Was Paul a protestant?


#1

I know Paul wasnt a protestant in the true since of the word, since there was not even an established church to protest.

what I’m asking is: why does Paul sound so much like a fundamentalist / baptist / evangelical?? It gets on my nerves. Maybe I just dont understand, but no wonder the baptists love Paul. He sounds like he preaches once saved always saved! not saying he does, but it sure sounds like it. he also says stuff like we have complete freedom in Christ and we’re subject to no one but Christ, etc. In Galatians he chastises them for observing holy days.

Anyone else ever feel like this? Sometimes reading Paul’s stuff can really shake my faith. He seems to contradict Peter and James so much. Oh, and it seems very Protestantesque the way he brags about rebuking Peter “to his face” when he’s wrong about having to be circumsized first. Geez, i mean really, Paul seems like the original Protestant.

Somebody help me out, what am I missing here?


#2

I may not have the complete answer to this one, but I think it’s because of the Protestant preoccupation to Paul. As David Currie noted in his book, “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic”, Protestants seem to start their study on Paul, then work their way back to the Gospels, thus having a Pauline-centric thinking. Catholics start from the Gospels then make our way towards the other New Testament writings. From there we see all of the New Testament in relation to Jesus’ words. Any teaching by Paul must be seen in light of what Jesus said. Protestants seem to see most of their teachings in light of Paul, and the rest of the New Testament revolve around that point then. So there is a difference in emphasis. Currie further noted that Protestants try to evangelize Catholics on the “Roman Road”, or basing it on the Book of Romans. This error, we realize, stems from Luther trying to make Romans teach sola fide, and subsequently Protestantism followed his lead.


#3

The Catholic Context in which it was written!!

I used to hate Hate HATE St. Paul until I understood him. :slight_smile: Yeah, so, he rebuked St. Peter to his face? Didn’t Peter deserve it? He was right. However, and this is my personal interpretation, IF St. Paul IS indeed bragging, then, he paid dearly for that, didn’t he as that is pride and that is a sin. Paul was too much of a Catholic to be a Protestant. He doesn’t say what it looks like, we’ve been too perverted to the text to understand it at face value. We need to look at what the Catholic Church says about his writtings. It’s easy to make him say what we want him to say, but, that’s not what he said. :wink:


#4

If there had not been man like St.Paul christianity would stayed local religion with few members, like judaism.
You are right, St.Paul was regarded as protestant to Judean christians

but if not so, If there had not been man like St.Paul, christianity would stayed local religion with few members, like judaism.


#5

Yes, in parts St. Paul appears as a Protestant but almost always shortly thereafter in the Letter, he balances it out. And yes the bit with Peter is interesting. Did Peter deserve to be rebuked yes, but here is an interesting quote from Paul that indicate why he wouldn’t brag about it from 1 Cor 9:

20 And I became to the Jews, a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: 21 To them that are under the law, as if I were under the law, (whereas myself was not under the law,) that I might gain them that were under the law. To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law, (whereas I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that were without the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. 23 And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof. 24 Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain.

This adresses that Paul himself reacted to the situation at hand and against once saved, always saved. Thanks and God Bless.


#6

[quote=UKcatholicGuy] Oh, and it seems very Protestantesque the way he brags about rebuking Peter “to his face” when he’s wrong about having to be circumsized first. Geez, i mean really, Paul seems like the original Protestant.

Somebody help me out, what am I missing here?
[/quote]

He wasn’t the first to rebuke Peter, “get behind me satan”.
And then Christ goes on to pick him to feed His flock, so rebuking doesn’t mean a thing.
We have internal arguments in every walk of life, some want gay marriage, women priests,abortion, etc;

MAT:16:23:23 Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.
Taken from Douay-Rheims version 1899.


#7

catholicoutlook.com/rpv.php I found this on another post here. I’m finding it freaking hilarious. I think if you read it, you will see what St. Paul said, and how Protestants interpret it. It’s AWEsome!!!:cool: :thumbsup:


#8

where can I find a good Catholic commentary on St Paul’s writings? btw, thanks for the answers so far, please keep em coming!


#9

[quote=adstrinity]catholicoutlook.com/rpv.php I found this on another post here. I’m finding it freaking hilarious. I think if you read it, you will see what St. Paul said, and how Protestants interpret it. It’s AWEsome!!!:cool: :thumbsup:
[/quote]

Yes it is redicilous, if it’s bad it’s tradition, if it’s good it’s teaching, :whistle: ---------:banghead:

By the way adstrinity, your an early bird, isn’t it ony about 6 am over there ? 11 am here at the time of writing ?


#10

[quote=STIOFÁN]Yes it is redicilous, if it’s bad it’s tradition, if it’s good it’s teaching, :whistle: ---------:banghead:

By the way adstrinity, your an early bird, isn’t it ony about 6 am over there ? 11 am here at the time of writing ?
[/quote]

Ummm…it’s 0500, & I plan to go to sleep, soon…:o

As to UKCatholicGuy, I’d start by reading the footnotes in your Bible. Not a great answer, I know, but, it’s a simple start…


#11

UK - It looks like another person shares your concerns…

2 Peter 3:14-16

14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness, 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


#12

The reason Protestants like St. Paul is because he was often ephasizing that we are not justified by the works of the law. But why did he say that so often, and what did he mean by “works of the law”?

First, we need to place ourselves in those days. The majority of the Christians were former Jews. They had been Jews their entire life and all their relatives were Jews. Thus the Jewish religion was deeply ingraned in them - in everything they did - and it was a large part of who they were.

When they converted to Christianity, it just makes sense that they would have been tempted (and even naturally tended to) fall back into the Jewish way of thinking and living. It makes sense that this would have been a big issue in the early Church.

This is what St. Paul was dealing with. That is why he often emphasized that we are not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Christ. The term “works of the law”, basically means the Jewish religion: that is what the term means.

Now, there is a distinction between the “works of the law” and good works. Works of the law is basically an exterior obedience to certain precepts, while good works is “faith working by charity”.

Protestants rarely distinguish between these two kinds of works, which is why they are so confused. They read Paul saying we are justified by faith and not the works of the law - “But knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ… because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”(Gal. 2:16). Then they read James saying “Do you see that we are justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24), and they twist themselves into pretzels trying to reconcile the two.

Their founder, Martin Luther, had the same problem, which is why he eventually rejected the book of James:

*Martin Luther: “Many sweat to reconcile St. Paul and St. James, but in vain” *said Luther. *"‘Faith justifies’ and ‘faith does not justify’ contradict each other flatly. If any one can harmonize them I will give him my doctor’s hood and let him call me a fool". *

So what did Luther do? He called the book of James “an epistle of straw. I do not hold it” he declared*, “to be his writing, and I cannot place it among the capital books”.* “I maintain that some Jew wrote it, who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any.” "We should throw the Epistle of James out of this school [the University of Wittenberg]…

The reason he could not reconcile James and Paul is because he did not realize that Paul was basically talking about the Jewish religion when he spoke of the “works of the law”.

When he spoke negatively about the holy days, he was obviously speaking of the Jewish holy days. Why? Because, as has been said, the new Christians would have been tempted to continue observing those days, since they had done so their entire life. In order to overcome this tendency to fall back into the Jewish religion it was necessary to make a clean break from it. That is why he told them not to observe the Jewish feast days.

continue…


#13

continuation

There was also a movement in those days that tried to combine the Christian religion with the Jewish religion. This is what was happening with the Galatians. They were trying to incorporate the Christian faith with the works of the law. If you keep that in mind when you read Glatians, you will understand what Paul is talking about.

But it is very clear that St. Paul did not believe as the Protestants. While he taught that we are justified by faith, he never taught justification by faith alone. St. Paul understood that Charity (the state of grace) is greater than faith, and is necessary for a person to be justified. He also realized that if a person had faith without Charity, their faith was worthless:

“…and if I should have all faith, so that I could move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:2).

“now there remaineth faith, hope, and charity, these three [theological virtues]; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Cor 1:13:13)

And regarding once saved always saved, let’s look at few verses from Paul himself which refute that teaching:

“I chastise my body and bring it under subjection, lest after I have preached to you, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor 9:27)

“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: of them which fell, severity; but to thee goodness, if thou continue in His goodness, otherwise thou also shall be cut off” (Rom 11:22).

“if we sin willfully after coming to the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for (our) sins” (Heb 10:26).

“I make known unto you, brethre, the gospel which I preached to you, which alwo you have received, and wherein you stand; by which you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, otherwise you have believed in vain” (1 Cor 15:1-2)

There are probably dozens of additional verses that could be quoted, but that is enough to prove that St. Paul did not teach once saved always saved.

[quote=UKCatholicguy]he also says stuff like we have complete freedom in Christ and we’re subject to no one but Christ.
[/quote]

Yes, there is a certain freedom in Christ, but that does not mean we are not subject to people on earth. What it means is that we are spiritually free in Christ. Actually, St. Paul even told slaves to “use” their slavery, by obeying thier master as they would Christ. He did not tell them that they were free, therefore they should leave their master.

In another place St. Paul says: “Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are [in power], are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:1-2)

This shows two things: One is that we must obey those in power (unless of course obedience would be sinful) and it also shows that if we disobey them we will be damned, which again shows that St. Paul did not teach once saved always saved.

So in conclusion, when you read St. Paul simply recognize what he means by “works of the law”. Fortunately, he almost always adds “of the law” when he is speaking about the Jewish religious practices. There are a few times when he does not add “of the law” to the statment, but you can understand what he means when you read the context.

Also, when you read certain books of the Bible it is really helpful to read the entire book at once, rather than a verse here and there. If you read the entire book the context becomes clear; if you jump in in the middle, it is easy to misunderstand what is meant.


#14

I can remember asking my pastor why, if Paul was teaching faith without works, did he write about so many rules that we were to obey. In some parts he tells us to obey the law and respect authorities.In other parts he tells us not to use our freedom to sin. This really confused me, as Paul seems to contradict himself several times. FOr some reason most Prots that I know aren’t concerned with these apparent contradictions. I don’t ever remember getting a satisfactory answer from my pastor. The only way to understand this, is to read the letters completly through in one sitting. Then it begins to make sense that ‘The Law’ Paul is talking about is the Jewish law.


#15

until he came around to God’s way of thinking!


#16

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]was Paul a protestant?
[/quote]

Yes

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]Somebody help me out, what am I missing here?
[/quote]

I think you pretty much got it.

[quote=UKcatholicGuy]I know Paul wasnt a protestant in the true since of the word, since there was not even an established church to protest.
[/quote]

Just what do you mean by that? Of course the church was already established. If you mean Cathoicism was not yet established, I would agree, but I thought Catholics believed Catholicism started from the very beginning, with Jesus establishing the Rock as first Pope.

What are you trying to say?


#17

Adstrinity says:

[

catholicoutlook.com/rpv.php[ I found this on another post here. I’m finding it freaking hilarious. I think if you read it, you will see what St. Paul said, and how Protestants interpret it. It’s AWEsome!!!:cool: :thumbsup:

](“http://catholicoutlook.com/rpv.php")]("http://catholicoutlook.com/rpv.php”)

Hi Ad. Actually I think it’s sad that protestants continue to disregard what the bible actually says. I really like this link you gave, because it is a method I have used when arguing with protestants on other boards. But you know what, I find them stubbornly digging in, and they usually accuse me of “Strawman” arguments, instead of defending their reasoning.

How in the world a protestant could read something like this link you gave and still remain a protestant is way beyond my understanding of human intellect.

Calvin


#18

I don’t think Paul was a Protestant, but I think Protestants identify more with Paul because he wasn’t Peter, KWIM? They can’t discount Peter entirely, obviously, but Peter=Papacy to many Protestants, so they focus on Paul instead. Paul fits very neatly into sola scriptura, whereas Peter more represents the tradition of the Church. Does that make sense?


#19

[quote=adstrinity]I used to hate Hate HATE St. Paul until I understood him. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

I’m quite glad you changed your mind! Paul was sent by Jesus himself! Acts 9:1-31

[quote=adstrinity]Yeah, so, he rebuked St. Peter to his face?
[/quote]

Ever wonder why Jesus would personally recruit someone who would be willing to stand toe-to-toe with Peter? Probably because that is exactly what Peter needed. Paul was a one-man House of Commons. His legacy is the Magna Carta.


#20

Paul was talking to people who thought all they had to do was be good people and so he emphasized the need for faith. On the other hand, James was talking to people who thought all they needed was faith and so he emphasized the need for works.


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