The pillars of the Jerusalem church are continuing their investigation of the teaching of Paul of Tarsus. His statements on abandoning circumcision, the irrelevance of the Jewish law for new Christians, his practice of traveling with women co-workers, and allowing men and women to pray together in public, have long roused our suspicion of his understanding of the faith. Paul has been suspect from the time he insulted Cephas at Antioch and made fun of our vigilance committee by calling them "superapostles." Recently, however, especially serious problems have arisen. On, of all places, the hill of Mars in Athens he went beyond the bounds of true inter-religious dialogue by calling Athenian idol worshippers "religious," and suggesting that the altar to some nameless god was a way of worshipping, the Lord, the creator God of our ancestors, and he capped it off by "baptizing" a quote by some Stoic author named Aratus ("in him we live and move and have our being") and concludes "we are all God’s children!"--even idolaters? Now we have just received a copy of his most inflammatory writing, which he gave to some deacon named Phoebe to carry to Rome. He says that Jesus died for "the ungodly" and goes on "Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all." We have written to Paul and asked him to define more carefully just who are these "all." Later in the same letter he insults traditional teaching by calling Christ, "the end of the law" even though Jesus himself said not a jot or a tittle of the law will pass away. If such opinions are allowed to continue unchecked the simple faithful may be confused and scandalized. John R. Donahue, S.J.

Comments

Anonymous | 10/2/2007 - 1:06pm
Nice going John. The sad reality is the clergy have largely become the Scribes and Pharisees that Jesus railed against. They have diluted the gospel instead ofproclaiming it and have generally made a mess of it. I am sure that Paul had no problem with women preaching the gospel and surely did not prohibit them from reading the gospel. How silly Rome looks in insisting on things that insult the good news of the proclamation.
Anonymous | 9/29/2007 - 10:42am
Though the "pillars of Jerusalem" (John, Cephas (Peter)and James (the Lords brother) had by the Acts 15 council in Jerusalem, understood Paul's unique ministry from Christ, there very well may have been some others whom were as confused as those in the article. This is certainly true of many, may I say most, today in the professing church. What I think is important for these characters in the article to understand is that Paul's gospel was not meant to pervert the kingdom saints; but to be preached to unconverted Jewsand Gentiles as God turned from Israel and concluded her in unbelief with the Gentile nations.