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A Paulinist Unwittingly Destroys Paul's Authority

Introduction

Craig A. Parton in Religion on Trial (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2008) as a trial attorney argues that all religions other than Christianity are false. Supposedly none of them have verifiable claims. He lumps Judaism in there, but fails to acknowledge that it is a true faith but has mistakenly not accepted Messiah. So Parton did not carefully examine what he was saying. For if Judaism is completely false, then Christianity cannot be true.

Proof Parton is a Paulinist

Aside from that mis-step, Parton then portrays Paulianity as true Christianity. Parton does not acknowledge Christianity ever taught one goes to heaven "maimed" by repentance from fleshly sins or not at all. (Mark 9:42-47; Matt 18:8-9.) Parton does not acknowledge Jesus said the tree without "good fruit" will go into the fire. (Matt. 7:19.) Parton never admits that James correctly understood Jesus that a faith that is alone (without works) 'cannot [by itself] save.' (James 2:14-17.) Thus, Parton never realizes a Christianity that teaches faith alone without works saves you is not Christ's version of the faith; it exclusively belongs to Paul.

Instead, according to Parton, Christianity has no ethical requirement which is necessary for salvation in addition to faith. This makes Christianity supposedly unique among all religions: "Christianity on the other hand claims that we are unable to follow the Ten Commandments, that no one can get to heaven by works, and the main purpose of the Ten Commandments is to remind fallen humanity of its inability to merit heaven." (Parton, Religion on Trial (2008) at xiii.) "Christianity rejects any use of ethics or morality as means to earn salvation." (Id., at 7.)

Poor Jesus who did not know of such a religion! I guess when the young rich man asked how to have eternal life, and Jesus said obey the commandments (then quoting to him several of the 10), that Parton wants us to think Jesus was just pulling the young man's leg. (Matt. 19:16-23.) Faith alone supposedly is all that should matter! Again Poor Jesus -- someone must educate Him that Parton has found a better path than Jesus Himself taught!

Such sarcasm is well deserved. Jesus clearly taught faith with works, not faith alone. This means that Parton has Paul's view of Christianity in mind. Parton defines Christianity as only this religion of Paul. Hence, Parton is a Paulinist preferring Paul over Jesus when they are at direct odds. (We discuss Jesus' doctrine of salvation in our free book, Jesus' Words on Salvation, which can be read at this link.)

This is crucial for later we shall see that this trial lawyer offers evidential tests whether a religious person is a trustworthy authority. It is those tests that DEMOLISH PAUL but Parton thinks to only apply them to demolish Mormons and Muslims. But these very valid tests shoot Parton in the foot on his key assumption -- that Paul could redefine Christianity to be something it never was -- a religion of faith alone.

Here next is how Parton unwittingly destroys Paul's validity by essentially saying someone's unverifiable claim to be in direct communication with God is unworthy of belief! If Parton is correct, then Paul is de-legitimized by a Paulinist's own arguments to uphold "Christianity" as he defined it. For Paul's claim is unverifiable, as we shall prove.

Parton's Cross-Examination-Standards of Religious Claims

Parton begins by saying that because "eternity is at stake," "religious claims should be put to rigorous cross-examination of the type used regularly in my profession as a trial lawyer." (Parton, Religion on Trial (2008) at xvi.)

Indeed, it is that important -- your eternity depends upon verifying the claims by someone that they indeed speak on behalf of God.

Our quest, Parton insists, must be an internally honest one where we are willing to set aside our beliefs if truth proves we are wrong:

So whether you...are sure your religion is true because it makes you feel good and works, you should not fear a relentless search for the truth. Id., at xvi.

Amen! But would Parton truly follow this if he realized he will lose Paul -- the one upon whom Parton has based his re-interpreted Christianity? I doubt it. But assuming he would be willing, let's continue.

Next, Parton will explore what gives a religious speaker authority.

As we read his principles, please keep in mind that God-Yahweh spoke from heaven at Jesus' baptism so everyone could hear right at the beginning of Jesus's ministry. Addressing the crowds about who was Jesus, "a voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17, NIV.) This was not addressing Jesus directly and personally ("my Son"), but rather told the crowds who Jesus was -- "this is my Son."

Such an impersonal reference to Jesus necessitates that God was speaking to the crowds, not Jesus alone in no one's hearing. Thus God wanted us to know from the account that this was not an internal voice only Jesus heard. God did this again at the transfiguration:

While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. (Luke 9:34-36.)

This confirms again that this is a voice that persons other than Jesus heard. God-Yahweh would not be telling Jesus Himself "listen to him" i.e., to Himself. (Luke 9:34-36, NIV.) Hence, God from heaven made sure His voice was heard by those around Jesus to confirm the authenticity of the revelation from God to Jesus.

This pattern of others hearing the voice from God to confirm its authenticity is identical to how God revealed Moses was His servant. God spoke from Heaven in the hearing of the entire throng of people. So those verifications had numerous eyewitnesses to the authority that Moses and Jesus would have.

With that in mind as a distinction which will allow Jesus and Moses to pass through this cross-examination filter that Parton will propose, read on but keep in mind how different is Paul's blinding-light experience where he hears a voice but his companions do not. Remember this?

Acts 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. (KJV)

Luke in 22:9 is directly quoting Paul speaking in his trial hearing. Thus, this is no doubt Paul's words.

Now you will see how this unwinds Paul's authority completely as Parton lays out reasonable tests for those who claim to have heard messages / visions from God-Yahweh:

Merely making a claim to such authority [to religious truth] does not establish it. Many Christians make this basic error when they make assertions such as 'I believe it because the Bible says it and that settles it.' This is invincible ignorance, and avoids the basic question of whether the authority is itself trustworthy. The fact that the authority claims to be from God is hardly sufficient. Many authorities make this claim and yet contain mutually and utterly contradictory statements (e.g., Mormon doctrine teaches that the Garden of Eden was originally located in Jackson County, Missouri which does not appear to be what Moses had in mind when writing the early chapters of the Book of Genesis. (Parton, Religion on Trial (2008) at 15.)

For how does one know if the voice they are listening to is the voice of God or the voice of a demon?...Many claim through subjective religious experience, espousing a 'testimomy' as an unchallengeable link to the truth. However, unfortunately there are as many religious experiences testimonies as there are religions. (Parton, Religion on Trial (2008) at 15-16.)

Parton then criticizes Catholics for relying on multiple authorities and refusing to see contradictions, pathetically trying to reconcile them. Or Catholics, he says, claim in a pinch that the authority is not a true primary teaching so the contradiction is unimportant rather than acknowledge the secondary source is not on equal footing with primary authority. The same criticism he levels at Catholics applies to Paulinists who strain to harmonize Paul to the more "primary" source which Jesus's words in the Gospels must represent. Parton explains this principle but points only to Catholics as suffering reliance on inadmissible proof:

The Protestant Reformer Martin Luther pointed out to his Roman Catholic opponents when he said their 'Tradition' contradicted the primary source material found in the biblical authors and that Papal Councils were often in error. Similarly, reason may contradict Scripture or tradition. Under those circumstances, what is a person to do? Deceive oneself into thinking that no such contradiction actually exists? Often adherents to multiple sources of authority go to absurd lengths to try and harmonize the clearly contradictory positions in these sources of authority. Worse yet, after they admit the contradiction they will then dismiss it with the comment that 'it isn't a recognized Tradition or teaching of our church anyway.'....Thus, simply saying that you have many sources of authority in your religious position begs the question. (Parton, Religion on Trial (2008) at 17-18.)

Applying These Principles To Paul Devastates His Authority

These same points apply to Paul. To say he is in the Bible, and that settles it is to rely upon what? Parton says "invincible ignorance." That is not a faith belief; it is deliberate willingness to believe potentially a lie when God warns you to beware of false prophets. It is as Parton says "hardly sufficient." You have to look at whether Paul is "trustworthy."

In that respect, Parton says the first question to ask is whether this source (Paul in my challenge to his reliability) is self-contradictory.

What about this? In Luke's account of Paul's vision of the blinding light, we read two completely opposite versions -- one that has no trustworthiness (i.e., no one else heard the voice of Jesus) -- but another that improves on the account by claiming the companions of Paul heard the voice. Note carefully the contradiction, and how absolutely crystal clear it is:

Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. (KJV)

Acts 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. (KJV) [Paul's court testimony is being quoted by Luke]

Umm...So what Parton teaches me on how to analyze such issues forces me to conclude that Paul is false. Paul told this story in "mutually and utterly contradictory statements." There is also no escaping that the discrepancy is highly material.

One version in court where Luke quotes Paul lacks credibility because no one else heard the voice -- a completely "subjective religious experience" as far as anyone present could tell. (Acts 22:9.) Parton says such an experience, by itself, would give Paul 0% credibility to others as God's voice-piece.

However, the alternative and completely contradictory version (which is Luke's summary) gives Paul some credibility because now supposedly some unidentified persons equally heard the voice. But the credibility of that account in Acts 9:7 is short-lived when we find this contradicted by Paul's own testimony given in Acts 22:9.

And this proves the contradiction is obviously deliberate because one version cures a material flaw in the other. This is not a discrepancy over some small insignificant detail.

Hence, Parton's own words so far destroy the source (Paul) that supports his version of what Christianity represents -- a faith alone system with no ethical requirements for heaven. Parton's test here proves he himself is relying upon false ideas from Paul which many in the church use to supplant Jesus's teachings by means of strained 'harmonization' techniques (e.g., dispensationalism). (For more on this, see "Examples of Paulinism.")

HISTORICAL NOTE: Be aware that Luther and his aid Melancthon realized this mistake about "faith alone" by 1531 -- 14 years after they initiated the Reformation. But they had so convinced government leaders about "faith alone" that they had made Lutheranism the state church in many places by 1531. Luther and Melancthon thus found backtracking was very dangerous to their lives and property. Both Luther and Melancthon from 1531 onward worked to inject double justification doctrine into Protestantism by fairly surreptitious means, e.g., a series of ecumenical conferences with Catholics. The Catholics in the end rejected double justification doctrine which teaches faith alone initially saves, but then afterwards a Christian needs a secondary justification by works. Two years after Luther died, Melancthon (the new head of the Lutheran churches) pushed and soon succeeded in having Lutheranism adopt double justification. However, after Melancthon's death, his changes were overthrown in 1580 by the solafidists who regained power over the Lutheran church. See our article "Reformation Doubts About Paul."

Did Paul Verify The Identity of The Blinding Light?

Let's apply Parton's test to Paul's claim to have encountered Jesus solely as a blinding light. Does this prove it was Jesus? Or should we be just as skeptical of Paul's encounter as we tell Mormons to be about Joseph Smith's first encounter with the Father and Jesus in an appearance shrouded in bright light?

In the three versions of the appearance account recorded by Luke in Acts, this Jesus-figure goes from a "light" (Acts 9:1-9), to a "great light" (Acts 22:3-11) to a "light brighter than the Sun." (Acts 26:9-20.) This great light blinded Paul. Who could this blinding light be? After all, the Bible says Lucifer is a blinding angel of light. (See this link for more discussion.) Could it be Lucifer then?

This did not cross Paul's mind. Paul asked the voice who it was, and it said in version 3 in Acts 26 "I am Jesus whom you persecute." And Luke gives us no other reason to think this is Jesus. But should Paul be taking a blinding light's word for it?

"Apparently all it took to convince Paul that he was hearing the voice of Jesus was for the voice to say so."  (Delos B. McKown, Behold the Antichrist: Bentham on Religion (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus, 2004) at 122.)

McKown comments that "taken at face value, this reveals credulity (or gullibility) of a high order." Id. at 122.

But Paul knows that the devil can disguise himself as an angel of light. See 2 Cor. 11:14. Yet the Devil-in-Disguise Principle was not applied by Paul on this ocassion. Luke gives us no sign of any effort by Paul to verify the light and voice was truly from Jesus.

Delos B. McKown while critically summarizing Bentham's Not Paul But Jesus realizes the validity of some points of Bentham in criticism of Paul. So McKown recounts his exchange with a student when a student claims Jesus told him to do something outrageous. McKown then applies his cautions to the young student on how we too should weigh Paul's experience on the Road to Damascus:

To this I said, But how can you be sure it was Jesus and not the Devil disguised as Jesus who told you to do as you are doing (see 2 Cor. 11:14 for Paul's description of the prowess of the Devil as a deceiver)? The waif, clearly shaken by the application of what I call the Devil-in-Disguise (DID) Principle, fell silent for a time. Then confidently, serenly he assured me saying, 'Oh, it was Jesus all right.' Having done my best to 'test the spirit' in question, I bade my visitors farewell. Even if we grant that Paul heard an extramental voice addressing him on the Damascus road, why did he not apply the DID principle? Why did the [author of Acts] not make inquiries about this and tell us how Paul verified the genuiness of the voice?  (Delos B. McKown, Behold the Antichrist: Bentham on Religion (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus, 2004) at 155.)

Biblical Basis to Parton's Test

Incidentally, there is an example in Job of a false prophecy from Eliphaz which supports that Parton's test is already in the Bible. This man Eliphaz apparently had a true experience with a vision and voice. And he relayed what the voice said, believing this was from God. Later God says it was false counsel. (Job 38:2 "words without knowledge".)

In words identical to words found in Paul's mouth, Eliphaz tries to convince Job that God has spoken to him through a vision and a voice:

[Ch. 4](1) Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,

(8) According as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, And sow trouble, reap the same.

(12) Now a thing was secretly brought to me, And mine ear received a whisper thereof. (13) In thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falleth on men, (14) Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones to shake. (15) Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair of my flesh stood up.

(16) It stood still, but I could not discern the appearance thereof; A form was before mine eyes: There was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, (17) Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? (18) Behold, he putteth no trust in his servants; And his angels he chargeth with folly: (19) How much more them that dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before the moth!

[Ch. 5] (7) But man is born unto trouble, As the sparks fly upward. (Job 4:1,8,12,16; 5:7.)

But later God affirms all these friends were wrong. (Job 38:2, "darkened...with words without knowledge".) Thus, we know Eliphaz was giving a false prophecy of what God said. It was apparently sincere. He had an experience with a spirit that passed before his face. But Eliphaz took a voice he solely heard as sufficient, but God's rejection of Eliphaz's counsel proves it was a deception of Eliphaz by none other than Lucifer.

Interestingly, the highlighted words that came from this "spirit" who was false are found again in messages given by someone to Paul. This means Eliphaz and Paul were in contact with the same person / being.

Paul speaks the same way about visions and voices (Acts 9, 22, & 26; cf. Job 4:12, 16). Paul gives the same message Eliphaz gave that we reap what we sow. (Gal. 6:7-9; cf. Job 4:8). (This is not necessarily the case, as grace based upon forgiveness on God's terms for forgiveness can overcome this principle. It is thus a half-truth.) And Paul too spoke about "fear" and "trembling" (Phil. 2:12) just as did Eliphaz. (Job 4:14.) And Paul speaks like Eliphaz about man being "born unto trouble" (Job 5:7, comparable to Paul's notion of predestination of the lost, Romans 9:11-13). And Paul like Eliphaz says we are so universally beset by sin men are never worthy of God's trust (Romans 3:10; cf. Job 4:18), despite the book of Job teaching us that God truly had trust in Job's faithfulness. And Paul like Eliphaz similarly speaks about man’s destiny from birth. (Romans 9:11-13; cf. Job 5:7.)

Hence, Paul and Eliphaz were in contact with the same spiritual voice. In Eliphaz's case, God told us in Job 38:2 that these men had "darkened" God's council with "words without knowledge," i.e., false assertions. (Job 38:2.) This vision and voice who contacted Eliphaz with the same messages Paul repeated was certainly not God's voice. God in fact says these were "words without knowledge" i.e., false claims.

Hence, God gives us ample proofs that a vision and a voice heard solely by yourself as in the case of Eliphaz is not sufficient for others to place confidence in that you speak for God. By contrast, the voice heard by Moses was heard by everyone in the camp, and the voice heard by Jesus at His baptism was heard by John-the-Baptist and the others present coming for baptism. (Matt. 3:13-17.) And this occurred again at Jesus's Transfiguration. (Luke 9:34-36.) These were not private religious experiences, but multiple witnesses were present, in compliance with the Law's extension to require 2 or more witnesses who must establish every fact. But contrast that Eliphaz and Paul alone heard the voice (Job 4:16-19; Acts 22:9).

Parton's test is thus consistent with why in the book of Job we learn from God in Job 38:2 that Eliphaz's vision and voice experience was invalid.

Conclusion

Parton is clearly a Paulinist doctrinally. He gave us principles to destroy the validity of all other religions but Christianity. However, his principles destroy the Pauline-based Christianity in which he trusts. The only religion that stands after Parton's tests are applied is the true Christianity taught by Jesus. Hence, a Paulinist unwittingly gave us principles that devastated Paul's validity.

END


FYI: God Speaking in Personal Prayer Relationship

Incidentally, I am not denying there are true religious experiences that are solitary where God speaks to us. Nor I am discounting God creates God-incidences that direct our path. But this is different than prophets from God to speak to us as a community. When God commissions true prophets for a community's direction, He does so by verifiable prophecy of a highly specific character that is consistent with His prior prophets. (Deut. 13:1-5) -- or by God speaking from heaven in the verifiable hearing of an audience, such as Moses and Jesus' experienced -- on the mountain and at a baptism, respectively.

Hence, I believe God's voice or spirit does communicate personally with us during prayer time...not audibly for us common folk but in a spiritual manner. And through God-incidences.

The reason is Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to teach us all things. We can discern whether it is a self-deception by our familiarity with His Word which is why Bible study is so important.  This raises the question whether others might share with us individualized true encouragement from God. I think it too is possible but this always requires the same guardian use of His Word to protect us from deceivers. But in no case would that person become a prophet for the community at large unless all the Biblical requirements for a true prophet are met -- a quite rigorous standard.

Email Comments on This Page

I read the chapter (Job 4) and I agree with the whole article, particularly the similarities between Eliphaz's story and Paul's story. Thank you so much for this revelation! (Jennifer Nov. 26, 2010.)

May Father continue to open the eyes of His people and keep them from the evil delusions. Amen! This is a great addition to JWO site...I agree, it destroys Paul and His Gospel and his false Religion. (Gary Nov. 21, 2010).

It's surprising how many Christians unquestionably accept Paul.... The DID principle is exactly right. How can one know if a vision is genuine? (Robert Nov. 21, 2010).

Wow,  I am amazed it has taken so long to detect this heresy.  I am also amazed that so many "Bible believing" Christians could have writings like Paul's and James together in the same book for so long and not see a contradiction. (Homer Nov. 21, 2010).

I just read your article on "A Paulinist Unwittingly Destroy's Paul's Authority."  As usual you did a masterful job in exposing his error which is the error of so many. I appreciate the work you are doing and I appreciate you keeping me in the loop on these matters. (John Nov. 22, 2010)


Stephen's Critique (November 22, 2010)

[STEPHEN] You have failed to convince me that Paul was not who he said he was, i.e. The Apostle to the Gentiles.  I am reading through your article and will discuss it with you but first a few preliminary comments about some of your statements. I will paste your statements in blue and then respond to it.

As we read his principles, please keep in mind that God-Yahweh spoke from heaven at Jesus' baptism so everyone could hear right at the beginning of Jesus'* ministry. This is identical to how God revealed Moses was His servant. He spoke from Heaven in the hearing of the entire throng of people. So those verifications had numerous eyewitness to the authority that Moses and Jesus would have.

[STEPHEN CONTINUES] I do not believe you can prove by the Scriptures that all the throng of people heard God speak those words. It was a sign to John and it was John's testimony being recorded. The throng of people included Pharisees and enemies of Christ, surely if they heard God speak from heaven would have been different in their attitudes. Your foundational statement here uses as a proof a presumptuous and personal imagining and has not verification from the Scriptures.

[MY REPLY: A voice speaking from heaven means it is heard by all those present. The third-person description of Jesus by Yahweh-Father from Heaven means the address is to the crowd, not Jesus alone solely in His mind, as Stephen suggests in his email critique. Stephen is thus contradicting the self-evident meaning which legitimizes Jesus and does so solely to save Paul. Thus, Stephen would denigrate the proof of Jesus's validity so as to make the meagre and insufficient proof for Paul to be of the same low quality. This proves once again the danger of two masters: you will love the one and hate the other. Here, the love of Paul is so great that Stephen denies the great proof of Jesus's recognition by Yahweh by envisioning it to be as flimsy as Paul's. But Stephen's arguments to assert Jesus's recognition was as flimsy as Paul's relies upon speculation. Stephen assumes we know some present did not repent which, if so, would imply it was solely a mental voice within Jesus's mind and no one else heard the voice. Stephen is clearly speculating to denigrate the high proof actually present that all heard Yahweh's voice. Stephen in particular is speculating that Pharisees were present on this ocassion.  But this is unknown. If we read all of Matthew 3, it is not clear that Jesus's baptism was on the same occasion that John-the-Baptist is quoted addressing the Pharisees. See Matthew 3. END OF RESPONSE on this Point.

[STEPHEN = Stephen now continues quoting me in blue:]

These same points apply to Paul. To say he is in the Bible, and that settles it is to rely upon what? Parton says "invincible ignorance." That is not a faith belief; it is deliberate willingness to believe potentially a lie when God warns you to beware of false prophets. It is as Parton says "hardly sufficient." You have to look at whether Paul is "trustworthy."

[STEPHEN CONTINUES] By your putting forth such a glaring error as a criteria for the truth, i.e.,"the voice of God and all the throng hearing Him, when there is no reason from the Scriptures to suppose such a thing", the supposed authority that you project in your views meets your own judgments and disdain. I certainly cannot find your view "trustworthy."

[MY REPLY: I do not claim any religious authority direct from God. So whether I am credible is not the issue. The issue is whether Paul is credible by even the standard that Paulinists admit. Paul is not credible by the standard put forth by Parton. Attacking me as the messenger who takes Parton and points at Paul is a way to deflect the result. However, it is not a logical refutation of the truth that Parton-the-Paulinist's principles unwittingly destroy Paul's credibility.]

Acts 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. (KJV)

Acts 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. (KJV)

[STEPHEN CONTINUES]. I understand this to mean that the men heard the voice without discerning what the Lord said to Paul. We all have heard voices speaking to another and did know what was said.

[MY REPLY: Stephen directly contradicts the text. Parton above skewered those who "go to absurd lengths" to reconcile two obviously contradictory passages in their purported 'Scriptures' of other faiths. Here, "I understand this" is just the means to offer an unwarranted supposition to resolve the contradiction. The word in Greek for heard is acoustica in both 9:7 and 22:9. Stephen is doing precisely what Parton says proves the falsity of one's faith.]

[STEPHEN CONTINUES] The doubt you throw on this account you may dearly hold but I believe it will be to your own demise. The Acts account is not the only references Paul gives concerning his "seeing the Resurrected Christ." Paul clearly says that the Resurrected Christ was seen of Peter, the 12, 500 or so and "Last of all" himself. I do not believe he is referring to the Damascus road experience as some insist. Paul clearly testifies of further doings with Jesus and that he went to Arabia for 3 years receiving His Gospel by the Revelation "appearing" of Jesus Christ. Surely, having a light "blind" you is not seeing "The Man", as He later testified.

Of course, you will use that in your arsenal against Paul too, taking it as your own, (A blinding light is not seeing the Resurrected Man ),  but it is not yours to trifle with, so please be careful.

[MY REPLY: Why would I suffer demise relying upon the gospels where multiple persons simultaneously see the Resurrected Lord. Not just one person. Paul stands alone that all anyone else saw was LIGHT...and not Christ in the flesh, as He should have had, as Jesus demonstrated to the 12. Stephen's response relies upon presupposing another vision of Jesus in the flesh of which neither Luke nor Paul ever alludes to or states happened.]

But later God affirms all these friends were wrong. Thus, we know Eliphaz was giving a false prophecy of what God said. It was apparently sincere.

[STEPHEN CONTINUES] Here again I think this is your imagination and personal interjections and interpolations. God never said Eliphaz was wrong in this one saying. His over all discernment of God was wrong but God does not single out a portion of what any of them say to declare them "Wrong" in the manner you wish to use it to discredit Paul!

[MY REPLY: God does indeed say all these prior counsels were not from God, telling Job that "who has darkened my council with words without knowledge?" (Job 38:2.)

(8) According as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, And sow trouble, reap the same.

[STEPHEN CONTINUES] Are you really going to declare that false? Is not this a true Biblical principle in your mind?

[MY REPLY: It is untrue that we always reap what we sow. In Job's case, it was not true at all, and that is the point of the story. The main error which is refuted in Job is this common notion you always reap what you sow because Job sowed righteousness and reaped misfortune. In Job 1:1, it says of Job, "that man was perfect and upright." Thus, sometimes misfortune is undeserved, and instead it is God's test of you, as it was in the case of Job. The narrator (Moses FYI) of the book reveals that Job, the "righteous man" suffered as God permitted Satan to test Job because God trusted Job would not sin. FYI - Jesus gives a similar lesson in the fall of the Tower of Saloam, saying their misfortune did not prove they were the worst of sinners.]

[STEPHEN QUOTES ME QUOTING ELIPHAZ IN JOB]

(12) Now a thing was secretly brought to me, And mine ear received a whisper thereof. (13) In thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falleth on men, (14) Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones to shake. (15) Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair of my flesh stood up.

(16) It stood still, but I could not discern the appearance thereof; A form was before mine eyes: There was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, (17)

[STEPHEN] As far as verse 12 through 16, it is merely his personal experience. It has no bearing really on any truth he presents.

[MY REPLY: Yes, it is his personal experience, but the same words are used by Paul in giving his advice about salvation in Philippians and Romans.]

[STEPHEN QUOTES ME QUOTING ELIPHAZ IN JOB]

Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker? (18) Behold, he putteth no trust in his servants; And his angels he chargeth with folly: (19) How much more them that dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before the moth!

[STEPHEN] Are you really going to say he lied? Are you more pure than your maker? Where is the falsehood in Elipaz's statements?

[MY REPLY: As I said, God did put his trust in Job to be faithful, and proved correct for Job never did sin during the test. So the statement from Eliphaz was FALSE! It is the point of the story in large point to refute the teachings of Eliphaz that God supposedly never trusts any of His servants. FYI - later God will trust Moses as His servant.]

[STEPHEN] You can doubt his personal experience, but where in the reference you give is he a LIAR in respects to God's Words?

[MY REPLY: I did not say he was a liar "IN THE REFERENCE" about Eliphaz. I said it was a sincere experience of Eliphaz, just as much as Paul had. Satan is a deceiver. Eliphaz is a dupe. I never said Eliphaz was a LIAR. Rather, Eliphaz was wrong, which is not the same as saying Eliphaz was a liar.]

[STEPHEN] Your assessement is very myopic and shallow. God was declaring them "wrong" in an overall sense in respects to their discernment of God's dealings, not that they were wrong in everything they said.

What you are doing in this case is what I term "Grab Bagging" to make a point. You look for something similar and then make it fit your argument.

All this aside, our days are evil and we certainly need to be settled in the Gospel of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I regret that we are in different camps regarding Paul. I write much about his ministry and the MYSTERY OF THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE, as it was given to Paul as he testifies. How I wish I could transcend your doubts of Paul's election and show you how that Paul was the ending of the Prophecy for Israel and the Messianic promised Kingdom until the fulness of the Gentiles be brought in. Paul was reconciled to God by God's Grace and outside of the prophetic condemnation which was due all that rejected the 12 apostles and their ministries. Paul was damned by Jesus' words. Thus, when Christ DESCENDED FROM HEAVEN to Appear to Paul, it was another dispensation being ushered in. If this Dispensation of Grace had not been a True Revelation then you can throw your Bible away. Why? Because the KINGDOM was to come prophetically in the days of the Apostles. Yet it was not manifested and it has been 2000 years. If Paul's revelation of the Mystery Dispensation of the Grace of God is false, so are the prophecies which were due and "AT HAND" which John, Jesus and the 12 preached.

MY REPLY TO FINAL STATEMENT OF STEPHEN THAT PAUL IS A NEW DISPENSATION

My Personal Appeal To Stephen in an Email (November 23, 2010)

Stephen

All the quibbling you bring to me I would accept if you in the end made Jesus's words and commands the basis of your doctrine. But in the end, you do precisely what is so dangerous. You abandon Christ for Paul. You write:
it was another dispensation being ushered in. If this Dispensation of Grace had not been a True Revelation then you can throw your Bible away. Why? Because the KINGDOM was to come prophetically in the days of the Apostles. Yet it was not manifested and it has been 2000 years. If Paul's revelation of the Mystery Dispensation of the Grace of God is false, so are the prophecies which were due and "AT HAND" which John, Jesus and the 12 preached.
This my dear friend is what places you at odds with Jesus. You are presuming Paul had the way, but the Way Jesus taught you do not follow. Or tell me, do you believe we go to "heaven maimed" or "hell whole"? (Mark 9:42-47)? Do you believe "every tree without fruit goes into the fire," or instead we are saved without adding works to our faith? Matthew 7:19.
Do you believe the person who teaches us to follow the Law is the greatest in the kingdom? (Matt. 5:17-19) Or do you believe this person is a legalist, and dammed?
The path you are on, my dear friend, is not the WAY of Jesus. You have justified cutting off Jesus and you are following a new dispensation from Paul from a Christ who was just a voice and light to Paul -- an unsubstantiated version.
PS The point about Eliphaz is that in Job 38:2, God says these men "darkened" God's counsel by "speaking without knowledge."
The point was not that each principle was always wrong that Eliphaz spoke but that the words are identical to what Paul said among his teaching; they contained sometimes often half-truths which God says 'darkened' His counsel, and were 'words without knowledge." God did not say they were lies; He said they were ignorant words without knowledge / truth. And this is key because Eliphaz claimed a voice spoke to him but which God says in the end -- Job 38:2 -- that Eliphaz spoke without any knowledge. Thus, "reap what you sow" might be an axiom that is a half truth (not always true as clearly was not true in Job's case who was "perfect" and "upright," God Himself tells us). Hence, all these expressions in Eliphaz are repeated uniquely in the writings of Paul, and both Eliphaz and Paul hear a "voice" alone, yet God tells us Eliphaz spoke "without knowledge," and hence without the voice truly being from God. Hence the same is true about Paul.

Stephen's Response Nov. 23, 2010 That We Must Abandon  Jesus' Teachings, & Give Priority to Paul

[STEPHEN] Paul was the present manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles and the change of dispensations is an undiscerned mystery. ... Christ was in Paul and through Paul went to the Gentiles. I'm sorry Doug, but it is you that are at odds with the RESURRECTED CHRIST and the Dispensation of the GRACE OF GOD. You simply do not understand Paul's conversion was in contradistinction to the Covenant given to Israel. Paul was condemned by the Gospel Jesus and Peter preached. Thoroughly condemned! You have no argument with me there. He refused their testimony even persecuting unto the death those of the Kingdom of Israel. However, His election in unconditional Grace could not be expunged and or denied. Christ descended from Heaven and Saved Paul on the Basis of Grace and election and not upon the Kingdom principles or laws which will be re-instituted after the fullness of the elect Gentiles are placed.

[MY REPLY: Uggh! This is what is so infuriating -- people who call on Christ as Lord but who then throw out Jesus's Words so as to accept all the doctrine of Paul. Stephen is not an aberration but his view has become mainstream today. It is known as dispensationalism as a harmonization technique. See "Examples of Paulinism" and "Bultmann on Paul."]