Christ’s mystery revelation to Paul has always been there, but only when people start taking it radically can we expect a great Christian revolution.
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H. Richard Niebuhr is oft quoted as saying:
If this is true, then mid-Acts Pauline dispensational right division must be on the verge of a Christian revolution! (That is, if we can find enough people to take it radically.)
Paul’s epistles have always been in the Bible (despite not a few folks along the way desiring to take them out).
The uniqueness of Paul’s “contributions” to scripture have always been noticed by scholars, teachers, and laymen alike. Paul’s epistles are responsible for the great theological disputes between grace and works.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
It was Paul’s ministry focus that has caused countless debates about whether the church should preach the kingdom or the cross.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18
“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” – Galatians 6:14
It was the apostle Paul that Christ sent to “fulfil the word of God” and emphasized the importance of “all scripture”, “reading”, and studying for each person to rightly divide the word of truth (Col 1:25; 2 Tim 2:15; 2 Tim 3:16).
The mystery of Christ is not a new teaching. Darby separated prophecy and mystery. Scofield found the doctrine for the church in Paul’s epistles alone. Luther called Paul’s epistles the masterpiece of the new testament and the purest gospel.
Paul’s ministry is not simply a different interpretation or new perspective on Christ. Paul’s message was the Lord Jesus Christ’s further revelation about himself. Paul’s epistles are Christ’s instructions to the church.
“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” – Gal 1:11-12
When speaking about the mystery revealed by Christ to Paul, a common response is “why have I never heard this before?”
If Paul’s gospel or the mystery of Christ sounds new to you, then most likely you have not been engaged in the nearly two thousand year old doctrinal conversation going on about what has always been there in the scripture.
Or it could be you have never heard it taken this radically before. Look out, I’ve heard Christian revolutions happen that way.