Monday, February 19, 2007

Who founded Christianity?

There are some marked differences between the letters of Paul and the Gospels. A few modern scholars have taken those differences and gone so far as to claim that Paul is actually the real founder of Christianity.They claim that Jesus never intended to start a new religion (he was just trying to bring about some reform within Judaism), and that Paul is actually the one responsible for creating doctrines about Jesus that led to the ultimate split between Judaism and Christianity.

In the wake of this rising criticism to who founded Christianity, the Bible provides clear and concise evidence that it began with Christ and was clarified through the works of the Apostle Paul.

First of all, for us to dismantle the idea of Paul as the founder of Christianity we must take into account the fact that Paul’s message is Christocentric. The Book of Acts 9:20 reads, “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” The immediacy of this preaching, that Christ is indeed the Messiah, shows Paul was not promoting a religion fabricated from within his own ideals. Rather, Paul had received revelation of the Christ outside the nexus of his traditional Jewish ideas and teachings of who the Messiah was and used his Jewish platform to integrate Christ into the center of Jewish beliefs. Brian Hedges acknowledges N.T.Wright by saying, “Wright beautifully demonstrates that Paul spoke from the theological platform of Judaism, a world-view that he never cast off, but rather recast with Jesus Christ in the center.”

Additionally, there are numerous scriptures within the writings of Paul which clearly prove Paul was an ambassador of Christ teaching doctrine he indeed learned from Christ’s teachings. For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:17,” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation..” This passage parallels Christ’s teaching in John 3 when Nicodemus comes to Jesus and Jesus explains to him he must be born again to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Both of these scriptures are proof that if one is in Christ he is a born again new creation.

Secondly, Colossians 1:15, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,” is a scripture Paul surely writes to testify of the Book of John in chapter 1:1. This scripture indicates Jesus being the Word which was in the beginning, the firstborn over all creation.

Third, and there are many other examples, in Matthew 3 Christ receives the baptism by water. Paul teaches in Romans 6 the necessity of believers to be baptized as Christ was.

Paul was clearly teaching as an Apostle appointed by Christ doctrines which he received from Christ. It is evident he was not starting a religion he had fabricated despite what scholars believe of him. There are too many examples which verify Paul’s allegiance to Christ for one to sufficiently prove otherwise.

New King James Bible"> International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

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