What would Christianity look like without Paul's writings?

by AK - Jeff 107 Replies latest jw friends

  • BurnTheShips

    Paulinism is strongest in post-reformation religious movements. Luther very nearly stripped James out of the NT, along with several other books he neutered.


  • awildflower

    This has been on my mind all week! I can't believe how great this thread is and how it's answering a lot of questions for me. The more I get to know God/Universe/Source and how it is all incompasing and all loving, unconditional love, and the peace and love Jesus stood for, I go back and read the Bible and some of those books just don't fit with that kind of God. Paul's work has been bothering me. When he said Jesus stopped him on the road, the donkey talked, Jesus gave him an assignment to fulfill, it hit me how much that sounds like many religious leaders today, "I saw a vision, and God told me what I must do, follow me etc...." I'm not sure I even believe that account anymore. Jesus did not organize anything! He was so enlightened and aware and organized religion, especially JW's, don't even come close to his awareness. Great thread and I hope to learn more!............wf

  • Narkissos

    The epistle of James is an excellent example of formal anti-Paulinism (reversing the theses, logical and scriptural arguments -- including the same OT prooftexts such as Genesis 15:6 -- of the epistle to the Romans) working within the sphere of post-Pauline churches. It doesn't question the "Christian" identity as already distinct from Judaism, nor the forsaking of ceremonial Torah (including circumcision, ceremonial cleanness and separation between Jews and Gentiles) as "James" would have. But it uses the pseudepigraphical reference to a famous adversary of Paul, already construed as a (Jewish) Christian, to question the social and moral practice of post-Pauline churches at their root, i.e. as a consequence of the foundational Pauline theology. Iow it is anti-Paulinism after Paul and within the Pauline sphere, not a complete rejection of Pauline Christianity, let alone pre-Paulinism. At all levels the Pauline foundation is presupposed, even though partly questioned.

    OTWO, sorry my reply was too abrupt. I think most popular criticism of "Paul" actually bases itself on pseudo-Pauline works (as the reference to 2 Timothy in your next post) or probable interpolations (e.g. 1 Corinthians 14:33ff), or the "biography" in Acts. Pauline theology proper is certainly not above criticism, but my point is that we lack earlier Christian sources to compare it with in order to know what it may or may not have altered. The emphasis on 'justification by grace and faith vs. law and works' is certainly a Pauline originality even though it is not yet what it has become in Augustinism and Lutheranism.

  • mindmelda

    I feel mixed about Paul. I hate his tendency to get legalisitic and harsh on morality and human behavior (he seems a bit of a misanthrope to me), but he makes a few brilliant arguments about some of the basic Christian teachings.

    But, there's no doubt that he wrote 2/3s of the NT, perhaps because he was well educated and had nothing much better to do in prison in Rome for so long.*G*

    I do believe that the more orthodox and conservative versions of Christianity owe a lot to Paul and are more Pauline than anything else, even going beyond Paul in their legalism.

    Personally, I'm a bigger fan of plain old vanilla Christ...without anything added. *G*

  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    This is the comment that does not even fit here:

    lol once you start picking and choosing what to follow biblically you end up with a god of your own making...

    How could any self-proclaimed Jw supporter make such a statement with a straight face? Jwism requires precisely that - non-contextual application of hundreds of statements that support specific doctrinal opinion. Never under Jwism is this sort of debate allowed - Paulian vs. Jesus or vs. James. All is accepted - on the surface as truth - but the very significant theological differences [differences that would bring immense doubt as to the idea of 'total inspiriation'] are verboten.


  • minimus

    ....the same as Christmas without Santa Claus.

  • slimboyfat

    The letter of James as it exists today does seem make a response to Paul's teaching on faith:

    James 2:24 Y OU see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone.

    That would necessarily date the book after Romans. But other aspects of the letter make it appear early/'primitive', even pre-Christian some have suggested. Maybe earlier editions of the letter didn't have the clear reference to Paul.

    What I like about the letter of James is that its primary concern is how we treat each other. Paul was more concerned about God who has absolute freedom to do what he likes with humans (Rom 8-11), how stupid non-Christian wisdom is (1 Cor 1), how near the end of the world is (the letters to the Thessalonians) and telling people how to arrange their personal affairs 'in view of the time'. (1 Cor 7)

  • mrsjones5

    "How could any self-proclaimed Jw supporter make such a statement with a straight face?"

    I know how Jeff, because the person really doesn't know what they are talking about. They can run an OK game but then the cracks and failings of their thought process and lack of knowledge starts to show. It's OK to be ignorant about a subject but to tout ignorance as a virtue is silly.



    I am curious how anyone would come to the conclusion that the teachings of Jesus and the writings of Paul are bifurcated?

  • reniaa

    The application of bible principles to situations that early christians would never had come across is not making a God after your own image.

    Whereas shuffling the bible books like a deck of Cards and deciding randomly which one this week you will follow is.

    wtwizard thinks Jesus going to sinners homes to show forgiveness so they could learn a true knowledge was some subtle approbation of their lifestyles. when it's clear people stopped what they were doing and joined him.

    Is this what you really want? a Jesus to believe in but but have no moral or spiritual responsibility too?


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