Questions & Answers
One gospel to the Jew, one gospel to the Gentile?
I was at a conference over the week-end that I was invited to that uses the Concordant translation. They were making the distinction as to what people are called in the scripture. Israel in the OT as the "wife of God", Saved Isreal in the NT as the "Bride of Christ", and saved Gentiles as the "Body of Christ". The point that was the conclusion was that we are not the Bride of Christ (which I always had understood), but the Groom. It seemed to make sense to me. What these people are saying is that there are believers of the circumcision and then Gentile believers and that Paul, being also a Roman citizen was the apostle to the Gentiles and that there is a difference. (They feel that apostles like Peter and James were ministers to the circumcision and so that is why there are differences in content in those books compared to the ones that Paul wrote.)
Scripture is used to validate all kinds of ways to divide those in Christ. Now, there are good reasons why the apostles used different terms to make a point, but the point always ended up showing the truth that there is no distinction. They did say things differently to those and about those who were "of the circumcision" versus those who were not. The reasons had to do with how THEY perceived themselves in view of others.
Paul, as the minister to the Gentiles, was amazingly more understanding of grace because he, as a Jew, knew what it was to glory in a heritage that in fact had been given the "oracles of God". He understood way more than any other how self-righteousness got stirred up by having a valid authority behind it. He understood why he shouldn't have been hanging around those stinking (you know, "unclean") Gentiles. His "measure of grace" was magnified by having been thrown smack dab in the middle of the heated contention between the valid and not valid people (law-wise, that is) only to be shown that God's grace is not tainted by any such fleshly judgment. Against all he ever knew he discovered that God was free to pour out his grace without distinction, without qualification, because he came to understand that despite all his own God-ordained "qualifications" that there was no one less worthy than himself. His heritage meant nothing. That's why he was the one who made the most noise about how there was no distinction.
(they are) saying that there are two gospels. One of the circumcised and the one of Paul. They refer to Gal. 2:7,8. They are saying that Paul was the first one of the new creation. (He being of Roman citizenry, coming to Christ outside of Israel and not conferring with any of the apostles, but only through revelation of the mystery that is of the gospel that he taught. That the Jews (still saved by the blood of Christ) are of the earthly Kingdom yet to be established, but that our place is in the heavenlies. That the gospel that Peter and James taught was not like the one we have and did include works and faith. That the references regarding the Bride and the betrothal to Christ is referring only to Israel. That they were never told that they were the Body of Christ. That God being "with" them is different than God being "within" us. The one difference being though that the Jews that came to Christ through the ministry of Paul (being of the gospel of Paul) ARE of the Body of Christ though, having come to Him through that gospel, hence that there is no difference in that situation between Jew and Gentile. What think ye?
I'm very familiar with the 2 gospel view as at one time it seemed to help explain those "difficult" Jewish-flavored letters. I was swayed by it many years ago. Funny thing is Peter said that Paul had written "some things hard to understand", while I don't remember Paul having suggested anything of the sort about Peter. . I've come to suspect the reason for our long standing doctrinal difficulties between the writings of Paul and the others is so very simple. It's only made difficult because we strive to find that elusive "key" to understanding ... a key that somehow usually turns out to be something other than Christ himself.
Jim, What convinced you not to follow in the theory of the two gospels?
Simply that it kept something other than Christ on the table. I couldn't stand having to do the old switcheroo in order to "harmonize" the NT writings. I came to recognize the formula and knew it had to be something simple, you know, like Christ. :)
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