Recently I reflected that perhaps St Paul’s letters had inadvertantly contributed to disunity among Christians more than maybe any other source. In short, protestants seem to get their best material from the Epistles. It is like the nucleus of their reformed doctrine, almost like this or that quote from St Paul is taken to the complete exclusion of so much other apparently contradictory material in the Bible! And who can blame them, since they already don’t accept apostolicity vis-a-vis the magesterial Church.
It’s a hard thought to reconcile, because the Bible is all true, and the Word of God.
But, still, I think protestants get most of their objections from epistles. And I don’t like the fact that 1 Romans and 2 Romans are so different. First he says it is Works, then next chapter he says it is Faith. And I think his writing style was one where he got carried away, and wrote emphatically from different points of view, not having carbons to refer to later, and probably not imaginining the future of the Church and the Bible and how that would all get put together like this.
I supppose he was writing to specific communities at specific times, to address their problems. All fine and well, but in the modern era, who can blame mankind for being confused by this? Would we be better off without the Epistles? Ouch.
Ok, maybe this is running the risk of being a criticism on St Paul and the Bible, but I have been troubled by this, and would like some honest reflection on this. I am already aware of the canoncial status of sacred scripture and its inerrant nature. I am looking for serious reflection on this topic all the same.