Apostle Paul ‘hand-picked’ by Jesus!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
On Sunday, September 6, 2015, in a piece titled 'Saint Paul' or 'Paul The Villain'', the writer, Glenville Ashby, made some serious claims about God's apostle to the Gentiles, claims that need to be clarified. These claims do not surprise Christians, even as we approach the second coming of The King.
In addition to quoting extensively from the writer James D. Tabor, Ashby wrote that Paul "never met Jesus". The following quote from Acts 9:4-5 is at variance with Ashby's claim: "Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And he said, 'Who are You, Lord?' Then the Lord said, 'I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting." [NKJV]. The pronoun 'he' which appears twice, refers to Paul. Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul. If Ashby meant a physical meeting with Jesus in human flesh, he was unclear. However, this dramatic Damascus Road encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ speaks for itself.
Ashby's article reveals much misunderstanding of the truths of the Christian faith, both by himself and the writer, Tabor. It is dangerous misunderstanding, since there is much quoting of the Scriptures, then some opinions given in analysis which seem to be underpinned by modern psychological teaching.
This final quote from Acts 9: 15-16 ought to temper all who would seek to analyse, and/or criticise, the writings of the apostle Paul. Here, Jesus was reassuring His disciple Ananias, who was fearful about laying hands on Saul: "But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a CHOSEN VESSEL OF MINE to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel, For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake." [NKJV]
Please note carefully the three categories of persons mentioned by Jesus here. All who seek to analyse God's chosen servant, one who is a significant contributor to the WORD OF GOD, need to be extremely careful that they are not at variance with both God himself and God's Holy Word!
PATRICK H. GRANT
Spanish Town, St Catherine