Other elevate Paul to sainthood. Joel Carmichael very clearly is not one of them:
We are a universe away from Jesus. If Jesus came “only to fulfill”
the Law and the Prophets; If he thought that “not an iota, not a dot” would
“pass from the Law,” that the cardinal commandment was “Hear, O Israel,
the Lord Our God, the Lord is one,” and that “no one was good but God.” … What would he have thought of Paul’s handiwork!
Paul’s triumph meant the final obliteration of the historic Jesus; he
comes to us embalmed in Christianity like a fly in amber.
While many authors have pointed out the disparity in the teachings of Paul and
Jesus, the best of them avoided opinionated commentary and concentrated on simply
exposing differences. Dr. Wrede comments,
In Paul the central point is a divine act, in history but transcending
history, or a complex of such acts, which impart to all mankind a ready made salvation. Whoever believes in these divine acts—the incarnation,
death, and resurrection of a celestial being, receives salvation.
And this, which to Paul is the sum of religion—the skeleton of the
fabric of his piety, without which it would collapse—can this be a continuation or a remoulding of the gospel of Jesus? Where, in all this, is
that gospel to be found, which Paul is said to have understood?
Of that which is to Paul all and everything, how much does Jesus
know? Nothing whatever.
And Dr. Johannes Weiss contributes, “Hence the faith in Christ as held by
the primitive churches and by Paul was something new in comparison with the
preaching of Jesus; it was a new type of religion.”127
Which theology won the day—why and how—is a question best left to the
analyses of the above authors. Should we recognize that Paul’s and Jesus’ teachings
contradict one another, we are forced to take sides. Michael Hart had the following to say
in his scholastic tome, The 100, a Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History:
“Although Jesus was responsible for the main ethical and moral precepts of Christianity
(insofar as these differed from Judaism), St. Paul was the main developer of Christian
theology, its principal proselytizer, and the author of a large portion of the New
“A large portion” of the New Testament? Out of 27 books and epistles Paul wrote
14—more than half. That represents ample literary moment arm with which to leverage
his theology to the top. In regard to Paul’s perspective, “He does not ask what led to
Jesus’ death, he only sees what it means to him personally. He turns a man who summoned people to reconciliation with God into the savior. He turns an orthodox Jewish
movement into a universal religion which ultimately clashed with Judaism.”129
In fact, Paul’s teachings split Trinitarian Christianity from the trunk of revealed
monotheism. Whereas the monotheistic teachings conveyed by Moses, Jesus and
Muhammad are all aligned in smooth continuity, Paul’s teachings stand distinctly out of