April 9, 2009
Metanoia and Paul
The Greek term for repentance, metanoia, denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, a fundamental transformation of outlook, of an individual's vision of the world and of her/himself, and a new way of loving others and the Universe. In the words of a second-century text, The Shepherd of Hermas, it implies "great understanding," discernment. It involves, that is, not mere regret of past evil but a recognition by a person of a darkened vision of her/his own condition, in which sin, by separating her/him from Deity, has reduced her/him to a divided, autonomous existence, depriving her/him of both her/his natural glory and freedom. "Repentance," says Basil the Great, "is salvation, but lack of understanding is the death of repentance." Repentance thereby acquires a different dimension to mere dwelling on human sinfulness, and becomes the realization of human insufficiency and limitation. Repentance then should not be accompanied by a paroxysm of guilt but by an awareness of one's estrangement from Deity and one's neighbor.
the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.
Paul asserted that he received the Gospel not from any person, but by a personal revelation of Jesus Christ.[Gal 1] Paul claimed independence from the Jerusalem community (possibly in the Cenacle), but was just as quick to claim agreement with it on the nature and content of the gospel.[Gal 1] What is remarkable about such a conversion is the changes in the thinking that had to take place. He had to change his concept of who the messiah was, particularly the absurdity of accepting a crucifed messiah. Perhaps more challenging was changing his conception of the ethnic superiority of the Jewish people.
Many plots were made against Paul in the last years of his life, especially by Jews who would stir the crowd and excite them when Paul was preaching. He was beaten more than once, and put in prison. He was persecuted in every one of his missionary journeys. He was persecuted because of a “lack of understanding, preconceptions, irritations and provocation.” The message of a risen Christ and Savior was aggravating for Jews as well as many pagan believers. During his first missionary journey, Paul was stoned in the city of Lystra for healing a crippled man. Some Jews dragged him out of the city thinking he was dead but when his disciples came around him, he miraculously got up and went into the city. Paul was also put in prison while he was in Philippi and also in Jerusalem.
In June 2009, Pope Benedict announced excavation results concerning the tomb of Paul at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. The sarcophagus itself was not opened but was examined by means of a probe. It revealed pieces of incense and purple and blue linen as well as small bone fragments. The bone was radiocarbon dated to the 1st to 2nd century. According to the Vatican, this seemed to confirm the tradition of the tomb being Paul's.
The view that Paul's Christ is very different from the historical Jesus has been expounded by Adolf Harnack among many others. Nevertheless, he provides the first written account of what it is to be a Christian and thus of Christian spirituality.
Paul believed that Jesus would return within his lifetime. He expected that Christians who had died in the mean time would be resurrected to share in God's kingdom, and he believed that the saved would be transformed, assuming supernatural bodies.
Paul's teaching about the end of the world is expressed most clearly in his letters to the Christians at Thessalonica. Heavily persecuted, it appears that they had written asking him first about those who had died already, and, secondly, when they should expect the end. He assures them that the dead will rise first and be followed by those left alive.[1 Thes. 4] This suggests an imminence of the end but he is unspecific about times and seasons, and encourages his hearers to expect a delay. The form of the end will be a battle between Jesus and the man of lawlessness[2 Thess. 2] whose conclusion is the triumph of Christ.
Within the New Testament, Paul's conversion experience is discussed in both Paul's own letters and in the book known by the title Acts of the Apostles. In both instances, the conversion experience is described to be miraculous or revelatory in nature. According to both sources, Paul never met Jesus before Jesus's crucifixion and was not a follower of Jesus before the crucifixion; instead he persecuted the early Christians. Although Paul refers to himself as an "Apostle" of Jesus, it is clear that Paul was not one of "The Twelve" disciples. (1 Corinthians 9:1-2). Paul's conversion occurred after Jesus's crucifixion, and the accounts of Paul's conversion experience describe it as miraculous, supernatural, or otherwise revelatory in nature.
Before his conversion, Paul, then known as Saul, was a "zealous" Pharisee who "intensely persecuted" the followers of Jesus. Some scholars argue that Paul was a member of the "Zealot" party. Says Paul in his Epistle to the Galatians (1:13-14):
– 1 Corinthians 15:3–8, KJV: For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
The Conversion of Paul, in spite of his attempts to completely eradicate Christianity, is seen as evidence of the power of Divine Grace, with "no fall so deep that grace cannot descend to it" and "no height so lofty that grace cannot lift the sinner to it." It also demonstrates "God's power to use everything, even the hostile persecutor, to achieve the divine purpose."
The transforming effect of Paul's conversion influenced the clear antithesis he saw "between righteousness based on the law," which he had sought in his former life; and "righteousness based on the death of Christ," which he describes, for example, in the Epistle to the Galatians.
The Bible says that Paul's conversion experience was an encounter with the resurrected Christ. Alternative explanations have been proposed, including sun stroke and seizure. In 1987, D. Landsborough published an article in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, in which he stated that Paul's conversion experience, with the bright light, loss of normal bodily posture, a message of strong religious content, and his subsequent blindness, suggested "an attack of [temporal lobe epilepsy], perhaps ending in a convulsion ... The blindness which followed may have been post-ictal."
This conclusion was challenged in the same journal by James R. Brorson and Kathleen Brewer, who stated that this hypothesis failed to explain why Paul's companions heard a voice (Acts 9:7), saw a light (Acts 22:9), or fell to the ground (Acts 26:14). Furthermore, no lack of awareness of blindness (a characteristic of cortical blindness) was reported in Acts, nor is there any indication of memory loss. Additionally, Paul's blindness remitted in sudden fashion, rather than the gradual resolution typical of post-ictal states, and no mention is made of epileptic convulsions; indeed such convulsions may, in Paul's time, have been interpreted as a sign of demonic influence, unlikely in someone accepted as a religious leader.
There are some important common points in the three accounts:
- Paul persecuted the people of the Way (Acts 9:2; 22:4; 26:10);
- Christ is the one who brought about Paul’s Gentile ministry. It was not a plan of Paul or a task given to him by another. His mission came directly from Christ, just as he commissioned the Eleven in Acts 1:4-8;
- The location of the event: Paul was ‘approaching’(Acts 9:3; 22:6) or ‘travelling to’ (26:12) Damascus.
The purpose of the second account (Acts 22:3-11) is to show that Paul’s eyes become blind for a reason. The cause of Paul’s blindness is not just because of the light he saw: the Greek word for the cause of his blindness is sometimes translated as ‘brightness’ but more often as ‘glory.’ The expression that Paul saw the ‘glory of the light’ indicates that, ‘the Christ revealed to Paul on the Road to Damascus was not just the Christ of post-resurrection appearances, but the Christ exalted at the Father’s right hand. The vision of the exalted Christ rendered Paul sightless.’ This was what is called ‘theophany,’ the appearance of the glory of the Lord, like those to Abraham, Jacob and Moses. In fact, ‘It is a Lucan characteristic to reserve the appearances of the risen Lord specifically – perhaps even exclusively – to the Twelve (see Lk 24 and Acts 1:3-4).’ The description in this second account is also a Lucan way of expressing Paul’s helplessness in the face of divine action: God is irresistible. Prophets attest to this truth; Jeremiah speaks of God’s action upon him as enticement (Jer 20:7). Paul’s Damascus experience turned his life upside down and inside out. The most ferocious enemy of the Church became its most zealous son and missionary.
The differences in the accounts can act as proof that the story was not prepared beforehand, and allow us to have a more or less full picture of everything that took place at the conversion.
"it is easy to grow crazy"
Negative on this..
Isn't that what the new testament is all about?
People telling their stories , their interactions, baring witness, to the life , death, and rebirth,of Jesus?
I have felt that is what the new testament was about..his teachings..and the many witnisses coming forth, for the record, to the best of their ability..to help dispel future rumors that he was a made up character
I mean, that is what a testament is , right, by defanition?
In this case a testament is a promise..a contract if you like. A certain kind of contract known and recognized world wide..in most nations.
In this case a testament is a Last Will and Testament. It is a promise/covenant of a Testator for those to whom He has made a promise. A will and testament only goes into effect with the death of the Testator.
The death of the Testator is the final act which puts a Last Will and Testament into effect.
Another fact and facet of a Will and Testament is that a Testator can change their will as many times as wanted or desired but the will which goes into effect with the death of the testator is their last will and testament.
In this case we have a will and testament made in which the Testator in the Olde Testament changes His Will and Testament or promise to a people and changes to whom he will give his promise. In His first Testament the Testator even tells his people that he will change the Testament ..the promise..the Covenant...the Inheritance if you like.
One important fact to remember ..is that no Testator died under and for the Olde Testament.
I suspect that much of this information's/line of thought is kept from many Believers by their ministers. They are not being properly introduced/taught to the Whole Council of God.
I also suspect that this is being deliberately done by ministers to keep their flocks ignorant of many things...such that their flocks cannot question them and what they are teaching.
Paul is an very interesting person of note in the New Testament.
One interesting facet already discussed by many in this thread is that Paul was in fact persecuting Christians before his conversion.
This is a facet not taken up sufficiently by many who try to debunk Paul and his epistles.
What is of note here is that the Believers knew who Paul was and that he was in fact persecuting the Christians before his conversion. Hence when he comes to them a converted man..they are astonished. Paul is the very last man they would have beleived to be converted. Most certainly the last man they had expected.
There is also another interesting facet to the Apostle Paul. He was prior to his conversion a Pharisee. He was also very highly educated for his day. Obviously a man who could read and write in a time or day when not that many were not educated in this. I suspect that this is one of the reasons he and Luke got along well.
Paul was also very well educated in the Olde Testament..having been well taught by the Learned Elders of the Pharisees. Paul would have known the Olde Testament backwards and forewards.
We often see Paul making references to the Olde Testament in his Epistles. In Galatians Chapter 4 we see Paul making reference to the Olde and New Testament by two brothers..Ishmael and Issac. Not only by the two brothers but also by their mothers...Hagar and Sarah.
In the Book of Hebrews Paul is speaking to Jews or Hebrews. In the Book of Hebrews, Paul therefore uses much more Olde Testament References than he would when speaking to a Gentile audience simply because they (Hebrews) would be better versed in the Olde Testament than would those with a Gentile background.
Paul is appointed as the minister or Apostle to the Gentiles for there were already sufficient numbers of Hebrews to minister or Apostle to the Hebrews. And yet we see Paul often admonishing the Hebrew Apostles themselves for not knowing what had changed with the New Testament. This when Paul admonishes them for separating from the Gentiles when eating. They did not know the fullness of what it meant when the wall of separation and the viel was torn in the temple. What was accomplished on the cross.
That the Testament had been changed by the death of the Testator.
Just some added informations to round out some concepts here about Paul and Jesus..and the New Testament.
April 9, 2009
April 9, 2009
April 9, 2009
He was traveling on a road and was struck donw by a "vision", from what I remeber.
Could've been a seizure.
It was suppose to have changed his entirer outlook on life. So much so, he changed his name and devoted his life to spreading the Gospel.
This is something I somewhat relate to.
Some people say it was actually Saul/Paul that is respeonsible for Christianity becoming the major religion it became.(I personally feel a-lot of Christian slaves to the Romans played the main role,their dignity perpelexed and intrigued their Roman 'Masters'..who then secretly then openly converted)
Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams
April 9, 2009
"at1with0" wrote: It would be interesting to know if there are differences in their teachings. I've never seen anything by Paul that indicates that.
Paul Versus James and Jesus teachings
Paul was disconnecting himself from Judaism and the first Christian Jerusalem church headed by James Jesus' brother while adhering to resurrected gods and Gnostic myths of heaven-descended redeemers that existed in the past. Such as Mirtha etc.
The original Jewish element represented by James (Christ's brother) and Jesus himself , eventually was replaced by Paul's Gentile church.
Judaism could not tolerate the heretical Christian church which had embraced Greek religious notions and this brought in by Paul.
Christianity is a combination of Hellenistic Greek religious motifs with Jewish concepts.
Paul is the real founder of Christianity and the great interpreter of Jesus' mission, brought forth in a way that Jesus himself never did. It was only Paul ideas of how Jesus' life and death fitted into a cosmic scheme of salvation from the creation of Adam to the end of times.
Immediate after Jesus' death and the resurection, the leader of the Jerusalem Church is Jesus' brother James.
In the Gospels, this James does not appear at all as having anything to do with Jesus' mission and his story.
And to ensure this, Jesus' brother James (and his other brothers) are erase from any significant role in the Gospel story. This was a plan to denigrate the early leaders who had been in close contact with Jesus.
Paul had never met Jesus in person.
Paul's doctrine of Jesus is a daring departure from Judaism and the real teachings of Jesus.
The truth is that the Old Testament does not portray Hell or the Underworld (called Sheol in Hebrew) as a fiery place.
There is no mention of a Lake of Fire, or of individuals being bound and tormented (punishments) in the Underworld.
Paul and the early christians of the gentile church of Paul apparently drew upon Greek myths about the Judgement, punishment and resurrection of the dead after a thousand years, as preserved in Plato's writings and many others.
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