In Christ or Paul?, by Rev. V.A. Holmes-Gore:
"Let the reader
contrast the true Christian standard with that of Paul and he will
see the terrible betrayal of all that the Master taught. . . . For the
surest way to betray a great Teacher is to misrepresent his message. . . . That
is what Paul and his followers did, and because the Church has followed
Paul in his error it has failed lamentably to redeem the world. . . . The
teachings given by the blessed Master Christ, which the disciples
John and Peter and James, the brother of the Master, tried in vain
to defend and preserve intact were as utterly opposed to the Pauline
Gospel as the light is opposed to the darkness."
The great theologian Soren Kierkegaard, in The Journals:
"In the teachings
of Christ, religion is completely present tense: Jesus is the prototype
and our task is to imitate him, become a disciple. But then through
Paul came a basic alteration. Paul draws attention away from imitating
Christ and fixes attention on the death of Christ The Atoner. What
Martin Luther, in his reformation, failed to realize is that even
before Catholicism, Christianity had become degenerate at the hands
of Paul. Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ.
Paul threw the Christianity of Christ away, completely turning it
upside down, making it just the opposite of the original proclamation
The brilliant theologian Ernest Renan, in his book Saint Paul:
which will last forever, comes from the gospel words of Christ not
from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul have been a danger
and a hidden rock, the causes of the principal defects of Christian
Will Durant, in his Caesar and Christ:
a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in
the words of Christ. . . . Through these interpretations Paul could neglect
the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known. . . . Paul
replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic
Robert Frost, winner of the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1924,1931,1937
and 1943, in his "A Masque of Mercy":
"Paul he's in
the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out
of Christianity. Look out for him."
James Baldwin, the most noted black American author of this century,
in his book The Fire Next Time:
"The real architect
of the Christian church was not the disreputable, sunbaked Hebrew
(Jesus Christ) who gave it its name but rather the mercilessly fanatical
and self-righteous Paul."
Martin Buber, the most respected Jewish philosopher of this century,
in Two Types of Faith:
"The Jesus of
the Sermon on the Mount is completely opposed to Paul."
The famous mystic, poet and author, Kahlil Gibran, in Jesus the Son
"This Paul is
indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. He speaks
not of Jesus nor does he repeat His Words. He would strike with his
own hammer upon the anvil in the Name of One whom he does not know."
The famous theologian, Helmut Koester, in his The Theological Aspects
of Primitive Christian Heresy:
stands in the twilight zone of heresy. In reading Paul, one immediately
encounters a major difficulty. Whatever Jesus had preached did not
become the content of the missionary proclamation of Paul. . . . Sayings
of Jesus do not play a role in Paul 's understanding of the event
of salvation. . . . Paul did not care at all what Jesus had said. . . . Had
Paul been completely successful very little of the sayings of Jesus
would have survived."
Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and author of
the Declaration of Independence in his "Letter to William Short":
"Paul was the
first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus."
Renowned English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, in his Not Paul But
"It rests with
every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle within himself
to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul, he will
The eminent theologian Ferdinand Christian Baur, in his Church History
of the First Three Centuries:
"What kind of
authority can there be for an 'apostle' who, unlike the other apostles,
had never been prepared for the apostolic office in Jesus' own school
but had only later dared to claim the apostolic office on the basis
on his own authority? The only question comes to be how the apostle
Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical
facts of the life of Jesus. . . . He bears himself but little like a disciple
who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches
from the Master whose name he bears."
The great Mahatma Gandhi, the prophet of nonviolence who won freedom
from England for India in an essay titled "Discussion on Fellowship":
"I draw a great
distinction between the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus and the Letters
of Paul. Paul's Letters are a graft on Christ's teachings, Paul's
own gloss apart from Christ's own experience."
Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, in his essay "A Psychological
Approach to Dogma":
name before his conversion] fanatical resistance to Christianity. . . . was
never entirely overcome. It is frankly disappointing to see how Paul
hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in."
George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925;
in his Androcles and the Lion:
"There is not
one word of Pauline Christianity in the characteristic utterances
of Jesus. . . . There has really never been a more monstrous imposition
perpetrated than the imposition of Paul's soul upon the soul of Jesus. . . . It
is now easy to understand how the Christianity of Jesus. . . . was suppressed
by the police and the Church, while Paulinism overran the whole western
civilized world, which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was
adopted by it as its official faith."
Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, called "one
of the greatest Christians of his time," philosopher, physician,
musician, clergyman, missionary, and theologian in his The Quest
for the Historical Jesus and his Mysticism of Paul:
"Paul. . . . did
not desire to know Christ. . . . Paul shows us with what complete indifference
the earthly life of Jesus was regarded. . . . What is the significance
for our faith and for our religious life, the fact that the Gospel
of Paul is different from the Gospel of Jesus?. . . . The attitude which
Paul himself takes up towards the Gospel of Jesus is that he does
not repeat it in the words of Jesus, and does not appeal to its authority. . . . The
fateful thing is that the Greek, the Catholic, and the Protestant
theologies all contain the Gospel of Paul in a form which does not
continue the Gospel of Jesus, but displaces it."
William Wrede, in his excellent book, Paul:
contradictions in the three accounts given by Paul in regard to his
conversion are enough to arouse distrust. . . . The moral majesty of Jesus,
his purity and piety, his ministry among his people, his manner as
a prophet, the whole concrete ethical-religious content of his earthly
life, signifies for Paul's Christology nothing whatever. . . . The name
'disciple of Jesus' has little applicability to Paul. . . . Jesus or Paul:
this alternative characterizes, at least in part, the religious and
theological warfare of the present day"
Rudolf Bultman, one of the most respected theologians of this century,
in his Significance of the Historical Jesus for the Theology of Paul:
"It is most obvious
that Paul does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his. . . . views.
when the essentially Pauline conceptions are considered, it is clear
that Paul is not dependent on Jesus. Jesus' teaching is -- to all
intents and purposes -- irrelevant for Paul."
Walter Bauer, another eminent theologian, in his Orthodoxy and Heresy
in Earliest Christianity:
"If one may be
allowed to speak rather pointedly the Apostle Paul was the only Arch-Heretic
known to the apostolic age."
H.L. Mencken, called one of the most influential American writers of the first half of the 20th century, in his Notes on Democracy:
"Is it argued by any rational man that the debased Christianity cherished by
the mob in all the Christian countries of today, has any colourable likeness
to the body of ideas preached by Christ?
"The plain fact is that this bogus Christianity has no more relation to the
system of Christ than it has to Aristotle. It is the invention of Paul and
his attendant rabble-rousers--a body of men exactly comparable to the corps
of evangelical pastors of today, which is to say, a body devoid of sense and
lamentably indifferent to common honesty. The mob, having heard Christ,
turned against Him. His theological ideas were too logical and plausible for
it, and His ethical ideas were enormously too austere. What it yearned for
was the old comfortable balderdash under a new and gaudy name, and that is
prescisely what Paul offered it. He borrowed from all the wandering
dervishes and body-snatchers of Asia Minor, and flavoured the stew with
remnants of Greek demonology. The result was a code of doctrines so
discordant and so nonsensical that no two men since, examining it at length,
have ever agreed upon its prescise meaning. Paul remains the arch theologian
of the mob. His turgid and witless metaphysics make Christianity bearable to
men who would otherwise be repelled by Christ's simple and magnificent
reduction of the duties of man to the duties of a gentle-man."
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