AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome once again to Islam focus. Our program today will be on Jesus, the beloved messenger of Allah. This is the 21st in this series, our topic will be on the diversification of Jesus is evolution, part three. I’m your host in Shawnee Mission here with me once again from St. Mary’s University is Dr. Jamal battling, as I like conducted.
For the benefit of our viewers, could we please have a summary of last week’s program? Okay. In the last program, we began to examine what you might call the Apostolic period. The earlier period among the followers of Jesus peace be upon him, in order to find out whether the disciples believed what was the nature of their convictions. And we found that the dominating belief among the earlier disciple of Jesus peace be upon him was the absolute monotheism, without any notion of deification of Jesus, nor a belief in persons within godhood. We also reviewed very briefly the important role played by St. Barnabas, and indicated that while his role was very essential, actually, he was the
one who convinced or persuaded the disciples to accept pawns, even though they rejected him initially, his role seem to be downplayed in the act. Since Look, the writer of the book of Acts was himself, the personal physician of Paul and as such, giving more of the Paul’s point of view rather than St. Barnabas
and indicated that there isn’t between the difference between Paul’s and St. Barnabas, as reported in the book of Acts in the Bible does not seem to be very convincing. It looks like a trivial reason for two giants like these two, to split from each other, there must have been a much more serious
difference. And in fact, we began just briefly looking into the background of Paul and his claim of conversion on historic to Damascus, even though he was not one of the disciples or eyewitnesses of Jesus.
Therefore, maybe the more appropriate to go back to the disagreement between Barnabas and Paul. Now why would you say it’s more serious than what the book
states for example, when after Jesus peace be upon him, there have been some difference of opinion as to how the teaching of Christ would be spread, whether it should also include the Gentiles or should be limited to the Jews. Peter was the head of the disciples
saw the basic function of Jesus as the revival of the same guidance that has been given in the past to the Jews.
And actually, he had his basis for that because in the Bible and more than one place, like in Matthew chapter 515, verse 24, Jesus clearly said that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
That role has been emphasized also in Matthew chapter 10, verses five and six. This is the way Peter saw the mission of Jesus.
hence the view that the truth should be spread to all and claimed that he has been given a direct mandate from Jesus peace be upon him to spread it to others as well. An example of this is quite clear in his letters to the Galatians in chapter one, especially the verses 10 to 12.
And in verse 11, for example, he says, the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel, for I did not receive from
men, nor was I thought, but it comes through a revelation of Jesus Christ. In other words, he clearly says that I’m not really teaching here what I learned from other men, men are men’s disciples of Jesus, or eyewitnesses, but a revelation that has already come to me from Jesus.
Now, between these two views, Barnabas seemed to have taken a moderate approach. He was of the opinion that
The teaching of Christ should be spread to all. But he was also very careful not to try and compromise or change what Jesus taught in order to accommodate the Gentiles background, or to introduce any innovation and what Jesus taught just to teach what he taught.
Now it appears that Barnabas was hoping that Paul might, in due time, moderate his views and teach only what Christ taught. But it appears that Paul had a different opinion. And he was much more inclined to compromise among the people he was inviting are doing his missionary work.
Now, there’s an interesting reference there, if you go to the book of Acts, in chapter 14, especially verses 11 to 15. It gives us a clear idea about the background and beliefs of the people with whom
Paul was trying to communicate and try to attract to the teachings of Christ. For example, we are taught in chapter 14 in Acts,
that when Paul went to Greece,
Paul and St. Bernard was a rumor spread around among the people that God’s that these are gods who have come to the ground in human form or likeness of men, in order to, you know, help men and they began actually to prepare for offering sacrifice to them. And that’s why they had to run and plead with them that they are only humans like them. Well, that story seems to indicate that the multitudes among the Greeks did actually believe that Gods sometimes come in human forms, intermingle with the human beings and help them.
Of course, the way in which Paul spoke about Christ appears to be a little bit closer to this understanding of the background that they already had. On the other hand, there was another difference, which is known as serious between Barnabas and Paul.
And that is relating to the way of life to the Lord.
Now, Barnabas St. Barnabas was an eyewitness, very close to Jesus peace be upon him, was a practicing Jew. You know, in all the word really means, just as Jesus himself was a very good practicing Jew himself.
And Barnabas did not see in any word uttered by Christ, a cancellation or nullification of the law. But he simply saw in his teaching spiritualization of the law, revival, not really cancellation. And in fact, he did have a good support for that because Jesus was quoted in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter five, verse 18, I cannot destroy the law, the law of prophets, I came to fulfill. Paul, however, I wanted to I did not really want to, to change the customs that people are used to.
He wanted to accommodate the Greco Roman type of background. He knew that people who will live on their lives like that we find it very difficult to follow the dietary laws and the forbidden, like the forbidden food, like pork, for example, which was forbidden in the testament.
That circumcision would be a burden on many of them. And as such, his teaching appears to be more easy for people to accept and to relate to.
But up to that point, it appears that porn really needed Barnabas badly. Because after all, Paul realized that he was not an eyewitness to Jesus. So by having Barnabas with him, who was an eyewitness and lived with Jesus, at least, he can give him some credibility can help him to get exposure to the Gentile and port would say here, you know, hey, this is a witness who agrees with me. Now, after the first missionary chip, it appears that porn gained ground and did not need the help of Barnabas anymore. And that is why some people wonder whether the reason why Paul did not agree with Barnabas in the second tip to take with them john mark, because they say john mark, who
was a nephew to Barnabas was working actually as a translator for Barnabas. And the difference between Paul and Barnabas seem to have been brewing, you know. So maybe Paul felt that now, if he gets rid of Barnabas, he can really say whatever he wants. Now, button number is no longer there to apply any breaks on what he says or restrain and his ideas because bandulus was a witness himself an eyewitness Of course.
we are leaving aside
the question as to whether possibly porn might have created the excuse that no, you can take your nephew with you. And he had in mind this or not, we’ll leave it aside. But obviously from that moment on, porn began to be very well established. And actually he became more or less the the second founder of Pauline Christianity, if not really the chief architect of it. Now we see here that there’s been a split. After the split. did Paul seek the support of other disciples? Yes, he did. Because after the difference he had with Barnabas, St. Barnabas went back to Cyprus.
But by that time, Ford had already gathered many followers around him, because of his long association. Now with the early Nazarene, the early disciples who believe in absolute monotheism, he had already some credibility with them, to some degree, at least, he’s been accepted already.
But despite all of that, he really still needed someone who lived with Christ and who could act as a confirmation for what he says, to give some authority and support to what he teaches.
Upon was quite smart, he succeeded to convince Peters, to go with him, to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Now, this might sound rather
surprising, in view of the fact that Peter was strongly opposing the acceptance of Paul, even as part of the net community of the followers of Jesus peace be upon him.
And, in fact, it is not unlikely that many of the disciples including Peter might have suspected Paul’s sincerity when he said, You know, I saw Jesus on my way to Damascus.
Some even might have thought of him as a spy. Some might have even suspected that he might be someone who’s coming to destroy Christianity from within by introducing ideas which Jesus never thought and to alter the initial message of Jesus. In any case, Peter definitely did not really see eye to eye with, with Paul from from the very beginning.
And as you mentioned before, even in terms of his approach, Peter felt that the message should be directed as Jesus instructed only to the Israelites.
But as indicated earlier, of course, now, Paul has been bending up his credibility or his position. In addition to this, Peter, also, as a person was the right person, for Paul’s purpose. Why? If we take the story about Peter, in the gospels, we find that he had some weakness, he was a little bit fearful person, for example, he escaped, along with other disciples, for example, whom Jesus allegedly was crucified, I’m just talking about the biblical version of that.
It says also that he denied even knowing Jesus as Jesus prophesied.
And that was a time of great persecution of early Christians. And maybe, somehow, Peter felt that if he falls in line with this growing big saga, first and second, Paul, and accept some changes here and there, that it is not really that big a deal.
in a way that’s meant to Peter that there would be less persecution to him. And Allah Christian, if there’s some kind of accommodation and alteration in the original teaching of Christ, some scholars, even the stairs, to the teaching of Peters, as reflecting this appeal, to submit to avoid persecution. An example is that of that appears in the first Peters in chapter three, verses 13 to 18. where Peter indicates that you should obey the rulers. And of course, we know who the rulers at that time were that you should submit to the rulers. And if you submit to them, this is obedience to God also, the same instruction we’re giving to slaves that they should obey and finish their
masters. So that gives us some kind of profile outlet some information that might help us to understand the nature of Peters personality. Obviously, as many scholars conclude, Peter was not really as a companion to, to porn was not as strong minded and uncompromising as Barnabas was sticking to what Jesus exactly taught.
even though he was accompanied by Peters became much more bold
in introducing his theories and ideas, if I make that just to give you some example of this,
for example, in the book of Romans, he let us listen by Paul to the Romans, that’s in chapter 15, verses 21 and 22. Sorry, 2221 particular,
it shows really the boldness of Paul now asserting himself and his ideas. And he indicates that he is not just teaching on the basis of the teaching, or narration that came from eyewitnesses, but according to his own revelation and his own understanding that he is the one actually who’s teaching the gospel of Christ. To quote him,
he says, thus making it’s my ambition, to preach the gospel, not where Christ has been named, but certainly not Christ, not where Christ was, or has been named. Next, I’ve been on another man’s foundation.
In other words, I don’t want just to build my order based my teaching, on what other has written by witnesses, for example. And then he continues on to say that this so that
the what has been written before will be realized that those who did not see will be told and those also, who did not hear shall hear about him. That’s an interesting reference, is he referring to himself, that even though he did not hear or see Jesus, still, he could be endowed with understanding? Or did he also mean that so that those Gentiles who never heard or seen Jesus can understand that his understanding and his new style, the way he shaped or reshaped the teaching of Christ, I think it’s an interesting area for interpreters to examine. But the problem here is that for many Gentiles, who has never seen or heard Jesus, the only way they heard about Jesus was
through executive report that that was Pauline version of what Jesus taught. They didn’t have any other source to compare with. And again, like I said, Peter was more or less complacent with with Barnabas, for the reasons we study with, with Paul, for the reasons we have just given. And whenever
I was accused, and by the way, the Gospels in the book, and the books of the New Testament seem to indicate that Paul was criticized
that he has introduced innovations in the teaching of Christ that he has changed that that is implied, really, from his responses to those attacks by always claiming that this has been revealed to him directly. So he would not emphasize that unless people said, Hey, where did you get that from? Jesus did not say that. The only disciples die with this is not Where did you get it from? So that period has always been that I had this direct revelation from Jesus to teach you.
Now, at that time, he began to give even justification to deviate from the law. Just look at his words, in the book of Corinthians. Starting in the book of Romans, in chapter seven, verses one to four, he makes a very interesting, similar analogy.
And he says that a woman, for example, when she’s already married to her husband, would be regarded as an adulterous if she gets married to another man. But after the man dies, she becomes free and become liberated from that law. In other words, you can marry to another to another. And he said, By the same token, by the death of Jesus, also, you people have already been
liberated from the law. And then you should be ready just like the woman, you can now be wedded to another law. What is that other law apparently is exactly his own teaching. He began also to formulate a theory about redemption and atonement by blood which Jesus never taught. He began to shift emphasis from what has been understood about Jesus as a prophet of Allah, prophet of God, His servant, His Messenger, as he sometimes said, or refer to himself. But now, it was no longer Jesus than answering, but rather, the Jesus, the mythical figure, which many intellectuals in Greece and Rome began to assimilate in their own philosophy, and found in the way, Paul expressed his views
about Jesus, something that strikes some similarity with their own orientation that led to the casting of the teaching of Christ in Greek terms. And in Greek terms, of course, the words
Use has a different meaning altogether from a connotation, at least, if we consider the religious background from what Jesus originally Taught In The Course of the mythology, among the Greco Romans, in spite of that, we must say, to be honest also that Paul did not directly preach divinity of Christ, nor he directly preached Trinity. But the way he preached the terminology they use of the Greco Roman terms, open the door to this misconception that grew out later, in a way that the simple, profound, truthful teaching of Christ has now been presented in a more philosophical theological terminology, which doesn’t really reflect its
purity. But of course, with the growing popularity of Paul, in the Gentile world, he even became, you’d be surprised, even bolder in expressing his, his ideas. Well, hold on, I’m gonna have to ask you to explain. I mean, it seems that he’s been bold enough. From from, from his comments of what you’ve just said, How can he be bolder, what to give you an example that some historians refer to, to show this boldness or additional boldness that now he became more established that he can say, almost whatever he pleases. In the, in his letter to the Corinthians, the first letter to the Corinthians in chapter six, verse 12, he says, and this is just a direct quotation from the Revised
Standard Version of the Bible. It says, All things are lawful for me. But I will not be enslaved by anything.
That’s everything is local to him, but he will not be enslaved. That is, I’m under no obligation to follow any law. Well, in a way, it may almost say that I am a law by myself, which means again, that when he refers to the law, whatever has been taught in the law, taught by Moses, or taught by other prophets, or confirmed by Jesus, that’s not relevant now. You know, everything has been allowed. And to me, I’m not enslaved, I know, under no obligation really,
to follow that even though of course, in certain statements, he did not really say that the law is bad in itself. But somehow, he says that, in a way, he’s
in a position to supersede these laws.
In an apparent response to those who did not accept his philosophy and his innovation, he responded as reported in the book of Romans, in chapter three, verses seven and eight. And he says, but
if through my falsehood, God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do even that good may come? This is a very, very important and key quotation that might reflect the orientation of Paul and his methodology. You see the first line, if through my falsehood, God’s truthfulness abounds to his glory.
That’s very interesting. Because if you look into some other translations of the Bible, for example, the King James Version, it got him a saying or translated it through my lies, or through my light, God’s truthfulness about to his glory. The question here is this was Paul, possibly aware that what he is teaching about Christ that Jesus never said, was not strictly true. But in his own understanding, maybe some good might come out of this new way of presenting the teaching of Christ or this alteration? That is when intention and not saying the truth, not in you know that he doesn’t have a bad objective, even though he’s not saying everything that’s true about Jesus, but rather, it
is something that might guide those misguided and make them accept God and accept Christ. But the difficulty with this, of course, is that if you say that good may come out of even I’m afraid that this might more or less sound similar to the motto, the ends, justify means, you know that I have good objective I have I want to guide those people. But I don’t necessarily have to say everything. That’s true. I might change a little bit, if that would help. Some good come out of that. And of course not everybody agree that good ends justify any means of attaining that. And if these are the own words of Paul, another serious question which would arise,
deforms, possibly apply the same approach, that is not to tell exactly what happened but for the purpose of categorically or guidance when he claimed that Jesus appeared to him on his road to Damascus.
Did he possibly use the same approach or same philosophy? When he began to use the same justification we quoted earlier? Why he should just teach whatever? You know?
He thinks and that this is okay, because he receives direct revelation. Was it really true that he was receiving direct revelation of Christ? Or did he say that also with the good intention of guiding people, but not necessarily saying exactly what happened?
that good might come out of evil, I think seems to be quite clear. And his defensiveness seemed to indicate that he did not really deny
that he did change the teaching of Jesus that he did not necessarily teach everything.
That is strictly true. But he had his purpose. And that’s why in fact, you find some historians, not all of them, of course, because many historians write also from their standpoint in terms of their theological commitment. But we find many historians have been quite critical of Paul’s might be worthwhile to give a few examples of those, when a few conditions perhaps of some historians might help.
Many of these were published in a book called The Jesus report, edited by J. Lemon, and e h, n. And he quotes for example, one historian by the name of word, w e r. g. It says, The this continuity between the historical Jesus and the Christ of the church became so great that any unity between them is scarcely recognizable,
that any similarity between them is scarcely recognizable as a strong statement. It is actually this even stronger statement that was made by another historian quoted in the same source also, that’s what by the way, was published in 1972. And it was also quoted in the book it refers to last time I thought, Rahim, Jesus, the prophet of Islam, is confused. It’s SC, h, o, en, si, e and d, how to pronounce his name, right. And he says that the Pauline heresy so he even calls, Paul’s teaching heresy. The Pauline heresy became the foundation of Christian orthodoxy. And the legitimate church, apparently meant by legitimate church, the Apostolic early church, and the legitimate church was
despawned as heretical. Indeed, some historians go even to an extent of
considering the road of poor really a lot of destroying the original teachings of Jesus, one of them use the very strong term, even he said, he, he was actually the corrupted of the gospel of Jesus, that’s a Christian historian, which is an amazing, you know, position to take in view of the common view that, you know, he was the hero, and he was the one who really propagated the teaching of Christ. It’s not that all historians really agree with that they feel that he was probably a person who
introduced perhaps a new virgin, you might say, of Christianity, even those historians who praise him still do not deny his role as either the second founder of Christianity or like I said, some even would consider him the chief architect of the official church Christianity, not necessarily what the exact teachings of Christ has been among
But of course,
interestingly enough, both versions of Christianity still continued to be spread side by side, the original teaching of Jesus, the absolute monotheistic faith that he insisted upon no persons and godhood is subordination to God on one hand. On the other hand, we find equally with that also, the spread perhaps wider spread even of the Pauline doctrine that still is with us until you contain these days. Thank you very much. Thank you, Jamal, and maybe we’ll end it at this point, hoping to continue next week. And thank you all for joining us once again here in Islam in focus. As always, you would appreciate any questions that you may have or any comments.
Our phone number will be appearing on your screen