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Jesus and St. Paul #44631
09/05/02 11:55 AM
09/05/02 11:55 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 392
W. Fairview PA
Altar Boy Offline OP
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I have been wondering lately about the seeming vast difference between the writings of the sayings of Jesus the Christ and the writings of the epistles of St. Paul.

It seems that whenever I engage in discussion with other Catholics, if I say something which seems unloving to them, I am reminded of the words of the Lord and reminded that Jesus was just all love, kindness, mercy, etc., therefore I am so terribly wrong to make judgmental statements regarding heinous and wicked sinners.

Yet it seems that St. Paul speaks almost in contradiction to the words of Jesus. He speaks of the right of the authorities to punish the wicked for the good of the innocent. He condemns those who will not accept the Gospel message and makes statements like "I wish they would mutilate themselves" in regards to those of the Judaistic "circumcizers". Hardly loving, eh? Yet this, too, is holy writ.

And what are we to say of the Revelation of Jesus to John? WRATH WRATH WRATH, and that coming from the Lamb Himself.

Has the Church gone so far in promoting the words of our Lord that it has forgotten the anger of God against those who rebel against His Christ? Or am I seeing a conflict which really does not exist in the words of Scripture?

Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. I am truly puzzled by this and would like some understanding.

Brother Ed

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44632
09/05/02 12:48 PM
09/05/02 12:48 PM
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spdundas Offline
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Oh boy here we go again with this angry man.

Why are you analyzing the differences between Jesus and St. Paul? Who will you FOLLOW? Jesus? Or St. Paul?

So there, you have an answer of which way YOU should follow (love or judgemental/hate).

SPDundas
Deaf Byzantine

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44633
09/05/02 01:26 PM
09/05/02 01:26 PM
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White Plains, New York, United...
Mor Ephrem Offline
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And yet, SPDundas, both the words of Jesus and of Saint Paul, as recorded in the New Testament, are Holy Scripture.

Hence, it cannot be merely a matter of "Who are you gonna follow?"

It is a matter of "How do we reconcile what seems to be a difference in outlook between Jesus and Paul with the fact that both outlooks are 'canonised' by being part of the Word of God?"

Furthermore, I find that the last statement in parenthesis, implicitly implying that the way of Jesus was love, while the way of Paul was hate, to be repulsive. If it really is hate, then the Church has canonised hate as an acceptable thing by making this sorta stuff Scripture.

Moreover, I find that the line you use to open up this post is hardly indicative of the way of love you apparently desire to follow. "Oh boy here we go again with this angry man"? That's not very nice...

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44634
09/05/02 01:31 PM
09/05/02 01:31 PM
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Falls Church, VA
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StuartK Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Altar Boy:
I have been wondering lately about the seeming vast difference between the writings of the sayings of Jesus the Christ and the writings of the epistles of St. Paul.

It seems that whenever I engage in discussion with other Catholics, if I say something which seems unloving to them, I am reminded of the words of the Lord and reminded that Jesus was just all love, kindness, mercy, etc., therefore I am so terribly wrong to make judgmental statements regarding heinous and wicked sinners.

Yet it seems that St. Paul speaks almost in contradiction to the words of Jesus. He speaks of the right of the authorities to punish the wicked for the good of the innocent. He condemns those who will not accept the Gospel message and makes statements like "I wish they would mutilate themselves" in regards to those of the Judaistic "circumcizers". Hardly loving, eh? Yet this, too, is holy writ.

And what are we to say of the Revelation of Jesus to John? WRATH WRATH WRATH, and that coming from the Lamb Himself.

Has the Church gone so far in promoting the words of our Lord that it has forgotten the anger of God against those who rebel against His Christ? Or am I seeing a conflict which really does not exist in the words of Scripture?

Your thoughts on this would be appreciated. I am truly puzzled by this and would like some understanding.

Brother Ed


I suggtest you pick up a wonderful little book by the Anglican theologian N.T. Wright, called "What Saint Paul Really Said", which places the teachings of Paul in the context of first century Judaism, the Gospels and the early Church. The contradictions are really more the product of your interpretation of Paul than they are of Paul's words themselves.

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44635
09/05/02 03:27 PM
09/05/02 03:27 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
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Texas
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Father Deacon Ed Offline

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Just a brief answer here, one that's terribly incomplete. Paul needs to be interpreted in the context of his historical and social settings, not in the context of today's world. Further, we need to remember that although Jesus is LOVE he is also JUSTICE for they cannot be separated. Paul founded numerous communites and set them on the path of LOVE -- but as problems arose he wrote to correct them. Most of what we have from Paul are his letters of correction! That is, we certainly don't have a full vision of Paul.

On the other hand, consider Paul's Letter to Philimon -- certainly an example of Christian charity and love.

Let's not let the fact that only one side of Paul is seen in Scripture lead us to the wrong conclusions. Let's not take Scripture out of context -- something Brother Ed's former religious affiliation was very good at doing!

Edward, deacon and sinner

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44636
09/05/02 05:34 PM
09/05/02 05:34 PM
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Brother Ed, St. Paul also wrote "in the end there are three things that last: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love." And he also said something to the effect that even if he spoke with the voice of angels and didn't have love, he was just a clanging cymbal. The Apostle John says very clearly and gently, "God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God in him." Those are the words I chose to live by and find my hope in. anamchristi

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44637
09/05/02 11:46 PM
09/05/02 11:46 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 392
W. Fairview PA
Altar Boy Offline OP
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Thank you for your responses.

I ask these questions, not to be contentious, but because I suffer from a terrible case of spiritual myopia. Bluntly put, I can't see everything the way it is supposed to be seen by a Christian. Thus, I ask for help in understanding the numerous things which puzzle/annoy/frustrate me.

Where can I get that book? Light and Life perhaps?

Cordially in Christ,

Brother Ed

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44638
09/06/02 03:28 AM
09/06/02 03:28 AM
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Maximus Offline
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Paul while admirable in many ways, is not my type of Saint. Arguably the first of Christian theologians. Paul firmly established Christian love of the institution of slavery - all men are not created equal and endowed with the God given right of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Slavery the economic driving force of early Christian society - now here's a reason to model our selves off the early Church, that unending Churchie pursuit.

St. Paul ranked among the fathers of the Church is not your St. Theres' (spelling?) dinner guest. He's a union buster and no doubt would have cast his vote against the 8 hour work day. But one thing I'm sure he would be agreeable to the poor working man in, is that he'd be a monday night football fan and soccer fanatic. Miller Genuine Draft I hope.

It stands to reason that the Christian world has since given gentaler saints to the world that have left greater marks of charity on this earth then our esteemed Paul. And that is the matter that should be kept in "context".


Justin

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44639
09/06/02 01:25 PM
09/06/02 01:25 PM
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Falls Church, VA
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StuartK Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Maximus:
Paul while admirable in many ways, is not my type of Saint. Arguably the first of Christian theologians. Paul firmly established Christian love of the institution of slavery - all men are not created equal and endowed with the God given right of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Slavery the economic driving force of early Christian society - now here's a reason to model our selves off the early Church, that unending Churchie pursuit.

St. Paul ranked among the fathers of the Church is not your St. Theres' (spelling?) dinner guest. He's a union buster and no doubt would have cast his vote against the 8 hour work day. But one thing I'm sure he would be agreeable to the poor working man in, is that he'd be a monday night football fan and soccer fanatic. Miller Genuine Draft I hope.

It stands to reason that the Christian world has since given gentaler saints to the world that have left greater marks of charity on this earth then our esteemed Paul. And that is the matter that should be kept in "context".


Justin


Shallow, Justin, and not very perceptive. Go back and re-read what St. Paul actually says, putting aside your late 20th-early 21st century preconceptions about what you THINK he says. A course in ancient history (from a non-Marxist professor) might also be in order.

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44640
09/06/02 02:16 PM
09/06/02 02:16 PM
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Roslyn, WA
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George Blaisdell Offline
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Justin writes:

>>>St. Paul, ranked among the fathers of the Church, is not your St. Theresa's dinner guest...<<<

St Paul, as I who am but a newbe have come to know him, is the kindest, most gentle, caring, instructive and self deprecating Church Father I could imagine... Have you read the St. Chrysostom line by line commentary on each of his books? I really used to think much as you do, and kind of 'blamed' Paul for much that I see wrong in the Church, for Protestant non-spirituality, as an aposite of St. John the Theologian, and all that. [Even resenting his seeming inability to speak a plain sentence without having to go on and on about it!]

But I was wrong, I am happy to report. We know so little of how to read the authors of the Bible from our 2000 year old [and more in theOT] cultural vantage point.

It is said of St. Chrysostom that an urgent and important visitor came to see him while he was writing his commentary on Paul, so when the attendant came to his room, he saw that he was conferring closely with someone and so informed the visitor that His Grace was 'in conference' [that is not the word used]. When he emerged from his room, and received the messenger, the attendant saw that no-one was in the room with him, and asked him who had been with him. And St Chrysostom said that he had been alone. It was then, in the room, that the attendant noticed the icon on the wall of St. Paul, and said that it was this man he had seen standing behind the saint and talking with him.

I almost envy you for having yet to get to discover St. Paul through St. Chrysostom for the first time, Justin. One of the most wonderful things I have found in the world is getting to discover, when I thought something bad of someone, that it was I who was thinking badly... And it was St Chrysostom who did that for me with St. Paul...

geo


"Be not troubling of you the heart..."
Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44641
09/06/02 02:33 PM
09/06/02 02:33 PM
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Brendan Offline
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Care must be taken here in reading St. Paul, as well as in reading the Gospels. We are all too subject to the fundamentally protestant temptation that the scriptures are self-evident in meaning.

On this particular point, we should take great care not to drive a wedge between the "Pauline" epistles and the "non-Pauline" Gospels. As St. Vladimir's Seminary professor Fr. Paul Tarazi has well pointed out using fascinating linguistical analysis among other things, it seems likely that the entire enterprise of the synoptic Gospels was written to preserve the "Pauline" approach to the Christian message (as opposed to the "Jerusalem party" headed by James and sometimes associated with Peter as well). In fact, Fr. Tarazi makes a great case that the entire Gospel of Mark was written with the life of *Paul* in mind -- that is, the "action" in the Gospel of Mark parallels the issues between the Pauline and Jerusalemite churches, and that the sayings of Jesus are collected and organized in a way specifically to support the Pauline interpretation of the Gospel over and against that of the "Jewish Christians" (as Paul explicitly refers to in several of his epistles). In fact, it seems at least possible that the bulk of the NT reflects this struggle between the Pauline and Jerusalemite leadership in the very early church, with the Pauline leadership winning, as we know. So we should be very, very careful indeed before we drive wedges between "Pauline" Christianity and our own, particularly on the basis of the NT, as it appears likely that much of the NT was written precisely to support the Pauline view of Christianity, which has subsequently shaped the view of the church through the ages.

Brendan

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44642
09/06/02 09:00 PM
09/06/02 09:00 PM
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Maximus Offline
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It is said that Jesus Christ the son of God submited himself to humiliation through death on the Cross.

It is also said that the Apostle Peter requisted that he be cruicified up side down because he felt he was not worthy to be crucified in the manner his Lord was. Taking on humiliation in an inverted position as that of his Lord.

St Paul however, with all due respect to him, was a proud Roman (citizen), and at the hour of his death made sure he died with the honor befitting a Roman (citizen). If gentle has any humility? I don't know how Paul can be said to be gentler then Peter.

St Paul is reputiated to have been a former killer - pre conversion. And is said to have returned a runaway slave to his "master" - post conversion. He was educated and so presumably knew how to get his points across in his letters. The tone of which resemble a man of some militant background. He exhorts slaves to "tremble" before their "masters" while carrying out their duties. St Paul tells the slaves to "respect" his "master" because in his theological mussings "all authority" presently then on earth (as now) derived their authority from the Divinity of Christ, to include the authoritarian structure of the institution of slavery.

Slavery until recent times, was an excepted institution through out the world, Christian included. This is an Eastern Christian board so that should be evident to many of the Slavic bloodline people here. Being that the word slave derives from the word Slav - who where so often sold into slavery to the Arabs that *Slavic man* became synominous with eunich (the eastern world typicaly didn't like slaves to retain their family jewels). Slavery was to be found all over the Christian world, Popes of Rome would even have slaves. It was not the Catholic or Orthodox "understanding" of Paul that would bring slavery to and end in the Christian world. It would be primarily a combination of Protestant belief and English military resolve.

So I have to ask myself the question on which side of the line would St Paul have stood regarding the Fugitive Slave Act Law? The Irony of the caution coming my way, is that I believe many of you same people would scream tyranny! If the United States decided to ressurrect by-gone laws that dis-allowed poor white men from voteing in state elections again.

St Paul din't know the yoke of slavery so he had no problem in telling slaves to stay enslaved. He was however a Roman citizen and a former *prize* fighter so he'd be dam*** if he was going to die on the cross.


Justin

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44643
09/06/02 09:22 PM
09/06/02 09:22 PM
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Amadeus Offline
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Maximus:

Welcome back!

But in your haste you might be spouting things hazily?


AmdG

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44644
09/06/02 10:23 PM
09/06/02 10:23 PM
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Maximus Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Amado Guerrero:
Maximus:

Welcome back!

But in your haste you might be spouting things hazily?


AmdG



Thanks!

As to spouting things hazily - perhaps? I'm not infallible so I could be missing things in the picture. Wouldn't be the first time.


Justin

Re: Jesus and St. Paul #44645
09/08/02 12:59 PM
09/08/02 12:59 PM
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Altar Boy Offline OP
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Sorry -- posted a message here which was intended for another thread.

:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

[ 09-08-2002: Message edited by: Altar Boy ]


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