In Defense of Paul

I was accused a few years ago of being in a cult of Paul. The assertion was that myself and others made too much of the Apostle Paul, his writings and his particular brand of New Testament theology. We needed to be less Paul-focused and more Christ-focused. I argued that Paul was Christ focused and studying Paul should bring Christ into focus. Paul pushed back on some of those same accusations during his ministry stating the Christ is not divided and there are not Paul Christians, Apollos Christians, etc. Here is a link to my first Defense of the Apostle Paul from eight years ago. The comment thread was very involved, and might be longer than the actual post.

I came across a similar argument again just recently online, going as far as to suggest Paul’s letters be removed from the New Testament. About this same time I was preaching through the epistle of 2nd Peter. I don’t know how I didn’t see it before or saw it without it registering but the best defense of Paul that can be given was written by Peter himself, a church leader that sometimes butted heads with Paul over practical matters of the Christian faith:

And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. -2nd Peter 3:15-16

Peter refers his readers back to what Paul has already written, citing the wisdom given him (i.e. divine inspiration). He seems go as far as equating the writings of Paul with scripture. If Peter held Paul in such high regard why should the rest of not? It is a glowing recommendation from an Apostle that witnessed the events of Jesus’ life and ministry first hand.

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