There is a curious something strange buzzing around the internet lately, that is an assertion Paul the apostle was a false prophet. As minuet as this movement is, it has gained some traction in recent years, therefore worth while to address.
The entire premise of the argument comes from when Jesus said:
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18
Yet we see Paul later writing:
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” – Galations 3:10
The argument is Paul directly contradicts Christ, and as Christians we are to uphold the law… The law in question being the Old Testament laws in the Torah; Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. However this is why context matters. Again we see Christ talking about the law just before he is put up on the the cross:
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The operative word here is ‘fulfilled’. The law, the prophets, and the Psalms all predict Christ and his life. Christ fulfilled his purpose when he resurrected…. In the text we see Jesus speaking in present tense, nothing changes until after the prophecy about him is done.. Which means the people of Judea that he is speaking to were under the law until Christ died, after that happened the new law was established where as we may come to God by grace. Paul is writing after the fact, and all he is doing is clarifying what Jesus himself said so it is in no uncertain terms.
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination – Leviticus 18: 22”
Being one of the most controversial laws in modern times – One might ask can gay people be Christian given what the law says. The answer is of course they can, because the law is fulfilled. Besides the fact it’s not even about gay people anyway. Look at this verse for the way it’s worded, “a man as with a woman” – the law itself is talking about closing a potential loop hole in adultery… say you are married to woman, does it mean it’s ok to cheat on your wife with a man? Leviticus 18, the whole chapter, is detailing specifically all the ways that define adultery, this verse just being one way of about 30 others. While I’m sure many would disagree with my assertion, bear in mind I actually read the KJV for its context and use of grammar, and ignore pastors and theologians. Again context matters, even if the law is fulfilled anyway.
The reason I bring this law up is to illustrate my next point in no uncertain terms to the correct audience.
Many Enemies of Paul
I was reading a book written in 1536 called “Commentary on the Book of Galatians” – by protestant reformer Martin Luther. He said something in the preface that was very interesting, which seems to be as true now as it was in the 1500s. That is, The book of Galatians is one of the most important books in the Bible next only to the story of Christ- as those who are enemies of Jesus will almost certainly argue against this text more then any other book in the Bible. I have tested this point and it is true that you can quote any book in the Bible to a legalist or say an “interfaith” type and they will receive it gladly – but if you quote or even mention Galatians for any reason, suddenly they will tear your head off. (Particularly Galations 3:10-14). I challenge you to test it for yourself if you think Martin or I am kidding.
The reason is, the entire book is about why the law is fulfilled, and Paul explains why the law never mattered anyway – but salvation always came from faith and service to the one true God. Often he pointed to Abraham as an example of one who found favor from God well before Moses was even born to write down the laws – yet we know for a fact Abraham was a righteous man whom made his way to God’s kingdom, never himself following any particular law rather faith alone. Further, Paul asserted Jesus being the only true God’s terms for grace, it is only through him do we find salvation, under the new testament. What this means is Christianity is a religion based on the faith/assumption the only true God sent Jesus so we may go to heaven. We are not a religion based on works or trying to be perfect people- or follow a specific code of conduct. It is rather that works come from the spirit which Christ puts into us when we are saved – which is a very important difference, many find hard to understand. Simply put, you can not legislate love, it comes from the spirit, if one is truly of the spirit.
A great deal of this idea Paul was a false prophet comes to us from a surprising source – Muslims. Yet it’s plain to see legalistic Christians are all to glad to share in the spread of the idea…. Until they find out it’s Muslims who are behind its origin and primary support… What it amounts to is something we expect in our modern times, that is spiritual warfare. The church is constantly hit by propaganda from all directions, even from within itself.
It is worth noting the difference between Christians and Muslims. For starters, Jesus is a minor prophet to them – in fact he means virtually nothing at all. They will only mention him when talking to Christians, but in practice or within their own private circles he’s entirely none existent. However, they also do not preach salvation is through Mohammad either. The core of their doctrine is salvation comes by works of the law of the Moses. Where the Christian says ‘Faith is enough’ the Muslim says ‘Faith is useless by itself to satisfy the law’. So we can see why legalist and Muslims have a lot in common already. Equally, Islam does not recognize Paul at all. The contention they present that Paul is a false prophet, is the assumption Islam is the correct religion and Christians have been deceived away from the law. Now I could go into the Gnostic movement as to what’s wrong with the Muslim religion from its origin and why it differs from christianity, however for our purposes here – it is too much. The summary of it all amounting to, you are either Christian saved by Christ through the faith that he is our redeemer ordained by the only true God, or you are not. If you are not then you are not Christian, period. It is that simple, least anyone preach to you another gospel. This is the fundamental reason why Islam and Christianity are incompatible, and why Paul has always been a controversial figure even among Christian circles.