Were Paul Not In Christ, Why Would He Risk It All?

In order to explain away Paul's letters as the product of heresy, it is necessary to claim that this follows from the fact that Paul was a Jew from outside of Israel, since he was one of many "diaspora" Jews within the many communities surrounded by gentile "god-fearers". However, such Jewish communities across the Mediterranean had exactly the same scriptures as those in Israel, and were far from cut off. The influence from the Jews outward far outweighed the influence inward from paganism.

Though many of the gentiles affected by Jewish religious expression would be familiar with activities in Christianity as the communion meal, even the idea of a personal saviour man-god; The idea that Paul was affected in his interpretation of Christ as a "gentile - pagan god" to be modified and pressed upon the Jews, (especially in his attempt to preach in Jerusalem, causing a riot.) is ludicrous. A Jew could no more claim that satan is his saviour.

However, the allegation that Paul's doctrine was pagan and is evidenced by his doctrine of transformation and overcoming the lusts of the flesh, relies upon the idea that somehow weakness in character is to be conquered and eventually perfected through the application of principle or the acquiring of secret knowledge (gnosis). Does this stand? Christ himself taught that the physical man is dead, and ought to be left to bury itself and that the spiritual saved man in Christ is a new creation: untarnishable, if kept intact.

There are numerous sites on the web that anyone can find by searching for "The Pauline Conspiracy" that pick apart every aspect of Paul's letters. That the roman church started in paganism and adopted much from the pagan world: pantheistic deity worship and invocations became prayers to saints: the emperor became pope: the Passover became the spring rites of Ishtar (easter), and so on.

If the idea that the allegation of the Jews in Jerusalem that Paul brought pagans and paganism into the temple is true, does any claim of theirs stand firm; or is the pot calling the kettle black, or are they just plain wrong altogether? If you hold they are correct and devout and righteous and apt to judge, then you are calling Christ himself a liar.

If Paul was indeed pagan, the worst place he could go is Jerusalem. That he fared no better in any city he visited at the hands of a sizeable and influential Jewish community therein, implies he is a member of a very small faction of excluded Jewish pagans, and his roots, those diaspora Jews are somehow his doctrinal superiors. The phrase, "The enemy of my enemy..." springs to mind. The dialectic is in effect here of a truth.

Paul's account that he was a persecutor of Christ's followers, and Luke's account in 'Acts' is in total opposition. Pauline conspiracy sites I have read make the assumption that Paul (Saul) was merely a delivery boy for some letters. Paul asserts he approached the Sanhedrin for this task. They say, "a job interview". Mere letters from a foreign city, be it Jerusalem or Timbuktu, would not have been legal writ in another state of the roman empire, especially when not from the local government of Rome. Paul would have had to argue the case to the locals that these Christians were inculcating sedition. His status as a roman citizen would have carried more weight with a procurator than a letter from some Jewish council. Rome knew full well the Jews did not approve of them (romans) either. It becomes plain, that Saul would have been conversant with how the Christian faith threatened the stability of the status quo in Jerusalem and threatened the peace between the Jews and gentiles everywhere.

If, then Paul was suddenly converted and turned about to preach Christ to the Jews before turning to the gentiles; would he not state that there was no conflict between the established religion and the new covenant? No, he did not. He stated there was no conflict in God's word and they (as jews) were all spiritually dead men, murdering their only saviour. Far from sitting on the fence, or compromising, Paul risked his life in a manner altogether too enthusiastically, and in his own defence in Hebrew by the law and with plain gospel truth, for the allegations to appear to have merit. Paul doesn't play facilitator, but stands totally opposed to compromise.

It must be said that pagans have felt the same amount of zeal over their own practices and beliefs as any Christian has. That for centuries Jewish communities across the Mediterranean had preserved their way of life despite travelling across continents, living in pagan cities and within legal systems incompatible with their own laws, and remained nearly unsplintered, (at least not fractured into the thousands of factions the protestant church has split into.) is testament to Jewish resilience. If Paul were pushing pagan doctrine, he would have wholly appreciated that it would have been instantly recognised, discredited and rejected.

The gospel solved the problems with the religious systems of the mediterranean world that existed at that time. Whilst wholly a Jewish faith; Paul's doctrinal teaching within the framework of the principle of physical / spiritual duality: between the old man and the new creation is in harmony with the gospels: There is not one commandment in the law against any of Paul's words.

However, one could go through the law and use it as a guide book for sin if one chose: To defend any allegation of corruption in Paul's words, one requires to test every single verse. It is not plausible to pick one verse as proof against. It appears that proponents of the 'fault' of the roman church including Paul's letters in the canon to blur the line between gospel and paganism to further the political union of the empire, make much work with little premise. It is true the first roman bishops were given much money and prestige by the empire, and those that refused to join were excluded and later persecuted. No mention is made as to whether those early 'proto-heretics' with true faith also kept Paul's epistles.

Paul's letters were accepted because they were spread by the early churches. The earliest Christian heresy of gnosticism spread its own texts, and it is alleged that Paul's should belong in the latter category. A pity then, that the choices for the canon were made far before any conclave of bishops. Before the first canon, (of a heretic who believed Jesus was a god who replaced Jehovah by supplanting him) churches clearly had many ministers Paul, Timothy, Luke, Barnabas, Mark, etc.. who could easily have spread letters between communities. Texts traditionally authentic back then were held more so of fact than they can be today.

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