Gentle Reader,

For some reason I cannot complete a study as this site cannot keep up... much like people who skim the "Net" for gossip so below you will find the second part of part 2 in which I explain for those who have "enquiring minds" why Paul -your apostle is a radical, now I have given it all away and you can go back to face book, unless you would like to sit with me and have some Irish cream cheese muffin and some Irish coffee....

Others have suggested that the change in Paul may be traced to a religious experience. He was prone to mental visions, you see, and he experienced a vision of Jesus. It was actually an hallucination created by a conscience burdened with remorse–remorse for treating Christians so mercilessly. Others have suggested that Paul's transformation may be traced to his moralistic fervor. From his youth, Paul was taught to keep the law. He tried. Oh, how he tried! But he could not. On the other hand, Christians seemed to have a righteousness apart from the law. Torn between the two, Paul finally gave in to Christianity on the Damascus Road. Still others have argued that contextual factors produced the change in Paul. The members of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule (history of religions school) maintain that Hellenistic or Jewish cultural factors finally triumphed on the Road to Damascus and Paul converted.

No! hallucinations do not produce a theology anchored in a new creation. The new creation is a pivotal aspect of the Pauline theology; pivotal because Paul felt it. At a real place in history, at a real time in history, a real historical change occurred in Saul of Tarsus because the Lord of the new creation really appeared to him and transformed him. Paul was made a new creation by the very person who brings the new creation to history.

No! moralism and cultural factors do not produce a theology rooted in the dawning of the resurrection-age. The age of resurrection had arrived, right before his eyes. What Paul had formerly dismissed as preposterous because it was to be delayed until the last day of history–that was now a reality in the midst of history. Paul experienced resurrection now! Before the last day, here and now, resurrection appears to him. The Messianic era of life for the dead has begun. And Saul–Saul the Pharisee–who had been dead in trespasses and sins; Saul is seized by the resurrected Jesus and raised up together with him. Paul had experienced the resurrection; on the Damascus Road, he had been raised from death to life. Saul's living death is behind him: the persecution, the blood-letting, the threats, the indictments, the hatred–all these are put to death. Nailed to death; buried to death. Saul the Pharisee dies on the Damascus Road. Jesus puts him to death. And he who is the firstfruits of the dead raises up Saul. He who brings the age of resurrection brings Saul into that age and Saul lives. "When we were dead in transgressions, [God] made us alive together with Christ . . . and raised us up with him . . ."

 

The Servant of the Lord appeared on the Damascus Road. The bond-slave of God breaks forth on the Damascus Road. The one called from his mother's womb; the one named while he was in his mother's belly–this one appears on the Damascus Road, Ebed Yahweh–light to the nations; salvation to the ends of the earth. The Servant of the Lord appears on the Damascus Road and he is salvation to the Gentiles.

 

The servant of Satan walked on the Damascus Road. Bond-slave of the prince of darkness; drudge of the Devil–enthralled with enmity, murder, cursing, bloodshed. Commissioned with the ministry of death.

 

The servant of Satan walked on the Damascus Road and the Servant of the Lord met him and Satan fled. The bond-slave of that dark prince was emancipated. He became indentured to a new lord, to a new master, to a new Dominus. From henceforth, Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, enthralled with joy, peace, love . . .

 

The transformation in servitude is complete–the reversal is reversed. The great eschatological Servant of the Lord transforms this Pharisee to become his servant. From his mother's womb, he has called him; now in the fullness of time (yea, begotten out of due time), he commissions him. The Servant of the Lord sends his servant to the nations–to the Gentiles. And this Pharisee, now become apostle, goes forth as light to the Gentiles. A commission of life and immortality brought to light through his gospel.

I was ask recently by one of my students the difference between James and Paul. To which I responded that one needed to look at who they were addressing in their letters. James to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad , and Paul to the God worshiping pagans. For him, God -worshipers were not pagans but were lacking in the the understanding of what was faith.. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (Rom 14:23 KJV). For Paul it was these neither jew-nor-Gentile, who most needed God’s help, Christ program, and his ministry.

Which explains, 1) Why his pagan readers were able to understand the Jewishness of letters after all they were after all God-Worshipers well versed in Judaism long before they heard of Paul. 2) It also explains the hatred from both the Jewish and Pagan contingents and their opposition to Paul. For Paul was "stealing" the God-worshiping supporters of the synagogues. 3) It explains why Paul would attack the works without faith which is how he would have characterized the God-worshipers and any Jew that would have found them acceptable.

It was these things the concept arose from not democratic values but family values. The same things that Jesus taught and demonstrated, Paul after his Damascus road experience, began to understand what God showed in the Garden of Eden, that we are all family, For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26 KJV) The best example that I can give to to read is in the little book of Philemon. Where Onesimus a little servant runs away from his master Philemon and to Paul where Onesimus becomes a believer and now sent back to his master as a family member. (Read this little book) and you will understand that Jesus and Paul were on the same page. That the Kingdom of God was not sometime in the future but NOW For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26-28 KJV). Equality did not mean everyone getting the same amount, but rather everyone getting what they needed-everyone getting enough.

The first Face (Phase) of Paul was that Paul & Jesus too for that matter was a radical!

Next time we’ll take up another Phase (face) of the Apostle Paul.

 

 

 

 

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