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Apostle Paul


Anakin7

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#1- What are the best Books/Articles I can read on Paul regarding his letter to the Romans ?

#2- Were there/are there any Christian groups that did/do not recognize Paul as an Apostle ?.

Some time ago on one of the Zions Lighthouse message boards there was a discussion on this by a non LDS Christian who [individualy] who's [Church/Faith] did not recognize Paul as an Apostle Past or presently believe that he was.

Thanks in Advance for any references.

In His Debt/Grace

Anakin7

LDS JEDi KNIGHT

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EbedScriptorian.png

I had an interesting discussion some years back in a Saturday morning Bible study conducted at the church of another faith, where I was informed that Matthias was not the real thirteenth apostle; Paul was. According to this guy, ordaining Matthias was done in error. But I've never had anyone tell me that Paul was not an apostle. It would be interesting to see the proof-texts to justify such a position.

As far as books go, I would suggest Bruce R. McConkie's "Doctrinal New Testament Commentary." There is a reason BRM is acknowledged as one of the Church's great scriptorians. Another good look at Romans from an LDS perspective is Richard Lloyd Anderson's "Understanding Paul" which has a very good chapter on Paul's letter to the Romans. Brother Anderson taught this subject for 25 years so you can count on its reliability. For a non-LDS approah you might see if you can track down Donald Grey Barnhouse's "Romans". It is a four volume expository that is fairly centrist.

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Anakin7,

I hope you don't mind if i suggest some non-LDS resources. On Romans:

Bruce, F. F. The Letter of Paul to the Romans: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Rev. ed. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1985. Excellent short commentary by a renowned British New Testament scholar.

Moo, Douglas J. Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey. Encountering Biblical Studies. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Subtitled A Theological Exposition on the cover. Survey, not commentary; colorful and user-friendly introduction to the book.

Moo, Douglas. The Epistle to the Romans. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996. One of the most up-to-date scholarly commentaries by an evangelical; lengthy and exegetical, for dealing with specific passages in depth.

Schreiner, Thomas. Romans. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament 6. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998. Evangelical exegetical and theological commentary.

On Paul:

Bruce, F. F. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977. One of the very best biographies of Paul.

Hawthorne, Gerald F., Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, eds. Dictionary of Paul and His Letters: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. Excellent encyclopedic reference on Paul.

Schreiner, Thomas R. Interpreting the Pauline Epistles. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992. Nice, short introduction to the stated subject.

Wenham, David. Paul and Jesus: The True Story. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002. Shorter, more accessible study by the author of a major academic work on the relationship of Paul's mission and teaching to the historical Jesus.

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#1- What are the best Books/Articles I can read on Paul regarding his letter to the Romans ?

#2- Were there/are there any Christian groups that did/do not recognize Paul as an Apostle ?.

Some time ago on one of the Zions Lighthouse message boards there was a discussion on this by a non LDS Christian who [individualy] who's [Church/Faith] did not recognize Paul as an Apostle Past or presently believe that he was.

Thanks in Advance for any references.

In His Debt/Grace

Anakin7

LDS JEDi KNIGHT

Well, according to Joseph Smith's description of Paul, he was obviously important enough to minister unto Joseph, be it apostle, prophet, or whatever.

"He is about 5 foot high; very dark hair; dark complexion, dark skin; large Roman nose; sharp face; small black eyes, penetrating as eternity; round shoulders; a whining voice, except when elevated and then it almost resembles the roaring of a lion. He was a good orator." - Joseph Smith

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Well it's known for is sometimes called the "General" or "Cosmological" proof for God's existence, and often cited by creedal christians as a reason for those who have not heard the gospel to be justifiably condemned to hell, because the very existence of nature proves supposedly that God exists. I personally do not agree with this, but it is a commonly cited argument allegedly found in Romans 1

This is a Catholic view of it:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06608b.htm#I

Substantially the same doctrine is laid down more briefly by St. Paul in Romans 1:18-20:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, his eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

It is to be observed that the pagans of whom St. Paul is speaking are not blamed for their ignorance of supernatural revelation and the Mosaic law, but for failing to preserve or for corrupting that knowledge of God and of man's duty towards Him which nature itself ought to have taught them. Indeed it is not pure ignorance as such they are blamed for, but that wilful shirking of truth which renders ignorance culpable. Even under the corruptions of paganism St. Paul recognized the indestructible permanency of germinal religious truth (cf. Romans 2:14-15).

It is clear from these passages that Agnosticism and Pantheism are condemned by revelation, while the validity of the general proof of God's existence given above is confirmed. It is also clear that the extreme form of Traditionalism, which would hold that no certain knowledge of God's existence or nature is attainable by human reason without the aid of supernatural revelation, is condemned.

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#1- What are the best Books/Articles I can read on Paul regarding his letter to the Romans ?

#2- Were there/are there any Christian groups that did/do not recognize Paul as an Apostle ?.

Some time ago on one of the Zions Lighthouse message boards there was a discussion on this by a non LDS Christian who [individualy] who's [Church/Faith] did not recognize Paul as an Apostle Past or presently believe that he was.

Thanks in Advance for any references.

In His Debt/Grace

Anakin7

LDS JEDi KNIGHT

There are Liberal Christians who believe that much of the reason why we have some of the Christian teachings today is because the Apostle Paul was the one that invented this brand of Christianity. This argument comes from the fact that there was an early form of schism between the Jewish Christian Church in Jerusalem, and that of Paul and what he was preaching. In fact, when you carefully read Galatians, Paul defends his authority as an apostle against a certain group of Jewish Christians. Here is one aspect of this argument:

PAUL, ST. (died c. A.D. 68), founder of Pauline Christianity. His name was originally Saul. He later claimed that he was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, from a long-established Pharisee family in Tarsus. According to Acts (though not according to Paul himself) he studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, the leader of the Pharisees and grandson of Hillel. This account of Paul's youth, however, is subject to doubt, since the tribe of Benjamin had long ceased to exist, and Pharisee families are otherwise unknown in Tarsus. According to Paul's opponents, the Ebionites, he came from a family of recent converts to Judaism. He learnt the trade of tent-making (or perhaps leather-working), by which he made his living.

While still a youth in Jerusalem, Saul became part of the opposition to the newly formed Jerusalem Church (the disciples of Jesus, who, believing that Jesus had been resurrected, continued to hope for his return to complete his messianic mission). Saul was present at the death of Stephen. Soon after, Saul was an active persecutor of the Jerusalem Church, entering its synagogues and arresting its members. Acts represents this as due to Saul's zeal as a Pharisee, but this is doubtful, as the Pharisees, under Gamaliel, were friendly to the Jerusalem Church (see Acts 5).

Moreover, Saul was acting in concert with the high priest (Acts 9:2), who was a Sadducee opponent of the Pharisees. It seems likely that Saul was at this period an employee of the Roman-appointed high priest, playing a police role in suppressing movements regarded as a threat to the Roman occupation. Since Jesus had been crucified on a charge of sedition, his followers were under the same cloud.

The high priest then entrusted Saul with an important mission, which was to travel to Damascus to arrest prominent members of the Jerusalem Church. This must have been a clandestine kidnapping operation, since Damascus was not under Roman rule at the time but was in fact a place of refuge for the persecuted Nazarenes. On the way to Damascus, Paul experienced a vision of Jesus that converted him from persecutor to believer. Paul joined the Christians of Damascus, but soon he had to flee Damascus to escape the officers of King Aretas (II Corinthians 11:32-33), though a later, less authentic, account in Acts 9:22-25 changes his persecutors to "the Jews."

After his vision, according to Paul's own account (Galatians 1:17), he went into the desert of Arabia for a period, seeking no instruction. According to Acts, however, he sought instruction first from Ananias of Damascus and then from the apostles in Jerusalem. These contradictory accounts reflect a change in Paul's status: in his own view, he had received a revelation that put him far higher than the apostles, while in later Church opinion he had experienced a conversion that was only the beginning of his development as a Christian.

Paul's self-assessment is closer to the historical truth, which is that he was the founder of Christianity. Neither Jesus himself nor his disciples had any intention of founding a new religion. The need for a semblance of continuity between Christianity and Judaism, and between Gentile and Jewish Christianity, led to a playing-down of Paul's creative role. The split that took place between Paul and the Jerusalem Church is minimized in the Paulinist book of Acts, which contrasts with Paul's earlier and more authentic account in Galatians 2.

Paul's originality lies in his conception of the death of Jesus as saving mankind from sin. Instead of seeing Jesus as a messiah of the Jewish type human saviour from political bondage he saw him as a salvation-deity whose atoning death by violence was necessary to release his devotees for immortal life. This view of Jesus' death seems to have come to Paul in his Damascus vision. Its roots lie not in Judaism, but in mystery-religion, with which Paul was acquainted in Tarsus. The violent deaths of Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dionysus brought divinization to their initiates. Paul, as founder of the new Christian mystery, initiated the Eucharist, echoing the communion meal of the mystery religions. The awkward insertion of eucharistic material based on I Corinthians 11:23-26 into the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels cannot disguise this, especially as the evidence is that the Jerusalem Church did not practise the Eucharist.

Paul's missionary campaign began c.44 in Antioch. He journeyed to Cyprus, where he converted Sergius Paulus, the governor of the island. It was probably at this point that he changed his name from Saul to Paul, in honor of his distinguished convert. After journeys in Asia Minor where he made many converts, Paul returned to Antioch. His second missionary tour (51-53) took him as far as Corinth; and his third (54-58) led to a three-year stay in Ephesus. It was during these missionary periods that he wrote his Epistles.

Paul's new religion had the advantage over other salvation-cults of being attached to the Hebrew Scriptures, which Paul now reinterpreted as forecasting the salvation-death of Jesus. This gave Pauline Christianity an awesome authority that proved attractive to Gentiles thirsting for salvation. Paul's new doctrine, however, met with disapproval from the Jewish-Christians of the Jerusalem Church, who regarded the substitution of Jesus' atoning death for the observance of the Torah as a lapse into paganism. Paul was summoned to Jerusalem by the leaders James (Jesus' brother), Peter, and John to explain his doctrine (c.50).

At the ensuing conference, agreement was reached that Paul's Gentile converts did not need to observe the Torah. This was not a revolutionary decision, since Judaism had never insisted on full conversion to Judaism for Gentiles. But Paul on this occasion concealed his belief that the Torah was no longer valid for Jews either. He was thus confirmed in the role of "apostle to the Gentiles," with full permission to enroll Gentiles in the messianic movement without requiring full conversion to Judaism.

It was when Peter visited him in Antioch and became aware of the full extent of Paul's views that a serious rift began between Pauline and Jewish Christianity. At a second conference in Jerusalem (c.55), Paul was accused by James of teaching Jews "to turn their backs on Moses" (Acts 21:21). Again, however, Paul evaded the charge by concealing his views, and he agreed to undergo a test of his own observance of the Torah. His deception, however, was detected by a group of "Asian Jews" (probably Jewish Christians) who were aware of his real teaching. A stormy protest ensued in which Paul feared for his life and was rescued by the Roman police, to whom he declared for his protection that he was a Roman citizen. This surprising announcement was the end of Paul's association with the Jerusalem Church, to whom the Romans were the chief enemy.

The Roman commandant, Claudius Lysias, decided to bring Paul before the Sanhedrin in order to discover the cause of the disturbance. With great presence of mind, Paul appealed to the Pharisee majority to acquit him, claiming to be a Pharisee like James. Paul was rescued by the Pharisees from the high priest, like Peter before him. However, the high priest, resenting this escape, appointed a body of men to assassinate Paul. Learning of the plot, Paul again placed himself under the protection of the Romans, who transported him by armed guard from Jerusalem to Caesarea. The High Priest Ananias was implacable, no doubt because of Paul's defection from his police task in Damascus, and laid a charge of anti-Roman activity against him. Paul appealed for a trial in Rome before Caesar, his right as a Roman citizen. The assertion of Acts that the Jewish "elders" were also implicated in the charges against Paul is unhistorical, since these same elders had just acquitted him in his Sanhedrin trial. Paul was sent to Rome, and here our information ends. Legends speak of his eventual martyrdom in Rome.

Paul's authentic voice is found in his Epistles. Here he appears as an eloquent writer, skilled in asserting his authority over his converts as their inspired teacher. The view often asserted, however, that Paul writes in the style of a rabbi is incorrect. His occasional attempts to argue in rabbinical style (e.g., Romans 7:1-6) reveal his lack of knowledge of rabbinic logic. Paul's letters belong to Greek literature and have affinity to Stoic and Cynic literature. His knowledge of the Scriptures is confined to their Greek translation, the Septuagint. Paul was a religious genius, who invested Greek mystery-religion with the historical sweep and authority of the Jewish Bible.

The most interesting aspect of this is that when you look at the majority of "Orthodox Christian Doctrines", you will find them mainly embedded in Paul's Epistles. Once this is understood, one can see how Christians today are so against the Latter-day Saints. It is pitting Paul against Christ and what Christ taught. Christ spoke in parables and had a more esoteric aspect to his views on life, marriage, death, and the eternities.

There is evidence that the Apostle Paul has had a more powerful influence on the early Church Fathers. Discussing this, Father Daily spoke about this very thing and how two Early Church Father's were influenced by the Apostle Paul's life and teaching:

During the fourth century when both men were active, the shaping of Christian theology entered what Father Daley called a Pauline age, where the figure and writings of Paul took on enormous importance. John Chrysostom was a devotee who believed Paul to be the founder of Christianity, he said.

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However, I will say this, the Latter-day Saint belief resembles more of the First Century Jewish-Christian movement than that of what some would call the Pauline Christianity that modern Evangelical Christianity is based upon.

I disagree.

A central core doctrine of our church is that Jesus suffered and died for our sins- what you would call a Pauline invention I suppose, or at least that is what the article you cite says.

Paul's originality lies in his conception of the death of Jesus as saving mankind from sin. Instead of seeing Jesus as a messiah of the Jewish type human saviour from political bondage he saw him as a salvation-deity whose atoning death by violence was necessary to release his devotees for immortal life. This view of Jesus' death seems to have come to Paul in his Damascus vision. Its roots lie not in Judaism, but in mystery-religion, with which Paul was acquainted in Tarsus. The violent deaths of Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dionysus brought divinization to their initiates. Paul, as founder of the new Christian mystery, initiated the Eucharist, echoing the communion meal of the mystery religions. The awkward insertion of eucharistic material based on I Corinthians 11:23-26 into the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels cannot disguise this, especially as the evidence is that the Jerusalem Church did not practise the Eucharist.

Another core doctrine is what we call "the sacrament"- which was also a Pauline invention according to the article you cite.

And of course if you look at the rest of the website from which your article comes, well just say it lacks credibility as a theological source.

I am of course aware that the arguments presented in your article have been presented elsewhere and perhaps you just cited them as a quick and available summary, but I don't think you can ignore the points I make above.

Also what has fascinated me is the fact that the Book of Hebrews, the authorship of which is questioned, especially for example in chapters 9 and 10 is about the closest "proof" we have for the existence of the theological underpinnings of our present temple worship in the meridian of times.

Perhaps it was not written by Paul, but whoever did write it, I am convinced, was very close in his understanding to our understanding of temple worship.

But I think you will have a hard time finding evidence of any theology of the atonement anywhere but in the epistles.

There is no question that to a great extent Paul produced the theology of Christianity, but I disagree strongly that you can divorce Pauline doctrine from LDS beliefs

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Thanks so far for the references, any thoughts/ comments on Romans 1 by any of you here ?, thanks.

Salvation Is In Jesus Christ The Person

In His Debt/Grace

Anakin7

LDS JEDI KNIGHT

I recently had a long-running argument on CARM about this passage (or at least v19-21) from the context of whether revelation was necessary to know that God exists. My position is that while creation reveals some aspects of God, it does not reveal God as such. I may be misreading Paul, but he seems to be saying that with this knowledge that creation imparts, it condemns those who a) "hold the truth in unrighteousness" (or the JST: who love not the truth, but remain in unrighteousness) b) those who then turn from God and worship something that couldn't have the same qualities (v23 & 25). I also cite Paul where he states the "things of God are known only by the spirit of God" (1 Corinthians 2:11) and "How can they call on him in whom they have not believed?" (Romans 10:14-17).

I didn't get any real responses to these claim, apart from a mere reposting of v20 with a comment of "Look here", which was insufficient. I don't know if my conclusion is correct or not, but it makes sense. I personally have never found creation to prove that God exists: I think it provides enough to warrant further investigation, but I say that of a lot of things, be they Biblical or Book of Mormon evidences.

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Chris VanLandingham, Judgment and Justification in Early Judaism and the Apostle Paul

The Anchor Bible commentary on Romans by Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J.

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