I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wiseand understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will
THE COLOR OF PAUL
By Edgar Jones
What follows is an examination of a critique of my list of Jesus/Paul contradictions, entitled "An Examination of the Alleged Contradictions Between the Words of Jesus and Paul," hereafter called "the Critique." This critique was prepared and submitted by a Christian in Australia whose name I am withholding at his request. I am much endebted to him for his critique.
The Critique begins below and my responses are inserted at appropriate places. Two primary criticisms involve context and aspect. The context critique is flawed because it looks only to the immediate context, rather than to the wider context of Paul's epistles. Aspect also strays when it presents, as two separate aspects of the subject, things that are mutually exclusive. The reader is invited to examine both the Critique and my response, then make one's own decision.
An examination of alleged contradictions
between the words of Jesus and Paul
1. On the time of the coming of the Lord:
Paul says: Rom. 13  the night is far gone, the day is at hand.
Response: Romans 13 v12 is being taken out of context and Luke 21 v8 has been
incorrectly stated as referring to the coming of the Lord so the writer is wrong
on both counts. Reading the whole of Romans 12 shows that Paul is not talking
about the coming of the Lord at all and reading the whole of Luke 21 shows that
Jesus wasn't either. Romans 13 v 11 shows Paul is describing the time in which
we live as being on of day and not night, that requires Christians to wake up
out of their sleep. He says "Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness,
and let us put on the armor of light. Let us live and conduct ourselves
honorably and becomingly as in the (open light) of day ..." He is saying that
now we have received salvation, we are living in light i.e.. being able to see the
difference between good and evil. As we are no longer living in the dark (can't
differentiate between good and evil) but in the light, and as we can now tell
the difference because of the light, we should stop doing the works that are
part of the (kingdom of) darkness. Any warnings that Christians should be ready
for the second coming that may be seen to exist here are in total agreement with
Jesus' words on the subject as recorded in Matthew 25 v 13 "Watch therefore and
be cautious and active, for you know not the day nor the hour when the son of
man shall come".
The focus on context is important; however, in the case of
Romans 13:11 we have a transition from the previous topic: Besides this . . ..
So, Paul is shifting to another topic, but one that is related in
some way. There are two immediate problems with the Critique. We are told: "Paul is describing the time in which
we live as being on of day and not night." But the text reads:
The Critique also states: "He is saying that now we have received salvation,"
But what Paul writes within the same context is:
11: Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed;
12: the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13: let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy.
But, if we have received salvation now, how is it
becoming nearer to us than when we first believed? That tells us
that we have not received it as yet, not that we have now received it!
I present this first to emphasize how Paul's disciples, including
this writer (who denies being a disciple of Paul) approach these things
with blinders on, making texts say
things they do not say, and that are, as in this case, the opposite of
what the writer wishes them to say!
But this behind us, What does Paul mean when he says, "... the day is at hand?"
Is it the day of the Lord (of his appearing) as I have proposed, or
is it simply referring to the time in which we live as being of the day
and not night?
The immediate context will
not tell us. To confirm that what I understand Paul to mean is
correct, (that he speaks of the appearing of the Lord) we must
investigate the wider context
of Paul's epistles. This is easy to do by referring to other things
Paul has written in a similar vein. Here is what I mean, from
Paul's I Thessalonians 5::
1: But as to the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need to have anything written to you.
2: For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
3: When people say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape.
4: But you are not in darkness, brethren, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
5: For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.
6: So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
7: For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
8: But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
9: For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
10: who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him.
Now compare this with the text in question, Romans 13:
11: Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to
wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now
than when we first believed;
It would be an insult to your intelligence should I detail the
comparisons here. Is it not clear to you? Paul, in Romans
13, speaks of the day of the Lord, when according to him, we will
obtain salvation. It is perfectly consistent with the immediate
The Critique also challenges my perception of Luke 21:8 as a
reference to the day of the Lord. Let us examine this text. Here
I repeat that potion of the Critique.
The early verses of Luke 21 are Jesus' response to a
question put to Him by the disciples. He had just told them that a time would
come when there would be not one stone of the temple left on top of another. The
disciples then asked him, "When will this happen? and what signs will there be
when this is about to happen? (V7)" In his response, Jesus includes "for many
will come in my name, saying, . . . The time is at hand!" as one of these signs.
It was not a reference to the coming of the Lord as the author suggest, but a
sign of the destruction of the temple, which occurred in AD 70. There is nothing
in Romans 13 to indicate that Paul was talking about this event.
3: As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"
Luke provides the answer to this complete question, that looks all the way to the coming of the Lord, but he fails to make the distinction within the question itself, as did Matthew. So, when Jesus responded with the prophecy of many coming saying "the time is at hand," he was looking all the way to the day of his appearing at the close of the age. It is during that long expanse of history that the Lord's prophecy applies, and so it applies to Paul (who wrote, incidentally, prior to the destruction of the temple.). So, again, Jesus said:
Jesus says: Luke 21  Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, . . . `The time is at hand!' Do not go after them.
Paul came, precisely as Jesus prophesied, saying that "the time (day) is at hand." And he came in the name of Jesus, as Jesus prophesied. We have, then, this commandment of the Lord that applies directly to Paul, among others:
The contradiction stands!
Do not go after them.
End of insertion.
2. On the source of the Truth and the true gospel:
Paul says: 1 Cor. 2  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. Gal. 1  For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Response: In John 17 (above), Jesus says He gave them God's word; In 1 Cor. 2
(above) Paul says he received it (the revelation of God's word) through Jesus.
Both statements say the same thing, therefore there is no contradiction between
what Jesus and Paul said.
Beginning of insertion
The Critique seems to have missed the point entirely. The statement by Jesus is in the past tense:
I have given them thy word;
Paul came years later with his own words, as though Jesus had not given the word in its completion, requiring some later messenger to provide more words. Jesus spoke to his chosen apostles (the twelve) that did not include Paul. They had the Word, and the promise was that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all Truth. Yes, the Holy Spirit teaches Truth, but only by reference to the Word that Jesus gave to the Twelve.
Besides this, Paul is making himself a necessary intermediary, "interpreting spiritual truth to those who possess the spirit."
If one possesses the Spirit, the Spirit that teaches, why does one need Paul to interpret? That is the work of the Holy Spirit within the disciple, which Paul here acknowledges to be in the disciple's possession.
The contradiction stands!
End of insertion
3. On the God of the dead:
Paul says: Rom. 14  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
Response: If we read Rom. 14  with the surrounding verses rather than taking v9 out of context by reading it alone, we see that Paul is saying that we believers don't physically live to ourselves but 'to' (this word in Greek means 'belonging to') the Lord. Those believers who have died have therefore died belonging to the Lord, and are therefore alive to Him. For this reason, he says in 2 Cor. 5 v 8 "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord". Though they have physically died, He is still their Lord, therefore He did not cease to be their Lord when they physically died; they are still spiritually alive to his lordship. If the author is saying Paul is incorrect for saying that Jesus continues to be Lord in our lives after we physically die, he is therefore saying that when we get to that place where Jesus promised "where I am, there you may be also" that He will no longer be our Lord because He is not the Lord of anyone who has died.
If we read Luke 20  along with the verses which follow it, we see Jesus is in fact saying exactly what Paul said: "Being sons and sharers in the resurrection, they are sons of God - even Moses made known this in the passage on the burning bush. Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all men are alive (whether in the body or out of it) and they are alive (and not dead) unto (belonging to) Him." Paul is saying Jesus is Lord of those who are physically dead but spiritually alive; Jesus is saying that He is the Lord of the sons who share in the resurrection (the spiritually alive) but not of the spiritually dead. Therefore, they are both saying the same thing but from a different perspective.
The contradiction comes precisely because Jesus and Paul are viewing the situation of those in the tombs from a different perspective -- and Paul knows no other perspective! Therefore he states the conclusion of his position in terms that contradict Jesus. If he knew the perspective of Jesus, he would not have made the contradictory statement. Jesus speaks of those believers who are in the tombs, not as dead, but as alive -- for example, Lazarus whom he raised and whose "death" he announced to his disciples by saying, "our friend, Lazarus, sleeps." They misunderstood, so he had to descend to their level of perception to make them understand what had happened to Lazarus, saying, "Lazarus is dead!" Luke and Matthew has him speaking of those who are not deceased as dead: "Let the dead bury the dead . . .."
The Lord speaks of those who are in tombs, as in the case with Lazarus, even speaking of himself as the son of man rising from the dead. But in the Fourth Gospel he clarifies this so as to give us to understand that when he utters the bare Truth, he knows only one definition each for life and death -- what the Critique is calling the "spiritually dead" and "spiritually alive." Here, for example, in John 5, we have it loud and clear:
Do you note, in vs. 28, that the Lord carefully avoids a reference to the "dead" but speaks instead of "all who are in the tombs." That is due to the fact that, in the vocabulary of Truth, "the dead" means only one thing -- and so does "the living."
21: For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
22: The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,
23: that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
24: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
25: "Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.
26: For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself,
27: and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.
28: Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
29: and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
Do you note, in vs. 25, that it is the present hour of which he speaks? That those who are "dead" and hear his voice are yet in the flesh, and not in the tombs?
So, in vs. 21, "as the Father raises the dead" refers to our being raised from death to life through hearing the Word, not to the resurrection from the tombs.
Paul, in the Colossian letter (2:13), sets forth a similar distinction between spiritual life/death and the physical, but Paul's distinction is not according to that of Jesus. The distinction, in Jesus' case, is that those who have heard and believes his word -- the utterances he makes from his own mouth -- have become alive from the dead. Paul teaches his disciples (see the Colossian letter) that they, by the act of believing that Christ died for them and was raised "from the dead" (See Romans 10) have identified with "Christ" and, even now, in the flesh, they are "risen with Christ."
Yes, Paul writes from a different perspective from that of Jesus. If he had know Jesus and Jesus' perspective, he would not have contradicted him.
The contradiction stands.
4. On the sum of the commandments:
Paul says: Rom. 13  The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Response: taken out of context, the two verses could be taken as being not in
total unity, though never contradictory. If we read the whole of Romans 12, we
see it is dealing solely with a person's relationship with others and the
requirement under the Law in that regard. The relationship with God is not being
discussed therefore there is no need to qualify the requirements of one's
relationship with God as it is irrelevant to the subject being discussed. V 8
(Amplified) says; "Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one
another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law (relating to one's
fellow men, meeting all it's requirements)." If you look in your Greek lexicon
and see what the word "other" in verse 9 means, it is 'like natured, ones
similar to'. The commandments Paul was referring to had a common theme -
relationships with other people - therefore those similar to them must share the
same common theme - relationships with other people, and not the unrelated theme
of relationship with God.
The Critique fails here is in not examining the wider context of the epistles of Paul. It is correct, of course, that the immediate context speaks only of relationships with people, whereas Jesus was discussing relationships between both God and people. But examination of Paul's doctrine in other contexts shows that he means to include the 'whole law' and not just laws relating to other people. He writes, in Galatians 5:
1: For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
2: Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.
3: I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law.
4: You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
5: For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness.
6: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.
7: You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8: This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
9: A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
10: I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine; and he who is troubling you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11: But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.
12: I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves!
13: For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.
14: For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
15: But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another.
16: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
17: For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.
18: But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.
Here, of course, the context involves circumcision. Paul believes the whole law is fulfilled with the Second Commandment, as he clearly states. If you search the New Testament, you will find no case in which Paul refers to the First and Great Commandment -- it is as though he did not know it exists, but of course, he did.
The contradiction stands.
5. On whom God has mercy:
Paul says: Rom. 9  For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."  So it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy.  So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.
Response: The first thing to note about this verse is that it is not Paul
making the statement, but simply Paul repeating what Moses said and drawing the
logical conclusion from it. Therefore, if there is any conflict at all with
Jesus' statement, it would in fact be Moses who is at odds with Jesus, and not
Paul. Thus there are no grounds to use Romans 9 v 15 as evidence of Paul's
teaching being contrary to Jesus, since the verse is Moses' teaching and not
The Critique is making the typical Christian error in interpreting "I did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them." Jesus came to perfect -- to take what was imperfect and incomplete and complete it -- the law, not to confirm the Law, which had already been done long before. Jesus then proceeds to clarify what he means by quoting from the Law (you have heard that it was said) then changing it (but I say unto you.). One can read the correct interpretation in this paper.
But the fact is, Paul and not Moses drew the conclusion, "So then it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy." And, continuing, "So then He has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills." And Paul gives as an example God's hardening of Pharaoh's heart according to Moses.
The Critique cannot accept this clear language of Paul, and makes God's mercy depend on man's choice (to be merciful) according to Jesus, which indeed it is. Somewhere in there, the Critique turned the Christian corner without realizing it, and ended up contradicting both Paul and himself! He is correct -- according to Jesus, God chooses to bestow his mercy on those who choose to be merciful, whereas Paul's statement makes God's choice entirely arbitrary.
This contradiction stands.
End of insert.
6. On forgiveness of trespasses:
Paul says: Eph. 1  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Rom. 4  who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
Response: There is no contradiction here - Paul is explaining what God's part
was in obtaining forgiveness for our trespasses; Jesus is explaining one of the
conditions in order for that forgiveness to become effective. Many words that
Jesus spoke and the Old Testament prophets spoke say the same thing as Ephesians
1 v 7 but from a different perspective. These include John 3 v 16 - "For God so
loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in
Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" - John 10 v 11 "I am the Good
Shepherd; the Good Shepherd gives His life for His sheep ... (v28) And I give
them eternal life." - Matthew 18 v 11 "For the Son of Man came to save that
which was lost" - Isaiah 53 has the same message, but as a prophesy.
One of the conditions? How many conditions are there, and where does Jesus list them? No, Jesus simply says that if we forgive men their trespasses, our heavenly Father will forgive us. If there are other conditions, then this statement is not true, is it? Of course, no one is going to seek forgiveness, either from us or from the Father, without having repented of the transgression. That is part of the seeking of forgiveness. Nor will we seek forgiveness from the Father before we have repented of the transgression. So, if we forgive men their trespasses (they will have repented), the Father will forgive us when we seek forgiveness, having also repented.
God has no part in obtaining our forgiveness until we seek forgiveness -- at which point he will forgive us provided only that we similarly forgive others -- the one condition laid down by Jesus and amply illustrated in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.
As for John 3:16 -- it is a wonderful statement of Truth that is almost universally misinterpreted by Christians by relating it to Paul's statement in Romans 10:9-10: "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." But John 3:16 must be interpreted by Jesus himself, and he did so when he said (Jn.5:24): "HE WHO HEARS MY WORD AND BELIEVES HIM WHO SENT ME HAS ETERNAL LIFE; HE DOES NOT COME INTO JUDGMENT, BUT HAS PASSED FROM DEATH TO LIFE."
Jesus means that we must believe his words -- what he said -- not something someone such as Paul has said about him.
This contradiction stands.
End of insert.
7. On being justified:
Paul says: Rom. 3  they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus,  For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.
Response: These two verses are talking about two totally different aspects of
justification and therefore it is totally inappropriate to compare them,
however, even if we do, they both echo the same sentiments. Romans 3 v 24 is
describing the process by which God has made justification available to
mankind, which incidentally lines up perfectly with everything Jesus said about
that aspect of the redemption process in the gospels. Matthew 12, on the other
hand, is documenting a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees in which He
discusses what will happen on the day of Judgment to those of their number who
opposed him. He tells them that the decision as to whether they will be
acquitted or condemned will be made on the strength of their alignment with Him
and his word, as evidenced by what they say about him, and not by their
compliance to the letter of the law. Paul in fact says the very same thing in
Romans 3 v 28, in that we are justified by faith (belief, trust and alignment
with Him and his word) and not by compliance to the letter of the law.
The Critique often gets it right when examining the sayings of the Lord, but them messes up Paul's statement entirely. Who here has said anything about compliance with the letter of the Law? Not me! Paul? Nowhere on Voiceofjesus.org do you find even a hint of this as required for salvation. Jesus offers mercy to the merciful, remember? Not to those who keep the letter of the Law. Paul does not contradict the Lord in that. The Critique seems to assume (with Paul) that there are only two options: keep the letter of the Law, or trust in Paul's gospel. Both are straw targets.
Of the statement by Jesus, the Critique reads: "He tells them that the decision as to whether they will be acquitted or condemned will be made on the strength of their alignment with Him and his word." Yes, yes! But that is not what Paul is saying. Rom. 3:28 reads, "For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law." So do I! But Paul's faith is as defined by Rom. 10:9,10, whereas the faith as defined by Jesus, (John 5:24 -- see above) is hearing and believing his Word.
The Critique includes a wonderful statement above. i quote, ". . .He (Jesus) discusses what will happen on the day of Judgment to those of their number who opposed him. He tells them that the decision as to whether they will be acquitted or condemned will be made on the strength of their alignment with Him and his word, as evidenced by what they say about him, . . ." Exactly! But not the Pharisees only -- it is of universal application. So Paul and Jesus are speaking of exactly the same justification here -- justification before the bar of God. Without knowing it because it is blinded by Paul, the Critique agrees with Jesus and contradicts Paul! One must note the critical distinction: It is his word (the word of Jesus) and not the word of Paul! Let me emphasize this by pointing to Paul's specification of the word:
Rom.10:8 FNT But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart - that is, the word of faith which we proclaim.
It is the word proclaimed by Paul and his associates, not that uttered by Jesus!
The contradiction stands -- and expands!
8. On the cost of eternal life:
Paul says: Rom. 6  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Response: Again, though both verses discuss eternal life, both look at different aspects of it and are not contradictory. Romans 6 v 23 refers to eternal life as a gift (one does not have to pay a remuneration); Matthew 19 v 29 refers to eternal life as an inheritance. One does not have to pay a remuneration to receive an inheritance, as it is a gift - no contradiction there.
Romans 6 v 23 is in essence saying that there are two outcomes from living - life or death. Death is the remuneration paid for the activity of sinning. Life, on the other hand, is not a remuneration for an activity, but it is a gift that cannot be bought. Jesus concurs with Paul in Matthew 19 v 29 by describing the gift as an inheritance, and in John 3 v 16, where He states that 1] it is a gift, and 2] it comes by believing (following and putting one's sole trust) in everything Jesus is, says and does, and not by human activities that earn one a right of claim to eternal life.
The latter part of Matthew 19, on
the other hand, tells the story of a rich man who came to Jesus seeking eternal
life. He went away sad because Jesus told Him he needed to give away all the
possessions that he had. Consequently, the disciples began examining what they
had had to give away in order to follow Jesus, and asked him what would they
receive for doing that. Verse 29 was His answer. He wasn't saying giving away
everything you have is a ticket to eternal life, but rather it is a life of
obedience to Him, which involve that. If, in the process of being obedient to
Him, we have to leave our houses and families, then we will be more than
adequately compensated for any losses in that regard by the receipt of our
inheritance, which is the free gift of God that is eternal life in Christ Jesus
our Lord as Paul described it.
The "different aspects" claim is typical of this Critique. The "different aspects" are (1) eternal life as a gift, and (2) eternal life as an inheritance. This distinction is irrelevant due to the simple fact that one has received a commodity - the same commodity, eternal life - after having incurred a cost. More significantly, his response overlooks the mutually exclusive nature of a "free gift" and an "inheritance." If it is a "free gift" it cannot be an "inheritance." If it is an "inheritance," it cannot be a "free gift."
A "free gift" has no strings attached, either before and after. This is exactly as Paul teaches and defines it.
An "inheritance" passes from parent to child, and therefore depends on a close and vital relationship. The "cost" of which our Lord speaks is the cost of acquiring that relationship, apart from which one cannot receive eternal life.
The relationship accompanies discipleship. And what is the cost, exactly?
Luke 14: So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
The Critique has unwittingly uncovered yet another contradiction -- that between eternal life as an inheritance (Jesus) and eternal life as a free gift (Paul). Two "aspects" that are mutually exclusive.
The contradiction stands, and uncovers yet another contradiction between Jesus and Paul.
9. On what is honorable among men:
Paul says: 2 Cor. 8  for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord's sight but also in the sight of men.
Response: Paraphrasing 2 Cor. 8 , we see Paul is saying that whilst we aim at doing that which God views as honorable, we should have that same attitude of heart towards other people. We must deal honorably with them just as we deal honorably with God, which supports what Jesus said, "Let your light so shine among men, that they may see your good (honorable) actions and deeds and recognize and give honor to your Father in Heaven. (Matt 5.v 16)". Both Jesus and Paul are saying that our acts of doing "the right thing" to people are in themselves honoring and glorifying God and are honorable in His sight. Jesus also said, "Whatever you do to the least of these, you are doing it to Me".
In Matt 5 v 38 Jesus says, "You have heard that it was said 'An eye for
an eye and a tooth for a tooth', But I say to you, 'Do not resist the evil many
who injures you, but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw, turn to him the
other one too". In Rom. 12 , Paul says: "Repay no one evil for evil, but
take thought for what is noble in the sight of all men". Jesus and Paul are
saying exactly the same thing, using different word.
Luke 15 v 15 deals with a totally different attitude
and therefore it is totally inappropriate to compare to the quoted scriptures
from Paul's letters. As verse 14 indicates, the latter section of Luke 16 deals
with the covetous, money loving attitude of the Pharisees. Jesus tells them that
they put across the impression of being good, upright people to those around
them, but God looks into their hearts and sees a totally different picture and
the upright image you portray to people in order for you to be exalted in their
eyes is an abomination in the sight of God. In 2 Cor. 8 , Paul is not saying
we should do this, he is saying we should not treat God in one way (with respect
and integrity) and people in another (without respect and integrity).
The Critique seeks to baptize us in a bit of sophistry here, charging off to critique something that has no relevance to the above contradictory quotations of Jesus and Paul.
What we do before men is not the issue; The issue is the things men value, exalt or esteem highly. Jesus tells us that whatever falls into that category is an abomination to God. Paul and this Critique encourage us to enter into that category by doing those thing that men count as honorable, and presumes that such are also honorable before God.
So, certain individuals are highly respected and esteemed by men in general. Those individuals are abominations to God. The heroic patriot is a prime example of what is highly esteemed by men, yet is an abomination to God. Another prime example would be a Christian pastor. But Paul himself has a generally high esteem from men -- in particular, Christian men.
I did not include this, but Paul not only contradicts Jesus, he also contradicts himself. He writes:
1 Cor. 10  just as I try to please all men in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
But elsewhere he writes this:
Ephesians 6:6: not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
I Thes. 2:4: but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but to please God who tests our hearts.
Does he, or does he not seek to please men? In everything he does?
The contradiction stands -- and to bring in what ancients did to coins is surely a distraction.
10. On the place for prayer:
Paul says: 1 Tim. 2  I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
Response: These verses are not in conflict as they refer to two very
different aspects of prayer. Paul's comment is about who should pray, Jesus'
comment is about where they should pray. Paul begins 1 Tim 2 by saying that he
urges all men to offer up prayers, seemingly because of wrong teachings being
taught in Ephesus (Ch. 1 v 3) that restrict prayer to only certain people. For
this reason he then goes on to say in 1 Tim. 2  that all men in every place
should pray. The word 'place' in the Greek is tovpo - an inhabited place, as a
city, village, district. Therefore he was not saying "People should pray in all
kinds of places"; he was saying "People in all towns, cities and districts
should pray". This does not contradict what Jesus said in Matt. 6 , which is
not an instruction on who should pray, but where those who do pray should do it.
This is a proper critique. I did misread 1 Tim. 2:8, and am thankful for the correction provided. It does not say what I assumed, which was the raising of hands during prayer in the assembly, as in many modern Christian assemblies. I believe this was the background for Paul's statement, but it is not a part of the statement.
11. On the basis of judgment:
Paul says: Rom. 2  All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
Response: These verses say exactly the same thing! The law that we are
governed by under the New Testament is the sayings of Jesus, which are a verbal
expression of the Will of His Father (Matthew 7 [21, 24]). Thus, as Paul says in
Rom. 2 , if we sin under the law (the sayings of Jesus, which are a verbal
expression of the Will of His Father) we will be judged by that law (the sayings
of Jesus, which are a verbal expression of the Will of His father). Both
statements agree with each other because both statements are simply similar
statement of common logic - that any person is judged by any law under which
they are governed.
It is absolutely correct, as the Critique asserts at the outset, that "the law that we are governed by under the New Testament is the sayings of Jesus." But that is not what Paul meant. He is speaking of the Mosaic Law in Romans 2, not about the sayings of Jesus. It is not true to say, with Paul, that "all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law." Those who have sinned under the law, but who have received the sayings of Jesus, will be judged by the word of Jesus. Indeed, these words of Jesus were first uttered to those who had sinned under the law (the Jews). Hearing his words put them into a wholly different category from those who, under the law of Moses, did not hear his words.
This contradiction stands.
12. On the commandments and eternal life:
Paul says: Rom. 7  I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died;  the very commandment which promised life proved to be death to me.
Response: There is no contradiction here - the only thing the two statements
have in common is the words 'commandments' and 'life' that appear in both of
them. Paul is saying that before he knew what he was doing was wrong, he was in
a state of innocence. As soon as he became aware of what the law said, he was no
longer innocent. Though the commandment had been put there as a guide to bring
him life, as he had broken the commandment, it had had the opposite effect and
brought him death, because it has the power to prove both guilt and innocence.
This is not a teaching, it is simply a reiteration of fact and common
Paul says that the commandment (of the Law of Moses) produces only death. He went further than apply this to himself by stating that "by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Gal.2:16: yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.
This contradicts the Word of Jesus, who counseled his questioner to keep the (old) Law of Moses in order to receive eternal life. It is simple:
According to Jesus, keeping the :(old) law (of Moses) brings eternal life.
According to Paul, keeping the (old) law is impossible and attempting to do so only brings death.
It is that simple. The contradiction stands.
13. On your father:
Paul says: 1 Cor. 4  For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Response: The word 'father' as used in all three scriptures here is the Greek
word 'Pater', meaning:
As the word has multiple meanings, we must determine which of the meanings was used in which scriptures to determine whether or not they contradict each other.
In 1 Cor. 4, Paul is talking about the care and attention that has
been showed to the Corinthians by the apostles, so he is referring to one who
stands in a father's place and looks after another in a paternal way.
Having examined the context in which the word 'father' was used in each scripture and the meaning that was meant by the use of the word on each occasion, the word is different so there is no contradiction between Paul and Jesus here.
Another bit of sophistry to muddy the waters of so simple a Word of Truth.
The definition of Father is irrelevant. The commandment of Jesus is:
Matt. 23  And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.
The reason is given: the children of God the Father have only one father. We have none other. He is in heaven, not on the earth. If we call anyone on earth "Father" for whatever reason or by whatever definition, we disobey the Lord. Contradicting this, Paul (a man on the earth) was teaching his disciples that he was their father, so that they might call him such.
The contradiction stands.
14. On qualifying for eternal life:
Paul says: Rom. 5  so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Response: again, there is no clash or contradiction here, Paul's statement
describes the outcome of sin reigning as opposed to death reigning; Jesus'
statement describes the consequences for an individual who hears Jesus' word and
believes him who sent Him. Both conclude that righteousness (right standing with
God by obeying his commandments) brings a person from death to life.
No, not at all. Paul is saying:
". . . grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
But Jesus is saying:
. . . he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life. . ..
Grace has nothing to do with it. It's hearing and believing his word.
The contradiction stands.
15. On the destiny of the creation (heavens and earth):
Paul says: Rom. 8  because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Response: Because Rom. 8  is in the middle of a very involved and deep theological discussion, it is necessary to first unravel some of that discussion into understandable phrases in order to determine what the verse is actually saying, before one can compare it with Matt. 24  to see whether or not they concur. A key word in this passage of scripture is 'creation'. It has a multiple of meanings, and we have to come to terms with the theology being presented first in order to decipher which meaning is being used here. The word itself translates from Greek into the following meanings:
the act of founding, establishing, building etc.
The word is used in the singular, therefore it is more accurately translated
as creature rather than creation, which points to it being translated as 1b.
above. What creature it is referring to is not stated, and opinion by
theologians and Bible students is divided. Some understand the creature to be
the whole creation, i.e.. the universe, all created beings animate and inanimate,
which having suffered much by the sin of man, are introduced by a rhetorical
figure, as waiting for deliverance and a restoration to their paradisiacal
estate; but some part of the world is manifestly distinguished from them (Romans
8:23). Others think that angels are meant here, who being obliged to minister to
sinful men, are represented as groaning and longing for the time when all the
children of God shall be brought in; but what is said on the subject of vanity,
of the bondage of corruption, and of their groaning and travailing in pain, can
never agree with such spirits. Others suppose that men in general are the
creatures, being brought by sin into a state of bondage and corruption,
subjected to vanity, attended with troubles, and liable to death, and so groan
under their present miseries for deliverance; but to desire anything of a
spiritual nature cannot be ascribed to men in general; and besides, as before
observed, some persons are distinguished from them (Romans 8:23).
"The creatures" is a name by which the Jews often call the Gentiles in their writings , to distinguish them from the Israelites. If we understand "the creature" to be the Gentile world, "The creature" here, and "the whole creation" (Romans 8:22) must be the same; thus the phrase "the whole creation" (pasa ktisiv), or "every creature", as it is variously rendered, signifies the nations of the world, as distinct from the Jews; see Mark 16:15 and Colossians 1:23 compared with Matt. 28:19. This is confirmed in Rom. 8  when Paul says that "not only the creation, but we ourselves (Jews), who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies". Now what "the creature", the Gentile world, is represented as earnestly waiting, and wistfully looking out for, is the manifestation of the sons of God; which is made first at their conversion, and afterwards openly and more fully at the appearance of Christ in the resurrection morn. There is a manifestation of the sons of God, at conversion.
Without the need to go further into the depths of
the theological reasoning of this chapter, suffice to say it is clear that the
'creature' or 'creation' referred to here is not the the universe (all created
beings animate and inanimate) referred to in Matt. 24 , therefore there is
contradiction as the verses are talking about two different subjects.
"The depths of theological reasoning" is what we are receiving
here. It is the menu of the wise and understanding, in contrast to
the simplicity of children, as Jesus has stated:
thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these
things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes.
The Greek NT word is ktisis.
What does Paul really mean by it? The Critique is correct in that it
has many different meanings in scripture. But if we are to know
what Paul means, is it not reasonable to consult his other usage of
the term and its derivatives, in the very same epistle? We have
Romans 1:18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.
19: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20: Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;
Romans 1:25: because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
Romans 8:19: For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God;
20: for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope;
21: because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22: We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now;
23: and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8:35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36: As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
37: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38: For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39: nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
You read it and make up your own mind. It is my view that in
Romans 8:19, Paul intends to include the whole world, the heavens and
the earth and everything therein. This includes, of course, the
Gentile nations. Viewing these verses in the light of this:
Psalm 19:1: The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Paul tells us that the creation -- the things that have been made,
the heavens and the earth -- will be set free from its bondage to decay
- rust and corruption -- to receive the glorious liberty of the
children of God.
Jesus tells us that the creation -- the heavens and the earth -- will pass away.
The contradiction stands.
16. On the destiny of the Law and the Prophets:
Paul says: Rom. 10  For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified.
Response: there is no contradiction here as both say the same thing. The Amplified version explains Rom. 10  thus; "Christ is the end of the law, the limit at which it ceases to be. The law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish (the salvation of mankind) is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the law is fulfilled in Him."
Matt. 5 confirms this. When one embarks on a mission and completes it, one fulfills that mission. There is nothing more to do, it has reached its end and the person completing the mission has reached the end of what they have to do. Jesus said, "I have come not to abolish them (the laws) but to fulfill (complete, finish) them." Jesus declared the task completed and the law fulfilled when He said on the cross, "It is finished". That is not to say, however, that at that point of completion, everything that the law requires had been accomplished. The purpose for which the law was established was the salvation of mankind and reconciliation with God. In order to fully accomplish that purpose, the law must be applied on those subject to it to determine whether or not the law's requirement was fulfilled by them. This will take place after "heaven and earth pass away" at the Great judgment when the hearts of all will be revealed and the sheep will be separated from the goats. It will only be when "all (of those things) have been accomplished" that an iota or a dot can be permitted to pass from the law. As Paul said, Christ is therefore the end of the law, just as the Great Judgment will bring the accomplishment of its purpose.
Note the reference to the Amplified Version:
But Paul also writes:
Christ is the end of the law, the limit at which it ceases to be. (Take note of the present tense.)
Ephesians 2:15: by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
If this is true, then the Law must have ceased to be, or to exist. But Jesus states:
We continue to see the contradiction between Jesus and Paul, even through all of the theological obfuscation served up here.
I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
The contradiction stands.
17. On the number and identity of teachers:
Response: In Matthew 23, Jesus has just made a scathing attack on the Pharisees and scribes for their pompous behavior in which they threw their weight around - they liked to be greeted with honor in the marketplaces and have people call them Rabbi. In v 8, the word 'called' is more accurately translated as 'refer to' or 'give a title of honor to'. Jesus was therefore not saying "Don't teach" or "Don't be teachers", he was saying "Don't give yourselves the title of teacher, thereby giving the impression that you have a higher status than everyone else. You have one teacher only, and you are all on the same level of status, being brothers". If Jesus didn't want then to teach, he would not have told them to teach when He said, "Go and make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you." (Matt 28 v 19-20).
Jesus makes a clear distinction between the kind of
teaching He gives and and the kind the disciples were to give. His role as
teacher was that of the author and authority on what had to be taught. They were
not given such authority, but were simply told to teach by retelling what He had
taught them (Matt 28 v 20). The "teachers" referred to in 1 Cor. 12 appear to be
part of the same teaching ministry established by Jesus in Matt 28 v 19-20.
The Critique insists on telling us what Jesus was saying by what he said. Why don't we just listen to our Teacher and hear what he said? Why do we need a 'teacher' to teach us what he was saying? He writes:
"Jesus was therefore not saying "Don't teach" or "Don't be teachers", he was saying . . .."
I sometimes make this same error -- as though Jesus didn't
say it right, and I can say it better. This business of taking
words out of the Lord's mouth and replacing them with some of our own
lies at the root of the false doctrines of Christendom.
No, Jesus said what he said, and what he said is perfectly understandable on the face of it, and in the depths of it:
Matt. 23  But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.
But Paul writes:
Eph. 4  And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, . . ..
The contradiction stands.
18. On the number to be saved:
Paul says: Rom. 11  Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in,  and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.
Response: In Romans 11 v 25 and 26, Paul is quoting direct from the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 59 v 20-21; Isaiah 27 v 9; Jeremiah 31 v 33), so any discrepancy between what Paul wrote and what Jesus wrote is in reality a discrepancy between Jesus and the prophets and not Paul. Having said that, I can see no discrepancy whatsoever.
How many Jews do or don't get saved after the
closure of the Gentiles' day of grace has no bearing on the fact that, in Jesus'
time and still today, broad is the way that leads to destruction and many enter
it, and narrow is the gate that leads to life, but few there are who find it.
Even if every Jew who has ever existed were to be saved, they comprise a
minuscule proportion of the total human population.
The Critique reads: any discrepancy between what Paul wrote and what Jesus wrote is in reality a discrepancy between Jesus and the prophets and not Paul.
Why not Paul? He was only calling on the prophets to sustain a
point in his doctrine, therefore it is also and primarily with Paul
that the contradiction stands. Nor is it reasonable to separate
the Jews and assume that, though all of them be saved, there is no
contradiction with the Lord's utterance. The Lord was addressing
the Jews, to whom he was first sent, and the saying must have been as
applicable to them as to any other ethnic group.
What was Jesus' assessment of the prospects of salvation for the Jews?
Matthew 21:43: ."Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.
Luke 11;29: When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
But Paul asserts that "All Israel will be saved."
The contradiction stands.
19. On the number and identity of pastors (shepherds):
Paul says: Eph. 4  And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors (shepherds) and teachers,
Response: Taken out of context, these scriptures appear to contradict, but when John 10 is read in full, they do not. The term used to describe Jesus throughout that chapter is "The Good Shepherd". It is used as a title to describe Jesus, identifying him as being a different, more trustworthy shepherd who only does good for His sheep. The very fact that He is identified as better or higher than other shepherds acknowledges the fact that there are other shepherds, and that they are inferior to Him. Because the phrase "The Good Shepherd" was used prior to verse 16 in chapter 10, and that verse 16 makes it clear that the "one shepherd" being referred to is Jesus, it is obvious that the verse is saying that there is one flock and one Good Shepherd.
Evidence that Jesus did expect at least one of his disciples to perform the role of shepherd is found in John 21 vs. 16 and 17. On two occasions Jesus told Peter "feed my sheep". Feeding sheep is a function of a shepherd and no other occupation; if he did not mean for Peter to 'shepherd' the sheep, He would have used a different phrase. 1 Peter 5:2-3 says, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock." Here, Peter encourages his readers to continue in his footsteps by feeding the flock of God (in the same way that Jesus had told Him to), however he refers to the participants not as shepherds, but as overseers. This fits in with Jesus' statement that there is "The One Shepherd", but an expectation that others would perform shepherdly functions in the role of overseers acting on his behalf. As the gifts listed in Eph. 4  are all job descriptions rather than positions of appointment, the role of shepherd included in that list is the same function Jesus asked of Peter and that Peter asked of others.
Again, the Critique must instruct us as to what Jesus meant to say, but did not. It says:
. . . it is obvious that the verse is saying that there is one flock and one Good Shepherd.
No, what is obvious is what the Lord said:
So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
Would not the Lord have inserted the word, "Good" if that is what he meant to say? But let us look at the Critique's obfuscation of the Word and see where it goes astray.
In John 10, the Lord lists several different metaphors for evil shepherds. In vs. 1 there is the "thief and the robber." In vs. 5 we have the "stranger." "Thieves and robbers" appear again in vs. 8, and the "thief" again in vs. 10. In vss. 11 & 14, he distinguishes and identifies himself as "the good shepherd."
As the "good shepherd," Jesus distinguishes himself from all of the others, who as strangers, thieves, robbers, and hirelings, are bad shepherds. So the Critique is correct in insisting that we should understand the one shepherd of vs. 16 as "one good shepherd." The "good" only distinguishes Jesus from all the others, who are by inference, "bad shepherds."
The Critique seeks to contrast "good shepherd" with lesser good shepherds, but the immediate context does not allow for this. It only allows for one good shepherd, and all of the others who are characterized as "thieves," "robbers," "strangers," and "hirelings."
Note in particular the "hirelings." When you examine the myriad of churches throughout Christendom, you find that by and large they are "shepherded" by hirelings -- "pastors" that sell their services to their congregations for a wage. Now look at how this Critique has painted itself into a corner.
The term used to describe Jesus throughout that chapter is "The Good Shepherd". It is used as a title to describe Jesus, identifying him as being a different, more trustworthy shepherd who only does good for His sheep. The very fact that He is identified as better or higher than other shepherds acknowledges the fact that there are other shepherds, and that they are inferior to Him.
The "other shepherds" are described as being "less trustworthy" by inference. They are inferior to the "good shepherd." But they are not thieves, robbers, strangers and hirelings! Nevertheless, it is into that very category that the Critique has placed all the Christian pastors (shepherds) in the world. This is a prime illustration of how Paul's disciples read the Word with blinders on, or as I like to say, with "Paul colored glasses." Everything they see comes out with a paulish tint, as in this case, where thieves, robbers, strangers, and hirelings become simply "inferior" or of "less trustworthy."
The text of John 21 is suspect, but in view of the clear teaching of John 10, we can be certain that Jesus did not intend thereby to establish a cadre of "lesser shepherds" to be known as "pastors" who are the leaders of many flocks. Each shepherd possesses his own flock, and precisely because there are many shepherds in Christendom, there have come to be many flocks. By some statistics, there are over 33,000 Christian denominations worldwide, each with its' many shepherds. This is implicit proof of the meaning of Jesus clear statement:
So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.
The word of the Lord, our Good Shepherd, our one Good shepherd, is true. He has only one flock, and we have only one shepherd.
The contradiction stands!
20. On the number and identity of leaders:
Paul says: 1 Cor. 4  For though you have countless leaders in Christ . . ..
Response: These two scriptures use two different words in Greek that have been translated into the one word - leader - in English. they have different meanings, therefore these two scriptures do not contradict. It must be pointed out that 1 Cor. 4  has been mistranslated here by you. The verse actually says "though you may have ten thousand teachers ..." If you read the scripture in context, you will see He is not saying they have that many, but that, even if they had that many, it would not make up for the fact that there is a need for people with a fatherly attitude of love and care for others.
In Matthew 23, Jesus has just made a scathing attack on the Pharisees and scribes for their pompous behavior in which they throw their weight around, who like to be greeted with honor in the marketplaces and have people call them Rabbi. This comment in this verse is part of Jesus' instruction to his disciples not to behave in such a manner. Two words are not translated accurately from the original Greek in the version of the Bible quoted here; the word 'called' is more accurately translated here as 'refer to' or 'give the title of honor of', and the word 'leader' is more accurately translated as 'Master'. Therefore an accurate translation of what Jesus actually said is, "Neither give yourselves the title of Master, for you have one Master, Jesus Christ". He is not saying 'don't lead' (John 13 v 15; 1 Peter 5 v3 indicate the lead given should be 'by example' as one serving another); He is saying 'don't give yourself the elevated title of Master like the members of the Sanhedrin, whose, by virtue of their wisdom, experience and position, took it upon themselves to lord their position over people. I am the leader (in charge), you are all equals with none elevated in rank above the others'.
This concept was reiterated by Jesus in Mark 10:42-45 - "Ye know that they which are appointed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great ones exercise authority over them. But so shall it not be among you" - and repeated by Peter in 1 Peter 5 v2-3: "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock." Paul agreed with the teaching of Jesus on leadership, as illustrated in II Cor. 1:24 where he described his role as being that of a helper and not a leader: "Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy."
We thank the Critique for this instruction in the finer points of Greek and the specific words discussed above. Perhaps it's author will accept a small pointer on English from me?
I do not disagree with him in his definition of the Greek word in Matthew 23:10 as "master." When I go to my Webster Collegiate Dictionary, I read this definition of "master."
I see only one definition here that applies in a specifically religious context such as this: 1 b often capitalized : a revered religious leader. Therefore, our translation stands.
1 a (1) : a male teacher (2) : a person holding an academic degree higher than a bachelor's but lower than a doctor's b often capitalized : a revered religious leader c : a worker or artisan qualified to teach apprentices d (1) : an artist, performer, or player of consummate skill (2) : a great figure of the past (as in science or art) whose work serves as a model or ideal
2 a : one having authority over another : RULER, GOVERNOR b : one that conquers or masters : VICTOR, SUPERIOR <in this young, obscure challenger the champion found his master> c : a person licensed to command a merchant ship d (1) : one having control (2) : an owner especially of a slave or animal e : the employer especially of a servant f (1) dialect : HUSBAND (2) : the male head of a household
3 a (1) archaic : MR. (2) : a youth or boy too young to be called mister -- used as a title b : the eldest son of a Scottish viscount or baron
4 a : a presiding officer in an institution or society (as a college) b : any of several officers of court appointed to assist (as by hearing and reporting) a judge
5 a : a master mechanism or device b : an original from which copies can be made; especially : a master phonograph record or magnetic tape
Then the Critique instructs us in the use of the Greek word rendered "be called" in my translation, and then gives us it's accurately translated version. It reads as follows:
Therefore an accurate translation of what Jesus actually said is, "Neither give yourselves the title of Master, for you have one Master, Jesus Christ".
But the Greek verb is in the passive voice. Where is there a passive verb in his corrected translation of the phrase? Give yourselves is in the active voice. The Critique errs by using the incorrect voice, and this is significant. I may call myself anything I wish, or give myself any title I wish -- in the active voice. But I am not going to be called a leader unless I am leading.
To emphasize how errant is the Critique's translation, we should only go to the next phrase where the same word applies to "the Christ." Translated according to the Critique's Greek, we should read the entire sentence thus:
Therefore an accurate translation of what Jesus actually said is, "Neither give yourselves the title of Master, for you have one who has given himself the title of Master, the Christ."
Then, the Critique changes my rendition of the Greek in Paul's' statement so that it reads "teachers" rather than "leaders." The Greek actually means a tutor of children, and tutors were responsible for guiding or leading the upbringing of children. In the Greek world, such persons are often slaves or freedmen to whom the father had entrusted the guidance of his children. Such tutors were leaders of the children, and therefore the word can and is appropriately translated "leader."
In I Cor. 4:15, Paul is playing on the difference between a tutor and the child's father. He then gives himself the title of sole father, in contrast to the possible many tutors. But Jesus, in the very same context, has instructed us differently, teaching that our one Father is in heaven. I don't think he had Paul in mind.
Finally, the Critique characterizes Paul as follows:
Paul agreed with the teaching of Jesus on leadership, as illustrated in II Cor. 1:24 where he described his role as being that of a helper and not a leader: "Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy."
The man (Paul) was two faced to the max. Here he denies having dominion, but is only a helper. But in I Cor. 4:15, our subject text, he puts himself in the place of God!
This contradiction stands!
21: On total depravity:
Paul says: Rom. 3  What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all; for I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin,  as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;  For there is no distinction;  since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, . . .
Response: the writer does not explain how what Jesus and Paul say in these
verses are contradictory and upon reading them, the connection is not obvious as
the verses discuss different matters. One can only assume that the alleged
difference is the reference to being righteous. In discussing righteousness one
must first understand what the term means. It refers to a person's right
standing with God, that is, that the sin which separates the two has been dealt
with. It has nothing to do with whether a person does good things or has a good
nature, which are the references in Matt. 12  and Luke 6. Those verses
is simply saying that if a person is good on the inside it will show on the
outside in what they say and do. It is not talking about whether or not their
sinful nature has been addressed, which is what Rom. 3 is all about.
Paul makes no distinction, saying plainly, "There is no distinction . . .."
Jesus makes a distinction between the "good man" and the "evil man."
"Total depravity" finds support from Paul, but not from Jesus.
"Righteous Abel" was a Jew? That's new to me. As to rigteousness, Jesus spoke of "innocent Abel" and of his blood as "righteous blood." The offering that Abel made to God was surely a thank offering, as sacrifices for sin had not been instituted to that point? If so, where?
The contradiction stands.
22. On unconditional election:
Paul says: Rom. 9  So it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy.
Response: there is no discrepancy between what Paul says in Rom. 9  and what Jesus says in Matt. 7 [21-23]. Rom. 9  says salvation does not depend on man's will or exertion; Matt. 7 [21-23] doesn't even mention man's will or exertion. There cannot be disagreement on a subject if one of the quotations doesn't even raise or comment on that subject. Rom. 9  says salvation depends on God's mercy; Matt. 7 [21-23] indicates that doing the will of Jesus' Father who is in heaven is the only action to which God will respond with an extension of His mercy. Luke 1;50 confirms this: "His mercy is extended to those who fear (show Godly reverence) Him". Paul's comments in Rom. 9  do not disagree with anything Jesus said in these two verses.
The Critique very pointedly does not appeal to context here. If it had, it would know that Rom. 9:16 is a conclusion drawn from a previous statement about Jacob and Esau, before they were born, who had done nothing. Paul's expression, "not upon man's will or exertion" therefore includes anything whatever man might do, or that Jacob and Esau might have done after they were born.
Paul has just told us that Jacob's election was not on the basis of his will or exertion, because he had done nothing either good or bad. "Exertion" is a very broad term that clearly means anything a man does up to and including the exertion required to do some of the things the Lord calls upon us to do, as distinguished from his will. But Jesus tells us that those chosen to enter the kingdom "on that day" must have done something! Most specifically, they must have done the will of his (Jesus' ) Father. Furthermore, this surely requires exertion, because the Way that leads to Life is hard and Jesus has told us to:
Lk.13:24 FNT Be striving to enter through the narrow door, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be strong enough.
The contradiction stands.
23. On sacrifices to God:
Paul says: 1 Cor. 5  For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.
Response: were the writer to do what Jesus suggested in Matt. 9  and go and learn, they would discover that Jesus made this statement to the Pharisees. They had just criticized him for mixing with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus answered them by saying that those who are well don't need the attention of a doctor, but those who are weak and sick. In the context of the surrounding verses, we can see that what Jesus wanted them to learn was that God would much rather see the Pharisees showing mercy and kindness towards the sick and sinners, rather than be critical of those who did. To do that would be far more pleasing to Him than all the sacrifices the Pharisees made with their self righteous attitude that were only done to show others how pious and upstanding they were.
What Jesus had to say to the Pharisees in Matt. 9  therefore had nothing whatsoever to do with what Paul said in 1 Cor. 5  and Eph. 5 . What he said in those two verses aligns perfectly with what Jesus said in John 3 v 16 "... for God so Loved the World that He gave His only begotten son etc.". The three verses are in total unison with each other.
If the Critique's writer would go and learn, he would discover that in Matt. 9:13, Jesus was quoting the prophet, Hosea, who made the Lord's attitude toward sacrifices very clear. So, the application is to the Israelites of Hosea's day, to the Pharisees of Jesus' day, and to us. It is a universal Truth: God desires mercy; he does not desire sacrifice.
Does Jesus' statement say that mercy is more pleasing than sacrifices? The Critique states,: "To do that would be far more pleasing to Him than all the sacrifices the Pharisees . . . .. "more pleasing" implies that the sacrifices are pleasing to God, just that mercy is more pleasing. To conform to this interpretation, Jesus (and Hosea) must have said:
But that still puts sacrifices in a positive category as desirable, just less desirable than mercy. This is yet another demonstration of how easy it is to twist the Word of God without knowing it. When a Paulinist interprets Jesus, as in this case, he must make some changes so that he sees it in Paul's colors.
I desire mercy more than sacrifice.
The contradiction stands.
24. On remuneration for preaching the gospel:
Paul says: 1 Tim. 5  Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching;  for the scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages".
Response: What Jesus was saying in Matt. 10  is that the disciples were not to charge people for the miracles they performed, as the ability to perform them was given without charge to them, therefore they were not to make a charge either. Paul's comment that a laborer is worthy of his wages does not contradict what Jesus said. In fact it is a direct quote of what Jesus said in Luke 10 v 7: "Stay on in the same house eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer is worthy of his wages". The reason Paul's words in 1 Cor. 9 [11-12] appear at first to contradict Jesus is because the writer has deleted the second half of the verse. That half says, "However,we have never exercised this right, but we endure everything rather than put a hindrance in the way of the spreading of the gospel of Christ." The deletion of the latter half of the verse from the essay appears to be a deliberate, mischievous attempt to discredit Paul by distorting the truth of what he said, by leaving out that part of the verse that shows his teaching on the matter is identical to that of Jesus.
We note first that in getting his quotation from Jesus, the Critique switched from Matthew, where I quoted Matthew 10:7, to Luke's parallel version of the Lord's utterance (without calling out attention to the fact!).
The Critique makes an unjustified distinction between preaching the gospel, on the on hand, and healing, cleansing, and exorcising on the other hand. The language of Matt. 10:7 does not provide for distinguishing between preaching and healing, etc.
But things get more interesting. the writer of the Critique, who likes to instruct us in the fine points of New Testament Greek, has failed to instruct himself when he asserts that Jesus and Paul said the same thing in the following texts:
In Luke 10:7, we have a rare occurrence of an error in the gospels that can be easily confirmed. There is a problem with the text, because food and drink (eating and drinking what they provide) is not wages! Matthew gets is right when he records the same utterance of the Lord, which explains the necessity of the switch from Matthew to Luke above.:
Jesus, Luke 10:7 -- Stay on in the same house eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer is worthy of his wages.
Paul, I Tim. 5:18 --  for the scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages."
Matthew 10:7: And preach as you go, saying, `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
8: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.
9: Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts,
10: no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer deserves his food.
11: And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it, and stay with him until you depart.
There is a good reason why Luke recorded "wages" instead of "food." He had been Paul's disciple for many years and was probably one of Paul's early converts, so he recorded what he had received from Paul in this case. Paul is the one who got it wrong to begin with, and so he misquotes in I Tim. 5:18. Additionally, Paul claims to be quoting scripture in I Tim. 5:18, but I have not been able to determine such a scripture. "You shall not muzzle the ox when it is treading out the grain." is from Deuteronomy 25:4, but there is no similar quotation for "The laborer deserves his wages." We note that Jesus does not claim to be quoting scripture, either in Matthew 10:10 or the parallel, Luke 10:7.
Where, then, did Paul get it?
Likely, through one of the apostles or from some version of the supposed "Q" document. But he either got it incorrect or he deliberately changed it from "food" to "wages" so as to justify the payment of a wage to church leaders.
There is yet another reason why we can be certain that Jesus did not say "wages" or "hire" in this utterance. That is due to the fact that this word, that Paul and Luke use, is the Greek, misthou, which is from the same word as "hireling" that is, in Greek, misthotos. This is the word Jesus utilizes in John 10 to specify the hireling.
11: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
12: He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
13: He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.
Our one and only shepherd (pastor) is the Good Shepherd, who is good in contrast to the evil hireling who cannot be a shepherd by Jesus' definition, because the sheep do not belong to him!
Jesus is careful to state that the hireling is not a shepherd, and goes on to give his reasons for that -- because the sheep do not belong to him. We see here also Jesus' clear definition of the shepherd, one who owns the sheep. There may be an hireling or other person who tends the sheep, but the sheep are not his and he is not a shepherd, or pastor.
As in this case, there are rare cases when Jesus appears to contradict himself, as in this case if Paul's and Luke's version of the utterance are correct. It would surely be a contradiction of himself if he should characterize the hireling as he does in John 10, then instruct his disciples to become hirelings by receiving wages.
There are other things to confirm this. One can be seen in the situation that Jesus is describing in both Luke and Matthew's versions of the set of instructions given to the disciples when he sent them out to preach and to heal. They are to enter a town or city, "find out who is worthy there, and stay with him until they depart." They haven't been hired to do anything -- but to accept wages, they must first have been hired.
The Critique concludes it's response above by making this charge (underlining is mine, to direct your attention):
The reason Paul's words in 1 Cor. 9 [11-12] appear at first to contradict Jesus is because the writer has deleted the second half of the verse. That half says, "However,we have never exercised this right, but we endure everything rather than put a hindrance in the way of the spreading of the gospel of Christ." The deletion of the latter half of the verse from the essay appears to be a deliberate, mischievous attempt to discredit Paul by distorting the truth of what he said, by leaving out that part of the verse that shows his teaching on the matter is identical to that of Jesus.
Anyone can see, in view of my explanation above, that I had no motive for making a "deliberate, mischievous attempt to discredit Paul." Paul is very efficient at that, without any help from me. Now, if the Critique had charged me with entrapment by leaving an inviting opening to enter, there to be confounded, it might have been with some justification.
Finally, adding the latter half of the verse per the Critique does not void the contradiction. Paul is still giving a positive position on receiving wages, contrary to Jesus. He just chose not to accept them for himself.
The contradiction stands.
25. On how one becomes a child of God:
Paul says: Rom. 8  and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Response: In order to ascertain whether or not there is a contradiction here, it is first necessary to examine the term "adoption of sons". In the original Greek, it is not three words but in fact one word - uiJoqesiva. The word's make-up is a compound of (5207 - son) and a derivative of (5087 to set in place, to put down, lay down, to establish). The phrase therefore means 'set in place and establish as a son' and not the process of adoption as we understand it to be in modern day society. Thus, Rom. 8  is not saying that we are adopted and therefore not begotten into God's family upon salvation, but that we are set in place and established as sons upon salvation, without detailing the process as being one of spiritual birth as Jesus did in John 3. It is in fact perhaps a more easier to understand description of the process of joining God's family than the term "begotten from above" that Jesus used, because we were physically alive before the process took place. A person who is already alive can't be physically born into another family; they can only be adopted into it. Jesus alluded to that in John 3 . Later in the same chapter, Nicodemus had to ask, "How can we be begotten from above when we are old?" and Jesus had to explain again to him that there are two births, one of water (physical) and one of the spirit.
The Critique explains, giving us another lesson in NT Greek:
Response: In order to ascertain whether or not there is a contradiction here, it is first necessary to examine the term "adoption of sons". In the original Greek, it is not three words but in fact one word - uiJoqesiva. The word's make-up is a compound of (5207 - son) and a derivative of (5087 to set in place, to put down, lay down, to establish). The phrase therefore means 'set in place and establish as a son' and not the process of adoption as we understand it to be in modern day society.
The derivation of the word is correct. The conclusion is a radical departure from the derivation. "Adoption" is precisely as stated: "set in place and establish as a son." From this the Critique draws the conclusion that this is "not the process of adoption as we understand it in modern day society."
But that is precisely what adoption is -- the setting or putting in place as a son (or daughter) as distinguished from being born a son or daughter. The common phrase is "placed for adoption" meaning put in place as a son or daughter of someone not a birth parent. There are two ways for one to become a child of specific parents: to be born (or begotten) or to be placed for adoption.
That Paul intends to distinguish between them can be reliably concluded by this from Galatians 4:
4: But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
5: to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
6: And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"
This shows that in the same context, Paul recognizes sonship by birth, and distinguishes it from sonship by adoption. Had he intended to say or teach that his disciples become sons of God by birth, he would surely have said some such thing here, instead of carefully distinguishing between the two processes.
Also, we see Paul's order of events listed here: one first becomes a son by adoption, and thereafter God sends his Spirit into one's heart because of having become a son -- by adoption. The Spirit does not get involved until one has already become a son. Jesus clearly teaches, in John 3, that one becomes a child of God by being begotten from above, by the Spirit and not by adoption.
The contradiction stands.
(this is the Critique's summary)
I have not found a single quotation among the scriptures listed that shows any contradiction or disagreement between the teaching of Paul the Apostle and Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. On face value, some do appear contradictory, but I found the following as the reasons for this:
1. The two verses being compared are not talking about the same subject, or if they are, discuss a totally different aspect or perspective that makes a compassion inappropriate. In such cases I have found another quotation from the words of Jesus or the Old Testament prophets from another part of scripture which proves that Paul's teaching were the same as those of Jesus and the Old Testament prophets.
2. Verses have been taken out of context to make them appear contradictory. In such instances, I have examined the verses in the context in which the words were spoken to either show that they do agree with what Jesus said or that Paul's words are on a different subject or aspect to those of Jesus with which they are being compared.
3. Only part of the verse has been quoted, thereby changing the meaning of what was said to something that might appear to contradict what Jesus said. In such instances I have quoted the whole verse to show that the verse has been edited to change its meaning.
4. Some words in the verses quoted have either changed their meaning since they were written or in their translation into modern English, or were mistranslated in the version of the Bible being quoted. In such instances I have referred to the original Greek words used by the writer to determine the true meaning and intent of what they were endeavoring to say. In such instances, by using the correct translation, what at first appear be a contradictions are in fact shown to be not so.
5. In a number of instances the alleged contradictions were not Paul's words at all, but quotations from the Old Testament prophets. In such instances I have clarified the context of the words of the prophets and shown how their words concur with those of Jesus in the instances where the two were discussing the same aspect of a subject.
The author of the Critique has
performed a unique and marvelous
service in illustrating, again and again, how one may unknowingly be
Jesus - Paul color blind. The Critique sees most things in Paul's
colors so that the Truth of the Word of Jesus remains hidden even when
directly faced. The Critique sees
Jesus only through Paul's eyes, or as though viewing him through
Paul-colored glasses and therefore not knowing Jesus. It knows
Paul's Jesus, and it should be evident to everyone who reads this that
Paul's Jesus is not the Jesus of the gospels who is the Son of God.
A prime example of how the Critique distorts the Word of Jesus is in their focus on John 3:16,
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
The Critique quotes this verse repeatedly then misinterprets it. Jesus meant one thing specifically by the
expression believes in
him. This specification is in Chapter 5 of the same gospel:
24: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
The Critique means something other than this. This is what it means, from Paul's
Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 10:
8: But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your
heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach);
Paul only requires one to believe what he (Paul) says about Jesus. He does not require one to believe what Jesus said, but "the word of faith which we preach."
Jesus requires us to believe, not what Paul says about him, but what he says!
Paul's "word of faith" contradicts Jesus at every turn.
Finally, I apologize and seek the forgiveness of everyone who has read my list of contradictions, for having made an error at No. 10. I am not to be excused for misinterpreting the Lord in any case.