The Highway

Jesus vs Paul and the Church

Posted By: Kaylin

Jesus vs Paul and the Church - Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:26 AM

I had a brief conversation the other day with an evangelical Christian with some disturbing (to me) beliefs. I am looking for some sound apologetics to counter-address what I believe is distortion of sound Christian faith.

In a nutshell, he stated that Jesus came for the Jews only, and that Paul was for the church. Further, that much of the Gospel writers were not relevant to the gentile church. He asked me if given the choice, should you follow Jesus or Paul? As if such a question should be asked?

Upon considering the conversation and some things said, and some of our conflicting conclusions arising from his precepts as "Jesus came to create an earthly kingdom, but was rejected" -- that, "Jesus was all about the kingdom, and he was speaking to a Jewish audience, and for Gentiles to think he is talking to them is like "reading someone else's mail".

I can fairly well surmise that the gist of this approach supports a dispensationalist view. I shared my faith belief that the kingdom of heaven is spiritual, not earthly; not earthly 2,000 years ago and not earthly in an earthly coming Messiah in modern day Israel.

I understand that Jesus did expressly seek his kinsmen of Israel, but I don't believe Jesus ever intended on being an earthly king, and had to resort to a "Plan B". I also do not believe that Jesus only chose to save Gentiles after being rejected by his Jewish kinsmen.

In the account of Jesus with the Samaritan woman:
John 4:21-24
Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

I am interested in input from this Reformed forum, as well as insight into the reach and ramification of such teaching. Upon a little Googling I came across this site with some talking points: I think such doctrinal disputes underlie a large divide with serious ramifications.

Thank you
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Jesus vs Paul and the Church - Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:59 PM

1. This view which you have described, albeit briefly, smacks of a "hyper-Dispensationalist" view. I was exposed to this radical view about 40 years ago by an acquaintance who was studying at a school in Grand Rapids which taught this. He insisted that the majority of the NT was for Gentiles and did not pertain to the Jews. And contrariwise, the OT was for the Jews and had no application (with exceptions) to Gentiles. Like the article you linked to, he believed that the content of the Gospel which Jesus and John the Baptist proclaimed was different than the content of the Gospel which Paul proclaimed.

2. Without any reservation, my advice would be to walk away and never look back, i.e., stay away from those who have embraced this unbiblical/heretical teaching.

3. There is no reconciliation necessary to be sought after between Jesus vs Paul. The Scriptures are ONE and there is no contradiction or antithesis in any part of it. The simple answer to such a view is fundamental. God revealed His will for mankind and the entire earth PROGRESSIVELY. All the historical accounts found in the OT are explained in the NT and applied. What Jesus taught was expanded by Paul in detail, e.g, both Jew and Gentile are by nature under the just condemnation and wrath of God. Both Jew and Gentile are saved by Christ via a true living faith in HIM... not simply acknowledging that He was crucified, buried and raised from the dead for the remission of sins. Knowing why the Lord Christ came, what He taught and what He did is certainly important, which are inseparable from HIM as a person. When a person believes upon Christ, again not simply vocalizing a brief description of what He did, that person is united to HIM, and consequently adopted into the Kingdom of God and guaranteed eternal life. The Jewish disciples met with Paul where Paul set for what Christ Himself had taught him and it was the SAME Gospel which the disciples had been taught by Christ... no surprise, right? For there is but ONE Gospel. Abraham was saved by faith and those who lived in the time of Paul and those who are living in our own day are saved exactly the same way as Abraham (Rom 4ff; Gal 3:22-29; et al).
Posted By: Kaylin

Re: Jesus vs Paul and the Church - Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:35 AM

Thank you Pilgrim for your helpful reply. Would you say that at the heart of the opposing view is the heresy of "dual covenant theology" ?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Jesus vs Paul and the Church - Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:13 AM

Originally Posted by Kaylin
Thank you Pilgrim for your helpful reply. Would you say that at the heart of the opposing view is the heresy of "dual covenant theology" ?

I'm not familiar with that particular term. We used to call it simply "hyper-Dispensationalism". giggle
Posted By: Tom

Re: Jesus vs Paul and the Church - Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:23 AM


Like you I was not familiar with the term "hyper covenant theology" either.
The following is what I was able to find.

Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Jesus vs Paul and the Church - Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:09 AM

1. I don't know where you got "hyper covenant theology" from? giggle

2. In the article linked, there is a statement in the very beginning which states: "Most Christian views on the Old Covenant hold that the Old Testament has been superseded or abrogated and replaced with the New Covenant, which is the only one of the biblical covenants that remains valid today." I guess, according to the author of that statement I do not belong to the "Most Christian" category. For, I do not believe that the OT has been "superseded" nor "abrogated" and "replaced" with the New Covenant. I believe, that certain aspects of the Old Covenant were of a temporary nature; signs and shadows which all were fulfilled in Christ and therefore no longer obligatory upon those who are in the New Covenant, e.g., civil laws (although there are valid principles to be gained from them), dietary laws, sacrificial rites and practices, et al. But the ESSENCE of the Old Covenant, which began in the Garden of Eden is one and was repeated throughout the OT in various ways; e.g., Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. That covenant is the Covenant of Grace and is that revealed will of God in regard to the salvation of the elect of God whom the Father and Son covenanted (Covenant of Peace) in eternity to save. The "new" of the New Covenant (Jer 31) does not mean radically different, totally other, but rather Renewed, further revealed in its depth, especially in its spirituality (pertaining to the presence and work of the Holy Spirit) and universality (equally inclusive for all of mankind; male, female, Jew and Gentile alike). One more fundamental and inextricable element of the Old Covenant(s) is the moral basis upon which it/they stand.... God's perfect holiness, i.e., perfect righteousness which all must possess. Thus the Ten Commandments are no less obligatory and binding upon New Covenant believers as they were for Old Covenant believers, including Adam and Eve. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" is no less part of the moral code today as it was when God created man. Idolatry is forbidden, as is the making of any likeness of God or of the three persons of the Godhead whether physically or mentally. The keeping of the Sabbath is equally binding upon New Covenant believers as it was upon Old Covenant believers, which Ex 20:11 (grounded in creation) and Deut 5:15 (grounded in redemption). And of course, that perfect righteousness which all men need was fulfilled in Christ as a means to justification. No one from post-fall Adam to the last man was obligated to keep a law(s) in order to be made right with God. Union with God has always been by grace alone. But the perfect righteousness men must possess, which Christ provides for believers, is no less obligatory and to be expressed in every thought, word and deed. Justification qualifies a sinner for heaven. Sanctification prepares the believer for heaven. Sanctification, the law being more and more conformed to, as it is being conformed to the image of Christ, is a life-long process which is never fully realized on this earth but will be realized at the consummation when all the saints will be glorified. joy
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