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Was Paul an Apostle of Christ

The Apostle Paul is perhaps the most criticized person in the Christian worldview by Muslims.They charge him with being a self proclaimed apostle, the one who corrupted the true message of Christ.

In this article, I will briefly respond to some of the reasons Muslims present in order to prove their claims.

1) PAUL NEVER MET JESUS.

If a person didn't meet Jesus personally, how can he claim to represent His true teachings?.While this is true that Paul, unlike the rest of the Apostles never met Christ in His earthly ministry, what Muslims forget is that Mohammad, whom they trust to tell the true story of Jesus also never met Jesus!.If the logic works on way, shouldn't it work the other way as well?.If meeting Jesus (not in a vision but in reality) is a criteria, then Mohammad shouldn't also be trusted when he talks about Jesus, right?
But even in this comparison, Paul has an edge over Mohammad.Paul was endorsed by the earliest Christians and the Apostles of Jesus themselves.Evidence can be found in the following passages:
11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.


26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. (Acts 9)

Far from being a "self-proclaimed" Apostle, Paul's conversion was authenticated by other Christian believer, and the disciples themselves.While Mohammad's vision was confirmed by Khadija and Warqa (both non-Muslims), Paul's visions were confirmed those who really knew Jesus and believed in Him.To top it all of, look at what Peter, Jesus's right hand man says for Paul:

15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort,  as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter)

Peter finds no difference between the Old Testament Scriptures and the writings of Paul.This only add's to Paul's authority.

A brief word should be stated about the historicity of the Acts as all the claims depend on it.Historians such as William F Albright, A.N Sherwin-White, Collin Hemer et cetera have all confirmed the historicity of these accounts.White, for example, says:

"For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming.......any attempt to reject it's basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd.Roman historians have long taken it for granted" (Roman society and Roman law in New Testament, p 189)

2) PAUL CONTRADICTED JESUS'S TEACHINGS

The second objection is that Jesus never claimed to be Divine, and He taught obedience by keeping the Law.If Paul contradicted these teachings, how can Christians believe in him?.

Fact of the matter is, Paul never contradicted any thing that Jesus taught.As Peter wrote, people find Paul's teachings hard to grasp and they distort them!

Refer to the links ""The rich young man-Jesus's words misquoted."and "The Divinity of Jesus"to find evidence He claimed Divinity and He never preached salvation by works.

But a brief word should be said about Paul's views on the Law of Moses.Paul never, I repeat, never said that we do not have to follow the Law (period).What he stressed was that we don't have to follow the law to attain salvation.Salvation only comes from Faith in Christ, not keeping the Law.He clearly says:
28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. (Romans 3)

All this means is that we have to follow the moral precepts of the Law to live a godly life, but salvation only come from faith, and not by works.

Moreover, the Law contained both moral laws and civil laws.When Jesus or Paul taught us to keep the Law, they were clearly referring to the moral law (as summarized by the 10 commandments) rather than the civil laws.We have to follow the heart of the Law, and not each and every minute detail.Jesus displayed this doctrine over and over again in the Sermon on the Mount by quoting the Law and succeeding it with "But now I say to you...", but the best example can be found in Matthew 15:1-11.


But now let's ask the question again, if Paul contradict's the teachings of Jesus and he is a liar, then what would we make of Mohammad when he contradicts the teachings of Christ?.Here are a few examples that can shed some light on what I am trying to say:

Jesus said " 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all.......37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5)


Jesus clearly said that swearing under all circumstances is wrong.Anything apart from what we say comes from the evil one.Now look at what the Qur'an says:

And those who accuse their wives, but have no witnesses, except themselves, then the testimony of one of them shall be to testify [swearing] by God four times that he is indeed being truthful, 24:6

The Qur'an clearly teaches swearing to prove something, which contradicts what Jesus taught.

Furthermore, the Bible says :"32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5)


Jesus clearly says that if a woman is divorced (except for unfaithfulness), then she commits adultery by marrying an another man, who is also guilty of the sin.However, the Qur'an allows this:

If he divorces her, she shall not be lawful to him after that, until she marries another husband. If he divorces her, then neither of them would be at fault to return to each other, if they think that they will maintain God's bounds. Those are God's bounds, which He makes clear to a people who have knowledge. (2:230)


So where as the Bible says that one should no marry a divorced woman, the Qur'an makes it a condition on those who chose to marry and the woman become "lawful" after being married and divorced twice!

Clearly, the teachings of Jesus and Mohammad are contradictory.If Muslims expect us to reject Paul's teachings on this criteria, then how can they expect us to believe in Mohammad?

So I hope this article will help our Muslim friends to see the loopholes in all arguments against Paul and to the message of the New Testament seriously,

God bless you.

 

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