Paul’s Gospel Triumphant

When I am with the Jews, I live like a Jew to win Jews. They are ruled by the Law of Moses, and I am not. But I live by the Law to win them. And when I am with people who are not ruled by the Law, I forget about the Law to win them. Of course, I never really forget about the law of God. In fact, I am ruled by the law of Christ. When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can. I do all this for the good news, because I want to share in its blessings. (1 Corinthians 9.20-23)

English: The apostle paul reading by candlelig...
English: The apostle Paul reading by candlelight, with a large open book leaning on a skull, seen from below. Mezzotint (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like a modern politician, Paul adapted himself for his audience that he might win them over to his way of thinking. In this way, he could hide the meat of his teachings that could put him at odds with James and the Netzarim. There are a few occasions that he was summoned before James and Peter to explain himself, the first of which was six years after he began preaching his gospel. In these meetings, Paul always seemed to come out on top. Even so, the mere fact he had to appear before the Elders in Jerusalem shows there was some questions about his teachings.

Paul’s version of the Gospel, for he referred to it as such many times (Romans 2.6, Philippians 1:7, 2 Timothy 2.8), was not in line with the official version that was being preached by the Netzarim. It could be conjectured that only with some reluctance did James finally come up with some compromise that would allow Paul’s converts to continue to number themselves among the Church. What James proposed was Paul’s converts should only obey certain essentials of the Jewish Law and dropped the biggest bone of contention, namely, circumcision entirely. This paved the way for Paul’s converts to be counted among the Church without taking on the burdens of the strict Jewish Laws.

This decision, above all others, would open the floodgates for Paul’s converts to gain in popularity and leave the Netzarim to all but vanish into the dim memory of time. Paul’s message was one of Universal Salvation without the rigorous baggage that the followers of James and Peter held onto.

Paul continued to spread his version of the Gospel which would eventually become the official view of all Christianity, and he did this under the nose of the Netzarim. At one point, it seems that Peter came around to Paul’s way of thinking. However, upon entertaining guests from Jerusalem, Peter changed his mind and went back to the ways of the Netzarim. Where upon, Paul attacked him verbally and called him a coward for not sticking to the new Gospel Paul was preaching (Galatians 2). It is documented in the book of First Peter that Peter called Paul brother and offered him other praises; one could conceive that this was a later alteration of the text when Paul’s Gospel is triumphant.

Around 62 CE, James was killed and left a power vacuum among the Netzarim. At this point, Paul’s brand of Christianity took root and chucked out the original Christian Church. What we are left with today is Paul’s views of Jesus’ life and meaning of his death on the cross. The true message of Jesus is still found in the Bible and some still follow only his teachings, but they are few and far between. But, it is Paul’s Gospel that is preached in every church throughout the world and by Paul’s teachings, Christianity is known.

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