Friday: Further Thought – Paul’s Authority and Gospel

Further Thought: “In almost every church there were some members who were Jews by birth. To these converts the Jewish teachers found ready access, and through them gained a foot-hold in the churches. It was impossible, by scriptural arguments, to overthrow the doctrines taught by Paul;

Spectacles on Bible

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hence they resorted to the most unscrupulous measures to counteract his influence and weaken his authority. They declared that he had not been a disciple of Jesus, and had received no commission from [H]im; yet he had presumed to teach doctrines directly opposed to those held by Peter, James, and the other apostles. . . .

“Paul’s soul was stirred as he saw the evils that threatened speedily to destroy these churches. He immediately wrote to the Galatians, exposing their false theories, and with great severity rebuking those who had departed from the faith.” — Ellen G. White, Sketches From the Life of Paul, pp. 188, 189.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In class, read your explanations of what you understand the gospel to be. What can we learn from one another’s writings?
  2. In Paul’s greeting to the Galatians, he declared that Jesus’ death occurred for a specific reason. What was that reason, and what meaning does that have for us today?
  3. In Galatians 1:14 Paul says he was extremely zealous for the traditions of his fathers. By “traditions,” he probably means the oral traditions of the Pharisees. What place (if any) is there for traditions in our faith? What warning might Paul’s experience offer for us today in regard to the whole question of tradition?
  4. Why was Paul so seemingly “intolerant” of those who believed differently from what he said and did? Read again some of the things he wrote about those who had a different view of the gospel. How might someone holding such a strong, uncompromising stance be viewed in our church today?

Summary: The false teachers in Galatia were trying to undermine Paul’s ministry by claiming that his apostleship and gospel message were not God-given. Paul confronts both of these accusations in the opening verses of his letter to the Galatians. He boldly declares that there is only one way of salvation, and describes how the events surrounding his conversion demonstrate that his calling and gospel only could be from God.



Friday: Further Thought – Paul’s Authority and Gospel — 8 Comments

  1. Opposition is something we will always meet! This world is a place of contradictions! But one thing that we must be assured is of the base for our faith! If we are not certain of our call to the Love of Jesus we must find out why! It's everyone's mission to find this meaning! We may not have all the theological wisdom, but the experience of being called is unsubstitutable, furthermore essential! Paul had no doubt at all about his call!

  2. I have a question on this, is there a probability that our current Advent Church can be likened to Galatian church. You may reply, so that we may distinguish the light from darkness.

    • Without the Holy Spirit there can be no Christian unity even if we had a Pope to tell us all how to think. Eventually the Holy Spirit would get through to someone and cause a seeming division like happened with Martin Luther in the Roman Catholic Church.

      We must unify only in the Spirit of Christ.

  3. What is the Gospel? The Good News of Jesus Christ, Lord, Saviour, Jehovah, and The I Am. The whole Bible. A more narrow answer is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, all to save us. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. Open to all who will believe, acts Acts 16:31. Open to all who come to God through Jesus Christ. Hebrews 7:25. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He who comes to Christ will not be cast out. John 14:5. John 6:37. Believe me the more you read the Bible, with prayer, asking that the Holy Spirit guide you, the more the Gospel becomes a part of you. Before you know it you will not be able to live a day without time spent with Him.

    • John,

      If your 2nd sentence is the gospel, then can your 3rd sentence still be the gospel, since it is different (more narrow answer)?
      How short can an answer be and still be the gospel?
      I quoted this gospel definition in SS class 2 days ago.

      "The gospel is the good news of grace, or favor, by which man may be released from the condemnation of sin, and enabled to render acceptable obedience to the law." ST 9-4-1844
      Notice that this one does not mention God, Jesus, the cross, resurrection or salvation.
      What essential or critical words or elements need to be included to still be a valid gospel?

      How about this "gospel" shared by an SDA evangelist who brought 6000 people to Jesus.

      "People have a problem, God has a solution. Do you want to accept it?"

      Or this one...."God can forgive and fix humans if they allow Him." ??

      • Your comment illustrates the most serious problem we have with the Gospel. We think that we can use a pithy little saying that summarizes the whole Gospel. I am not saying that we should not have catchy mission-statement Gospels, but ultimately we have to live the Gospel. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another". That means a significant commitment to behavioural change for most of us, even when dealing with those who thing that the Gospel is different to our definition.

        We accept the Gospel, not by mental assent to a short erudite statement, but when we commit ourselves to accepting and sharing God's love (even when it hurts!).

        • Maurice ,

          You are posting about a different subject when bringing up the accepting/internalizing the gospel. If someone asked you to tell them the gospel, what would you say?

          • That is a good question Jim. And I have to say that in all my life I do not think that anyone has asked me to tell them the Gospel. Rather they ask about some detail of religious behaviour, such as; "Why do you keep the Sabbath?", or they make an observation about how religion is largely hypocritical. Now-a-days, unfortunately, I get a lot of questions about why Christians have allowed so much sexual abuse. (and it is not good enough to reply that it is just a Roman Catholic aberration.)

            Most of my interaction with unchurched folk has to do with relationships and in particular relationship breakdowns. Being there, as a listener, helping when they need it, driving them home when they are drunk, forgiving them when they do stupid things. That is more meaningful that a detailed theology of the Gospel.

            Sometimes we are overly confident that our eloquent verbalization of the Gospel is going to win them over but for the most part now-a-days such language is simply outside the scope of many listeners. So in a sense internalizing and living the Gospel is probably the most effective answer we can give, especially for unchurched folk.


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