Paul: Controversies and Commitment Part One
Paul, behind Jesus, was the most influential person in the development of Christianity. Paul’s letters are the earliest New Testament writings that we have. After Luke’s writings, it contains the most volume of any of the New Testament literature. However, if you follow the line of thinking that Luke was a disciple or follower of Paul, then Paul should get some credit for the content that Luke wrote. Of coarse there are some letters that Paul is traditionally given credit for in which scholars have recently cast some doubt upon. Even if this is true, there is not doubt these letters were at least written in the Pauline understanding of Christianity.
Paul being the most influential Christian thinker after Jesus has causes some to be uneasy. For example, Paul sometimes seems to negate the Jewish law and say that Christianity should be accepted entirely on faith and that salvation is solely the work of divine grace. Many women in particular find Paul’s words about women to be quite offensive. Oftentimes Paul is quoted to defend a view of Christianity in which God chooses some people for salvation and leaves the rest to damnation. Some groups of people use Paul to scare people into Christianity by saying that God will sometime soon rapture the church to heaven and then judge the rest of the world severely. To top in all off, Paul comes across at times as arrogant and self-righteous. In the following blogs, I hope to address some of these issues. Maybe I can help change some perceptions of Paul or maybe I will give you more ammunition to fire at him.