"The Spirit of the Apostles is not a guide equal or greater than the Lord, thus Paul within his letters does not have as much authority as has Christ." (Carlstadt, Canonicis Scripturis (1520))

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Paul and the Rebellion of Korah

In the book of Numbers, we read Korah told Moses that Moses should no longer be followed in the community:

16 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram , sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent[a] 2 and rose up against Moses.With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council.3 They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy,every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”  (Number 16:1 NIV.)

This is known as the Rebellion of Korah. Moses replied, declaring that they are "against Yahweh." (Numbers 16:11.)

Korah and this group were vying for control, evidently. Their reasoning was that since everyone was now holy, and Yahweh is "with" the people, they no longer need Moses to guide them.

Hence, Korah's rebellion was trying to take away the influence of Moses over the people.

Some have equated Paul to Moses in this story, and claim if we take away the influence of Paul, we are equivalent to followers of Korah. ("Anti-Paulinism and the Rebellion of Korah.")

However, the opposite is true. The reason I wish to take away the influence of Paul is precisely because Paul is the equivalent of Korah. Paul wishes to say the people are righteous without following Moses' inspired guidance, i.e., salvation is by atonement of the blood that God accepts which was effective only upon repentance from sin (Ex 20:6 "I  extend grace / mercy to those who love me and who obey my commandments" -- quoted within Ten Commandments).

Paul wishes and does take away the influence of Moses, pointing to faith alone without the necessity of repentance from sin-toward-obedience for salvation. In doing so, the influence of Jesus is loosened. For Jesus insisted those who teach what Moses teaches are the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (KOH), and those who teach us to loosen the Law given Moses are to be called "least" by those in the KOH.

Jesus said:

17 `Do not suppose that I came to throw down the Law or the Prophets -- I did not come to throw down, but to fulfill;

18 for, verily I say to you, till that the heaven and the earth may pass away, one iota or one tittle may not pass away from the Law, till that all may come to pass.

19 `Whoever therefore may loose one of these commands -- the least -- and may teach men so, least he shall be called in the reign of the heavens, but whoever may do and may teach [them], he shall be called great in the reign of the heavens. (Matt 5:17-19 YLT)

Similarly, those who reject Moses' inspired commandments are said by the Prophet Isaiah to be without light:

[Compare teachers] [t]o the Law and the Testimony [i.e., the Ten Commandments] [and], if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20).

We so-called "Anti-Paulinists" are actually pro-Jesus who in turn condemns as the "least" anyone who teaches to loosen Moses' inspired guidance.

Is it a coincidence then that "least" happens to be the meaning of Paul's name -- "Paulos"? The word "Paulos" in Greek is a transliteration of Paul's Latin name "Paulus" which Paul had to have as a Roman citizen. Then "Paulus" in Latin is a short form of the name "Pauxillulus" which means "least." See "Paul the Least" at our site.

And Paul's Korah-like view against tolerating further the 'guidance of Moses' is on display throughout the New Testament. Paul says the Law is abolished, abrogated, a shadow of things to come, loosed, loosed over Jews (Romans 7:1-17), a light on Moses' face which now is "done away with," given by angels who are no gods (Gal. 4:1-11, 20-31), etc. See our chapter Five in JWO.

So those who believe Paul is leading us into a Korah-like rebellion from Moses' inspired guidance can never be guilty of the Rebellion of Korah. Only those following Paul's guidance away from the Law given Moses can be guilty of the Rebellion of Korah.

Thus, those who take the view that so-called "Anti-Paulinists" are guilty of this sin are themselves the pot trying to call the kettle black, as the expression goes. They are following Paul who is virtually identical to Korah who led his own party against Moses' authority. Paul is the equivalent of the leader of the Rebellion of Korah.

A Small Note on 2d Peter

The author of "Anti-Paulinists and the Rebellion of Korah" claims that so-called Anti-Paulinists want 2d Peter removed from canon. As I have said, I love 2d Peter. I wish I honestly could insist it is canon. The author errs. Instead, it is Paulinists who want 2d Peter removed -- for Calvin said its criticism of Paul as "hard to understand" proves Apostle Peter could not have written that work. Calvin wanted believers to treat 2d Peter as non-canonical because 2d Peter attacks Paul!

Calvin also knew as I do that the reference to "twisting Paul as other scripture" did not mean to imply Paul was holy scripture. In 2d Peter, the word at issue is "writings" not "holy writings." Only the latter is how one could refer to fully inspired writings = the Law and Prophets, and how Paul elsewhere referred to inspired OT writ. See 2d Peter & Its Reference to Paul as Scripture.

In fact, in that era, the third section of the Bible was reserved for works believed to be not fully inspired or not yet known whether they were inspired at all such as Daniel (which was kept outside the "Prophets" section by Jews who did not yet see any fulfilled prophecies up to Christ's era). This "Writings" section translates as "scripture" in Greek. ("Writings Section of the Original Bible.") To put Paul in a third category of 'scripture' implied at best Paul sometimes was inspired and sometimes not.  It also was the term to refer to uninspired writings.

Thus, 2d Peter left only Jesus to be on par with Moses or the Prophets sections. Finally, the rest of 2d Peter is an extensive put down on Paul (a) by calling him a mere brother and not an apostle and (b) for Paul's difficult to "understand" words being construed to support Lawless doctrine, thereby causing many to fall from their "steadfastness in Christ." For my extensive discussion on this topic, see "2d Peter and Its Reference to Paul as Scripture."

Paulinists Are Showing Their Anxiety

The author of the above-referenced "Anti-Paulinism and the Rebellion of Korah" claims that those who do not accept Paul as an inspired voice suffer from an "ideology" and are like a "disease" among Christianity:

Anti-Paulism is an ideology that rejects the Apostle Paul as an apostle of Messiah Yeshua. Anti-Paulism is like a disease. It is easily spread from one person to another, especially among those who have not studied the issues for themselves.

The intent of the author is to label Paul detractors as part of something called "Anti-Paulism," and as dangerous to Christianity, like a deadly disease among Christians. However, Wikipedia defines ideology as follows:

An ideology is a set of ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations, and actions.

But how is my applying Deut. 13:1-5 on the definition of a false prophet to Paul reflective of any ideology? God tells us in Deut. 13:1-5 not to listen to any prophet who leads you away from the Law. I apply this to Paul. How does this reflect any kind of ideology? I am simply applying a verse that presumably the Bereans applied to Paul, and found he passed, but which if we apply the verse today to all of Paul's writings available at this juncture, Paul no longer passes the test.

Thus, I have no ideology in doing this. But look at the Paulinist. He has a theological system that hinges completely on Paul - a true ideology. And they know it. And they are sweating that their system will crumble by enough Christians simply applying one passage -- Deut. 13:1-5, and realizing Jesus alone is the source of doctrine in the NT era.

So the kettle again is trying to call the kettle black to deflect attention that Paulinism is a true ideology -- and a very strong one. Anti-Paulism does not exist as an ideology. It is simply a Berean-like testing of Paul's authority based upon Bible verses which beg to be applied to Paul.

When I read arguments like those in Anti-Paulism and the Rebellion of Korah, I can see the Paulinists are beginning to sweat. They cannot defend against Deut. 13:1-5, and thus try to imply to the untrained that applying that verse and thereby excluding Paul from the Bible means you have to adopt a whole different world view from 'normal' Christians. Nope! You just follow Christ. You don't listen to Paul. That simple.

There is no secret club. No doctrinal statement one must bow to accept. You just follow our Lord Jesus. And unlike Paul's "difficult to understand words," Jesus' words unencumbered by attention to Paul involve an "easy yoke," as Jesus said. You don't need any seminary training to read Jesus' words. You can study on your own with help of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus promises you will be just fine.

Doug (Sept. 8, 2012)