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Peter or Paul?

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Are you following the teachings of  Jesus’s  apostles? We note that out of the 27 books found in the New Testament, 14 books (including the Book of Hebrews as it was thought to be written by Paul) are ascribed to Paul and 2 Books (Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts) ascribed to his companion. More than half of the Christian teachings come from Paul. Paul (known as Paul the Apostle , Saul of Tarsus ) was a Jew who persecuted Christians, on his way to Syria (Damascus) his journey was interrupted when Jesus appeared to him as a blinding light (Acts 9, Acts 22: both accounts contradict one another)  and speaks to Paul, leading Paul to believe and spread the Message.  This should make you ask, a person who in one incident only has received a vision of Jesus, how can he become the leading author and main interpreter of the words of Jesus, while all the other 12 disciples lived, accompanied, learned and were taught by Jesus have little or nothing to say.

Jesus clearly tells Peter (“Cephas” was Peter’s real name, the Greek word for “Peter” means “rock”) :

Matthew 16:18

18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Peter the leading disciple, Jesus’s rock has only two small epistles (New Testament books) to his name 1 and 2 Peter and ironically both books authors are believed to be anonymous :

“Some modern scholars on the basis of a number of features that they consider incompatible with Petrine authenticity, regard the letter as the work of a later Christian writer. Such features include the cultivated Greek in which it is written, difficult to attribute to a Galilean fisherman, together with its use of the Greek Septuagint translation when citing the Old Testament; the similarity in both thought and expression to the Pauline literature; and the allusions to widespread persecution of Christians, which did not occur until at least the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96). In this view the letter would date from the end of the first century or even the beginning of the second, when there is evidence for persecution of Christians in Asia Minor. (The New American Bible, ISBN: 978-0-529-06484-4, Page 1348)”

“Nevertheless, acceptance of 2 Peter into the New Testament canon met with great resistance in the early church. The oldest certain reference to it comes from Origen in the early third century. (The New American Bible, ISBN: 978-0-529-06484-4, Page 1354)”

“Among modern scholars there is wide agreement that 2 Peter is a pseudonymous work, i.e., one written by a later author who attributed it to Peter. (The New American Bible, ISBN: 978-0-529-06484-4, Page 1354)”

With respect to 1 Peter:

Some scholars believe the author was not Peter, but an unknown author writing after Peter’s death. Estimates for the date of composition range from 60 to 112 AD. Most critical scholars are skeptical that the apostle Simon Peter, the fisherman on the Sea of Galilee, actually wrote the epistle, because of the urbane cultured style of the Greek and the lack of any personal detail suggesting contact with the historical Jesus of Nazareth. The letter contains about thirty-five references to the Hebrew Bible, all of which, however, come from the Septuagint translation, an unlikely source for historical Peter the apostle, but appropriate for a Hellenized audience; thus the use of the Septuagint helps define the audience. The Septuagint was a Greek translation that had been created at Alexandria for the use of those Jews who could not easily read the Hebrew and Aramaic of the Tanakh and for proselytes. A historical Jew in Galilee would not have heard Scripture in this form, it is argued.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Petrine_epistles

So we ask again our Christian friends whose understanding have you been following?

To further strengthen our case:

Paul’s understanding of the Law (The commandments of God according to the Bible): 

Galatians 3:10-13  

 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

Romans 3:20

20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Romans 10:9-10

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Contrary to what Paul says, Jesus had always requested the law to be applied:

Matthew 5:17-19

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 23: 1-3

1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.

Furthermore, Paul confronts and calls Peter (Cephas) and James Hypocrites for trying to abide by and teach the Law:

Galatians 2: 11 -21

11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

If Peter (Jesus’ Rock) , James and Barnabas the apostles of Jesus were considered to have gone astray in their teachings by a person who had only one vision of Jesus (Paul)… Whose side would you pick?   According to the Pseudo-Clementines,  there is a debate to show Peter supporting the ongoing validity of the Law against Paul (Disguised as Simon Magus).

For some from among the Gentiles have rejected my lawful preaching and have preferred a lawless and absurd doctrine to the man who is my enemy. And indeed some have attempted, while I am still alive, to distort my words by interpretations of many sorts, as if I taught the dissolution of the law… But that may God forbid ! For to do such a thing means to act contrary to the Law of God which was made to Moses and was confirmed by our Lord in its everlasting continuance. For he said, “The heaven and the earth will pass away, but not one jot or one tittle shall pass away from the Law.” (Letter of Peter to James, 2.3-5)

In a portion of the Homilies Peter attacks Paul:

And if our Jesus appeared to you also and became known in a vision and met you as angry with an enemy [recall: Paul had his vision while still persecuting the Christians: Acts 9], yet he has spoken only through visions and dreams or through external revelations. But can anyone be made competent to teach through a vision? And if your opinion is that that is possible, why then did our teacher spend a whole year with us who were awake? How can we believe you even if he has appeared to you?… But if you were visited by him for the space of an hour and were instructed by him and thereby have become an apostle, then proclaim his words, expound what he has taught, be a friend to his apostles and do not contend with me, who am his confidant; for you have in hostility withstood me, who am a firm rock, the foundation stone of the Church (Homilies 17.19)

In conclusion, I will say Peter, not Paul, is the true authority for understanding the message of Jesus, but since Peter’s (The Rock ) writings are not around, whose teachings are you following ?

Jesus says in the Bible:

Matthew 7:15

Jesus said “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

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