From Jesus to Paul

Barrie Wilson

I blog about what interests me for that day.  I have always been interested in the Bible stories about Jesus.

As a child I believed the stories in the Gospels to be as written. According to Barrie Wilson, I should not continue to do that since none of the four N.T. gospels were written by eye witnesses who knew Jesus during his lifetime.  (I think this is not disputed by scholars.)

So, when Wilson “winnowed” the gospels of the N. T., he selected the Sermon on the Mount, the parables, and the preaching of the Kingdom of God as being of value,  and tossed out as chaff any thing that looked mythological and miraculous.

But I do not regard mythological and miraculous events in the gospels as  worthless chaff.  I am free from the burden of literalism that makes me accept whatever is written, and liberalism that throws away everything that my good sense tells me is not likely to have happened as written.

There is the unlikely story of Jesus walking on the stormy waters of the sea of Galilee.  At first the disciples feared because they thought they were seeing a ghost.  When Jesus identified himself, Peter began to believe.  He called to Jesus, if it is really you bid me come to you on the water.  Jesus said, Come. Peter’s belief evolved to faith, and he got of the boat and walked on the water to go to Jesus.  But when he looked about him and saw the turbulent water, his faith shrank and he began to sink.  Jesus pulled him to has feet and together they walked on the water to go to the boat.

From this unlikely event, I learn that faith in Jesus will lead us to do what the world judges to be impossible and foolish; lay aside all weapons and face enemies in prayer, bless them, and give to them food, clothing, and other necessities of life. That is the way for faith and love to win over terrorists. This nation at the behest of many Christians of little faith has chosen the wrong way to win over wrong.

From Wilson’s winnowing, Jesus emerges as a follower of the Torah who subtly proclaims a compassionate, passionate, and forgiving lifestyle that was revolutionary, but non-violent, and mandatory for those seeking membership in the new world order that he preached.

According to Wilson, the Sadducees of the Jews and the Romans connived and crucified Jesus. In the end Jesus felt that God had forsaken him.  The Sadducees and the Romans hoped that was the end of Jesus, but there arose a movement which believed that he had resurrected, ascended, and would return.

Wilson enumerated the members of this movement. The leader was James, the brother of Jesus.  Other members were the disciples, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and other eyewitnesses. They worshipped in the temple, kept the Torah, and insisted that any Gentile who joined them must become a Jew first through circumcision.  This group was a sect of the Jews, not known as Christians.

According to Barrie Wilson, this early Jesus movement came to an end under the influence of Paul.  In a later blog I will consider how he winnows Paul and his epistles.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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1 Response to From Jesus to Paul

  1. Elizabeth Kelsey says:

    Martin, you said it right according to my thought–free from liberalism that accepts everything, and free from liberalism that winnows out the unexplainable. Thanks for putting that thought into words.

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