The Apostle Paul, the writer of fourteen books of the twenty-seven in the New Testament, is called sexist, bigoted, homophobic, and more. Many claim Jesus and yet reject the apostle Paul. Many have degraded Paul’s writings as though his writings have no place in the Bible. They set Paul aside despite being an apostle who started and help start churches from Syria to Italy if not Spain also. His words are a foundation to Christian theology. His words make up 1 Corinthians 13 known as the love chapter read at so many weddings. Paul’s words about grace and love are cast aside because he taught submission. However, he is supposedly sexist for revealing God’s birthright for men to be spiritual leaders (1 Tim 2:11–14), and bigoted by showing the depravity of a society that accepts homosexuality (Rom 1:24–27). Some do not prefer the church government presented in Paul’s words (1 Tim 3, Titus 1), because each congregation is autonomously led by elders rather than a single ruling pastor, committees, votes, or a hierarchy of bishops with a Pope. Do you see what is happening here?
If someone rejects Christ’s words given through the Apostle Paul, do they reject Christ? Note that Paul said regarding the Apostles of Christ, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Cor 2:13). This is just as Jesus declared that He would give His words to His Apostles (John 17:8), and those who listened to Him would listen to His Apostles (John 15:20). Jesus also revealed that He would send His Spirit to instruct them in all truth (John 14:26; 16:12–13). Because of this, Paul wrote, “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor 14:37). Should we trust Paul? Paul was converted by Christ (Gal 1:15–17), claimed revelation from Christ (Gal 1:11–12), preached a gospel revealed separately and yet accepted and approved by the other Apostles (Gal 1:18–19, 23; 2:2, 9), and even so that the Apostle Peter was corrected and repented by the Apostle Paul (Gal 2:11).
What are the effects and consequences of not accepting Paul’s writings? Does not accepting Paul’s writings mean not accepting the rest of the writings in the Christian Scriptures? If you do not accept Paul, then you cannot accept the apostle Peter who accepted the writings of Paul as Scripture (2 Pet 3:16), and then one must certainly not accept John who accepted Peter (1 John 1:1–4), and Peter accepted John (2 Pet 1:16–21). Now, those who reject Paul must reject Peter to be consistent. After all, the apostle Peter instructed that mankind submit to the governing authorities, servants submit to masters, and wives submit to husbands (1 Pet 2:13–3:6).
By rejecting Paul’s writings, one would have to reconsider the Gospel of Luke since Luke was with Paul, agreed with Paul, and their agreement is clear in how Paul quoted Luke as Scripture (1 Tim 5:18; cf. Luke 10:7). Setting aside Luke also means setting aside Luke’s book of Acts and the previously written gospel narratives mentioned in Luke 1:1–3. This leaves only two books, James and Jude, from the Christian Scriptures. However, Jude closely resembles 2 Peter 2 even speaking of fulfillment of Peter’s revelation, so that one cannot reasonably accept Jude. James was also an Apostle with Peter, associated with the Twelve, and accepted Paul (Acts 15; Gal 1:18–2:10), so James’ writing would also be dismissed.
The consequences of rejecting Paul’s writings are devastating and pushes a person into a cloudy deism at least. See, rejecting the writings of Paul means rejecting the whole New Testament. With rejecting the New Testament, the consistent person would reject all the words of Jesus found throughout the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation. However, as previously noted, Jesus said that all of the Truth in Christ’s words were given to His Apostles as revealed through His Spirit. With such a position, there goes the apostolic Scriptures and the early Christian faith (Eph 2:20; 3:5).
In the end, this is a character judgment of the sincerity and honesty of Paul and all of the New Testament writers. Can believers dismiss the apostle Paul and by so doing dismiss Christ? Jesus declared, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (John 7:16–17). When dismissing Paul’s words for conflict of one’s own self-realized righteousness? Are people to listen to their own hearts first or God’s Word in the Scriptures? Remember these words. Jesus proclaimed, “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). Jesus said things that people did not accept where crowds stopped following Him (John 6:66). Isaiah presents God’s words, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9). How will rejecting Paul’s words include the definition of love, fruits of the Spirit, and much more devastate virtue in the Christians faith? Can highly esteem opinions stand against Paul’s most profound statements? Should anyone consider personal thoughts higher than God’s thoughts?
By rejecting Jesus’s words given through the Apostles and prophets, then faith is all or nothing for the Scripture. Should people give up prejudices toward the Bible that are based on their personal morality? Should people reinterpret certain scriptural writers to disregard teachings that offend them and others?
True Christian discipleship starts with Christ. True faith consists of essential virtues of humility, meekness, and submission for which the world mocks and scoffs at the thought of such virtues. However, the Apostles taught everyone to submit to God in faith, and thus to submit government, servants to masters, and wives to husbands (1 Pet 2:13–3:6). Humble submission to God is the virtue of true faith that trusts in the God of Jesus Christ. By this, Christians trust God to work things out through His providence. Without sincere humility, there is no real faith, and this is what this discussion is all about. Humble yourself before the words of Christ delivered through His Apostles and prophets, and let no one consider one’s thoughts greater than God and His Son.