Paul AND/OR Jesus? Who do we really follow?

Chi_rho_md This has been stuff that's been floating around in my mind for quite some time.  It just so happens that Scot McKnight has written an article (published in Christianity Today and placed as a DOWNLOAD below for you to read) that begins to spell out a good theological, practical, biblical debate.  Who do we follow?  Who shapes what we believe and how we live our lives as followers of Jesus…Jesus or Paul?  As a "child" of a Reformation era Church as a current leader in a denomination that traces its roots to that era in history, I understand how much of my thinking has been shaped by Paul.  DON'T think for a moment that I have any desire, need or inclination to blast that part of the bible OR what God has done in history to shape how people who love and follow Jesus through Paul's writings (13 of them in scripture).  As followers of Jesus, we are indebted to Paul and should thank God for the Spirit's revelations to him (through miraculous means, I should add given the fact that we have mostly one side of a conversation that Paul was having with people spread out through the ancient world).  EVEN SO, there is a good reason to give pause to what Scot is trying to communicate in his article – is there a "different gospel" preached by Jesus and Paul?  How do we understand and bring "into harmony" the obvious "uniquenesses" of each of their witnesses in the New Testament? Important questions…in fact, facinating questions that I've entertained in classes and in conversation for years.  Actually, here's a bit of info you might enjoy – many of you know that I am an Adjunct Biblical Studies Professor @ Azusa Pacific University…I have the honor of teaching online courses.  One of my courses in on Luke/Acts…the other is Romans/Galatians.  It is interesting to me how students process the words of Jesus in relationship to their understanding of Paul.  For many of the students who grew up in local churches, their journey is similar – they were steeped in Pauline theology at the expense of the teaching and challenge of a Kingdom perspective and discipleship (and disciple-making) lifestyle lived, spoken, and modeled by Jesus Himself.  It is amazing to me to hear students in the Luke/Acts journey reflect on the words of Jesus and how it applies to their lives…in some instances I hear comments like, "I've never really heard this before."  One other comment is common as well, "How come my pastor didn't share more of Jesus?"  Interesting, huh?  Anyway, I wanted to give you reason to download Scot's article…read it over.  It would be fun to have you start processing what this means…how we follow Jesus and live Kingdom as well as embrace Pauline theologizing on what he regarded as the core of the faith journey.  If you want to have some discussion, post your thoughts…email them to me if you want…otherwise, may the Spirit give you time to challenge yourself in a manner that will enable you to grow in your love of Christ and your deep appreciation for the depth and power of His Word. 

Download Jesus vs. Paul | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

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