). But then again, he does have a better and concise way of explaining things than I ever could.Sola Fide,G

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  5. Hey no worries! No one is offended… that's what this blog is for! Sometimes we get locked on certain topics but your question is very valid and I hope you get some good answers! 🙂

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  6. [I'm sorry Ryan i did not mean to offend anyone. It was wrong of me to interrupt. please guys don't worry about my question. thank you. Jen]Hey Jen, I don't think that Ryan was being sarcastic on his reply to you, or at least I'd like to think he wasn't. But even if i'm wrong, do not let his views, and what he may think you are, hinder you from asking whatsoever. Michael runs hectic schedules from what I gather, so I don't know when he will be able to address your question. For the time being, may I offer the following? Make sure to read it carefully and throughout…1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for. 3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. 5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned."[c] 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. 20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. 21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. 23By faith Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

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  7. continued…24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. 31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. 32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews Chapter 11)Sola Scriptura,G

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  8. G was right… I definitely was not being sarcastic! If I seemed to not be sincere it is only because my last few posts with G I was just messing around. Sorry for any confustion! 🙂

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  9. Hi Jen,I would be more than glad to answer your question. Though G seems to have done a wonderful job answering you. We have to understand that we are given a great assurance from Christ that it is the work of God that men/women are saved. Christ said that all that the Father had given him would come to Him. Christ also said in another place that those who were His would know His voice and follow Him; that knowing their Shepherd they would flee from the voice of a stranger. This makes clear that those who are given to Christ will hear/understand His words and would follow Him. We know that Christ clearly taught in John 3 that regeneration or new birth comes through the Holy Spirit, and that it is determined by God, and not by man. We are made to be justified before God by faith that produces the works of repentance in our hearts. Christ clearly told the crowds that they were either good or evil. This would be determined by what was in their hearts. Just as God told Jeremiah, what all people need is a heart change. Christ stated that what comes out of us, good or bad, proceeds from the heart. We can do nothing apart from the Spirit. Therefore, blind people, can be assured of their faith through the Spirit testifying to the truth they hear. I hope that I have helped you. If not please clarify your question and I will try my best to help.

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  10. Doug,You state that the Pharisees were simply not keeping all the Law. So it was a simply misunderstanding of the Law? If this is what you meant then I agree, yet not with your conclusion. I think you reach when you include Paul’s words stating that he was blameless. Again, knowing you will disagree, Paul here is slandered for being sarcastic. He was saying that if the false teachers could claim to be law keepers, then he could much more say the same thing. He had been a Pharisee found to be without blame as to their law keeping. Simple law keeping is not a means to salvation. I can prove this from the Law itself. In Exodus 5:1 Moses speaking for God says, “Let my people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.” Was this a lie designed to trick Pharaoh? No, we see this is exactly what God tells them He has done. In Exodus 20:2-3, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” The very reason God freed them was for worship. Then God began, after He had freed them, to show them what true worship was to look like. Keeping the Law is a result of salvation, not the means to that end. Jeremiah says the same thing when describing the New Covenant. Jeremiah 31:31-34 states that the New Covenant was going to be given because the Old Covenant was broken. God was going to make us to keep the Law, by writing it on our hearts. We are able to be obedient only through God changing our hearts (Ezek. 36:26). You also have to know that the historical record is against your understanding of the Pharisees also. There were more that 1500 laws that were added to the law of God by them, and were held to be an authority in the life of God’s people.

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  11. Doug,Continuing on the last point, you also when we look at the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, the word repentance is conspicuously missing. The reason that others and myself see this as speaking of self-righteousness is simply because this is what is seen in the passage. The problem you are having is twofold. 1st You have made minor circumstances (adultery) the main point. This is a stretch as any sin listed by the Pharisee could be taken and used in this way. 2nd You take the meaning of Matt. 5 and its supposed meaning and overlay it onto the context of this parable. The weightier things in 5:20 hardly proves your case. Notice that the things Christ mentioned are outward actions, while the things neglected are inward ideals or concepts. For instance, a man can take another’s life and be said to be distributing justice or called a murderer depending on his motives or motivation. The thing that Christ was correcting was that the Pharisees had missed the reason that God had given the Law. It was specifically given that these things would be produced in and through His people, that all would know the character of God. This is how God is glorified, that the people called by His name would be like Him. It was the Pharisees motive of being seen as righteous, while being full of dead men’s bones. Though I agree with you that we should interpret scripture with scripture I find your argument to be a little deficient here. Six times in Matt. 23 Christ actually calls the Pharisees hypocrites. Three times He calls them blind men. In verse 4 of this very chapter, Christ says that they bind heavy burdens on men and will not even touch them with their finger. This does not seem a deficiency of law but a misapplication, applying the law as a way to salvation. They cleaned the outside of the cup and left the inside unclean. He was rebuking them for outwardly complying but inwardly being unchanged

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  12. Doug.Regarding your assessment of Calvin’s words on II Peter, it seems to be slightly misconstrued. Calvin, in his introduction or argument for the epistle states that we should disregard Eusebius. Since Eusebius’ claim that it was not authentic was based on an unnamed man, and since Eusebius himself states later that the epistle was widely accepted as being written by the apostle. Calvin, further on explains that he does accept the book as being canonical, and therefore written by Peter. He bases this conclusion on the fact that II Peter, “as it shews everywhere the power and the grace of an apostolic spirit.” This shows us two things. First, at least by the time of Calvin the Westminster answer is correct for seeing what was inspired (canonical) and what was not inspired (non-canonical). Also this could be pushed back further by what Calvin states of Eusebius. That Eusebius states that it was widely accepted was a proof that it was credible. Next, the content as well as the authenticity of the work is to be judged as to whether it was to be accepted. It had to be seen as being used in a powerful way to change hearts. Yes, I do believe that God is sovereign and does what He pleases in all the earth. Yes, I believe that God has the power and chooses to preserve His holy word complete and without error. If we say that one point of the scripture is mistaken then all of scripture is in doubt. When we mistakenly think that we can interrupt, change, or cause to fail the plans and intentions of God then we are left without hope. If we can do this then we can reason that God had all the intentions of holding us in His hand that we would not be lost, yet we jumped out and ruined His plan. This is why Doug your view has been compared to Pelagian teachings. You suppose that we mighty men can stop the hand of God. Do you think then that men can stop God from rightly revealing Himself to us? This friend, would be ludicrous. Again my point is that these men, as Peter said, were moved by the Holy Spirit to write what they did.

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  13. Doug,I think my point on John 16:13 were missed. Sorry, I will try to be clearer. Christ clearly states that He had much more to tell them (v12). Then He states that it would not be Him but the Holy Spirit that would reveal these things to them. My point was to show that Christ foretold of the Spirit inspiring all of the apostles’ teaching, not just when they would quote Him directly. As far as James if the “in so much as we” does not include himself with the ones who called themselves teachers then the sentence in nonsensical. You would make James say that those who would call themselves teachers incur this greater judgment. This is not what he says, rather he says, “Let not many (notice he does not say any) become (notice that he did not say call yourself) teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such (as teachers) we (who have become teachers) will incur a stricter (not simply judgment) judgment. Again in Matt. 23: 8, 10 you interpret the verse while ignoring the context. If your interpretation is correct, then no one can call his daddy, father. This is neatly excluded in your reference. This is why I think you did not list verse nine. If we look at what is said before verse eight we can easily see that Christ is commanding them not to act like the Pharisees who seek titles and positions. Christ also tells them not to take the title of leader, all this points to the attitude of those who would be in positions of authority. Though they were equal, one has to have earthly authority. I have to agree with G on this. Any time you enlighten, inform, instruct someone who lacks knowledge on a subject whether God or cars you are teaching. This is Webster definition. You have been attempting to teach every time you have posted something here, Doug, how can you miss that? This, my friend is unavoidable. Christ knew this; therefore you have misunderstood His meaning here. Would you tell someone the words of Christ and not give any explanation? If you say anything to help that person to understand then you are teaching them. Would you oppose preaching?

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  14. Not meaning to interrupt Michael's refutation of the opponent's flawed arguments but someone had just asked (by email) why Doug did not answer my question before his hasty flight. After all, Doug could've at least done so out of courtesy to the viewers. To highlight the reason, let's begin by clarifying that it's not that Doug did not answer, but rather Doug 'will not' answer. We are obviously aware that he will be giving another reason for his 'mysterious' departure. This should be made obvious in his farewell argument when he threw the statement [Your spirit tells you that Paul is valid]. That statement was just one of his attempts to distract the viewers' attention from his realized predicament. After we had repeatedly given him warnings of what he was missing in his arguments, he dared to ask for our scriptural support – hoping, of course, that we did not have Jesus' words. Doug's plight was soon made evident to him afterwards. John 3 are clearly Jesus' words, yet they were not being given in the clear natural sense (or else Nicodemus and Doug wouldn't be asking!). See, Doug neglected to factor in the essentials of inspiration… the element of faith infused in every christian, the spiritual things of God, and that God is Spirit. Doug somehow forgot that inspiration is not understood simply by excellence of exegesis or physical evidence. For in that case, every non-christian scholar and archaeologist should be a believer! But even in the reverse, as I tried to demonstate through textual criticism, no natural evidence or argument will sway a true Christian from believing. This was the essence of my question to Doug which he would not answer. Jesus Himself explained in John 3 the spiritual things of God -the very same chapter we gave Doug per his request! But Doug, realizing that he will then have to give the same answer (lest he disagrees with Jesus) had only one solution to his dilemma, that is to leave. And pretending not to see how Paul's texts agree with Jesus' Words in the spiritual things of God, he instead writes "your spirit tells you that Paul is valid". Solus Christus,G

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  15. Hi Michael,I will not respond to G's repetitious insults, as Christ bids me turn the other cheek. However, as you make sensible points, I respond.As to 2d Peter, I wholeheartedly wish it were inspired, as you must realize by now, as it criticizes Paul, and the reference to "Scripture" was to equate it with the 3d section of Septuagint canon (i.e, "Writings"/"Scripture") as of that era — the section meant as not fully inspired and tricky to base doctrine upon.You say Calvin said 2d Peter was canon. Not true. Look at Calvin's introductory comment to 2d Peter at http://www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin/comm_45/htm/TOC.htmCalvin says "doubts…ought not keep us from reading it…." "there are probable conjectures by which we may conclude that it was written by another than Peter." "If it be received as canonical, we must allow Peter to be the author." Not only does Calvin never tell us in the Intro it is canonical, he later disaffirms any true apostolic support. This is explained by William Barclay who records that later in the commentary, because Calvin recognized 2d Peter criticizes Paul, Calvin finally came down with the view Peter did not write this epistle:"With its reference to Paul and its tinge of criticizm of him, this is one of the most intriguing passages in the New Testament. It was this passage which made reformer John Calvin certain that Peter did not write himself 2 Peter because, he says, Peter would not have spoken about Paul like this." (William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter (Westminster, John Knox Press, 2003) at 401 (check books.google.com).So you see, I am happy if you insist 2d Peter is inspired, for it thus conveys my points about Paul. But you see Calvin did not like 2d Peter for this and other reasons, and he first doubted it in the intro but later disaffirmed it as having an inspired source (Peter). Thus, Calvin can only be construed has having knocked any canonical basis for its joinder to the Bible.By the way the Tyndale NT Commentatories Vol 18 says 2d Peter "was deemed second class Scripture by Luther, rejected by Erasmus,and regarded with hesitancy by Calvin." You see, perhaps all these gentlemen did not like the criticism made of Paul in 2d Peter. They did not see the "other Scripture" reference as a real cure to the fact Peter criticizes Paul for saying many things "difficult to understand" which was "causing" many to fall from their "steadfastness in Christ." And may I suggest that these men were very learned and knew the words "other scripture" did not have our modern meaning, and thus imply inspiration. Rather, it referenced the "Writings" (Scripture) section which was the 3d tier writings of the Septuagint which were only in some places inspired but not surely so….e.g, Ecclesiastes, Daniel (not yet recognized as prophetic by Jews was still in 'Writings' section.)Doug

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  16. [I will not respond to G's repetitious insults, as Christ bids me turn the other cheek. However, as you make sensible points, I respond.]This is another one of Doug's funny attempt to save face by coming back without answering our question. As usual, he goes by his flawed standard while cherry picking his arguments all along. He calls our questions "repititious insults", but he does not recognize that his very argument in this forum is an insult to himself! Maybe he does not suspect yet that we are not here thinking to convert him through arguments but rather just practicing on him. Is he unaware that we know he is so convinced of his doctrine that he will stick to it no matter what? Doug has rejected Jesus' Words that were presented to him, so no one here expects Doug to listen to them. This is the sensible point that he keeps missing.Sola Scriptura,G

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  17. Doug,Thank you for your answer concerning Calvin, also for your quote from Barclay. As to Calvin it seems that though he did struggle with this text (2P 3:15-17), It seems to me there is two clear problem with his interpretation of these verse. Now I grant that I am no one to oppose Calvin, yet if he is wrong then I must say so. He seems to take this as a derogatory remark, but was it? First, we must ask what exactly was Peter or whoever (not a concession lol) saying here. Let us apply simple grammatical rules to this sentence, as there is no other way to deal with it. First, I hope that all would recognize that v14 is to serve as a bridge between what came immediately before. So then our topic is the seemingly delayed return of Christ. So then this is the topic in which Peter uses the writings of Paul to prove a point of some kind. So then in verse fifteen we read, “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom granted to him.” So then, what we find is that Peter is telling the readers to count the patient delay of Christ as their salvation, because as He delays, everyday we should be more sanctified. Also as Christ has delayed His return in judgment we have seem millions come to Christ. Then he writes the words, “just as”, this means that Peter and Paul were here in agreement. This implies that what he had just said was in full agreement with what Paul had written to them. That Peter calls Paul our “beloved brother” shows that this statement he was going to make was not a slap at Paul. This title would have indicates that they were in fellowship and agreement. Peter continues what he was writing. He wrote that Paul had written according to the wisdom given him. Now first we must ask who the giver of this wisdom was. If we take into consideration that Peter was a Jew; therefore raised on the O.T., we can only come to one conclusion. Paul was given this “wisdom” from God, because as Solomon makes clear throughout Proverbs that wisdom is only from God, and is seen in righteousness. Peter would have never used the word “Wisdom” if he thought that Paul had written something that was unworthy of scripture.

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  18. ContinuedV16 reads, “as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them on this matter.” Peter finishes his commits on the topic already identified as the glorious return of Christ. He says that this wisdom is given Paul when he rights about these things in all his letters. Okay then where is the insult that would have made Calvin baulk concerning the affirmation? Simple grammar tells us that this sentence is not an insult. So then the next part of the verse, “There are some things in them that are hard to understand . . .” Here we see that Peter was simply stating that in Paul’s writings on the second coming there were things that were hard to understand. Seems straight forward, so where is the derogatory statement about Paul? Well since there does not seem to be one, let’s continue, it must lay ahead. “. . . which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction.” This again seems not to be a shot at Paul but at those in his day that twisted the word of God to fit their presuppositions. This still happens today. Saying that Paul wrote some things which were, “hard to understand”, is not a knock on him. It would be the same as a scientist who said the same of Einstein. I feel there is not a need to go on with the rest of the text as it turns to admonishment to the church. Also, if the word “Scripture” had this three tier meaning and Calvin and Barclay, “Being educated men”, (I presume unlike me), why then did neither bring this as proof of the “derogatory statement?” Why in none of the commentaries I possess can I find one mention of this usage of the word in this way?

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  19. Also, if the word Scripture was used in a 3 tier system on revelation then why does Christ use the word in a different way as he is quoted doing by the two gospel writers you accept? I have listed them and quoted them, yet you neglected to deal with them. This goes to the point that I think G was trying to get you to see. If we claim that there is a standard by which we are to judge something, then that standard must be applied absolutely. You do not do this. You apply a rigid standard that Paul’s letters cannot match up with, because even the books you approve cannot either. I am now going to deal with something I have seen in your posts. During this time it might well seem that I am being mean spirited, I assure you this is not the case. Doug you repeatedly point to Calvin and other's presuppositions as their guild rather than the Bible in determining certain thing, such as the five points. Dear friend, do you not see that you along with the rest of the world suffer from this same malady? None of us care to lay down what we without proof presuppose to be true. Though it is true some suffer more than others from this problem, still we all do. I believe your dearest presupposition is that Calvinism and Reformed thought is wrong. That is fine if you believe that, but you have chose to cut out parts of the Bible to make it true. I know this is the case because you made a statement to the effect that Reformed thinkers cling to Paul because without his letters we loose Calvinism. This is a most ridiculous statement. I confess that I am Reformed, and my Calvinism is based as much if not more on the words of Christ in the Gospel of John as any letter by Paul. The thing you missed or was not taught is the fact that Calvinism, and more particularly the “Five Points” does not make a person Reformed. The thing that makes one Reformed is his view of the Bible, especially as it pertains to that persons life. He sees the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, and reforms his life according to what God has revealed about Himself and all men. I do not think that your problem is with Paul in particular but with the way men have held him up to you. Yes Paul was a sinful man, but so is every man that has ever lived save for Christ. I hope you will not simply disregard these comments, but will look to see if they are in anyway valid.

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  20. Doug,One last thing. If Calvin found offense in the word "scripture" being used in relation to Paul's writing, then why does he later in that same commentary writes the following statement. "However, the mode of teaching which God has adopted, has been so regulated, that all who refuse not to follow the Holy Spirit as their guild, find in th Scripture a clear light." Notice that Calvin capitalizes Scripture as he also does the word "Bible". This is an interresting thing for him to do if Calvin thought them not to be proved to be inspired. It seemed this "Learned man" used the word "Scripture" to be synonymously with the word "Bible".

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  21. Michael, you hit the target every time and it is clear that either Doug has no idea of the meaning of 'inspiration' or he just deliberately rejects it. Maybe it would help if he would read Calvin's commentary again…. "The doubts respecting this Epistle mentioned by Eusebius, ought not to keep us from reading it. For if the doubts rested on the authority of men, whose names he does not give, we ought to pay no more regard to it than to that of unknown men. And he afterwards adds, that it was everywhere received without any dispute. What Jerome writes influences me somewhat more, that some, induced by a difference in the style, did not think that Peter was the author. For though some affinity may be traced, yet I confess that there is that manifest difference which distinguishes different writers. There are also other probable conjectures by which we may conclude that it was written by another rather than by Peter. At the same time, according to the consent of all, it has nothing unworthy of Peter, as it shews everywhere the power and the grace of an apostolic spirit. If it be received as canonical, we must allow Peter to be the author, since it has his name inscribed, and he also testifies that he had lived with Christ: and it would have been a fiction unworthy of a minister of Christ, to have personated another individual. So then I conclude, that if the Epistle be deemed worthy of credit, it must have proceeded from Peter; not that he himself wrote it, but that some one of his disciples set forth in writing, by his command, those things which the necessity of the times required. For it is probable that he was now in extreme old age, for he says, that he was near his end. And it may have been that at the request of the godly, he allowed this testimony of his mind to be recorded shortly before his death, because it might have somewhat availed, when he was dead, to support the good, and to repress the wicked. Doubtless, as in every part of the Epistle the majesty of the Spirit of Christ appears, to repudiate it is what I dread, though I do not here recognize the language of Peter. But since it is not quite evident as to the author, I shall allow myself the liberty of using the word Peter or Apostle indiscriminately." Calvin on 2 Peter Authorship.Sola Fide,G

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  22. Hi Michael,I am on vacation, and am enjoying your points. Only one quick point. I also myself use the word "Scripture" the way Calvin and we all use the term today — it has taken on the notion of 'inspired,' when as I pointed out in Jesus' day it meant the 3d tier section which sometimes was inspired, sometimes not, and sometimes unknown. All the Psalms were Scripture. Some were prophetic, some taught hatred of enemies. The prophetic are inspired, but the ones teaching hatred of enemies are uninspired. Daniel the Prophet was not recogized as a Prophet yet, and thus Jews put him in Scripture until one day (as Christ tells us) Daniel would be seen as a prophet. My point was that Calvin knew Peter's usage was that "scripture" in 2 Peter 3:17 was in a negative sense because the criticism is precisely what Jews taught about all Scripture (3d tier) in that day — it was edifying, not clear, easy to misconstrue and difficult to understand, hence leading to error to base doctrine upon. I will only comment further that Peter's comments were criticial — because he clearly says those who misunderstand Paul (then faulting Paul for this) have fallen from their "steadfastness in Christ" — and this is not about the 2d coming, although I appreciate your effort to tie it in that direction, but as to the failure to follow the "commandments of God." This is clear from 2 Peter 2:20-22 which says it would be better never to have "accepted" (epignosei) Christ than to have "accepted" (epignosei) him and fall again into sinning. [Cf. 1 John 2:23] 2 Pete 2:21 says clearly it is talking about some breaking "the holy commandments" — evidently what explains 2 Peter 3:17 in how misunderstanding Paul leads many to fall from their steadfastness in Christ.As to Reformed doctrine, I have every adherence to the Bible as the rule of life. What disturbs me greatly, as it did Calvin's contemporary reformed pastors at Berne and Zurich was Calvin's doctrine that God ordains evil— not merely permissively letting it happen. They both called Calvin's ideas blasphemy. In 1552, they supported Geneva's law — passed that year – stopping Calvin preaching on predestination. (Calvin responded by having the Geneva senate pass a law that the Institutes were "God's doctrine," and no one could criticize them any longer). I am in the camp of those 2 pastors. PS I do not believe questioning Paul undermines Jesus, as you suppose. After vacation, I will respond. Blessings Michael. Good comments, by the way.

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  23. Hi Michael,Another comment — this one on the mention in 2d Peter of the "wisdom" God gave Paul. To receive wisdom does not mean one is inspired. If so, this would imply only the prophets were wise. Rather, this is a further indication that Paul is uninspired – identified as a mere "brother" and not an apostle. Your citing Solomon as having God's wisdom does not prove otherwise. Instead, it brings up the contrary. Solomon was never recognized as a prophet speaking under inspiration. His Proverbs were put in the Writings section — aka Scriptures in Greek — edifying but not always inspired. Solomon was kept with Daniel there because the Jews did not yet recognize Daniel as an inspired prophet, and thus Daniel at that time had as much authority as did Solomon, being denied elevation to the Prophets section (100% inspired).[See cite to knol above] Hence praising Paul for having wisdom from God meant no greater status than Solomon enjoyed— which was less than inspired 100%. Thus, it is one more verse that supports Calvin's reading that 2d Peter is a serious knock on Paul.

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  24. Hi MichaelBefore I try to answer the question you say Q has about whether applying the Bible's tests to Jesus, as I have done with Paul, would end up divesting Jesus of authority, I need to know on what you are relying. Q was utterly confusing to me. I thought he was challenging the textual validity of the NT — meaning we have a wrong mss or something like that. I thoroughly disagree with him, and that is not the basis of my challenge to Paul. Then Q seemed to say he believed in the textual validity of the Bible, but thought I did not. (Untrue). So I am left puzzled. Please state the argument clearly.To help, I tested Paul on several grounds from the Bible, and these all comport with Jesus as valid:(a) Paul tells us the Law is abrogated, which is the mark of a false prophet in Deut. 13:1-5 and Isaiah 8:20, but Jesus says the Law remains valid until heave and earth pass away (Matt. 5:17-19; (b) Paul tells us he is an apostle of Jesus Christ, but i. no one else says so in NT and ii. Jesus in Rev. 2:2 says a self-serving claim to being his apostle is insufficient proof ; (c) Paul repeatedly contradicts Jesus, most clearly involving eating meat sacrificed to idols, which Paul approves in Romans 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:4-13 and 1 Cor. 10:19-29, but which Jesus says is the mark of false prophecy in Rev. 2:20; the teaching of the false prophet Balaam in Rev. 2:14 which is infecting NT church; and Jesus commends Ephesians for rejecting this false teaching in Rev. 2:6 (in same context He praises for identifying a self-serving claim to apostleship of s/o at Ephesus).I don't see how any of these proofs jeapordize seeing Jesus as a valid Prophet (besides Messiah and Savior).Let me know Mike. I appreciate your seriousness, and concern for Biblical truth. D

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  25. Hi MichaelG quotes the intro of Calvin to 2d Peter where Calvin permits himself to say Peter wrote it, and thus it was potentially canonical, even though Calvin said there are doubts. However, as I demonstrated, Calvin in the body of his commentary which ensued, Calvin arrived at the criticism of 2d Peter about Paul, at which point Calvin then concluded it was not written by Peter, and hence was non-canonical. Thus, contrary to the insult of G, I do know what is the notion of 'canon' but he does not seem to read what I quote (and hence my frustration in dealing with G at all). On the other hand, you, Michael, correctly understood what Barclay said about Calvin's final position from the body of Calvin's commentary – 2d Peter was not written by Peter and hence was non-canonical despite Calvin giving a waflling position in the introduction to his commentary. Blessings Mike.Doug

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