Who Founded the Church
Some people think that Paul, not Jesus, founded the Christian church. After all, thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are attributed to Paul and eleven of those were written before the first gospel was written . In contrast, Jesus did not write a single book of the Bible and the only recorded instance where he transcribed anything occurs in sand and we don’t know its contents .
Additionally, some people think of Jesus as a wise, compassionate and submissive softy. Paul, on the other hand, is often seen as an arrogant, overbearing and demanding leader – far more suited to establish a religion. Even in the first century, people had problems with Paul . After all, he claimed to have apostolic authority even though he wasn’t a disciple, wrote before the gospels were penned, and murdered Christians prior to conversion.
Paul Defends Himself
Therefore, in introducing himself to Titus and his church, Paul vigorously defended his own role to instruct Titus on how to continue his work on the Mediterranean island of Crete:
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior. vv. 1-3, ESV
To Reject Paul Is to Reject Jesus
Paul puts any dispute concerning the origin of his mission to rest. For those who preferred the Torah, Paul called himself, “a servant of God.” For those who preferred Jesus, he called himself, “an apostle of Jesus Christ,” since Christ called him . He was on orders from his Master in everything that he did. Paul did not have some grandiose vision to be the founder of a religion; he was a servant of God sent by Jesus.
Therefore, in Paul’s letters, we read the Lord’s counsel. We cannot reject those parts that are controversial or challenging because Jesus did not say them. For Paul was sent by God and commissioned by Jesus to be a messenger of the gospel.
What do you do with the parts of Paul’s letters that you don’t like – toss them out or ask the Lord to open your eyes?