Was Paul the Founder of Christianity?

By: Brian Chilton | May 30, 2017

Skeptics, such as Gerd Ludemann, charged Paul for being the actual founder of Christianity. Such ideas come from either a belief that Jesus never addressed difficult topics, or a belief that Paul was too radical in his teachings for it to have come from Jesus. Both views are inherently wrong. A closer examination of the New Testament reveals that Jesus and Paul are found to be in close alignment in their theological moorings. Evidence suggests that Paul often quoted Jesus in his epistles. Craig Blomberg, in his book The Historical Reliability of the New Testament, reveals six areas where Jesus and Paul’s theology are closely aligned. So was Paul the founder of Christianity? Let’s examine the evidence.

Jesus and Paul express the same views on justification. The kingdom of God is central to the Synoptic Gospels appearing more than 100 times.[1] In contrast, the term only appears a mere 14 times in the letters of Paul. The central theme of Paul’s letters is on justification by faith. However, noting the misunderstanding that the Greco-Roman world would have with the kingdom of God and the close-alignment that Paul’s justification by faith has with the teachings of Jesus, then one begins to see a marvelous parallel. Jesus says four times that a person’s faith has saved, or healed them. For instance, at a dinner one evening, Jesus was approached by a woman who anointed him with expensive oil from an alabaster jar. The Pharisees were critical of Jesus’s allowance of this sinful woman to touch him. After angering the Pharisees by telling the woman that her sins were forgiven, Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 7:50).[2] The Jesus tradition predates the writing of Paul’s epistles, therefore, one can postulate that Paul learned his theology on justification from Jesus.

Continue at: https://bellatorchristi.com/2017/05/30/was-paul-founder-of-christianity/


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