Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ok, Who's Tellin' Fibs???



Ok, Who's Tellin' Fibs???
Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorIn my last posting about why the very plain statements made in the Gospels about prayer fell short of their goal no one really bothered to address the plainly stated scriptures.   Instead of any sane discussion about why these rather plain and unambiguous statements about prayer don't seem to be how prayer really works, it was a food fight.  I was attacked for being stupid enough to ask the questions and others were attacked for having their own perspectives which others thought were stupid.  Obviously we are not dealing with a naturally theologically curious audience at times.  
So let's try again.  Who's tellin' fibs here?  Luke the author of the Acts of the Apostles and Paul's apologist or Paul himself?
Let us begin.
After his conversion, did Paul go directly to Jerusalem to meet with those who were Apostles before him and actually are said to have known Jesus personally and spent much time with him?  Paul was the persecutor of the Christians and the Church before becoming a follower of it.  Paul never met Jesus personally and in all his writings, never quotes Jesus, tells of his life, miracles, healings or teachings.  Paul fails dozens of times to quote Jesus when it would serve him well to do so.  The fact is that Paul never heard the Gospel accounts of Jesus physical life. For Paul, Jesus came to him in hallucinations and visions. Paul died before the Gospels were written. 
At some point in his life Paul evidently "saw the light."  No really, he saw the light and heard the voices in his head.  Depending on which account you read, others with him either did or didn't hear the voice or see the light or stay standing or fall down, but that is another story.
But what did Paul do after he was converted?  Paul says of his own conversion...

Galatians 1:15-20 

 

15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
 18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephasa] and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 


Here Paul says plainly that what he is saying is no lie.  I suspect some one must have been accusing him lying about this or he would not have been so vehement to say he wasn't.  


Paul plainly says that he did not see any of the Apostles for three years.  Paul plainly says he went directly to Arabia, but fails to tell us why.  All sorts of crazy ideas have been put forth as to his reason for this trip and stay, but he simply does not say why.  Then, after three years, he goes to Jerusalem,  see's Cephas and stays with him for 15 days but sees no others except James the Lord's brother.  


That's pretty simple.  Paul said he was called from his mother's womb (Like Jeremiah, Jesus and John--how humble of him).  There is no hint of the Damascus road story.
ON THE OTHER HAND....


Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, which tells a  really short story to get the Jerusalem Apostles off the stage while the real and much longer majority of the story is mostly about the Apostle Paul


According to Acts 9, IMMEDIATELY after Paul converted he spent some time in Damascus "with the disciples," and when he left Damascus he headed IMMEDIATELY to Jerusalem where he met the apostles of Jesus  (Acts 9:19-30).  On all counts and every w


Did Paul spend time with the Apostle immediately (Acts) or not (Paul in Galatians)?  Did he go straight to Jerusalem (Acts) or not (Paul in Galatians).  Did he meet with a group of Apostles (Acts) or  just with Peter and James  (Paul)?


In fact, Paul, who is not lying, appears to want it made clear that his Gospel did not come from any of Jesus Apostles. Paul wanted his Gospel to be clearly understood to have come through him.  Paul makes it clear that to disagree with him is to disagree with God. Paul calls Peter, James and John "reputed pillars."  Paul goes on in Galatians to say, "who they are makes no difference to me. I learned NOTHING from them."   


Clearly Paul thought he was Herbert Armstrong, Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack and Ron Weinland preincarnated.  


Luke, on the other hand, makes every effort to make what was not true, that Paul and the Jerusalem Church were on the same side, to seem true.  Luke does his best to show that Paul and the Jerusalem Church were team players, spoke the same thing and had the same Gospel message.  There could be nothing more far from the truth than this fairy tale Luke has made up in the Acts of the Apostles.


Both accounts of Paul's conversion cannot be true.  Either one is true and one is the lie (Paul said his version was not the lie), or both versions are false and the truth lies elsewhere unknown to us.  They can't BOTH be true.  They simply are two completely different accounts of how Paul is said to have come to be converted to the Jesus movement and what he did immediately after. 


So which is it?   


If I had to pick, I'd say Paul would know his own story best and since Paul actually did write Galatians, he would know. Someone was calling Paul a liar. (Not the only time by the way) and indeed, Paul did lie from time to time but we will save that for another time. 


Luke's version is the false version. There was no Damascus Road event according to Paul. If you look at Luke's accounts of that tale, you will see Luke could not get it straight with the telling. But that's another story.    
So who's fibbin' and why?


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The missing sentence! Honest, it was on the original. I checked!

"On all counts and every way, the account by Luke in Acts of Paul's conversion is at odds with Paul's own story."

Douglas Becker said...

Interesting stuff: I'll have to look for some apologists to explain the facts you bring forward away.

Anyway, food fight! Cool! Awesome!

I pick hot dogs!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Douglas, We know it has to be out there because there are no inconsistancies in the Book.

I"m growing fond of one explanation about the letter to the Ephesian Church in Revelation.

"you have tried those who say are apostles and found them wanting...good job."

Some say the false prophet that enraged the Jewish Christians to whom and by whome the Book of Revelation was written to encourage them before they crushed by Rome, is Paul.

Paul himself says "all those in Asia has forsaken me." Ephesus is in Asia of course. And Paul never asked why or told us why but of course, it was not his fault.

So Paul was the false prophet of Revelation and Vespasian was the Beast according to some. Seems possible. Peter, James and John could not stand the man.

Goober said...

Dennis, you seemed to suggest in earlier commentaries that Paul was out of character from the other authors in the NT, maybe even a false apostle. Your current commentaries seem to clarify that assertion.

I still hold to my earlier comment that a study into the gnostic writers would prove helpful in this discussion. And you agreed. Nevertheless, I'd like to add another log to the fire.

An old friend (ex-WCG) was discussing the topic of freedom from legalism. He accepted grace via Christ THROUGH the words of Saul.

At the time of the phone call, I accepted freedom through atheism. He didn't appreciate my freedom. My friend spoke of grace via Paul, and obeying Christ's authority in my life, which seemed to be contradictions in abstract terms at the time.

Back to his topic. After Christ died we are no longer under the OT law but under grace. Further, the NT, taken as a whole, would prove Paul's theology correct. God did not require christians to obey the OT law after accepting Christ.

It's an oversimplification of a complex set of theological ideas but it serves as a vehicle for my point: What about Ananias and his wife Sapphira?

If we accept Saul's creed the following occurred: After Christ died, Ananias and his wife Sapphira were baptised. After Christ died, Ananias and his wife Sapphira were members of the body of Christ. After Christ died, Ananias and his wife Sapphira accepted Christ as their savior. After Christ died, Ananias and his wife Sapphira shared in the bounty that is God's radiant and eternal grace. After Christ died, Ananias and Sapphira were no longer under the law.

Ananias and his wife Sapphira were killed by God over some walking around money. Their children were instant orphans. If they possessed grandchildren, Ananias and Sapphira left behind screaming and crying grandchildren.

Were they all under the law, or under grace?

He had no answer because Saul is silent on Ananias and his wife Sapphira. The story of Ananias and Sapphira is the metaphorical 800 lbs gorilla that tears a hole in Saul's special, different theology concerning Christ who said, "I did not come to destroy the law but fulfill it."

Food for thought: Don't double down on grace because Ananias and his wife Sapphira learned GOD KILLS.

Douglas Becker said...

"Paul"... "Peter, James and John could not stand the man."

Sounds like a typical week with Armstrongist ministers.