Friday, November 16, 2012
Pauline Christians vs Judaizers
Let me try to describe the conundrum succinctly.
Second Timothy says: "...from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:15-17)
Presumably the sacred writings or scripture that Timothy would have known from childhood is what we call the Old Testament. Or could the Pauline Christians have been referring to some other writing? It is hard to suppose so since there would be no New Testament as of yet, certainly not when Timothy was a child.
Titus 1:10 warns about "those of the circumcision," presumably the so-called Judaizers who taught that Gentiles had to follow Jewish law to be saved. The Pauline Christians say: "For this reason rebuke them sharply, so that they may become sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths or to commandments of those who reject the truth." (Tit 1:13-4)
Was there a difference between Jewish myths and commandments and the Old Testament? How did the Pauline Christians deal with the parts of the Old Testament that taught circumcision, dietary practices, etc., which they taught were no longer in effect?
How could they say that all scripture is inspired and authoritative and then say whole portions of it no longer apply? Do you suppose the Pauline Christians thought the Old Testament was on their side in this argument when the Old Testament was very clear about circumcision, what could and couldn't be eaten, and a whole series of practices and rules the Pauline Christians considered no longer valid?
On the surface of it, the teachings of the Old Testament would have seemed more consistent with the argument of the Judaizers. Yet the Pauline Christians claimed the authority of the scripture for themselves over against the Judaizers.
Do you suppose the Pauline Christians read the Old Testament in the light of Christ in such a way that what the words of the Old Testament actually took on a whole new meaning that transformed the literal meaning of the words? Could they still claim the authority of scripture for their teaching in this manner even though they did not follow Old Testament teachings concerning circumcision, dietary law, sacrifice, etc.?
It appears that Pauline Christians claimed the authority of the Old Testament even though they would not follow many part of it.
It is hard not to imagine that if you assumed the authority of the Old Testament as scripture, you would have had to be on the side of the Judaizers in this debate.
Just trying to figure it out.