By Scott Tibbs, January 31, 2011
"For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:11-12
Apart from Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul was arguably the greatest saint of the New Testament. He is responsible for writing much of the Scriptures we study today, dealing with topics from sexual immorality to church unity and salvation. He takes an uncompromising stand on matters of doctrine, while commanding that Christians be tolerant of each other on matters of Christian liberty. Authority is woven throughout Paul's writings.
It should not be a surprise, then, that modern Christians hate the Apostle Paul.
The fact that many are dismissing the Apostle Paul in favor of "jesus" illustrates the same divisions that dogged the church at Corinth still endanger the Church today. We aren't of the Apostle Paul, we are of "christ."
Well, of course we are of Christ and not of Paul. But the Apostle Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit to write much of the New Testament. Paul was a Pharisee with a deep and rich knowledge of the Old Testament before Jesus confronted him and converted him on the road to Damascus.
The hatred for the Apostle Paul stems from a hatred for God's Word and the deseire to toss aside the authority of Scripture where we find that authority too constraining. While the Bible demonstrates that certain civil and ceremonial laws governing the Israelites (such as the dietary laws nullified in Acts 10:10-15) are no longer in effect, Paul makes it very clear that we are expected to still obey God's Word on other matters such as sexual purity.
But postmoderns would rather worship a false, fabricated "jesus" that has absolutely nothing to do with the Jesus of the Bible. That fabricated "jesus" in an effeminate wimp who would never dare to drive the money changers out of the temple with a whip or rebuke a generation of vipers. That "jesus" certainly would not expand on Old Testament law by making it an issue of both the heart and body - that lusting after a woman is equivalent to adultery and hatred for someone is equivalent to murder.
If you are a Christian, you should love the Apostle Paul. You should love his obedience in demanding that we obey. You should love his confrontational, sarcastic and harsh tone, and his willingness to call out those who would lead vulnerable souls to destruction. We should love the Apostle Paul because he is such a good example of how we are to follow Jesus Christ.