In the controversy over “Pauline truth,” not a few Fundamentalists have joined Modernists in attempting to exalt “the teachings of Jesus” (on earth) above the Word of God through Paul. “Which,” they ask, “should bear the greater weight with us, the words of Jesus, or the words of Paul?”
But do they ask this because they truly desire to obey these “words of Jesus” and to see them obeyed? No, for they flagrantly disregard and disobey them, from the Sermon on the Mount to the Great Commission.
With regard to the Sermon on the Mount, they do not subject themselves to the law of Moses (Matt. 5:17-19); they do not bring gifts to altars of sacrifice (5:23,24); they do not give freely to all who ask of them (5:42; 10:8,9); they do not refrain from laying up treasures on earth (6:19,25,26); they do not sell what they have and give alms (Luke 6:30; 12:33).
And while professing obedience to the so-called “Great Commission” as “the Church’s marching orders,” they do not proclaim faith and baptism for salvation (Mark 16:16); they do not—they cannot—perform miraculous signs (Mark 16:17,18); they do not give the Jew first place in their ministry (Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8), and they certainly do not teach others to observe all things that Messiah on earth commanded (Matt. 28:20 cf. 23:1-3).
They set “the teachings of Jesus” (on earth) over against “the teachings of Paul,” not because they are determined to obey Jesus, but because they are determined to minimize that which God has “magnified”—the authority of Paul as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13).
They seek to exalt the teachings of the earthly Jesus above those of Paul because they have closed their ears to the oft-repeated and Spirit-inspired claims of Paul that the glorified Lord spoke again from heaven, to and through him, committing to him “the dispensation of the grace of God” and the program for the day in which we live (Acts 20:24; 22:6-10,17-21; 26:12-18; Rom. 11:13; 15:15,16; 16:25,26; I Cor. 3:10; 11:23; 15:3; II Cor. 5:16; Gal. 1:1,11,12; 2:7-9; Eph. 3:1-4,8,9; 6:18-20; Phil. 4:9; Col. 1:23-27; I Thes. 4:15; II Thes. 3:14; I Tim. 2:5-7; II Tim. 2:7-9; Titus 1:2,3, etc.).
They have forgotten the stern rebuke the Galatians received for failing to recognize Paul’s teachings as a message from the risen, exalted Christ (Gal. 1:6-12). They have taken lightly Paul’s words to the Corinthians:
“…if I come again I will not spare: since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me…” (II Cor. 13:2,3).
They have distorted Paul’s inspired admonition as to his own writings:
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing…from such withdraw thyself” (I Tim. 6:3-5).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.