I can just hear many of my readers now: "There he goes again, tearing down my hero Paul". Well it is not my desire to build up or tear down anyone; only to get to the truth behind accounts in the New Testament which have been recorded in such a slanted way as to obscure truth. It is in the spirit of truth and critical historical study that we investigated great time and research to get the bottom of Paul's rebuke of Peter.
This issues at stake in such research affects every non-Jewish believer on this planet. This will become crystal clear if you take the challenge and read the forthcoming articles which will strip away many of the lies and half-truths portrayed in the New Testament. Dear one, whether you know it or not, the New Testament you carry in which you hold beliefs concerning "inerrancy and infallibility" is more truthfully understood to be a Roman religious propagandist document in which religion was used as a political glue to hold the crumbling Roman Empire together in the 2nd through 4th century when the Canon of the New Testament was organized.
James D.G. Dunn, in Jesus, Paul, and the Law, states on page 2 that: "The Antioch incident was a crucial episode in Paul's career. The question was , How crucial?" He goes on to challenge his readers with such questions as:
One of the issues raised by this study was is the changing relationship between Paul and the Jerusalem church before and up to the Antioch incident. Prior to the Antioch incident Paul had been much less independent of Jerusalem than subsequently-hence the somewhat defensive tone of Galatians 1:10-2:10. Without a doubt Galatians 1-2 reflects a transition in Paul's relationship with Jerusalem and Yeshua's Church authorities. What you the reader must understand from the outset is that it is this rejection of Paul and "his gospel" by the Jerusalem Church which plays such an integral part in the overall picture of Paul's theology and its development. The Antioch incident marked a crucial stage in the development of Paul's theology and his separation from the Jerusalem Church. In Galatians Paul is striving to assert his independence from Jerusalem. I challenge you to read Galatians 1-2 with the understanding that those whom Paul opposes and who opposed him were Yeshua's brother James and the elders of the Jerusalem Church. This puts a whole new spin on Paul's self-vindication in his epistles. The inner tension should be noticeable by all. The problem is ascertaining whom the adversaries of Paul actually are. You can understand my amazement when I discovered over the years of my study that the adversaries of Paul of whom he characterizes as "Judaizers" in the New Testament are the very one whom Yeshua walked with and taught for 40 days after his resurrection. To assume these "Judaizers" are wrong and that Paul is "right" makes Yeshua an incompetent who put the wrong men in charge of the Messianic Movement. To assume these "Judaizers" of Jerusalem, James and the Church of Yeshua are "wrong" is incredulous considering these same men had been filled with the "Spirit of Truth" on Pentecost. Surely the true anointing of God did not lead these men into error. James no less is the leader and head of Yeshua's church the mother church for all missionary activity. It seems to me that these men at Jerusalem had it wrong then what does that say about Yeshua's competency in setting these men in authority especially in light of beliefs attached to him that he was resurrected from the dead and believed to be the Messiah of Israel. This is the tension we have. This is the setting we have that confronts our further study: Paul is opposed by James and the church and Paul is opposed to the same. Unfortunately we have only Paul's and Luke's account of the matter in the New Testament. Let it be remembered that this "Luke" was Paul's friend and companion in several of his trips. So if we are to come to the bottom of the matter then everything must be scrutinized for truthfulness. We can take nothing for granted nor shall we.
As we close understand what is at stake here. If James and the Jerusalem Church can be found to be in the right then that means Paul was not observant of the dictates of the Acts 15 Church Council that preceded the Antioch incident. Let us never forget that Acts attests for us in Acts 15:23 that the church wrote letters of their decision and attests these letters were to be sent to the churches in Asia to inform them of the decision. Not only that but verse 28 states that "it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things". Take just a moment to notice that the decision of James and the Church was seen by the Holy Ghost to be "good" and "necessary" for the non-Jewish believer. We need to stop and take notice of such a thing and then ask ourselves: "What things"?
It seems certain things were mandated by God and enforced by Godly representatives for the non-Jewish believer to both observe and keep as part of his inclusion into the Israel of God whereby he received the gift of salvation. The seriousness of the matter is underscored by the fact that these "necessary" and "good" things will not be enforced by Paul to his Gentile churches; in fact Paul is instrumental in casting such things to the ground as if they were not important. This is the whole of the crux of the problem at Antioch. The letters informing of the Jerusalem Church's decision were intended to "strengthen" the Gentile Churches but the information within them had to be implemented among the Gentile converts and Godfearers.Paul would make several serious compromises the majority of which today escape the notice of the casual reader.
In the next articles I will point out each area of contention where Paul directly disobeyed both James, the Church, and the Holy Ghost and literally broke from being submissive to the Jerusalem authority and preached "his own gospel" in defiance of Jerusalem and the Holy Ghost's decision.
This I know is shocking to most because you have grown up with the positive account of Paul in the New Testament. But understand that this view of Paul is biased to say the least and far from the truth concerning this man. If you find the courage to continue reading I will prove, prove to you that the Paul of the New Testament is not a friend of Jerusalem Church let alone Yeshua whom you think he followed. In truth Paul did his own thing and this is what brought him into great contention with the Jerusalem Church and its authorities. Literally he would be summoned to Jerusalem twice to answer charges brought against him in his life; the first at the Acts 15 Council and finally in Acts 21 where he would publicly demonstrate under duress his obeisance to the Torah and complete the Nazarite vow which required of him the offering of blood offerings and sin offerings for atonement .and this 30 years after Yeshua's death. This fact alone should make one wonder what his true beliefs were concerning Yeshua's death being the final sacrifice for sin.
That was a lot to start with ponder what has been said ..and let us continue with the second article in this series. Shalom.