Are Paul’s Epistles the only basis for Church doctrine?
I found this site while searching paulinism on the web.
“Examples of Paulinism Defended
Here are various defenders that Paul’s Gospel of Grace supplants Jesus’s Gospel of Salvation, and justifies ignoring Jesus’s words or regarding words in Matthew attributed to Jesus as inauthentic.” Quote taken from jesuswordsonly.com
First let me say that the advocates for Paulinism do not consider Jesus words to be “inauthentic” (He did state them); but they do not consider them In establishing “church doctrine”. Why — because they claim Him to be preaching a different gospel. A gospel to Israel, not to the church. The division is deep, because the author of the above quote regards Paul as inauthentic as to doctrine. Both are wrong.
As I have looked into the Paulinian arguments, both for and against, I find both sides of this argument stretching, twisting or overlooking truth. Paulinians have divided, they say rightly divided, the N.T. Scriptures by authorship. They say that Paul’s writings are for the Gentile not the Jew, and that all other writers of the N.T. Scriptures are writing to the Jews, this would include the four gospels and Revelation. Nothing but Paul’s writings are considered by them for church doctrine. So the great commission they say is not for us but for the Jews. They further claim that getting church doctrine from these sources is felonious. In fact one blogger on his site doctrine.org states that even Revelation is just for the Jews. When I pointed out on his blog the message to the seven churches, his answer concerning this was to say that all seven churches were Jewish churches established under the kingdom gospel.
They argue that Jesus’ gospel (the kingdom gospel) was just for the Jew, that He never intended to include Gentiles. He was just offering the kingdom to Jews. They insist that His death, burial and resurrection was hidden and never a part of His message. So when Jesus said “destroy this temple and I will raise it up again in three days”; this was “secrete” code meant only for a future secret Paulinian Gospel which was a different gospel also hidden at that point.
The problem with this thinking is obvious to any open minded teachable student of the Bible. Jesus did not come to offer the kingdom at this time in God’s plan. Was the kingdom coming? — yes He taught the disciples to pray for its coming, and they were to teach the world — every nation (not just Israel) what they had been taught.
Was Jesus purpose clear in His message to the Pharisees and His disciples? You must be the Judge, but there is evidence. Listen:
John 9:39-40 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”
Jesus goes on speaking to these men to further explain His purpose for coming in the parable of the Good Shepherd. Again listen:
John 10:8-9, 11, 14, 16-19 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words.
This was Jesus stated purpose to the Jews for coming, and they became divided over this teaching. So what did He tell them? “If anyone enters through me he will be saved”. He says that His sheep know Him, and that He has “other sheep that are not of this fold”. Who are His sheep that know Him? And who are the “other sheep that are not of this fold”. In other words who are these others who are not of these Jews who will both know Him, and those who are those will not, following this division that he has just prophesied. And sure enough in verse 19 the division already was occurring. Those who claim to see but who refused to see truth were blinded for their unbelief.
The problem is — if Paul’s writings are not also included in our study, and if they are not rightly divided we cannot know all truth on this subject. Paul makes it clear in Romans chapters 9,10 &. 11 that this division among the Jews occurred over Jesus and (who He is and what He did). The remnant he says continued in the Olive tree while others (unbelievers) were cut off to make room for us Gentiles. We the grafted in unnatural branches are the “other sheep that are not of this fold”. Without putting these scriptures together (“rightly dividing”) we would not understand God’s plan to save all that enter the sheepfold through Jesus.
The fact that Jesus was teaching the same gospel — His death and resurrection is clearly stated in His parable of the sheep, the fact that He came into this world for Judgment as He said above is clear. Branches are broken off for their unbelief, unnatural branches are added for their belief. The fact that even Paul teaches that the Gentiles to whom he is sent are added to what already existed from the Jews, who believed, is proof that he, Paul, did not believe that he was establishing something new and heretofore hidden.
But Paul’s teachings and confirmation of the one true gospel also makes those to be in error who oppose Paul because of the Paulinian doctrine which is obviously confused.
Both sides claim the other to be false, but this claim on each side is caused by their understanding of both Jesus’ and Paul’s teachings which are not true to the whole cloth of either of their teachings. Jesus teachings, of course, should not be considered for another dispensation and therefore they are for the church, and Paul’s teachings should not be claimed to be erroneous just because some use him to teach a twisted version of scripture. To say that Jew and Gentile is ONLY “one” within the confines of a hidden mysterious church goes against what Jesus taught. Is the church a mystery, of course it is. Scripture tells us it is. But the mystery is revealed to be one sheepfold, one olive tree, one body, one bride. When the bride is revealed coming down out of heaven there is represented both the Jew “Israel” in the twelve gates to the new Jerusalem, and the church in the twelve foundation stones representing the Apostles. This is the bride, one new man. The foundation and the entrance are both Jewish.
Was the church a mystery? — yes but Jesus was aware of the Church and of its mystery, remember He is the word of God. Did the disciples have any knowledge of the concept of the church? — of course, the Greek Septuagint (O.T.) the only scripture of the day recorded more times the word Jesus and Paul used for “church” than does the New Testament. The mystery of the church that Paul revealed was that you and I Gentiles were now included in this church body as one with the saints. The book of Ephesians is dedicated to this oneness. In Him we are elect. In this Jewish Messiah – the Christ.
Seeing this oneness makes all scripture profitable as Paul says for correcting us and teaching us. Here is what he says:
2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
Paul taught that what Jesus said is to be used yes even for our righteousness. The Paulinians say no — “no you cannot use what Jesus says only Paul knows what makes us righteous”. His grace gospel they say is the truth for the church. Paul obviously did not believe that when he penned the above words. But the Paulinian’s claim is made to be false when you consider that Peter laid claim to be the first to go to the Gentiles with the gospel.
Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. (KJV)
As always you be the judge.