Paul founded Christianity-how to refute

See title.

If true, then Peter’s conversion of 3000 men on Pentecost, which came before Paul, would be rather awkward to explain.


Ask how the authentic version of Christianity – the one NOT founded by Paul – would differ substantially from the one that was founded by Paul.

What would the real Christianity look like and why did it NOT survive (assuming it didn’t.)

I would suppose, assuming that Jesus is God in both versions, that Paul must then have more power than Jesus to ensure his version won out.

Jesus founded it Himself.

Matt 16:18

Hi, JB!
…I’ve missed your reference…

Here’s how to refute it:

1 And Saul, as yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest,

2 And asked of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

3 And as he went on his journey, it came to pass that he drew nigh to Damascus; and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him.

4 And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

5 Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the goad.

6 And he trembling and astonished, said: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

7 And the Lord said to him: Arise, and go into the city, and there it shall be told thee what thou must do. Now the men who went in company with him, stood amazed, hearing indeed a voice, but seeing no man.

8 And Saul arose from the ground; and when his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. But they leading him by the hands, brought him to Damascus.

9 And he was there three days, without sight, and he did neither eat nor drink.

10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias. And the Lord said to him in a vision: Ananias. And he said: Behold I am here, Lord.

11 And the Lord said to him: Arise, and go into the street that is called Stait, and seek in the house of Judas, one named Saul of Tarsus. For behold he prayeth.

12 (And he saw a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hands upon him, that he might receive his sight.)

13 But Ananias answered: Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints in Jerusalem.

14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that invoke thy name.

15 And the Lord said to him: Go thy way; for this man is to me a vessel of election, to carry my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.

16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house. And laying his hands upon him, he said: Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus hath sent me, he that appeared to thee in the way as thou camest; that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it were scales, and he received his sight; and rising up, he was baptized.

19 And when he had taken meat, he was strengthened. And he was with the disciples that were at Damascus, for some days.

20 And immediately he preached Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

21 And all that heard him, were astonished, and said: Is not this he who persecuted in Jerusalem those that called upon this name: and came hither for that intent, that he might carry them bound to the chief priests? (Acts 9:1-21)

14 So also the Lord ordained that they who preach the gospel, should live by the gospel.

15 But I have used none of these things. Neither have I written these things, that they should be so done unto me: for it is good for me to die, rather than that any man should make my glory void.

16 For if I preach the gospel, it is no glory to me, for a necessity lieth upon me: for woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.

17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation is committed to me:

18 What is my reward then? That preaching the gospel, I may deliver the gospel without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:14-18)

4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Christ, whom we have not preached; or if you receive another Spirit, whom you have not received; or another gospel which you have not received; you might well bear with him.

5 For I suppose that I have done nothing less than the great apostles.

6 For although I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but in all things we have been made manifest to you. (2 Corinthians 11:4-6)

Maran atha!


It’s usually Protestants that make that claim, and it’s purpose is to shove aside Peter’s role in the early Church. If you can ignore Peter, you can ignore the Catholic Church.

To be fair, I’ve only ever heard this claim made by skeptics who are trying to undermine Jesus. They will usually posit that Jesus was some sort of apocalyptic preacher who was executed by the Romans for insurrection—and who was never heard from again—and that St. Paul basically invented Christianity by combining Judaism and a bit of philosophy with mystery religions.

OP, I would recommend you read Brant Pitre’s The Case for Jesus.

You can purchase an autographed version here:, directly from an apostolate which, I believe, is very closely associated with Dr. Pitre.

(Support little Catholic businesses rather than that juggernaut Amazon, who won’t even package your book respectfully. :p)

According to the following two books Paul was the founder of Christianity:

  1. The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity (Harper and Row, 1986) by Hyam Maccoby,

  2. Paul: the Founder of Christianity (Prometheus Books, 2002), by Gerd Lüdemann

Reading Luke & Acts will help.

Jesus founded the Church…long before Saul was “Paul”. Peter the Apostles were quite active …long before Saul was “Paul”.

Saul (Paul) persecuted who? The Church…Christians…those of Christianity…before he became Christian Paul. If he founded Christianity - who was he persecuting?

There are books out there that say all sorts of things.

One does not bother with such unfounded books.

Jesus founded the Church…long before Saul was “Paul”. Peter the Apostles were quite active …long before Saul was “Paul”.

Saul (Paul) persecuted who? The Church…Christians…those of Christianity…before he became Christian Paul.

If he founded Christianity - who was he persecuting??

Yep. Pretty bogus if you ask me.

How do you know that what they say is unfounded if you have not read them?

When one has trusted sources that claim otherwise why is this necessary?

Hyam Maccoby - Tekton Apologetics Ministries

  1. Paul: the Founder of Christianity (Prometheus Books, 2002), by Gerd Lüdemann

New Publication: Gerd Lüdemann: Paul - the Promotor of Christianity
Gerd Lüdemann: The Death of the Biblical God
Gerd Lüdemann, Eyes That See Not: The Pope Looks at Jesus, Polebridge Press, February 2008.
An Embarrassing Misrepresentation. Lüdemann: Review of Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth, in Free Inquiry vol. 27, October/November 2007, 63-64.

I don’t see either one of these guys as having viable arguments.

[FONT=Georgia]If Paul founded Christianity then that would fly in the face of Paul saying that he knew only Christ and Him crucified… [/FONT]

So I would have to ask that if Jesus Himself stated that He would build His Church
(Mt 16:18-19 - upon this rock I will build my Church), would this not be the start of Christianity, with Peter?

Where did I say it was necessary? I don’t remember ever saying it was necessary to read any book. I simply asked how a person can say that the thesis of a book is unfounded if he has not read the book.

You all haven’t heard of Pauline Christianity? Many 20th scholars have written on the teachings of Paul and how they became the foundation of the early Church.

It’s not so much Paul vs Peter, but rather the teachings of Paul vs the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Two very different foci, and we know that many Protestant branches of the Church rely more on the teachings in Paul’s writings than in the Gospels.

I don’t think it’s a new concept. There are some scholars worth reading:

E.P. Sanders and his three primary books, starting with Jesus and Judaism.
Bishop Wright: What Saint Paul Really Said:Was Paul of Tarsus the Real Founder of Christianity?
A.N. Wilson: Paul, the Mind of the Apostle

and on and on. Please don’t dismiss this; it is quite a valid argument. But again, you aren’t arguing for Peter. There are really no Petrine teachings and the teaching is what this is all about.

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