There are many of our people who have never heard of the “Anti-Pauline Doctrine” until recently. We don’t know whether any of you have heard about thi8s movement or not. It is generally found in a few segments of the Israel Identity Movement. This does not mean that all Identity Organizations esp9ouse this doctrine. Some that we have become aware of are:
The Covenant Message in South Africa
H.J. Hendricks in South Dakota
The Bible and Health in Wichita, Kansas
Most Identity teachers have chosen to simply ignore their teaching which seems to be the best position. However, these positions are still among us and therefore we think this doctrine needs to be examined what they have to say and see how it squares with the Word of God.
Basically, their position is that Paul is a false prophet; they think Paul is described in John 5:43 and Matthew 7:15.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wo1lves.” (Matthew 7:15)
“I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (John 5:43)
As we read and reread their position it seems to us that the issue is not the writings of Paul, but Paul himself. They seem almost obsessed that Paul frequently uses the personal pronoun “I” and state that in 1 Corinthians 15:9 (we will look at this verse later), Paul is attempting to look humble or “out humblize the others to draw attention to himself,” and then they refer to Paul as having a “holier than thou” attitude, calling himself “THE CHIEF OF THE APOSTLES,” and finally indicate that the only way preachers can explain Paul is by “TALKING IT TO DEATH” or by putting their words in place of Paul’s.
Our perception of the problem is that these people have found so many passages which are difficult for them to understand their solution is to discredit all, and therefore they need no longer worry about his writings. We would admit that would solve the problem with understanding his writings, but we would have little understanding of things like the “ekklesia” and the “resurrection” without the writings of Paul.
One of their favorite positions is that: PAUL WAS AN EDOMITE!
He boasted of being: An Israelite of the Tribe of Benjamin and if so probably through hi8s mother (Romans 11:1); a roman citizen and a kinsman of Herod (an Edomite), obviously through his father, who was also a Pharisee. (Romans 16:11; Acts 23:6) This racial mix of Edomite/Canaanite blood (Genesis 36:1-2) could well account for his well publicized thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7, perhaps a form of schizophrenia, common to race mixing).
First of all, Paul’s comment in Romans 11:1
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”
is not boastful, it is a statement of fact. The question is “Did God cast off Israel?” The answer is “God forbid. For I AM AN ISRAELITE, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”
Paul makes it clear that he understands the mission of Israel form Mount Sinai to the end of the age and he, as “an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin,” was carrying on the mission of Israel and was living proof that God has not cast off Israel. No boast; Pure Fact!
Paul was born in Tarsus (what is now Turkey) in the region of Cilicia. (Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3) Rome first occupied the area in 104 B.C., and by 64 B.C., the area was considered as an assimilated Roman province under Pompey and under Cicero in 51 A.D. Many Israelites of the dispersion of 745 B.C., lived in this area and became Roman citizens, accounting for Paul’s roman citizenship.
The traditional laws of the Pharisees prescribed that a boy begin a study of the Scriptures at age five, the study of legal traditions at the age of ten, and at age thirteen would have taken on the full obligation of the law. The more promising boys were directed into schools under teachers such as Gamaliel, under whom Paul studied in Jerusalem.
Paul’s age is questionable but his epistles were written between 48 and 70 A.D. This, along with the above would indicate that he was born around the same time as Christ.
Herod - Herodians
Now let us examine Romans, Chapter 16 where Paul states:
“SALUTE HERODION MY KINSMAN. Greet them that be of the household of nar-cis-sus, which are in the Lord.” (Romans 16:11)
They have assumed that Herodion and Paul were related because of Paul’s comment, “Salute Herodion my kinsman.” The problem appears to be that they consider them related because of the use of the word kinsmen. But if that is the case then Paul is related by blood to those he mentions in verse seven:
“Salute An-dro-ni-cus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” (Romans 16:7)
Actually they were related as Paul understood that they were Israelites. Paul also uses this term to describe all of his Israel brethren in the 9th chapter of Romans:
“For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, MY KINSMEN ACCORDING TO THE FLESH: WHO ARE ISRAELITES; to whom pertaineth the adaption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.” (Romans 9:3-4)
Paul knew and understood the difference between an Israelite and an Idumean. He knew only too well the promises, covenants, glory, adoption, etc., belonged to Israel: NOT EDOM!
It would follow that since Paul recognized his kinsmen in Romans 9 as Israelites, that in using the word “kinsmen” in romans 16, verses 7 and 11, Paul was also referring to his blood “kinsmen according to the flesh; who are Israelites.”: NOT IDUMEANS!
Stating that Paul was an Edomite “OBVIOUSLY” THROUGH HIS FATHER after just stating that he was a Benjaminite “PROBABLY” THROUGH HIS MOTHER, makes little sense in view of the fact that genealogies were traced through the father; not the mother. In fact, in our opinion this is specious reasoning at its best.
Notwithstanding the above, nothing is known of this person named “Herodion” except that he was in Rome. It could be concluded from Romans 16:10 that Herodion was of the household of Aristobulus, but even that is not a certainty nor would it help.
To conclude that Paul was an Edomite because of this verse would require that Herodion be related to Paul by blood and that Herodion was an Edomite. They also have assumed that Herodion, and thus Paul, were both related to king Herod who was an Idumean (Edomite) and that is a lot of assumptions.
The time frame of the epistle to the Romans is approximately 58 A.D., and if Herodion was a descendant of Herod the Great, he would have been a younger brother or cousin to Herod I. It is doubtful whether someone of that lineage, being only 2nd or 3rd generation from Herod the Great, should have given up the pleasures of courtly privileges and migrated to Rome.
Herod the Great lived from 74 B.C., to 4 A.D. He was succeeded by his son Herod I, who was an Idumean and responsible for the execution of James and the imprisonment of Peter. He died in 44 A.D., and was succeeded by his son Herod II who ruled until the capture of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., when he moved to Rome.
Since Herod the Great was a king, then his children were also of the royal line. Remember now, the argument is that Paul is a Benjamite by his mother and a kinsman of “Herodion” through his father. Assuming Paul and Christ were born around the same time and that Pauls’ father would almost have to be a son of Herod the Great.
It seems “incredible” that in light of those times, and the importance of status and wealth, that we are expected to believe that if Paul’s father was in King Herod’s lineage, that he gave up his heritage, migrated to Tarsus, and married an Israelite, when the nature of royal families was to lounge around the palace and hope to obtain the crown.
In addition, it was before Herod II that Paul pleaded his case in Caesarea, and if Paul was a blood kinsman, it seems strange that he made no reference to such in his greeting to or conversation with Herod.
The word “Herod” is Greek in nature and according to Strong’s Concordance (#2264), means “hero” or “heroic.” The word used in Romans 16:11 is “Herodion,” which comes from #2267 and has no given meaning. However, there is no reason to believe that because a person is named Herodion, he is a descendants of Herod.
In any event, the use of the proper name “Herodion” does not attach to it any conclusion that the bearer of such a name is a descendant of Herod. Nor can we conclude that king Herod was an Idumean from his name. Nor can we conclude that Jesus was an Israelite because of His name. Nor can we conclude that Peter was an Israelite because of his name. Nor can we conclude that Joseph, Benjamin, etc., were Israelites because of their names. Likewise we cannot conclude that Paul was Idumean because of his name nor can we conclude that this man “Herodion’ was a descendant of Herod or an Idumean because of his name.
It is also illogical to assume that the name “Herod” was only used by descendants of Herod, or are we to assume that everyone named “James” is a descendant of the apostle James? What about the name John, Peter, etc.? As Bullinger points out, the word “Herodion,” used here, is simply a “Greek masculine name.” (The Companion Bible, p. 1693)
Paul, The Pharisee
Before we read Acts, Chapter 33, verse 6, let us look first at the situation. Paul had just spoken to a crowd in the city of Jerusalem, at which time he was mobbed and the chief captain took Paul to the castle to have him scourged. Paul claimed his Roman citizenship which caused the captain to be afraid, whereupon he called a meeting of the chief priests, and the council and had Paul speak to them. The conversation never even got off to a good start when:
“...Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren (this does not mean that Paul was a retaliative to all the men present, but he was related to those few Israelites who happened to be in the crowd), I AM A PHARISEE, THE SON OF A PHARISEE: OF THE HOPE AND RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD I AM CALLED IN QUESTION.” (Acts 23:6)
Pau, in stating “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisees, seems to be conveying to the council that not only was he a son of a Pharisee but he himself was also a trained Pharisee. Since his audience were part Pharisees and part Sadducees, Paul knew that claiming to be a Pharisee would give what he had to say credibility with the Pharisees. This seems to be part of his intent because at the same time he tells them he is a pharisee, he states that he is being called into question BECAUSE OF HIS POSITION REGARDING THE HOPE AND THE RESURRECTION.
What we are not told until vers 8 is that the Pharisees believed in a hope of a resurrection whereas the Sadducees did not:
“For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit but the Pharisees confess both.” (Acts 23:8)
Paul’s statement has the desired effect as verses 7 and 9 state:
“And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
And there arose a great cry and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose and strove, saying, WE FIND NO EVIL IN THIS MAN: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” (Acts 23:7, 9)
Paul probably realized that there would be no justice in this court (much as there is no justice in the courts of America today when a Christian is involved) because if he told them the whole truth neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees would have been on his side. The whole truth was that Paul and the apostles preached not just the “hope of the resurrection” but that the hope and the resurrection come through Jesus based upon His death and resurrection. For this cause the apostles had been previously imprisoned:
“And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.” (Acts 4:1-3)
But just because Paul was a Pharisee does not make him a descendant of Edom or Herod. We cannot conclude from Acts 23:6, that all Herodians were of Edom or Herod. We cannot conclude that all Sadducees and scribes were of Edom or Herod. Or are we also to conclude that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were Idumeans because they were members of the Sanhedrin council.
We would suggest that Romans 16:11 and Acts 23:6 DO NOT PROVE THAT Paul was a descendant of Esau or of Herod, and neither does the fact that Paul was a trained Pharisee like his father. Likewise, it should not be argued that because Paul was “Roman born” he was not an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin.
Chief of the Apostles
“He (Paul) considers himself Chief of the Apostles.”
Having the Bible on our computers, it was a simple task to search for the term “chief of the apostles,” and the phrase simply does not appear in Scripture. The word chief is used 44 times and there are chief captains, priests, corner stone, ruler, shepherd, sinner, seats, publican and men, but no reference to “chief of the apostles.”
There is a “chief of the Jews,” “chief of Asia,” “chief of the devils,” and a “chief of the city,” but no “chief of the apostles.”
Finally, in later correspondence, we were provided a reference to 2 Corinthians 11:5. In reading this verse, it because obvious that one of us has a problem; as either we don’t read and understand Scripture like they do or we are not reading out of the same Bible. The KJA states:
“For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” (2 Corinthians 11:5) KJV
The ERV states the same thing except the ERV has “am not” rather than “was not.”
The ASV (American Standard) states:
“For I reckon that I am not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” (ASV)
The NAS (New American Standard) states:
“For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.” (NAS)
The NAU (New American Standard Update)
“For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles.” (NAU)
The NIA (New International) states:
“But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super‑apostles." (NIV)
The NKJ (New King James) states:
“For I consider that I am not at all inferior to the most eminent apostles.” (NKJ)
The RSV (Revised Standard Version) states:
“I think that I am not in the least inferior to these superlative apostles.” (RSV)
Even the Queers Bible TLB (The living Bible states:
“Yet I don't feel that these marvelous "messengers from God," as they call themselves, are any better than I am.” (TLB)
The Lamsa Bible states:
“For I think that I am not in the least inferior to the most distinguished apostles.”
As you can see other Bibles we have say basically he same thing and the Textus Receptus literally shows:
“I reckon for in nothing to have been behind those in a surpassing degree apostles.”
Even looking at the verse totally out of context, we cannot see how they can conclude that Paul is claiming to be “chief of the apostles.” Bibles simply do not state such. It would appear that Paul is claiming to be “not a whit behind” or “in nothing behind” the very chiefest apostles.
Claiming to be not behind them does not lead to the conclusion that he is claiming to be in front of them or to be “chief of the apostles.” As a captain in the Army I did not feel behind other captains, yet, and in fact, I was not chief of the captains.
Assuming this were a comparison between himself and the twelve apostles, at best he could only be accused of placing himself as an equal among them. In fact when we read verse six we see that he is claiming to have knowledge; not position and authority over the twelve apostles. In essence, it seems to me, that he is saying, when it comes to knowledge, I can old my own with the best of them.
Again, looking at the verse out of context, we don’t even know that he is comparing himself to the twelve apostles of Christ. Therefore, like always, I need to determine what subject Paul is addressing, who he is talking to, and who he is talking about before we can determine who, if anybody, he is comparing himself to.
However, lets back up and go to verses 1 and 2, of chapter 11. They state:
“Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1-2)
Paul expresses his jealousy over the Corinthians. Jealousy over them? Why, and of whom would Paul be jealous? Paul provides us with the answer in the next verse:
“But I fear, least by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subility, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)
Paul fears their minds might be corrupted as the mind of Eve was corrupted. Who corrupted the mind of Eve? Certainly not the twelve apostles nor Paul. It was the serpent, literally Na-chash (a proper name), of whom it could be said, he was a “false prophet.”
Who, then, would corrupt the minds of the Corinthians? In verse 4 Paul alludes to these deceivers:
“For if HE THAT COMETH preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:4)
The answer is that Paul was jealous of “he that commeth (who) precheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached.” Had the twelve been preaching “another Jesus?” We think not, and if not, then Paul was not jealous of the twelve. Notice also that Paul does not say “I” but “whom we have not preached.” The word is “we” and Paul is not singling himself out for glory here.
Hopefully the Anti-Pauline people would agree that the “twelve” would not be the ones who “preacheth another Jesus.” The real problem goes back to Matthew 24 where Christ states:
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5)
A reading of Josephus will provide many stories of such men, and the problem Paul is addressing in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 11,is the “false apostles” who came to Corinth after Paul left. These “false apostles” were also smooth of speech, which Paul was not, by his own admission in verse 6, where he claims to be “rude in speech.”
“But though I be RUDE IN SPEECH, yet NOT IN KNOWLEDGE; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.” (1 Corinthians 11:6)
It is this situation of “false apostles” in Corinth that Paul is addressing when he says “I am not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” Again, we would suggest that Paul is not comparing himself with the twelve apostles but to “those” who were “false apostles” in Corinth. Ferrar Fenton makes this quite clear in his version by translating this verse as follows:
“I consider myself to be deficient in nothing, compared with these PRETENTIOUS apostles.” (Ferrar Fenton Bible, p. 1205)
Remember Paul is jealous, and he is jealous because there are “false apostles” after the flock at Corinth and Paul doesn’t want to lose the sheep there. Paul’s authority as an apostle of Christ was being questioned by some false prophets at Corinth and Paul begins his defense in chapter 10, and in this verse, and for most of the chapter, Paul defends himself and his actions while at Corinth, and contrasts his actions with those of the “false apostles.” We would encourage you to read both chapters 10 and 11.
Paul makes no comparison to the twelve apostles anywhere, as the subject mater is the “false prophets” in Corinth; not the twelve apostles of Christ.
Paul continues with this “false apostle” comparison in verses 6 through 15. Paul asks if the “false apostles’ lived as he lived. Did they take nothing from them? Were they a “burden on any man?” Did they stoop to doing manual labor in order not to be a burden?
Paul makes his plea and then states that those who would not do the things he did are “false apostles:”
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13)
The “for such” makes this quite clear. This would even be more clear if it was stated in the English, “For such are the actions of false apostles.” It would appear that after Paul left Corinth the silver tongued slicky boys moved in to take advantage of the situation which Paul had created by bringing the people to the saving grace of Christ.
They were smooth talkers and espoused enough scripture to fool the people into supporting them, and like many modern-day Judeo-Christian preachers, were probably becoming rich preying on the people, or at least sponging off the people by using the teachings of Christ.
But Paul says, and I. I did none of these things and I did it the way I did that “ye might be exalted.” Paul is, in a sense asking, what is the motivation of the “false apostles.” From his responses we can see they were motivated by lust and greed.
Yes, Paul is talking about apostles al right but they were “false apostles,” not the twelve. Verses 14 and 15 further amplify this:
“And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel (messenger) of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according tot heir works.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
Again, please read the entire chapter and study it thoroughly.
Here Paul states the “false apostles” are “transforming themselves” or assuming, as far as they can, the doctrines of Christ which they can fit into their sinister views. Paul spends the rest of the book defending his position, and yes, since Paul is defending himself, there are lots of “I’s.” If we were defending our actions the pronoun “we” wouldn’t apply.
It is clear to us that Paul is discussing “false apostles,” not the twelve apostles, in this chapter, and that in verses five and six he is claiming knowledge; not position, power, or authority above or over the twelve apostles. And even if he was claiming to be the chief of the apostles, it would be chief in knowledge above the “false apostles” not the twelve.
Today, we suppose these “false apostles” are the silver tongued: Alex Reese; Alice Bailey; Amy Simple McPherson; Betty Robinson; Bill Bright; Billy Graham (Jew); Billy Locklear; Binny Hinn (Jew); Bishop Sheen; Bob Larson; Bob Jones III; Bobbie Schuller; C.S. Lovett; Casey Treat; Charles Ryrie; Charles Taze Russell; Charles Capps; Chuck Missler; Chuck Smith; Clyde Narramoore; Copeland's wife; Beverly LaHaye; Crefflo Dollar; D.J. Kennedy; Dave Breese; Dave McPherson; David Hocking; David Chilton; Derek Prince; Don Nickles; Don McAlvany; Don Stewart; Ed Atsinger III; Ed Dobson; Ed Meese III; Eddie Long; Frank Peretti; Fred Franz; Freddy Price; Gail Riplinger; Garner Ted Armstrong; Gary Bauer; Gary North; George Ladd; Gordon MacDonald; Grant Jeffrey; Greg Koke; Hal Lindsey (Jew); Hank Hanegraaff; Harold Camping; J.R. Church; Jack Hayford; Jack van Impe; Jack Kemp; James Robison; James Dobson Jentezen Franklin; Jerry Falwell (A so-called Christian Zionist); Jerry Barnard; Jesse Duplantis; Jim Bakker (Jew); Jimmy Swaggart; Joe Tkach Sr.; Joe Aldrich; Joe Garlington; Joe Tkach Jr.; Joe Vankoevering; John Cionci; John Avanzini; John Ankerberg; John Dawson; John McDowell; John Hagee; John Osteen; John Kilpatrick; John Walvoord; John Noe; John Ankerberg; Jon Arnot; Jonathan Bell; Joseph Rutherford; Joyce Meyers; Kathryn Kuhlman; Kenneth Copelan (Jew); Kenny Hagin; Larry Wilson; Larry Buricett; Larry North; Larry Burkett; Lester Sumrall; Lester Sumerall; Luis Palau; Madame Blavatsky; Maria Woodworth‑Etter; Marilyn Hickey; Mario Murillo; Mark Eastman; Marlin Maddoux; Marv Rosenthal; Mary Baker Eddy; Michael Horner; Mike Evans (Jew); Mike Farris; Myles Munro; Nathan Knorr; Noah Hutchings; Norman Vincent Peale; Oral Roberts; Pat Robertson; Paul Crouch; Paul Tillich; Paul & Peter LeLonde; Paul Pressler; Paul Morton; Perry Stone; R.J. Rushdoony; Ralph Woodrow; Ralph Wilkerson Randall Terry; Randy Clark; Ray Brubaker; Reed Irvine; Reginald Dunlop Jr.; Rich DeVos; Rich Wilkerson; Richard Roberts; Richard Allen; Robert van Kampen; Robert H. Gundry; Robert Schuler; Robert F. Campbell; Rod Rosenblatt; Rod Parsley; Rodney Browne; Ron Cohen; Salem Kirban; Scott Pearson; Sherlock Bally; Skip Heitzig; Steve Muncie; T.D. Jakes; Tal Brooke; Ted Baehr; Thomas Ice; Timothy LaHaye; Tom Cloud; Toni Eareckson Tada; Tony Campolo; V.W. Grant; Woody Young; Yacov Rambsel etc., of the 20thcentury. They obviously have some knowledge and are smooth of speech but we sometimes wonder if they read from the same Bible that we do. We think all of these slicky boys are well described in 2 Peter, Chapter 2.
In addition Paul specifically refers to his position as an apostle and compares himself with the twelve in his first epistle to the Corinthians. In chapter 15, Paul begins by stating that Christ appeared to the twelve, then the five hundred and last of all to Paul:
“And LAST OF ALL he was seen of me also, as of one BORN OUT OF DUE TIME.” (1 Corinthians 15:8)
It seems as though one qualification of an apostle was that he had to have seen and communicated with Christ. Certainly it was important to Paul as he continually made this claim to support his apostleship. Paul puts himself at the end of the list by stating that he was the last to see Christ and therefore he was “born out of due time.”
“Born out of due time” seems to be a phrase used to describe the fact that Paul’s calling was AFTER the calling of the twelve, nor did he have the opportunity to spend years with Him, therefore, he was born “out of due time.” Then Paul states:
“For I AM THE LEAST OF THE APOSTLES, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:9)
Certainly, with reference to time Paul was “out of due time” which, in that sense, would make him that last or the lest of the apostles. But Paul would have us know that he was also the least because he persecuted the church, unlike the apostles who did not, and for that reason he considered himself unworthy to be called an apostle. Nevertheless, Paul understood that he was an apostle, but only by and through the grace of God:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I LABOURED MORE ABUNDANTLY THAN THEY ALL: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
Some would say that Paul is again boasting, but we think not. Paul recognized his persecution of the church, his secondary nature to the twelve, and sought to make up for the difference in his work. Certainly when we consider his travels, laboring, and suffering and compare them with what is known of the rest of the apostles. Paul “laboured more abundantly than they all.” No boasting: Pure fact.
The Apostles and Paul
If there was a leader among the twelve it was Peter and James. Peter, James, and John seemed to have a favored status with the Lord but Peter was their leader, at least in the beginning, and later James seemed to occupy this position.
We would like to point out that in Acts 2 all of the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit, and we would suggest that at this time they also received great powers, including the power of discernment. Assuming they did, and if we assume that Paul was a false apostle, how could a false apostle not be detected by a true apostle of Christ. The apostles could even discern when someone had not declared the actual sale of certain property.
Assuming Luke wrote “The Acts” he recorded that Paul and Barnabas went to Jerusalem “unto the apostles’ and “elders’ concerning the question of physical circumcision.
“And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were RECEIVED OF THE CHURCH, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” (Acts 15:4)
The apostles being referred to here are the twelve, or those of the twelve who were in Jerusalem. From verses 7 and 13 we at least know that Peter and James, the two leaders, were present.
Now the problem that we have is that in verse 4, Paul and Barnabas were “RECEIVED OF THE CHURCH AND THE APOSTLES AND ELDERS.” It would seem that men such as Peter and James, the two leaders bing filled with the Holy Spirit, should have been able to recognize a “false apostle” if Paul was actually false.
The reason for this meeting was not because any doctrine was in question among the apostles and Paul but because among the believers, were Pharisees who were demanding that converts receive the physical circumcision, and this is evident by verses 5 and 6:
“But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” (Acts 15:5-6)
Thus one reason for this assembly was to debate the circumcision issue. There was no controversy between the apostles; rather the controversy existed because the pharisees wanted to keep the physical circumcision, and apostles knew it was done away with.
After much disputing between believing Pharisees and the other members of the assembly (verse 7) including Paul, Peter rose and gave his view, stating that physical circumcision was not necessary, thus supporting Paul’s position.
After Peter’s talk, Paul and Barnabas gave witness to the workings of God in their travels. Then James, who was apparently the president of the council, answered saying:
“And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me (this shows that the Pharisees mentioned were actually real Israelites who had been raised up in the Jews religion):
Wherefore MY SENTENCE IS, that WE TROUBLE NOT THEM, which from among the Gentiles (Nations of Israel) are turned to God.
But that we write unto them, that they abstain from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:13, 19-20)
In this verse we see that other things were also under consideration: 1). Pollution of animals; meats offered to idols; 2). Fornication; i.e., all unclean and perverted sexual activity; 3). Things strangled (meats were required to be bled); and 4). From blood; probably the blood of the circumcision as that is the main topic of discussion. (Blood, the Jews use the blood of Christians in their religious rituals).
Continuing with Verse 32:
“Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch WITH PAUL AND BARNABAS; NAMELY, Judas surnamed Barnabas and Silas, chief men among the brethren.” (Acts 15:22)
The is no disunity among the body. THERE IS NO CONFLICT BETWEEN PAUL AND THE LEADERSHIP AT JERUSALEM. There is only harmony. So much so that in verse 22 “IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE APOSTLES (Peter and James at least)...TO CHOOSE OUT MEN AND SEND THEM TO ANTIOCH WITH PAUL.”
This would make no sense if Paul was of the evil one or a false prophet. The apostles (at least Peter and James) then wrote unto the brethren at Antioch stating:
“It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send CHOSEN MEN unto thee with OUR BELOVED BARNABAS AND PAUL.
Men that have HAZZARD THEIR LIVES for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:25-26)
Here the apostles call Paul “beloved” and a man who has “hazzard” his life “for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We find it difficult to accept that Paul could have been a false prophet or of the evil one, and deceived Peter and James to the point where they would endorse him publicly and by letter as “our beloved...Paul.”
The apostles received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and received power, knowledge, understanding, discernment and wisdom that few since have possessed. And in the words of the anti-Pauline people, it is “inconceivable” to even perceive that God would allow the anointed apostles to be deceived by Paul if he were a false prophet.
Luke is A False Witness For Paul
It is well known that Paul’s great supporter and chronicler was Luke. Indeed, full one third of the Book of Acts, written by Luke, is concerned with this man Paul, whom Luke accompanied for a good deal of the time. The discerning must recognize that the only two people to witness the major claims of Paul, are Paul himself and Luke. That Luke obtained his information from Pau can only be accepted without any question. This leaves Paul as the only witness to these claims.
If Acts was written by Luke then either Paul was an apostle of Christ or Luke was deceived by Paul, and therefore we must discard the Book of Acts. If this is true then Luke either did not have the Holy Spirit directing him in writing the book or the Holy Spirit led him to leave us a false witness. This would make Luke a “false apostle” through the leading of the Holy Spirit, a position we think is untenable.
We would hope that Luke also was a great supporter of Peter and James as well as Paul. Luke may have obtained information from Paul on many things, but in order to say that Luke was influenced by Paul in writing Acts is to deny the direction of the Holy Spirit in writing the “The Acts of The Apostles.”
The anti-Pauline people seem to overlook the fact that Peter wrote about Paul in his second epistle. The entire second epistle of Peter was directed at the subject matter of heresy and “false prophets” and “false teachers.” The second chapter in particular is a scathing of the false prophets and teachers to come. Peter must have had some ability to discern who was and who was not a “false teacher” or a “false prophet” as he was certainly able to express a lot about them. Then, after all those warnings against “false prophets,” Peter states:
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as OUR BELOVED BROTHER PAUL also according tot he wisdom given unto him hath written unto they;
As also IN ALL HIS EPISTLES, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, which they that are UNLEARNED WREST, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being LED AWAY WITH THE ERROR OF THE WICKED, fall from their own steadfastness.” (2 Peter 3:14-17)
It seems that even Peter understood that Paul wrote Epistles to those Peter was addressing in 1 Peter 1:1 (the elect; the sojourners of the dispersion, Israel) and that Paul’s writings were “hard to be understood” and writings “which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest.”
While we would agree that Paul’s writings are sometimes difficult, we attribute that to the fact that we don’t always understand Paul’s writings because we are “unlearned and unstable.”
Besides all that, Paul was a lawyer and raised as a Pharisee, and all one has to do is look at the Talmud and they can quickly see the double talk, and that their writings are very hard to understand. That alone explains to us the difficulty in understanding his writings. Paul spends far too much time pleading a case before he gets to the point and he also argues both sides of an issue, playing the Devil’s advocate.
We can appreciate problems people have with the writings of Paul but we have found that if we keep at them we can usually figure them out
In verse 14, Peter warns the Sojourners of the Dispersion whom Paul had converted (not Peter) to “be diligent” and “look for such things” he (Peter) has described. Now we find it interesting that Peter was able to give all the warnings about false prophets in chapter 2, and yet supposedly he was not able to discern that Paul was a “false apostles.”
Then in verse 15, Peter even verifies the authenticity of Paul’s writings. Peter calls Paul “our beloved brother” and indicates that all the things he (Peter) was writing, they have already heard from Paul’s writings. The list of things of which Peter has written in this epistle and those which Paul had written are long, but for starters look at:
* 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:1-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Titus 2:13 for Christ’s coming judgement;
* 1 Corinthians 15:22; Philippians 3:20-21 for the resurrection of the dead;
* 2 Thessalonians 1:8 for the cleansing of the earth;
* 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 for the heavenly country;
* 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Hebrews 4:9; 11:14, 18, 24 for the righteousness of that country; and
* Romans 14:10 for the judgement of mankind by Christ.
Also in verse 5 Peter states that Paul’s writings were “ACCORDING TO THE WISDOM GIVEN TO HIM.” This implies that Peter may not have received the same information. Now this is the same Paul of whom the apostles (at least Peter and James) wrote “MEN THAT HAVE HAZARDED THEIR LIVES FOR THE NAME OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.” (Acts 15:26)
Then in verse 16 Peter provides validity to “all” the epistles of Paul in using the phrase “AS IN ALL HIS EPISTLES, speaking in them (Paul’s epistles) of these things (things of which I have also written).” Again Paul’s writing supports Peter’s and Peter’s supports Paul’s.
Peter did not fail to point out that “same thing” that are “hard to be understood?” We find that there are “some things hard to be understood” in every book of the Bible.
Now if Peter was fooled, along with Luke, then he was fooled for many, many years. Now we are left with the fact that Peter wrote this epistle, and he apparently wrote it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if Pete was fooled he was also misled by the Holy Spirit into leaving us another false writing. Then we would have to throw out the epistles of Peter as well.
Carrying this form of logic to its final insane conclusion, then we are left with the gospels, James, John, Jude and the Revelation of Jesus Christ. However, if Paul also fooled Peter and Luke it stands to reason that he must have also fulled James, who spoke in Paul’s behalf, so then we must discredit the epistle of James. If they were fooled, then it would follow that being fooled they also supported Paul to the other apostles and if so, how can we give validity to anything in the New Testament?
Since all of the apostles were fooled by Paul, that leaves us with the Old Testament, which leaves us without the Messiah, and therefore we are all now practicing Judaism minus the Talmud.
Additional Position on Luke
By God’s law it is required that...by the mouth of TWO OR MORE WITNESSES...shall the truth be known. It cannot be said that Luke can support Paul in these matters, as by his own admission HE WAS NOT THERE (Luke 1:2-3), nor Barnabas, who left him (Acts 15:39), nor Mark, who did likewise. (Acts 13:13; 15;36-41)
This is really stretching the Word of God to its limit. If we assume the validity of this position, to discredit the writings of Paul, then we must also discredit the writings of Moses as a minimum.
Moses is credited with writing the Book of Genesis, and events therein took lace as far back as 2300 years before the birth of Moses, het, as with the writing of Paul, we have no second witness to the events contained therein. By their logic, this also means Genesis would have to be discredited because Moses “was not there.”
While some of the books attributed to Moses compliment and support each other, they were all written by Moses and there is no written second witness to the events he records. What about the books of Joshua, Judges, Ruth and Job?
In any event, if they are going to refute the writings of Paul they must, as a beginning, overcome Acts. Chapter 15, and 2 Peter 2:14-17. (Taken in part from Tape #219, by Pastor Bob Hallstrom)