A New Overview On Paul

Back in January of 2013 I was invited to a big bible prophecy conference in Dallas, Texas, to give three presentations based on my books and research. At that time I really thought I had it all figured out, and my end-times outlook was solidly Dispensational. In the aftermath of the conference, through meeting several key people, I was challenged to examine some very serious accusations regarding the Apostle Paul. A few highly motivated bible scholars had collected evidence that Paul was a false apostle, allegedly mentioned by Jesus in Revelation 2:2. This led to a season of study and prayer as I tried to sort it all out, and I finally offered my personal conclusion in my online series “Jesus and the Law,” which I finished on the last day of 2013.

Part of my deep study into the life and ministry of Paul included diving into the massive book about Paul written by N.T. Wright, which came out in November 2013. I figured that since I had listened to the enemies of Paul it was only fair that I take a look at the work of a serious scholar who supported Paul. The only problem was that the book was 1700 pages long! It took me many months to read it, and I think I finished it while I was visiting China in September of 2014. Yet at the beginning I dove right in, and it did not take long for me to realize how wrong Paul’s detractors were, and how shallow their evidence was, compared to the in-depth treatment given to Paul by Tom Wright.

Hallelujah, the big book on Paul helped to save me from going down the misguided route of Hebrew Roots! Unfortunately this is often a natural route to take from a dispensational mindset. Dispensationalists read the Old Testament prophets literally and try to apply it to today, and it is not a far stretch from that point to read the OT Law literally and try to apply it to today as well. I am not anti-Semitic by any means, and I do love digging into the OT to discover the Hebrew Roots of the New Testament. But I do have a litmus test when it comes to Hebrew Roots teaching: If it points forward to Jesus, then it is good; if it points back to Moses, then it is highly suspect!

N.T. Wright helped me to understand the OT through Paul’s eyes, which kept me from reading the Law literally, and even showed me that the Dispensationalist approach to prophecy was flawed as well. In fact NONE of the New Testament writers read their Bible the way that Dispensationalists teach it today! That’s because the Apostles were using a hermeneutic given to them by Jesus Himself. It’s no longer all about “literal interpretation” because the OT was always looking forward to spiritual realities. This is reflected in my new study of the end times focused on the New Exodus.

In any case, the point of this post is to recommend that everyone, especially American Christians with dispensational backgrounds, take a second look at the way they read their Bibles. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and to question what you have been taught. Don’t be afraid to seek out other perspectives. Maybe even take a look at N.T. Wright’s book on Paul. Or if you don’t have the stamina for 1700 pages, take a look at the new book by Derek Vreeland which condenses Wright’s book down to about 120 pages.

It contains some great insight that will help prepare you to grasp the spiritual depth of the New Exodus!


4 thoughts on “A New Overview On Paul

  1. The walls of dispensationalism are starting to crack. Unfortunately many are misguidedly turning to the Jewish roots movement as an alternative.
    The new Testament is very clear on a few fundamental points. The New Covenant is an everlasting covenant. (Heb 13:20) Jesus has a permanent priesthood. (Heb 7:20, 24)
    Without a change of the priesthood there cannot be a change of the law. (Heb 7:12)
    Jesus died one time for all men for all time.
    The Gospel is the everlasting Gospel. (Rev 14:6)
    God’s Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom.

    God Bless

    Like

  2. Mmm,… I dunno about Paul. I’m not related to any “hebrew root” movement as you call it. What I do know is that I was saved not through the teachings of Paul but the words of Jesus.
    When I was at the lowest point of my life I opened up the four Gospels to find out if and where the truth is. This, they say, is the Son of God. So let’s see what he has to say. And through those pages that man’s life and teachings slowly pulled me out of my misery. I never felt I’m being judged when I read the gospels. Never. And there’s some profound stuff in there if you have the right mindset.

    But when I later decided to read Acts, the letters of Paul and the rest of the apostles I sometimes bumped into things that didn’t feel right. Acts and Paul stood out the most as well as II Peter. I cannot explain it.

    When I read Paul I read the life of a man and his interpretations of what Jesus said. Am I wrong for disagreeing with his ideas? I mean, he has a lot of his own ideologies. Some of it inspired, some of it not so much.

    I never realized how much of a influence he has on our thoughts of Jesus until I started looking and asking around. It seems like many people use the words of Paul like some Bishop or Priest to get to God. Isn’t it called Pauline Christianity?

    But then I find words of all the old prophets simple incredible and what is more amazing is that a lot of what Jesus tried to convey and said publicly could simply be revealed via the law, psalms and prophets. These are the keys he left us to unravel his life.

    Maybe the problem came when we turned the Bible into this holy idol we call – the absolute, infallible word of God. We have one in each Christian home. We pray, we ask for guidance but the Bible is used like a divine oracle, like some Celtic ruins spread out on a table to reveal God’s wish.

    Job is another book that feels wrong. The big moment when God finally comes down to explain life and it’s meaning to Job… he reveals life to be meaningless. That life is nothing except what God wills. Really? And this is supposed to be a story about the rewards of faith? Job as well as Ecclesiastes will murder your faith if you are not careful. I don’t understand what they are doing with the rest of scripture. They are terrible!!

    Anyways. I will follow the words of Jesus the rest of my life but I will not follow the teachings of Paul as a way to Jesus. If I cannot be guided by God and spirit to the truth then I am as lifeless and dead as the Pharisees and Sadducees. And they could never find the truth from scripture alone.

    All the Best

    Like

  3. If the Sabbath the 4th commandment was done away with, then you would have to say the other 9 were done away with too. which makes no since, seeing Jesus says if you love me keep my commandments, so if your going to through the sabbath out then throw out the 9 also. what i cant seem to understand why people have a problem with the sabbath! what about thou shall not kill, steal, you shall have no other gods before me, but the fourth commandment says REMEMBER the sabbath day, Jesus didn’t get rid of the 10 commandment!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s