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Paul : Apostle of Jesus or Corrupter of his teachings ?

I'm just curious to find out what everyone thinks of him I have my own opinions but whats your ?

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I think he had his own agenda, which is distinctly different from what we know of Jesus'message.

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I believe Paul persecuted and killed off all the literate followers of Jesus then proceeded to substitute his own doctrine in its place.

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I believe Paul was an apostle called by Christ, just as the bible says he was. I see no contradictions in his letters to what Christ had taught. Paul's basic mission was to take the gospel to the gentles, and he successfully established many Christian churches.

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I believe Paul was an apostle called by Christ, just as the bible says he was. I see no contradictions in his letters to what Christ had taught. Paul's basic mission was to take the gospel to the gentles, and he successfully established many Christian churches.

Lets see Paul and his friends such as Luke wrote the majority of the New Testament, and his letters may have influenced even the writings of Mark who then influenced Matthew.

So you basically believe what Paul claims about himself from him and his friends and the only knowlege of what Jesus allegedly taught comes to us from his hand as well. Jim Jones and the founder of Heavens Gate sucessfully founded churches as well which proves little except that people are gullible.

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I recently (last year) read a novel, The Lion of God, that gave a revealing perspective of Paul- his education, reasoning, and motivation in his effort to promote and spread the teachings of the Christ. He was charged with taking the message to the Gentiles, where the other disciples dedicated themselves to the conversion of the children of Israel. The fact that he was more successful in his mission than the others were in theirs may be the reason that his letters and views are so prominent in the texts of the New Testament.

Edited by Songster

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I find it hard to imagine that Paul a stranger who never knew Jesus personally was more in tune with what Jesus taught then 11 guys who walked and talked and ate with Jesus for three years and who by the way were 11 Holy Spirit Filled men. Who knows maybe Jesus hand selected idiots to spread his word and had to change his plan.

I find it hard to accept that Paul's words should be more authoritative then the man Jesus said had final say in matters once he was gone, Jesus's own brother James who was at odds with Paul's teachings.

Edited by Fawzo

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Fawzo, my friend.... I never met the Man in person either, but I have been blessed to be personally aquainted with Him through the Holy Spirit, and despite my many faults, believe that my witness to the Truth that He taught is just as valid as the witness of those He touched while in the flesh. That is the Hope that Christ holds out to all mankind... that we need not to have lived when He walked the Earth to be eye-witnesses or apostles, and benefit from the Truth of His message.

Edited by Songster

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The Apostle Paul is one of the men most responsible for bringing the teachings of Yeshua to the Gentiles. Without Paul we, the Gentiles, would still be under the Noahide covenant. Just as the Abrahamic covenant is an everlasting covenant, so too is the Noahide covenant. Since most of us know very little, if anything, of the Noahide covenant, Paul, Simon Peter and James the Just, are responsible for bringing the knowledge of YHVH to the Gentiles. Paul being the one called to that mission.

Paul brought us, the Gentiles, a new covenant, a covenant of grace, through faith. Although there are/have been misunderstandings of the teachings of Yeshua I do not believe they are because Paul "corrupted" the message. I would venture to say that corruptions of Yeshua's teachings are due to later leaders misunderstanding and/or agenda's than Paul's.

2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

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Paul is a very interesting charater. Modern Christianity gives him most of the credit for the spread of Christianity. Growing up a conservative Christian I believed as most Christians do that Paul was a faithful and obedient servant of Jesus. It wasnt until I began to pursue a theology degree that questions concerning Paul began to arrise for me. I began my education at a fundamentalist Baptist university. Nothing at this school taught me anything to change my orthodox views on Paul. Due to personal issues though I had to drop out and postpone my education. Several years later I restarted my education at a much more liberal school. This school almost immediately brought up ideas that my previous school never mentioned. I now know the reason is clear. The first school was trying to mold their students into conservative theologians while the second was trying to mold theirs into educated theologians. There is a big difference. The first focuses primarily on doctrine and ignores or discounts anything that opposes it while the second focuses on evidence and probability. Anyway, to get to my point.

I was shocked to find out Paul never knew Jesus. Also I was unaware of the disagreements between Jesus' disciples and Paul mentioned in the New Testament. Another discovery for me was the differences between Paul's and Jesus' teachings. This school opened my eyes to alot of things that are not mentioned in Sunday school so to speak. They discussed the many forms of Christianity that existed in the first century. Many of which opposed Paul and his teachings. They believed Paul was a false prophet that had corrupted Jesus' message. The Ebionites were the most common among these groups. They were a group of Jewish minded Christians that believed themselves not to be members of a new religion but simply a group within Judaism. This group believed themselves to be the true inheritor of Jesus' message. They believed they were directly descended from the group led by Jesus' brother James.

All these discoveries led me to do much research on my own. My goal was to look at these things in much more depth in hopes to find answers. The answers I found were at first troubling. Today though I believe I am better off than if I had never pursued the answers. Like anything that has to do with religion, we can accept what we are told or we can seek out the truth on our own. I chose the later.

After many years of research and contemplation my findings prove to me that Paul was not a true follower of Jesus. He was a rogue preacher that started a movement in Jesus' name. I have no idea what his motive was. Maybe greed or power, who knows. Finding motive though was never my goal. Now that I can look at it from open eyes I believe the truth was in front of me the whole time. When its all said and done I believe its all simply a matter of common sense. Jesus and his followers were Jews. They were members of a religion that had a proud history and tradition that could be traced back more than 1000 years. They had no need for a new religion. Everything Jesus taught could fit within the spectrum of Judaism. Paul on the other hand had other plans. He combined Jewish ideas with pagan concepts and started an entirely new movement. Paul took it to the Gentiles because he knew the Jews would reject it. To Jesus' followers Jesus was a prophet to Paul's followers Jesus became a god. †?†

"Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." - Thomas Jefferson

Edited by ReverendV

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Paul is a very interesting charater. Modern Christianity gives him most of the credit for the spread of Christianity. Growing up a conservative Christian I believed as most Christians do that Paul was a faithful and obedient servant of Jesus. It wasnt until I began to pursue a theology degree that questions concerning Paul began to arrise for me. I began my education at a fundamentalist Baptist university. Nothing at this school taught me anything to change my orthodox views on Paul. Due to personal issues though I had to drop out and postpone my education. Several years later I restarted my education at a much more liberal school. This school almost immediately brought up ideas that my previous school never mentioned. I now know the reason is clear. The first school was trying to mold their students into conservative theologians while the second was trying to mold theirs into educated theologians. There is a big difference. The first focuses primarily on doctrine and ignores or discounts anything that opposes it while the second focuses on evidence and probability. Anyway, to get to my point.

I was shocked to find out Paul never knew Jesus. Also I was unaware of the disagreements between Jesus' disciples and Paul mentioned in the New Testament. Another discovery for me was the differences between Paul's and Jesus' teachings. This school opened my eyes to alot of things that are not mentioned in Sunday school so to speak. They discussed the many forms of Christianity that existed in the first century. Many of which opposed Paul and his teachings. They believed Paul was a false prophet that had corrupted Jesus' message. The Ebionites were the most common among these groups. They were a group of Jewish minded Christians that believed themselves not to be members of a new religion but simply a group within Judaism. This group believed themselves to be the true inheritor of Jesus' message. They believed they were directly descended from the group led by Jesus' brother James.

All these discoveries led me to do much research on my own. My goal was to look at these things in much more depth in hopes to find answers. The answers I found were at first troubling. Today though I believe I am better off than if I had never pursued the answers. Like anything that has to do with religion, we can accept what we are told or we can seek out the truth on our own. I chose the later.

After many years of research and contemplation my findings prove to me that Paul was not a true follower of Jesus. He was a rogue preacher that started a movement in Jesus' name. I have no idea what his motive was. Maybe greed or power, who knows. Finding motive though was never my goal. Now that I can look at it from open eyes I believe the truth was in front of me the whole time. When its all said and done I believe its all simply a matter of common sense. Jesus and his followers were Jews. They were members of a religion that had a proud history and tradition that could be traced back more than 1000 years. They had no need for a new religion. Everything Jesus taught could fit within the spectrum of Judaism. Paul on the other hand had other plans. He combined Jewish ideas with pagan concepts and started an entirely new movement. Paul took it to the Gentiles because he knew the Jews would reject it. To Jesus' followers Jesus was a prophet to Paul's followers Jesus became a god. †?†

"Paul was the great Coryphaeus, and first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus." - Thomas Jefferson

Wow, I thought that for a moment that was me speaking. :)

I notice on reading the Didache that Jesus is never referred to as God but the good teacher. They celebrated Communion too but it was never about Jesus' death sacrifice and the bread and wine being the being the blood and body. All had Jewish meanings. The idea of taking in blood of any kind, all be it wine, is something alien to Jews. You might as well as said lets all eat pork. For me Paul was a maverick preacher preaching what he believed to be true rather than following what the disciples who knew Jesus had to say.

Galatians 1:11

"11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it,..............." NIV

Edited by Pete

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I have problems with Paul on many levels.

When he didn't do well preaching to the Jews, he was asked by Barnabas to go to Antioch and began concentrating on the god-fearers (Gentiles on the fringes of Judaism but didnt formally accept the Law or circumcision). It was here I think he started changing things to reach out to these people. Most Jews accepted there was a place for righteous Gentiles in Gods kingdom (Is. 2:2) but Paul began developing a theology that, instead of a study of Jesus's life and teachings (which Jews may have related to and not others); through a focus of faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the barrier between Gentile and Jew would be broken down, the Law was superseded and rituals like circumcision and the dietary restrictions would no longer be important.

Until then, this new movement had still been Jewishly rooted (Jesus and the Apostles had never stopped being practicing Jews), but since he hadnt had success trying to reach the Greek-speaking Jews in Jerusalem, he discovered this untapped new audience and gradually defined a role for himself as exclusively committed to the conversion of the non-Jews. In fact, in Romans 11:11-14 it seems he started the beginning of the rift between separating this new religion from its Jewish roots by suggesting that non-Jews (Gentiles) were now God's preferred people.

As ReverendV mentioned, Paul never knew Jesus and he seemed to distance himself from learning about him from the Apostles who had. Instead, he distanced himself from the men who'd learned from Jesus. Gal. 1:11 says the Good News he preached wasnt a human message from [mere] men, but instead a revelation from Jesus Himself. In fact, he made a point of stressing that faith in Jesus didnt involve any kind of identification with Jesus life on earth, but the main thing was his death and resurrection. That bypassed the debates of Jewish practices for non-Jewish believers and brought both groups to a point they could agree about as a Jew himself yet preaching this new belief, Paul seems to switch back and forth on his views of the Law. Despite what the Apostles may have been preaching, Paul seems to have been trying to separate his teachings from theirs Gal. 1:8

I also believe he encouraged (if not introduced himself) that Jewish Law had been replaced by the coming of Jesus, and that sexuality was evil, a turn-around of the surrounding culture and religions. In that world of Greek intellectual thought, he encouraged blind faith over rational argument which, as time went on, we see the later Church (now composed of non-Jews) stifling the Greek intellectual tradition. I also dont believe that all of the letters attributed to him, were written by him.

These are of course, just my opinions.

Other than that, Im sure he was a good man and never realized how much his teachings would affect the future direction of the Church. I think he really believed the Kingdom of God was at hand, and he sincerely was trying to find a way to merge Jewish and non-Jewish backgrounds into a common belief.

Edited by Dianna

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An educated Roman Citizen, savvy businessman with many friends in circles of Empire authority, as was Paul, hmm, to think he would not have had personal motives for advancing a new religious ideology... :dntknw: ....seems like putting an awful lot of faith in a man who persecuted many early Christians that did not adhere to his personal opinions prior to his "conversion".

Whether reading the New Testament or secular sources regarding Saul...oops I mean Paul, well actually Saul, no Paul...ah... :unsure: how about both(1)!? I have to think he saw a golden opportunity to advance his own agenda, ideals and new found religious interpretations.

After re-reading the Didache, as Pete did and what Reverend V had to say, I have to agree that the Pauline version of salvation and the teachings of the Christ are a bit at odds...if one cares to really dissect the careful wording of the writings of the Disciples (oh but darn, many of those are considered Gnostic now aren't they?) and accounts by Ignatius. While Paul may have never lived in the splendor subsequent Popes have, he sure set the wheels in motion for dualistic meanings to "faith", "money" (tithing) and "salvation".

Blessings Be,

PS: There are many good folks who believe and only believe what is written in the Bible and declare the "Word of God" to be the only source material with any "authority" over Christianity. Okay, cool and that is what you are more than entitled to believe.

There was a time when I used one book and only one book as my undeniable "resource" for all I needed to know about my path as well. Only to find out some 18 years ago I could no longer ignore the evidences posited in other resource material. Then in 2000, any doubt was put away when I read the very "source" of what I thought was The Source, just reinterpreted and discovered that I, and many others, had been lead astray by a "Paul"...one who presumed to be and presented himself as the sole authority of my Beliefs.

There is so much rich historical facts written by Roman Caesar's, Governors and Senators, noblemen from across Asia-Minor and many other outstanding historical figures from the same period as the Apostles and even Disciples. To discount their versions of historical facts is something I do not understand how anyone can do.

(1) from Wikipedia: As a Roman citizen he also bore the Latin name of "Paul"- in Biblical Greek: Σαούλ (Saul), Σαῦλος (Saulos), and Παῦλος (Paulos), and in Latin: Saul, Saulus and Paulus. It was quite usual for the Jews of that time to have two names, one Hebrew, the other Latin or Greek. (And no, Wiki is not the preeminent source of previous research, just compares to what has been found elsewhere)

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Look at every belief system across the planet. Sooner or later folks come along who think tweaking this or that makes more sense to the cultural lenses through which they interpret the belief systems meaning. Buddha, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Mohammed, John Smith, Martin Luther and the list is endless. Saul of Tarsus did the exact same thing with the teachings of Jesus IMHO.

He tweaked the teachings of a wise Jewish Rabbi and made them affable to the poor and destitute which gave them hope of which they had little in this life. Most of his early converts were women and slaves who were looked down upon by a male dominated society. The authorities of the day wisely saw how such a belief system based in guilt and shame and which gave the peasants hope in a future life beyond the miserable one in which the peasants now suffered might appease many urges by the masses to revolt since it claimed that suffering for Christ was a good and pious thing.

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I think there is another reason. The Roman world was full of helonised religions which they promoted within their empire. Many had assimilated their faiths to accommodate Roman beliefs but there was a problem with Judaism. For one thing it was monotheist and secondly it was not accepting of other faiths. The Romans did not like this and it was no mistake that they turned the Jewish Temple into a Pagan temple after their attack in 70 AD.

Judaism also required circumcision and observance of the Torah. The Romans and the Greeks before this had often humiliated and persecuted the Jews for having circumcisions.

Paul came across with another belief structure which assimilated some of the beliefs around at the time and also did away with Torah observance. This made it very much more acceptable to many on the outskirts of Judaism and much easier for the acceptance of Constantine who as we remember remained a Pagan until he was about to die and then was baptised a Christian.

I doubt that Paul's motives were driven by greed but I do believe it was driven by influence. I see nothing or little, that suggests to me that he had anything to do with the Jews in Jerusalem who actually met Jesus and Paul does say this in Galatians.

The idea that he had a conference (as described in Acts) with them and that he was to be the apostle to the gentiles is very debatable and there is no account anywhere other than in Acts that this occurred. However, the Jews have always seen their faith as a revelation for them only and what the gentiles did was up to them. So for a Jew to say to Paul that he could have the Gentiles is of no surprise to me. It is also to note that the disciples continued as Jews and except in (IMO) very dodgy letters like Peter 1&2 which most scholars see as not from Peter. there is no evidence that the disciples in Jerusalem ever accepted Paul's teachings. Paul although inspired (and I am not saying God inspired here) in many of his writings I would say created his own theology and started his own faith. This promoted him in the eyes of many but not all as we often hear of him arguing with others who disagreed with him. For me Paul was a Maverick.

It is also no accident that Acts had to be written to give him credentials of succession and Paul himself often disagrees with what it says in Acts. It is also no accident (IMO) that the NT starts with the Gospels and then Acts and then Paul's letters when in fact they were written in terms of age as Paul's letters, the Gospels and then Acts. For me Paul is the founder of Christianity and Jesus was of the Judaic faith and had differing teachings.

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Wow, I thought that for a moment that was me speaking. :)

..............For me Paul was a maverick preacher preaching what he believed to be true rather than following what the disciples who knew Jesus had to say.

Galatians 1:11

"11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it,..............." NIV

Interesting that you brought up that scripture. Have you ever wondered why Saul/Paul would say that? let's look at the whole scripture you quoted:

11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

What did Jeshua say he would build his Church upon? The Roman Catholics would have you believe it was Simon/Peter, but was it? Yes Simon/Peter is said to be the first Pope, and that all Popes derive their authority by Apostolic succession. But what if Jeshua wasn't telling Simon/Peter that he would be the head of his Church. But rather, that Divine Revelation would but what his church would be built upon.

Matthew 16:17-19

New International Version (NIV)

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[a] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[c] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[d] loosed in heaven.”

The word for Peter is petros and the word for rock is petra which is the feminine of petros which both mean rock. Jeshua was telling Simon that he had the rock that the Church would be built on. He had Divine Revelation (the rock) and on Divine Revelation(this rock) would the Church be built. There have been many who have changed the face of Christianity since it's early beginnings. These changes always come through Divine Revelation of God to anointed men of God. The Church matures through Divine Revelation. Names like John Wycliffe, John Calvin, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Petr Chclcicky, even including 20th century ministers such as Martin Luther King, Billy Grahm and Oral Roberts come to mind. I would even go so far as to say there are ministers alive today that I feel will be responsible for changes that will further mature the church.

Saul/Paul was given Divine Revelation of his mission in the Church. The teachings of Jeshua fell out of favor among the Jewish followers for whatever reason. That's not mine to determine. Their covenant with YHVH is still in effect. Paul was to bring the gospel to the gentiles. He has been very successful in his mission. Why my ancestors accepted Christianity over the gods they formerly worshiped is also, not mine to determine. For me, I accept Christianity because I see that through faith in YHVH he exhibits his Grace to me. It saddens me that those who don't accept YHVH as their God will see his wrath but It is the individual's choice to accept or reject him. Had Paul not been successful in his mission I likely would not have a relationship with my loving creator. Instead, I would likely be serving more gods that I care to remember who, played with men's lives as if they were merely pieces on a board game.

Thank God for Paul!

Edited by Pastor Dave

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Jesus was a Jew and his followers were Jews as well. They already had a religion and were not in need of a new one. Paul is the one who decided to start a new religion. Paul is the founder of Christianity, not Jesus. Nothing that is credited to Jesus in the gospels contradicts Judaism. Paul on the other hand is a walking contradiction. His message is full of pagan concepts. This is why the Gentiles were converted so easily and the Jews rejected it. As Paul's version of Jesus spread it gained in popularity.This eventually became the dominant (orthodox) view. Anyone with any knowledge of history knows what happened to all the non-orthodox versions. They were suppressed and persecuted. I believe if it weren't for Paul's contamination the movement of Jesus would still be Jewish today. †?†

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