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The quote comes from my 2011 post “Liberal Christianity – An Affirmation.”
Of course St. Paul was a Jew and remained a Jew. But in the process of interpreting Jesus in a mystical way and expounding on a prophetic view of Judaism rather than the narrow ethnocentric view he, and not Jesus, created Christianity and the Church. But he, like Jesus, expected the Kingdom of God to be instaurated very soon and like Jesus would have been appalled that instead of the Kingdom what came was the Church.
Yes, Paul wanted to convert everyone, how is that not also something fundamentalists seek to do?
Paul also said a lot about how celibacy is better than marriage, but marry if you can’t help “burning” for one another, which is about the most positive thing he said about physical marriage. He praised heavenly marriage, of believer to their bridegroom, Christ.
And he predicted that the Lord was coming soon, within the lifetimes of those reading his letters (like some modern day fundamentalist predicting Jesus’ soon coming).
And he damned opponents and berated himself and his own sins, yet also claimed he was equal to the most highly esteemed or chiefest apostles. Such a mixture of self-degradation and self-aggrandizement, as well as all his ups and downs in his letters of threats and curses and praises, sounds exactly like how modern day fundamentalist psychology functions.
I have to agree with you. All your points make sense. After thinking about it, Paul seems to be the equivalent of a modern day conservative TV evangelist. No telecommunications existed in Paul’s day, but he sure traveled all over, as an equivalent to TV. I bet the only people to travel as much as he did in the day, was soldiers fighting wars. I also bet the average person traveled no more than 100 miles. Paul had the equivalent of a private Lear jet, and a frequent flier participant, much like today’s TV evangelists, who don’t just do TV, but also have regular road trips to preach. He seemed typically manipulative in his actions, and speech. Maybe the Acts of Paul and Thecla are just a amplified version of Paul’s attributes (caricature, which is an exaggeration, but with a basis of truth).
Gary, I haven’t seen evidence Paul owned his own ship, and from his account traveling was a lot less comfortable than a private Lear jet. His evangelism and travel are also like some conservatives, but Che and Lenin traveled too.
I didn’t say Paul had his own ship. Although I admit it sounded like I said that. Let’s call it symbolic for known-world traveling. Complaining about traveling, while fund raising in Rome to go to Spain sounds like a typical evangelical scenario. Most Jewish revolutionaries in the day, unlike Che and Lenin, wanted to stay home, and take care of business centered around the temple. It is rather odd, I admit, traveling around the known world, preaching about the soon-coming end of times. Wait a minute, that’s what Fundamentalist TV evangelicals do!
Ed, fundamentalist are fond of saying they were the worst of sinners, but they’re really just following Paul’s example. Within the framework of early Christianity, I don’t myself see a problem with Paul’s claim of equality with the chief apostles. If one of MLK’s contemporary civil rights activist said his ideas were just as important as King’s, I wouldn’t think it especially arrogant.
Regarding early Christianity,
Just as a question, what do you think the readers of the Acts of Paul and Thecla in about 300 AD thought about Paul? It seemed to be a fairly popular text in those days. He came to a town, preached to get people wound up so that they, themselves, got in trouble with authorities, then he left town. You take all the fiction and stories in the Acts of Paul away, and you have Acts. There must be a thread of truth in the Acts of Paul.