When we even casually glance at the New Testament we notice that bulk of the writings come from the pen of Paul. This is not because Paul worked much harder than any other apostle - as is commonly supposed - but rather because the Christian Church is based on the teachings of Paul, hence they diligently collected the writings of their founder. It is no secret that Paul was the founder of the Christian Church. It is also well acknowledged by biblical scholars that there was a great schism between the Nazarenes - led by James, the brother of Jesus and Christians who followed Paul of Tarsus. Please note the following statement in the textbook called The Holy Land in the Time of Jesus, p. 92:
“Paul himself actually deserves the title of the FIRST CHRISTIAN. For it was he who really MADE THE BREAK between the followers of Jesus and the Jews who remained faithful to their religion. The original Disciples of Jesus, and Jesus himself, considered themselves to be Jews, and they EXPECTED ALL OF THEIR FOLLOWERS TO ADHERE TO THE JEWISH LAW”.
Paul should be properly called the FIRST CHRISTIAN. It was he who caused the believers in Antioch to adopt the name CHRISTIAN. This took place quite a few years after the resurrection of Jesus. Church Father Epiphanius stated:
“The Nazarenes did not apply to themselves the name of Christ or the name Jesus itself, but the name Nazorenes. And ALL CHRISTIANS WERE AT THAT TIME SIMILARLY CALLED NAZORENES...but at ANTIOCH the disciples and the WHOLE CHURCH OF GOD began to be called CHRISTIANS” [Epiphanius, Pan. 29.1.10].
Catholic scholar Colin Cross admits:
“The name “Christian” was not in use at all in the first days - it was devised not in Jerusalem but in Syrian Antioch” [Who Was Jesus, p. 107].
Please note. The original followers of Jesus were not Christians. They were Nazarenes. In Antioch for the first time the “Church of God” became known as CHRISTIAN CHURCH. Antioch was a Hellenized city where Paul of Tarsus was the leader [Acts 14]. Paul never used the name Nazarene or Ebionite to refer to any of the assemblies he founded. He always without fail used the term CHURCH OF GOD as is evident from his own writings. Twelve times the term CHURCH OF GOD appears in the New Testament - each time used by Paul himself. James on the other hand never used this term but he rather used the term synagogue to identify the place of meeting [James 2:2 - See the Greek text or the Center Reference of the King James Bible]. In The Holy Land in the Time of Jesus on p. 90 we read:
“Toward the end of this decade, Paul visited Antioch, in Syria, one of the largest and most famous city of the ancient world...In this cosmopolitan city, Paul joined forces with the followers of Jesus who had already established a congregation in the town. There, unlike in Jerusalem, the gentile believers were important in the government of the church as were the Jews. Paul soon gained a position of predominance in the community...It was here in Antioch that Jesus’ followers came to be called Christians FOR THE FIRST TIME. The name comes from the Greek Christos”.
Make no mistake about it. After settling at Antioch, Paul drastically altered his views. From this point of history he no longer uses his Hebrew name SHAUL [Saul] but adopts a Roman name PAULUS [Paul].
St. Jerome informs us why Shaul became known as Paul:
“Paul, formerly called Saul, an apostle outside the number of the twelve apostles...As SERGIUS PAULUS Proconsul of Cyprus was the first to believe on his preaching, he took HIS NAME from him because he had subdued him to faith in Christ” [The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 362].
In Acts 13 as soon as the name of Sergius Paulus is mentioned the name of Shaul [Saul] is also changed to Paulus [Paul]. From this point on Shaul becomes known by his new Roman name. But Paul did not only adopt a Roman name. He also adopted Roman mystic religion into which he injected some of the Judaistic flavour and called it CHRISTIANITY. His views differed drastically from James and other original apostles. He in fact became the greatest enemy of the Nazarenes and Ebionites. A Catholic scholar T. Patrick Burke states:
“By A.D. 70 there were in effect TWO CHRISTIAN CHURCHES with TWO VERY DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHRISTIANITY: The Jewish church, centered in Jerusalem, which retained its ties to the Jewish community and Jewish traditions and customs, and which understood Jesus and his preaching more in terms of his Jewish background; and the Gentile church, existing outside Palestine, which had no attachment to things Jewish at all, but believed in Jesus as the Savior of mankind preached by PAUL” [The Major Religions, p. 298].
This scholar, although a practicing Catholic and a Christian, recognizes the fact that there were two different types of “churches” - that of Jerusalem [James] and that of the Gentiles [Paul]. The Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 3, on p. 349 states:
“Paul was also responsible for the transformation of Christianity from a JEWISH SECT to a GENTILE MOVEMENT by the end of the first century of the common era. The importance of this change for Christian history is impossible to exaggerate”.
The original movement of Jesus was simply a variant sect of Judaism. Paul’s movement on the other hand made a complete and total break with Judaism and the original movement of Jesus. Paul Hamlyn gives us this information:
“On the one side there were those who believed that the new movement ought to remain obedient to the Jewish law. The other side, led by a convert from Judaism named PAUL, believed that the new movement ought to be open to all, whether they observed the Jewish regulations or not. Paul was responsible for establishing Christian congregations in Asia Minor and Greece, AND FINALLY HIS VIEW TRIUMPHED” [Paul Hamlyn Children’s Encyclopedia, p. 210].
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown, art. Jesus, gives us this important information:
“The earliest surviving Christian writings are not the gospels but the Epistles of St. Paul. They were written about 20 years before the gospels, and provide evidence of Christian life and thought some 20 years after the crucifixion. When these epistles are carefully examined they reveal that already an amazing conflict of opinion existed about Jesus. In two separate letters, Paul denounces certain opponents who “PREACH ANOTHER JESUS” and “ANOTHER GOSPEL” [Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4]. Since Paul cannot possibly mean that these opponents were preaching about another person named ‘Jesus’, his denunciation must signify an interpretation of Jesus DIFFERENT FROM HIS OWN...what was the other interpretation of Jesus against which he inveighed so strongly? The evidence points out unmistakably to the ORIGINAL APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES OF JESUS, LOCATED AT JERUSALEM, AS PAUL’S OPPONENTS AND THE PROPAGATORS OF THE “OTHER GOSPEL”...These original JEWISH CHRISTIANS continued to live as devout Jews...They did not regard their faith in Jesus as constituting a new religion...Critical analysis of the New Testament writings reveals, therefore, that within two decades of the crucifixion TWO DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS OF JESUS WERE CURRENT WITHIN THE CHURCH...As soon as the Jerusalem Christians realized the nature of Paul’s gospel, they repudiated both it and him. They sent emissaries among Paul’s converts, warning them that Paul was not an apostle and that his teaching was not the original form of the faith”
The same encyclopedia under St. Paul - Pilot of Christianity states:
“During the past century St. Paul has been transformed from the most important apostle to the most controversial figure of Primitive Christianity. There is a certain irony in this situation; for Paul, despite his high reputation in the Church, was originally a controversial figure and his authority as an apostle was seriously questioned by other Christians of the time...Paul’s version of Christianity was fundamentally different. It diverged from the Jerusalem “Gospel” on two basic issues: the nature of Jesus and the meaning of his death. To the original disciples Jesus was a human being chosen by God to be the Messiah of Israel...Paul transformed the original belief in Jesus as the Messiah of Israel into an esoteric doctrine of a divine Saviour, whose death had delivered mankind from their enslavement to the planetary powers. Such a presentation of Jesus was intelligible to Graeco-Roman society...When, however, the original Jewish Christians at Jerusalem realized the nature of Paul’s teaching, THEY WERE SCHOCKED AND VIGOROUSLY REPUDIATED IT. They refused to recognize Paul as an apostle [he had never been an original disciple of Jesus], and they sent emissaries to Paul’s converts to present their own “gospel” as THE AUTHENTIC VERSION OF THE FAITH...It was Paul’s interpretation of Jesus as the SAVIOUR GOD, who died and rose again, that became the foundation of orthodox Christianity”.
Paul rejected the authority of the Jerusalem apostles. He especially disliked James, the brother of Jesus. This fact is also apparent in his epistle to the Galatians. His version of the “gospel” was very different from that taught by the original disciples. He insisted that Jesus died as atoning sacrifice in order to redeem the lost mankind. He taught that all were lost because of Adam’s rebellion. The original apostles on the other hand did not believe that Adam rebelled nor did they believe in the sacrificial atonement. Paul did not ask his converts to observe God’s Law. He in fact rejected the Law and allowed his converts to practice slavery and polygamy. He also allowed them to eat food sacrificed to idols. By persisting in his own ways and by rejecting the original disciples of Jesus, Paul became the major enemy of the Ebionites. Edward Blair states in regards to the associates of James the following:
“They hotly opposed Paul’s law-free gospel by journeying to his churches and attempted to set his converts right” [The Illustrated Bible Handbook, p. 297].
Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Bible Facts on p. 542 states:
“...As Paul’s ministry fanned out, it soon became apparent that Gentiles were flooding into the church with this Jewish indoctrination. JEWISH CHRISTIAN LEADERS followed in Paul’s footsteps, demanding that the Gentile believers conform to their beliefs. They used Old Testament Scriptures to support their point. At times these “Judaizers” even preceded Paul on his missionary journeys. In such cases, they caused so much turmoil that little or no evangelistic work could be done”.
When we carefully read the writings of Paul in the New Testament, it becomes very apparent that he had to deal with those sent by James the Just. He was frequently accused of not having the authority to be a legitimate apostle. In most of his epistles he spends much time defending his position. It is very significant that these same “troublemakers” were not following James or other original disciples of Jesus. They never accused them of not having the right to apostleship. Neither do they ever accuse these true apostles of teaching against the Law of God. Now if all the apostles agreed that the Law is abolished, and if they preached identical message as Paul of Tarsus - why then all this trouble in which Paul forever found himself? Whenever his authority as an apostle was questioned, Paul could never state that he walked with Jesus and learned the message from the Teacher. He could only appeal to his “vision” on the road to Damascus. But vision in itself proves nothing. Mohammed founded Islam on his visions. Joseph Smith started Mormonism because of his visions. Ellen G. White established the Seventh Day Adventist Church on her visions. Many prophets in the days of Jeremiah spoke of visions and dreams - yet they were deceiving the people. The Ebionites discredited the visions of Paul because they believed that he encountered the demons rather than Jesus in those visions.
Please note the frank admission in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“The Ebionites violently opposed the theology of St. Paul because they believed that he had undergone a demoniacal hallucination when he claimed to have had a vision of Christ, and that he had opposed the conversion of the Jews to a perfect observance of the Mosaic Law as intended by ST. JAMES IN JERUSALEM” [Catholic Encyclopedia, art. Ebionites, p. 29].
The article plainly states that the Ebionites rejected Paul as an apostate. It further admits the fact that JAMES in JERUSALEM intended that his associates adhere to a PERFECT OBSERVANCE OF THE LAW.
Encyclopedia Judaica states:
“The Jewish Christian opposition to Paul, traditionally ascribed to Peter, was not based only ON HIS USE OF MAGIC to make impression on the Romans and his denial of the Mosaic laws, but also on the derivation of his apostolic mission from a SPURIOUS VISION, whereas the true apostles were sent out by Jesus himself” [art. Jewish Christian Sects, p. 39].
Catholic Cardinal Jean Danilou states:
“They [Ebionites] hold that Jesus did not suppress the Law - this was the work of PAUL, their GREAT ADVERSARY, “the man that is our enemy” of the Preaching. They claim to defend the true thought of Jesus against the deformation to which PAULINISM subjected it” [The Theology of the Jewish Christianity, p. 63].
Catholic scholar Philip Hughes states the following in regards to the Ebionites:
“St. Paul they held in abhorrence as an apostate and a perverter of truth” [A History of the Church, p. 57].
James Dunn writes:
“Exaltation of James is accompanied by denigration of Paul. Irenaeus, Origen, Eusebius and Epiphanius [Church Fathers] number rejection of Paul as one of the characteristics of Ebionism and other Jewish Christian sects. In Pseudo Clementines Paul is violently attacked [under the figure of Simon Magus]. Peter calls him ‘the man who is my enemy’, and dismisses his claim to have seen the risen Christ...For Jewish Christianity in general PAUL WAS THE ARCH ENEMY, responsible for the rest of Christianity’s rejection of the law and himself an apostate from the law” [Unity and Diversity in the New Testament, p. 241].
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mythology, Religion and the Unknown under Ebionites gives us this information:
“Paul and his doctrine were repudiated by the leaders of the Jerusalem church, and his arrest by the Romans in 59 AD removed him from further part in the movement...The obliteration of the Jerusalem Church led to a rehabilitation of Paul’s interpretation of the faith, which came to form the basis of Catholic Christianity as a universal salvation-religion. Remnants of Jewish Christianity survived in various places in Palestine, Syria and Egypt until the 5th century. Its members clung to the original tenets of their faith, being characterized by their observance of the Mosaic Law, their belief that Jesus was of human origin, AND THEIR HOSTILITY TO PAUL. They are known only through the garbled and prejudiced accounts of Orthodox Christian writers, who regarded them as heretics. They are named either EBIONITES or NAZARENES, and various strange beliefs and customs are ascribed to them”.
“Paul’s insight became THE NORM OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE with regard to the Jewish Law, and Christianity itself was liberated to develop according to its individual genius. IT CEASED TO BE A SECT WITHIN JUDAISM and became a religion on its own right...Paul, meanwhile, continued to face JUDAIZING OPPONENTS wherever his missionary endeavours took him, and for generations after his death, until the fourth or even the fifth century after the coming of Christ, the JUDEO CHRISTIAN strain survived as a HERETICAL MINORITIES in an INCREASINGLY GENTILE ORIENTATED CHURCH” [A History of Heresy, pp. 15-16].
The Christian Church Fathers continually condemned the beliefs of the Ebionites as HERESIES. But why was this the case? What actually determines a heresy? Heretic is he who simply holds a different view from what is called ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY. If you hold a view that is supported by minority of Christians then you are labeled a heretic. Please note the following quote:
“Heresy, a cynic might say, is an opinion held by a MINORITY of men which the MAJORITY declares unacceptable and is powerful enough to punish. He would not be far wrong; but the matter is not as simple as that, and an adequate definition needs narrower bounds. Though ‘heresy’ may be used of political and other beliefs, it is primarily a doctrine which is AT VARIANCE WITH ORTHODOX RELIGIOUS TEACHING. So Christian heresy means a departure from Christian Orthodoxy...While on the one hand it is easy to define Christian heresy as departure from Orthodox Christian belief, on the other it is not so easy to define WHAT ORTHODOXY ITSELF IS. A superficial glance at history might indeed seem to justify our cynic in his view that heresy is the disagreement of a minority with the contemporary majority view. God, it has been said, is on the side of the big battalions; orthodoxy, it could be added, is what they say about him. When the later Roman emperors adopted Christianity, they did so partly because they believed that it would be a unifying force in an empire under pressure. They were concerned that believers were united in the same doctrine and the Church undisrupted by warring factions holding different beliefs. Later still, the association of pope and emperor, within the Holy Roman Empire which formed the main territory of Christendom, IMPOSED A UNITY OF DOCTRINE GREATER THAN THAT IN MOST OTHER RELIGIONS. As a RESULT OF THIS UNITY HERETICS COULD BE SINGLED OUT THE MORE EASILY. So from the first official recognition of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine in AD 313, POLITICS AND ORTHODOXY WENT HAND IN HAND, and Christians had to compromise their faith because of the DEMANDS made on them by secular culture. After the Reformation politics reinforced local orthodoxies even more strongly; to be a Catholic in Elizabethan England was not only heretical but potentially treasonable; In the Cevennes of the seventeenth century a Huguenot was an armed rebel against Louis XIV as well as against the Roman Church; and in eighteenth century Paris the doctrines of Jansen, declared heretical, were used by a faction within the Catholic Church as a political stick with which to beat the French government as well as the Jesuits. Orthodoxy cannot therefore be synonymous with Christian truth, for some of the local and temporary orthodoxies cancel each other out - if some are true, then others must be false...a heretic will remain simply one WHO HOLDS A MINORITY BELIEF in any community which considers itself Christian, like a Catholic in Salt Lake City. The fact that Catholics form roughly half of all Christians throughout the world will not make him any less a heretic in the capital of Mormonism” [A History of Heresy, pp. 1-2].
Please try to understand. The present Christian doctrines regarded as “orthodox”, that is, right and correct - were implemented under the pain of death. Thousands were butchered simply because they held different views from those who considered themselves “Orthodox Christians”. As soon as you come to hold a view that is contrary to the mainstream of Christendom you become a HERETIC. But this should not bother you. All God’s true prophets were also labeled “heretics” by the mainstream of Judaism. They were not only despised as heretics but many were beaten and ultimately killed. Jesus himself confirmed the fact that those from Jerusalem continued to murder God’s prophets who were sent to them - only because the message they preached clashed with the view of mainstream Judaism. You should also realize the fact that Jesus himself was regarded a HERETIC. His view and teachings CLASHED with that of Pharisees and Sadducees who represented the mainstream opinion of Judaism. For his views - and especially for his attack on the Temple cultus - he lost his life. All his original disciples and their Ebionite or Nazarene movement was regarded heretic. In the third part of the 1st century of the Christian Era the Nazarene movement was excommunicated from the synagogue. They were banned as heretics. The Jewish daily prayer contained a formula which expressly placed a curse on all “minim” - that is, heretics. This curse was particularly directed against the Nazarene movement. Knowing these facts you should never be bothered if Christians regard you as outcast and heretic. You should rather be bothered if you belong to “Orthodox Christianity” - since Jesus plainly stated that his followers would comprise a “little flock”, which will be despised, rejected and persecuted by the mainstream of Judaism and Christianity.
It was Paul of Tarsus who formulated principal Christian doctrines which clashed with those expressed by James and other apostles. These principal Pauline doctrines were accepted by the Church Fathers, they were elaborated upon and in due time they came to represent “the orthodox Christian doctrines”. They spread so quickly because the padres of the Roman Church [as well as the Protestant churches] forced their subjects to adhere to the mainstream Christianity or else face persecution and possibly death. Roman Catholic professor at St. Mary’s College, John C. Dwyer writes:
“Paul’s importance for the early church is paralleled by his place in the New Testament: more in the New Testament is by or about Paul than is the case for anyone except Jesus himself. Paul began as an outsider who had persecuted the early Christians, but he brought about a radical reinterpretation of Christianity, as it was understood by the OFFICIAL LEADERSHIP OF HIS DAY. In a church which was, at least in appearance, a Jewish sect, he preached a radical liberation from the Temple and Synagogue. This brought him into OPEN CONFLICT with the authorities of the Christian community...Paul’s role in the early church raises some serious questions. Paul has been called THE SECOND FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY, and it is not at all inappropriate to ask whether he remained true to the message of the FIRST FOUNDER - JESUS - or whether he RELATIVIZED the importance of Jesus and TWISTED the meaning of his message. Paul encountered embittered opposition in his own day, and in modern times the question has frequently been raised of whether Paul DISTORTED the simple message of Jesus - the message of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man - and warped it into the theory of the ATONEMENT OF AN ANGRY AND VENGEFUL GOD by means OF A BLOODY SACRIFICE. Paul has been accused of exaggerating man’s guilt and dispair beyond all bounds and stripping the human being of all self-respect. His references to purity, sexual sins, and his contrast of flesh and spirit, have led some theologians to find in him the source of that perverse hostility to the body which characterizes so much of what Augustine and the fathers of the eastern church wrote: All of these accusations have at least some foundation, and they force us to raise the question of whether Paul was a clever, if unbalanced, INNOVATOR, or, on the other hand, the PRIVILEGED INTERPRETER of Jesus” [Church History: Twenty Centuries of Catholic Christianity, pp. 27-28].
Please notice. Even the Roman Catholic himself admits the great problems caused by Paul. He also plainly admits that Paul’s theology brought him into open conflict with the apostles of Jerusalem. Dwyer points out to the fact that many Bible scholars raise the question whether Paul twisted the message of Jesus and relativized his importance - inventing a theory that God had to be appeased by a bloody sacrifice of His Son. He realizes that all these problems caused by Paul can only be solved on two grounds. Either he was blessed with a unique understanding among the apostles or else he was a clever, unbalanced innovator. Needless to say, the adherents of the Christian Church insist that Paul was unique and a “genius” among the apostles who ALONE UNDERSTOOD THE REAL MESSAGE OF JESUS. Paul Johnson in his book A History of Christianity plainly states that Paul was the only apostle who understood the true doctrines taught by Jesus. Christian professor Loraine Boetner states:
“Paul was easily the greatest of the apostles, with a DEEPER INSIGHT into the way of salvation and a LARGER REVEALED KNOWLEDGE concerning the mysteries of life and death” [Roman Catholicism, p. 114].
Herbert Lokyer in his book All the Apostles of the Bible states about Paul:
“All that we can do in our simple sketch is to indicate a few focal points in the life of this apostle, about whom more books have been written than any other Bible character, apart from Christ. The total of Pauline books must be enormous. Paul may have been short in physical stature, but he stands tall, a commanding figure SECOND ONLY TO THE MASTER HIMSELF in the history of the Christian faith and in Christian literature down the ages...and the brightest star in such a firmament is the apostle Paul whom God arrested and by His grace and power fashioned into the magnificent hero...We thoroughly agree with the sentiment that “without the consecrated labors of this Christ-intoxicated man it is debatable whether Christianity would ever have become a universal religion. No figure in church history stands as high or has had such far-reaching influence as this apostle to the non-Jewish world. Centuries have not dimmed the luster of his personality nor changed the significance of his place in Christian history. Whenever and wherever the impact of a secular world and the spread of unworthy religious practices have left the Church in need of revitalization, it is to Paul that men have turned, as to a fountain from which again the pure water of the evangelical faith could be drawn and the essence of the Christian Gospel republished”...As we recall the marvelous ministry of Paul who was pre-eminently designed and fitted by birth, education and earlier experience to fill a peculiar place in the establishment and extension and edification of the church, we cannot but assign him the FOREMOST PLACE in “the glorious company of the apostles”...An impressive feature of the New Testament is that out of the twenty-seven Books composing it, fourteen - if we include Hebrews - came from the brilliant mind, and Spirit-inspired pen of the Apostle Paul. What a body of divinity, what treatises on Christian living his MATCHLESS epistles contain! THEY ARE UNSURPASSABLE IN THE REALM OF LITERATURE. Since Paul wrote these letters of his - sent to churches and persons - multitudes upon multitudes of commentaries, textbooks, and expositions have been written about them. If one could count up all the books published through the centuries on the literary labors of Paul, the total would prove to be colossal...To Paul and his writings we owe so much, and by the divine grace he extolled, we would follow him even as he followed the Master he deeply loved and sacrificially served. We recognize the fearlessness of his position in the apostolic company, and how Christ magnified His grace and proved His perfect wisdom and divine foresight in making Paul the last and CROWNING addition to “the glorious company of the apostles” [art. Paul].
Macknight, in his Preliminary Essays, states:
“While the inspired epistles of other apostles deserve to be read with the utmost attention, on account of the explication of particular doctrines and facts which they contain, and of the excellent precepts of piety and morality with which they abound, the epistles of Paul must be regarded as the GRAND REPOSITORY IN WHICH THE WHOLE OF THE GOSPEL DOCTRINE IS LODGED, AND FROM WHICH THE KNOWLEDGE OF IT CAN BE DRAWN WITH GREATEST ADVANTAGE”.
Lockyer states on page 206 in his book All the Apostles of the Bible the following:
“Paul is thus distinguished from the rest of the apostles as a man of learning and culture, and pre-eminently designed and fitted by birth, education and earlier experiences to fill the peculiar place in the establishment, extension, and edification of the Church. HOW WELL TRAINED HE WAS TO BE THE CHIEF INTERPRETER OF HIS MASTER’S THOUGHTS AND PURPOSE. Because of his unique background and past relationship, HE WAS BETTER PREPARED THAN THE MEN OF GALILEE TO TAKE A COMPREHENSIVE VIEW OF THE SAVIOR’S MISSION AND AIMS”.
Martin Luther wrote:
“Paul rips open all the dark secrets of our consciences, and all the hidden rottenness of our hearts, till he is the ONE PREACHER OF ALL PREACHERS FOR US...He alone is a ‘RIGHT DIVINE’ who can preach the faith of the Son of God properly. He is a ‘right preacher’ who can distinguish, first for himself, and then to his people, faith from the Law, and grace from works”.
These comments border on the line of idolatry. They all but bluntly worship Paul - their great hero. They also border on the line of blasphemy. All these Christian authors rubbish and nullify the original apostles of Jesus. They claim that Paul was the only one who really understood the thoughts and purpose of Jesus. He was the only one who supposedly understood what was Jesus’ mission all about. His Hellenistic background gave him the advantage over other apostles. Indeed it did. That is exactly why he presented Jesus as the Pagan Messiah of the Babylon Mystery Religion. Is it reasonable to assume that all other apostles were in ignorance of Jesus’ true mission? If Jesus could not have enlightened them even though he spent quite some time with them, how then could he have enlightened Paul whom he supposedly met but for a few moments? It is obvious that all Christianity follow the steps of the early Church Fathers who accepted Paul and his version of Christianity but nullified and downplayed the role of James and all other original disciples of Jesus who were personally trained by him and sent into the world with his message. Walter I. Meister [a minister of the Apostolic Christian Church] in his book God’s Master Plan states:
“To Israel was the Gospel first preached and the first Christians were Jews. From them it spread into all the world as was intended. It is, nonetheless, amazing to observe how slowly Christianity detached itself from the synagogue. The early converts, FOR YEARS after Pentecost, formed A SECT WITHIN JUDAISM and continued the temple and synagogue worship, observing the Mosaic laws. Whether or not to observe The Law, evidently was a weighty problem in the churches FOR DECADES. The largest volume of almost all the Epistles of the Bible [Pauline] is dedicated to answering that question...Paul took a clear cut stand against the observation of the Mosaic laws in Christianity. Yet, even today, this issue is one of major confusion in church circles” [p. 23].
In regards to the original apostles of Jesus, Meister states:
“They could, and should, immediately have brought the Gospel to the Gentiles. But this they failed to understand. Enormous were their mental obstacles. The concept of Judaism, their nationalism, and the thought that they were the exclusive, chosen, race of God, was so deeply ingrained into the souls of the Jews, Christ’s disciples included, that they could not grasp a thought such as making the Gentiles equal to them...It was this stubborn adherence to Judaism that accounts for the early church being integrated with the synagogue. The fact that Moses’ Laws actually were from God, and that Israel actually was God’s chosen people and His chosen instrument, accounts for God’s early TOLERANCE of a NATURAL ERROR. But there can be no justification for a Christian fellowship to be integrated with a pseudo-Christian fellowship. The church is not Israel, nor Zion; neither is grace observation of the Law...Paul explains that the Law was only an appendage ADDED to the covenant with Abraham, and that it was intended to be in effect only until the seed [Jesus Christ] should come. It was only a codicile to the Testament. He also declares that the Law - always meaning the Mosaic - only speaks to those who are under the Law. As a Christian is not under the Law, THE SAME HAS NOTHING TO TELL HIM” [p. 25].
Meister claims that all original apostles of Jesus continued in the Jewish error for decades. They could not perceive that the Mosaic Law was abrogated, thus they lingered in Judaism until Paul “the mastermind” enlightened all the original apostles and made a CLEAR CUT WITH JUDAISM. Only then the apostles supposedly came to their senses and followed the course of Pauline Christianity. Only fools can believe and teach this. The Bible tells us that Jesus spent time with his disciples and taught them his true doctrines. They also received the great power on the day of Pentecost. To suppose that the apostles did not know whether they should have preached the message to the Gentiles is ridiculous. Even more stupid is the idea that the original apostles of Jesus did not know whether they should observe the Law of God or not. To assume that Paul had to be converted in order to set James, Peter, John and other apostles straight borders on the line of blasphemy. Ellen G. White wrote:
“Through the influence of false teachers who had arisen among the believers in Jerusalem, division, heresy, and sensualism were rapidly gaining ground among the believers in Galatia. These false teachers were mingling Jewish traditions with the truths of the gospel” [The Acts of the Apostles, p. 383].
On page 385 she states:
“In the Galatian churches, open, unmasked error was supplanting the gospel message. Christ, the true foundation of the faith, was virtually renounced for the OBSOLETE CEREMONIES OF JUDAISM”.
Ellen White plainly states that the “false teachers” from Jerusalem [the associates of James] taught a heresy to the believers in Galatia. They supposedly taught “the obsolete ceremonies of Judaism”. Since James himself was a strict observer of the “Mosaic Law” - that is, the original true Law of God - observing the seventh day Sabbath and other Mosaic institutions, and since he himself sent his associates to Paul’s territory in order to set the believers straight, then he himself must have been the false teacher.
On pages 400-401 White states:
“In the earlier years of the gospel work among the Gentiles some of the LEADING brethren at Jerusalem, clinging to FORMER PREJUDICES and habits of thought, had not co-operated heartily with Paul and his associates. In their anxiety to preserve a FEW MEANINGLESS FORMS AND CEREMONIES...there were a few of the LEADING brethren at Jerusalem who began to cherish anew the former prejudices against the methods of Paul and his associates. These prejudices strengthened with the passing of the years, until some of the LEADERS determined that the work of preaching the gospel must henceforth be conducted in accordance with their own ideas. If Paul would conform his methods to certain policies which they advocated they would acknowledge and sustain his work; otherwise they could no longer look upon it with favor or grant it their support. These men had lost sight of the fact that God is the teacher of His people; that every worker in his cause is to obtain an individual experience in following the divine Leader, not looking to man for direct guidance; that His workers are to be moulded and fashioned, not after man’s ideas, but after the similitude of the divine”.
On pages 386 and 387 she states in regards to those who came from James to Galatia the following:
“The apostle urged the Galatians to leave the false guides by whom they had been misled, and to return to the faith that had been accompanied by unmistakable evidence of divine approval. The men who had attempted to lead them from their belief in the gospel were hypocrites, unholy in heart and corrupt in life. Their religion was made up of a round of ceremonies, through the performance of which they expected to gain the favor of God. They had no desire for a gospel that called for obedience to the word, “except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3. They felt that a religion based on such doctrine, required too great a sacrifice, and they clung to their errors, deceiving themselves and others...In his effort to regain the confidence of his brethren in Galatia, Paul ably vindicated his position as an apostle, “not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead”. Not from men, but from the highest Authority in heaven, had he received his commission”.
It absolutely makes me sick when I read remarks like this. How could someone claim that the brothers from Jerusalem - the Ebionites - wanted an easy life when in fact they renounced personal property, alcoholic beverages and meat eating? They lived in great poverty and practiced asceticism. This is much more than Paul or his associates ever did. The adherents of Pauline Christianity lived in urban societies and possessed their own private property. They feasted on wine and meat. They even participated in pagan sacrificial rites and practiced slavery. The Ebionites renounced all these and were despised by both Rabbinical Judaism and the Christian Church. Anyone who claims that the Ebionites observed the Law of God because they wanted an easy life must be out of his mind. White charges the leading brothers of Jerusalem with hypocrisy but she did not see herself. In this book she claims that these brothers did not want to offer “too great a sacrifice” - so they resorted to keeping the Mosaic Law. This was supposedly easier than to practice “born-again” Christianity. But in her other books she would tell you how much easier it is to live as a “born-again Christian” than to observe the Mosaic Law which is supposedly a yoke and a heavy burden. White denounces the Ebionite movement of Jerusalem but praises and vindicates Paul:
“Relying on the power of God to save, and refusing to recognize the doctrines of the apostate teachers, the apostle [Paul] endeavoured to lead the converts to see that they had been grossly deceived, but that by returning to their former faith in the gospel they might yet defeat the purpose of Satan. He took his position firmly on the side of truth and righteousness; and his supreme faith and confidence in the message he bore, helped many whose faith had failed, to return to their allegiance to the Saviour” [p. 385].
The Christian professor and lecturer Alexander Whyte boldly speaks on behalf of traditional Christianity in the following manner:
“Several years had elapsed since the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and no one had yet arisen to do justice to our Lord and His Work. No one has yet risen at all able to grapple with the mystery of the Cross, so as to compel out of it the hidden doctrines of Grace. YEAR AFTER YEAR HAD PAST, and it seemed AS IF CHRIST HAD DIED ALL BUT IN VAIN. The Twelve Apostles were able to recall and reproduce important parts of their Master’s teaching...His death, however, WAS BEYOND THEIR DEPTH...After His Resurrection the Twelve no longer stumbled at, or were ashamed to speak of their Master’s death, but NONE OF THEM “gloried’ in the Cross as we now glory in it. They did not as yet see the CENTRAL AND SUPREME place that the Cross held in the salvation of the individual sinner and of the Church Universal. One cause of their inadequate doctrine of the Cross was their INADEQUATE DOCTRINE OF SIN...Even after the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and Pentecost, not Peter with all his intensity and sincerity of heart: not John with all his love for what was true and pure and good: neither they, nor any of their fellow-apostles, had yet seen in themselves, or in the world, the TRUE SINFULNESS OF SIN, its universality, inwardness, subtlety, malignity and deadliness...Alas, no apostle, no pastor, no evangelist had as yet been given to the Early Church WITH A MIND DEEP ENOUGH AND WIDE ENOUGH, OR WITH A HEART BROKEN AND CONTRITE ENOUGH to die daily under the holy Law of God, and thus to arise daily into the pardon and righteousness and peace that come by the Cross. In short, this full Gospel of the Grace of God in Jesus Christ was not yet preached among men, and it could not be, for the very language was not yet created in which it could be fully exhibited and freely offered. THE CHRISTIAN VOCABULARY DID NOT YET EXIST: no one had yet arisen with genius, boldness, authority and initiation enough to create it. Adam and Moses, and Christ, the Law, sin and grace, works, the atonement, redemption, justification, adoption and sanctification, faith, righteousness and true holiness - THESE GREAT NEW TESTAMENT TERMS WERE ALL ENTIRELY UNKNOWN AS YET, or were known, ONLY IN THEIR POOREST AND BAREST SENSE. Someone was needed, NOT EQUAL TO CHRIST HIMSELF, for HE HAS NO EQUAL; BUT SOMEONE SUFFICIENTLY LIKE HIM, and sufficiently possessed with His Spirit to make Him worthily known to other men. Peter was an eminent and successful apostle, and so was James and so was John, BUT SOMEONE GREATER THAN ANY OF THEM, OR ALL OF THEM PUT TOGETHER WAS NEEDED AT ONCE, AND FOR ALL TIME, to take of the things of Christ and show them to the children of men. YEAR AFTER YEAR HAD GONE BY since the Death and Resurrection of Christ, and NO APOSTLE AT ALL WORTHY OF HIM HAS YET ARISEN - BUT ONE ALL BUT WORTHY OF HIM IS AT THE DOOR. God has him in His eye and under His hand! All the world will soon see him and hear him now! When Stephen was stoned to death the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet whose name was SAUL. Fasten your eyes on that young man, FOR, AFTER JESUS OF NAZARETH, SAUL OF TARSUS IS GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO THE CHURCH AND TO THE WORLD” [Saul Called Paul, pp. 9-11].
On page 35 of the same book we are told that no prophet of God, no apostle or any other servant of God ever understood the “mystery of God” until the days of Paul. Through him alone, we are told, the “hidden mysteries” from the creation of the world were exclusively revealed. Christians believe that the original disciples of Jesus failed to understand the mission of Jesus. They believe that if Paul did not come along then the mission of Jesus would have been in vain. But does this seem logical? Is it reasonable to assume that the Twelve established the first believers on the false premises and foundation? Is it possible that the Twelve who were personally taught by Jesus and who were imbued with the Holy Spirit failed to understand their commission? If they were ignorant of the true facts and if they were to be a great obstacle to the true “gospel” - why then did Jesus even bother to choose them?
When Judah Iscariot was alienated from the Twelve why did the disciples even bother to fill in his place by another? If the Twelve were the “false leaders of Jerusalem” how is it that in the book of Acts we are told that Yahweh supported them by giving them power to perform great miracles?
Jesus himself stated that he exclusively chose the Twelve to be his witnesses - beginning in Jerusalem and finally extending their witness to the ends of the Earth. The disciple of Jesus had to know Jesus personally. He had to be an eyewitness of his miracles and he had to hear his teachings first hand. Paul fails on every count. He never knew Jesus personally. He never walked with him or heard and saw anything he did or taught. His name will not be written on the foundations of the heavenly city. He will not sit on one of the twelve thrones reserved for the original disciples:
“The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the TWELVE APOSTLES” [Revelation 21:14].
“I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who followed me will also sit on the TWELVE THRONES, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” [Matthew 19:28].
Paul was not one of the twelve. He did not follow Jesus. Therefore he cannot be regarded as an apostle nor will he actually sit on one of the twelve thrones as a judge. Since the original disciples were to be the judges in the world to come - receiving such a great authority from their Leader and Teacher - how can we even think that they lingered in deception, observing “obsolete rites of Judaism”? How can we even think that Paul is greater than the original apostles? Is it reasonable to believe that original apostles were in ignorance until Paul became a convert who supposedly brought them to their senses? If the original apostles were of great importance, what should we say of James, the brother of Jesus - who was chosen to be the LEADER among the TWELVE LEADERS? But Christians do not hesitate to degrade this apostle who was holy from his mother’s womb. Martin Luther regarded the writings of James as “straw”. The writings of Paul, however, he esteemed as “pure gold”. Alexander Whyte states in regards to James the following:
“And James the brother of our Lord, paid heavy penalty for the slowness of faith for his too great love of the DECAYED PAST [Mosaic Law], and for his too timid trust of the fast growing future. Thirty three years of awakening evidence did not suffice to awaken James’ faith in his brother’s messiahship; and he was the very last of all the apostleship and eldership of Jerusalem to accept Paul as the messiah’s TRUEST AND BEST MINISTER. And, as a result of all that, such was the position of James in the Church of Jerusalem, that all the slowest to move, all the reactionary, and all those who were suspicious and envious of new men like Paul, and new movements like that of the Church at Antioch, collected round James and claimed him as their leader and bulwark” [Saul Called Paul, p. 88].
This view is held by majority of Christians. The leader and the greatest pillar of the earliest movement of Jesus is rubbished by the adherents of Pauline Christianity. Even in the Gospel of John [as we have it] James is portrayed as unbeliever who refused to identify with Jesus. It is alleged that James converted only after he saw the risen Jesus. This however was flatly denied by the Ebionites. In the original writings of Matthew, James was present at the Last Supper. At that time he made a vow that he would taste nothing until he sees Jesus arising from the dead. This proves that James regarded Jesus as the Messiah and that he firmly believed in his brother’s claims. Besides, Paul himself says that the risen Jesus appeared to James. Since Jesus appeared only to the believers it must be then that James was a believer prior to Jesus’ resurrection. In fact, the Roman Catholic position is that James was the cousin and not the brother of Jesus and that he was actually James the son of Alpheus, who was one of the Twelve. The Christian liars and admirers of Paul want you to think that Paul was a Judaizer and steeped in Pharisaic traditions who could not break with Judaism and the sacrificial cult of the Temple. But if James was really and truly a Judaizer, how come he was admired by the Ebionites and how come they regarded him as the greatest of all the apostles? All admit that the Ebionites hated the Temple worship and the sacrificial cult, so why would they then regard James as their hero if he preached that what they abhorred?
At least this rubbishing of James and other original disciples serves some purpose. It should awaken you to the fact that Christian scholars are fully aware that the Twelve most definitely did not believe nor teach the PAULINE DOCTRINES Dr. Whyte terms “Great New Testament Doctrines”. By carefully studying his statement and the writings of many other Christian authors you should be aware that the original apostles were not ignorant and unable to teach such doctrines - as is alleged - but they simply refused to teach them because they regarded such teaching as FALSE. The Twelve regarded the “hidden mysteries of the Gospel” revealed by Paul as “the modification of the Babylon Mystery Religion”. Dr. Whyte was right in claiming that James was the leader of all those who clung to the past - meaning the Mosaic Law. Albeit he is wrong in saying that they clung to the DECAYED PAST. James and the original apostles dogmatically insisted upon observance of the Mosaic Law. This Law of God as penned down by Moses was devoid of many diabolical elements present in current Jewish Pentateuch. This Mosaic Law they called “The Perfect Law”, “The Law of Liberty” and “The Royal Law”. Paul on the other hand rejected this Law of God and powerfully taught his followers to abandon it. Dr. Michael Grant gives us the following information on Paul:
“Already, however, before launching that mission, [to the Graeco-Roman world] he had formed an extremely unfavourable estimate of the Jewish Law, which, UNLIKE JESUS, he increasingly regarded as wholly inadequate. And in any case once he had embarked on his mission to the gentiles, he was compelled to permit relaxations of the Judaic rules in order to attract these no Jewish converts. Such attitudes, however, brought him into open breach with the Jews who had been the ORIGINAL DISCIPLES OF JESUS and their followers, THE JEWISH CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM UNDER JESUS’ BROTHER JAMES THE JUST AND PETER” [Jesus, p. 179].
Paul rejected the teaching of historical Jesus. Instead he propagated the “mythical Christ”. He rejected the views of James, Peter and other apostles. He pursued his own course and ultimately founded a Gentile Movement which became known as PAULINE CHRISTIANITY. Holger Kersten states:
“What is called Christianity today is largely a teaching or precepts artificially created by Paul, and should be more correctly called PAULINISM”.
Religious historian Wilhelm Nestle states:
“Christianity is the religion FOUNDED BY PAUL; It REPLACED Christ’s Gospel with a Gospel ABOUT Christ” [Krisis des Christentums, p. 89].
Theologian Grimm made an honest confession when he stated regarding Pauline Christianity the following:
“However deeply these teachings may have become ingrained in Christian thought, they still have nothing to do with the real Jesus” [Die Ethik Jesu].
Paul did not preach the message which agreed with James, Jesus and the ancient Nazarites and prophets. Moreover, when we carefully analyze his own writings it becomes evident that he never regarded himself as a convert to the Nazarene movement but rather he believed to be an apostle in his own right who founded his own movement, according to his own principles, which he later named CHRISTIANITY. He claimed to have been chosen from his mother’s womb in order to make manifest the “mysteries of God” which was hidden in past ages. He allowed his converts to practice polygamy and commanded that only the bishops be married to one wife. He permitted his rich converts to practice slavery and commanded the believing slaves to even more vigorously serve their Christian masters instead of commanding the believing masters to free their slaves. He allowed his converts to eat food sacrificed to idols. He argued that his ministers should be paid for their services. All these doctrines were repudiated by the Twelve and in the community where all had everything in common there could not have been slaves nor paying the ministers for their services. As far as the food offered to idols is concerned the Twelve prohibited it and even Jesus criticized it in the Book of Revelation and condemned to prophetess Jezebel for teaching the believers to eat food sacrificed to idols. Paul was the false apostle and those who cling to traditional Christianity have a part in a movement that was started by Paul and which drifted from the Twelve and which has nothing to do with Jesus and ultimately the true God.