January 1, 2006

A Prayer
of Jesus

I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


Why would God allow Saul/Paul's works to be
included in the Bible if they are in error?

There was a time when, as a Baptist preacher, I believed the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God.  I suspect that you are writing from that perspective also, or at least influenced by it.  If you have read from my Paul book, you know that I no longer hold that view, and the reason is that a time came when I could no more deny that Paul contradicted the Truth as delivered in the world by Jesus of Nazareth. Then I had to come to terms with a doctrine I had both sincerely believed and preached to others but, by the mercy of our Lord, at length knew better. 

One important thing I did was to go to Jesus as he speaks from the gospels to learn his view of the scriptures.  That was a real revelation to me, and I have stated the results in this paper.  I finally learned what I now am assured is the Truth, which is that the Bible is a cobbled book containing the writing of many different authors, each as led by his own mind and thoughts. It is a human book, not a divine one. There is an exception to this statement and we know it by listening to the Word of the Good Shepherd.  I honor him because he has taught me the purpose, destiny and meaning of life in this world.  His is a divine message, not a human one.

His Teaching is the primary exception.  The genuine utterances of our Lord Jesus are straight from the Father, as he was careful to state.
Jn.8:25 So they were saying to him, Who are you? Jesus said to them: What I told you from the beginning. 26 I have many [things] concerning you to be saying and to be judging. But the [one] having sent me is true, and I, what I heard from him, these [things] I speak to the world. 27 They did not know that he was speaking [about] the father. 28 So Jesus said: When you have lifted up the son of man, then you will know that I am [he], and [that] from myself I do nothing, but just as the father taught me, these [things] I speak. 29 And the [one] having sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do the [things] pleasing to him.
To get to the Truth as revealed by the Father through Jesus of Nazareth, we must claim this promise:
Jn.8:31 So Jesus was saying to the Jews having believed in him: If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
We must do that -- abide in his Word -- and we will receive the Truth that sets us free.  It is unspeakably wonderful and bears no relation to Paul's gospel.  It is not enough simply to read, even study, his utterances.  Our long exposure to the doctrines of Christians, including Paul, has cast a cloak over our minds such that the Truth does not come through easily. So he tells us that we must "abide" in those precious words.

The Father has not been concerned to censor the Bible or control its content.  His concern is to preserve the Word of Truth such that we can be exposed to and believe the Truth if we will.  So yes he has, through the work of the Holy Spirit, preserved the Truth intact in the gospels.  It is for us to yield to the teaching of the Holy Spirit and learn to distinguish the True from the false.  That means to distinguish between the Words uttered by our Lord Jesus and the words of the many strangers that seek to capture his little flock.  The Lord's beautiful metaphor of the sheep and the Good Shepherd informs us of what you may be experiencing:
Jn.10:1 Truly truly I say to you, the [one] not coming in through the gate into the sheep-pen but coming up from elsewhere, that [one] is [a] thief and [a] robber.  But the [one] coming in through the gate is [the] shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens [the gate] to this [one], and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice.  They will not follow [the voice belonging] to [a] stranger, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.
When you heard the "gentleman in the pulpit" making the words of Paul the equal to those of Jesus, you wrote:
My spirit was disturbed.
Exactly!  It is as the Lord stated,
They will not follow [the voice belonging] to [a] stranger, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.
This disturbance is encouraging with regard to your spiritual identity.  It may be explained by the above words of our Lord.