Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.

A thread over at the false gospel-preaching Sojourners Blog had multiple accusations against a commenter about whether Jesus and Paul taught the same Gospel, saying things like:

. . . the question of whether the Gospel according to Paul agrees with the Gospel according to Jesus seem largely ignored.

A commenter there referred to someone quoting Paul as a “Paulian” instead of a “Christian” and a commenter here literally said that “Jesus trumps Paul.”  Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.  And there have been whole TV shows and analyses about the alleged differences between Jesus and Paul.  But is this really the case?

The “Jesus vs. Paul” debate is what is known as a false dichotomy, or a false dilemma.  It implies that you have to choose one side or the other, when there are actually other options.  Please consider this:

1. Jesus is God.  The Bible is the word of God.  Therefore, it is all the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out just like He wanted them to, including Paul’s letters.

2. The “red letters” (direct quotes of Jesus sometimes printed in red ink) carry no more authority than any of the other verses, let alone the ~3,000 verses saying, “God said,” “The word of the Lord came to me,” etc.

3. Roughly 10% of the “red letters” quoted the “black letters.”  Jesus unapologetically and frequently quoted from the Old Testament, including the most controversial parts such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  And the red letters said to believe black letters: Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

4. Peter referred to Paul’s writings as scripture.  This verse not only demonstrates that but exposes why the “Christian” Left dislikes Paul and misinterprets him!

2 Peter 3:16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

5. None of the people making this argument seem to question what Luke wrote in his Gospel, so why do they question what Luke documented about Paul in the book of Acts, including his encounters with Jesus and his acceptance by the other Apostles?

6. Unless you think Paul made up his whole story — which would raise a whole new set of issues — then his claims are just as authoritative as the Gospel writers.

For example, Luke was not a direct follower of Jesus but was a careful historian and under the tutelage of Paul.  Mark leveraged Peter for his Gospel.  But Paul heard directly from Jesus.

7. Think about how much you know about the concept of grace and love and where that came from.  Do you really want to toss that out?  Why don’t these “Christian” Leftists object when someone quotes 1 Corinthians 13?

8. Jesus and Paul don’t disagree.  The clear trumps the unclear, but a Gospel writer’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings doesn’t trump Paul’s presentation of Jesus’ teachings.

9.  Much of Paul’s writings pre-date the Gospels.

So I don’t think Paul disagrees with what others documented directly and indirectly about Jesus, and even if they did you wouldn’t necessarily go with the Gospels.

Quoting Paul doesn’t make one a “Paulian” instead of a Christian, it just means you are quoting the word of God.  Don’t let anyone dismiss your claims because you quote Paul.  And be wary of those arguing against Paul — because they are also arguing against the Holy Spirit.

Just quote scripture, in context.  It’s all good.

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3 thoughts on “Paul vs. Jesus? Not exactly.”

  1. There’s a guy named “Vinnie” who writes a blog entitled “You Call This Culture?” and is listed under the “Left Ones” heading at my blog. Vinnie is a “former” Christian who now spends time questioning Scripture. This fellow has posted several times about whether or not Paul ever had any knowledge of Jesus and how little he writes about with regards to certain aspects of Jesus’ life. (I haven’t gone back and sorted through his blog to dig up examples, but suffice it to say your post relates to and is a response to what he has written there). Your bit about the Gospel of Luke is an obvious rebuke to some of his stuff that I never considered. I’ve tried to insist that Paul’s epistles are letters written to people with whom he’s already had face-to-face contact as a teacher, so that it wasn’t necessary to speak of all that Vinnie thought was suspect by its absence. They’re really not badly written pieces, and back-&-forth comments between Vinnie and a like-minded visitor or two would be compelling if not for the fact of all they need to overlook and ignore.

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  2. Another one kept saying that “Paul didn’t know about committed same-sex relationships,” as if the Holy Spirit didn’t know either or wasn’t involved in the writings.

    Anyone who has studied the classics knows that such a statement is ridiculous.

    I also love how these people claim that there have always been same-sex relationships, in every culture and society, so it’s innate, but then claim that Jesus or Paul or Moses had no idea they ever existed. Pick a side, please.

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    1. I think one of the other things to remember is that the morality of same-sex relations has nothing to do with commitment! The morality of something doesn’t change because of something like that.

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