“Fisherman”: “Paul was spiritually blind when he persecuted Christians. That was not the case with the Pharisees that Jesus referred to as sinning without forgiveness . . .”
Well, if that were the case with the apostle Paul, then that would logically also have been the case with the other Pharisees to whom Jesus addressed in Matthew chapter 23 – the very same ones to whom Jesus said: “Serpents, offspring of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?” (vs. 33). Jesus referred to them as being “blind” five times in that chapter: He called them “blind guides” (vs. 16), “blind ones!” (vs. 17), “blind ones!” (vs. 18), “blind guides” (vs. 24), and “blind Pharisee” (vs. 26).
Now, don’t forget that Paul publicly said about himself at Acts 22:3: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but educated in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the strictness of the ancestral Law, and zealous for God . . . ,” and at Galatians 1:13, 14 he said of himself: “I kept intensely persecuting the congregation of God and devastating it; and I was making greater progress in Judaism than many of my own age in my nation, as I was far more zealous for the traditions of my fathers.”
So, it looks to me like Paul was quite an educated and astute Jewish Pharisee, certainly one with the necessary discernment to realize whatever legitimacy there was to the evidence of God’s holy spirit in operation among the early Christians. There is absolutely no way I can see that Paul would have been any less blind than any of his fellow Pharisees. (As Forest Gump would probably say: “Blind is as blind does!”