Is Hyperdispensationalism Heresy? I
by Shawn Brasseaux
[28 August 2011]
For nearly 2,000 years, Christendom has been adding to God’s Word in some shape or form. Using church tradition, human viewpoint, and even pseudepigrapha (apocryphal books), man has continually attempted to “correct” or “improve” God’s Word, which only polluted it. But the greatest failure of Christendom is that, overall, it has refused to study God’s Word, God’s way.
Actually, many of the dogmas taught in “Bible-believing” churches are “doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1-2), but the real shocker is that these teachings are sometimes found in the Bible! Furthermore, there are literally tens of thousands of “Christian” denominations, and yet they all argue as to what the Bible actually says. This is because they are not using God’s Word, God’s way. How can we make sense of all this contention and deception? What are we to believe? How would God sort out this shameful mess?
Understand that we can quote the Bible and still be completely outside of God’s will. How? All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us. The Bible says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). When we “rightly divide the word of truth,” recognizing the distinctions that God has made in His Word, we separate Scripture that is written to us and about us from the Scripture that is merely written for our learning.
God has designed His Word to be neatly divided (dissected) into various dispensations (or time periods during which God dispenses a certain body of information or directions). The Bible says different things in different places because it speaks to various groups of people at different times. Unless we “rightly divide the word of truth,” using dispensational Bible study, the Bible will become a book of contradictions and confusion. Christendom does not use God’s Word, God’s way. Rather than separating the parts of the Bible written to different group of people, Christendom combines all of the Bible into one big jumbled-up mess as though it was spoken to one group of people. This is why denominations hold to a variety of opposing dogmas and doctrines.
Satan does not want God’s Word to make sense to you, so since rightly dividing the word of truth is the key to understanding the Bible, Satan makes a great effort to keep you from understanding or employing dispensational Bible study (“right division”). The methods the devil uses to prevent you from rightly dividing the word of truth come in many forms.
Primarily, he uses some “Christians,” people who claim to be “Bible believers” when they actually do not believe the Bible—they only believe the parts of the Bible that they like! These individuals will discourage you from studying God’s Word, God’s way, because the knowledge you gain from God’s rightly divided Word will be a threat to their denominational teaching and their church tradition. They tell you that “hyperdispensationalism” is “heresy,” attempting to scare you away from right division. Do not be fooled by their weak arguments!
In this two-part series, we will examine and refute four very common objections made by those individuals who dislike Pauline dispensationalism. By the way, “hyperdispensationalism” is a derogatory term that refers to the belief system of individuals who believe the Bible and place the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ in the middle of the book of Acts with the conversion of the Apostle Paul. Hence, you may hear the terms “mid-Acts dispensationalism” and “Pauline dispensationalism” used interchangeably.
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There is only one church in the Bible, so the church could not and did not begin with Paul.
RESPONSE TO OBJECTION #1:
Whenever you see the word “church” in Scripture, do not automatically assume that it is the Body of Christ. People dispute the fact that Paul was the first member of the Body of Christ because they assume that “church” in Scripture is always the Body of Christ. Here is their line of thinking.
Paul writes that Andronicus and Junia were “in Christ before me” (Romans 16:7). Jewish churches were “in Christ” before Paul (Galatians 1:22-24). Paul writes that, before he was saved, he persecuted “the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13) and “the church” (Philippians 3:6). However, remember what we discussed earlier about “church” not always being a reference to the Body of Christ.
In the Bible, there are three churches, not one church. For example, the prophet Stephen spoke of the nation Israel under Moses’ leadership and he called “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). That “church” is the Mosaic Church, Old Testament Israel. Would that “church” be a reference to the Body of Christ? Certainly not.
In Matthew 16:13-19 the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of another “church,” the Messianic Church. The Messianic Church is composed of believers from Christ’s earthly ministry and early Acts, heirs of Israel’s earthly kingdom—these believers trusted in Jesus as their King-Messiah/Christ (see Matthew 16:16).
Finally, the third “church” of Scripture is the Church the Body of Christ (Colossians 1:24), also known as the Mystery (Secret) Church (see Romans 16:25-26, Ephesians 3:1-9, and Colossians 1:25-27). Only Paul speaks of the Church the Body of Christ because it is strictly a Pauline revelation.
Traditional theology does not place the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ with Paul, as the Bible clearly teaches. Church tradition claims that the Body of Christ began in Acts chapter 2, on the day of Pentecost (there are a number of reasons why Acts chapter 2 has nothing to do with the Body of Christ; send me an email and request our Bible study that explains this in great detail).
The Bible teaches that the Body of Christ began with Paul, so how can people argue that the Body of Christ began in Acts chapter 2, a year before Paul was saved? It all goes back to a misunderstanding of the word “church” in the Bible, which we briefly discussed moments ago. People who read Acts 2:47—“the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”—misunderstand this to mean the Church the Body of Christ. However, this “church” in Acts chapter 2 is the continuation of the “church” spoken of in Matthew chapter 16, the Messianic Church. Acts chapter 2 is Jewish, just like Matthew chapter 16 (see Acts 2:14,22,36).
Paul was the first member of the Church the Body of Christ. Notice what Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1: “15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief [first]. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
The Apostle Paul writes that that the Lord gave him “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2). The ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed our Dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ to Paul alone (Rom. 16:25-26; Eph. 3:1-9; 2 Pet. 3:15-16). Hence, God made Paul our “pattern.”
If the Body of Christ existed prior to Paul, and the Bible says Paul is the “pattern” for the Body of Christ, what “pattern” did the Body of Christ follow before Paul’s salvation? See, it makes no sense. It is only logical that if Paul is God’s “pattern” for the Church the Body of Christ, then he must be the FIRST member of the Body of Christ. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 that Paul is the “wise masterbuilder” and Paul “laid the foundation Jesus Christ.” Obviously something new began with Paul, for Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry occurred prior to Paul.
When a person trusts in Christ alone for salvation, he or she becomes a member of the same spiritual body in which God placed Paul! This is the Body of Christ, the “new man,” spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27-28, and Ephesians 1:22-23. Today, Jews and Gentiles have the opportunity to be saved apart from Israel’s kingdom by simply trusting in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour (Ephesians 2:13-22). Outside of Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, there is no mention of the Body of Christ, so obviously the Church the Body of Christ only belongs in Paul’s ministry (it does not exist outside of Paul’s epistles).
Paul was water baptized and he water baptized believers, so if the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:1 that we should follow Paul, then we should also be water baptized.
RESPONSE TO OBJECTION #2:
Indeed, the Bible makes it very clear that Ananias water baptized Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) in Acts 9:17-18 and Acts 22:11-16. Paul water baptized the Philippians jailor (Acts 16:27-33) and he water baptized some believers in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-5). In 1 Corinthians 1:14-16, Paul admits that he water baptized Crispus, Gaius, and Stephanas’ household (cf. Acts 18:8). Does that demand we be water baptized too?
The Bible teaches that God has made Paul our apostle because he is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). As we saw earlier, Paul is our “pattern” in this the Dispensation of Grace (1 Timothy 1:15-16). In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul writes, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
Paul was water baptized, so should we follow Paul’s example by being water baptized also? Well, the Bible also says that Paul was physically circumcised (Philippians 3:5), that he spoke in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:18), and that he shaved his head (Acts 18:18). If we are to follow Paul in “believer’s water baptism,” then let us also follow Paul by shaving our heads, speaking in tongues, and being physically circumcised. Oh, not interested, are we?
The Holy Spirit through Paul writes that, today, “[there is] one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). What is that one baptism? The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” That one baptism is not something performed by a priest or preacher, but an act of the Holy Spirit—clearly this is not water baptism. We follow the doctrine in Paul’s epistles, and Paul’s epistles tell us that water baptism has nothing to do with us. Water baptism belongs in Israel’s program.
Since water baptism belongs in Israel’s program, not in our Dispensation of Grace, then why did Paul water baptize at all? Paul was the first member of the Body of Christ, so why was Paul water baptized?
In 1 Corinthians 1:17 the Apostle Paul writes, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel….” If water baptism is important as most of today’s “Christian” leaders claim, then why did Christ not send Paul to water baptize? Recall that Christ had sent the twelve apostles to water baptize “all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20). Obviously, the instructions Christ gave to the Apostle Paul are different from the instructions He gave to the twelve apostles.
Paul was water baptized because God had not yet revealed that water baptism was not for our Dispensation of Grace. Furthermore, the book of Acts is transitional, so water baptism was part of Paul’s early ministry. Just as Paul had the temporary gifts of healing, tongues, and raising the dead, he also water baptized. These were temporarily carried over from Israel’s program. In doing so, God was demonstrating to Israel that her program was falling away, and Paul’s ministry was replacing Peter’s. Peter water baptized (Acts 2:41; Acts 10:46-48), so Paul also water baptized.
To validate Paul’s ministry for the Jews’ sake, God temporarily granted Paul the gift of miracle working. Lest the Jews discredit Paul for not water baptizing, he did water baptize—i.e., they could have said, “Paul does not water baptize, so we should not follow him” or “Paul was not water baptized, so he cannot be a true apostle of God.” Paul water baptizing (and performing miracles) provoked the Jews to jealousy (Romans 11:11).
Eventually, water baptism became divisive within the Corinthian church, so Paul quit water baptizing: this is why he “thanked God” that he only water baptized some of the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 1:14-17). In fact, 1 Corinthians was written before Acts 28. In Paul’s latter epistles (his prison epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Titus, Philemon), he makes no more references to water baptism. By Acts chapter 28, Israel’s program had ceased and she had fallen. The Acts transitional period was over.
We will stop here for this week and next week we will look at two other common objections to rightly dividing the word of truth.
Is Hyperdispensationalism Heresy? II
by Shawn Brasseaux
[4 September 2011]
The 38,000-plus denominations of Christendom are the result of people refusing to use God’s Word, God’s way. God has “rightly divided” His Word; He has made distinctions in the Bible that we need to recognize. If we do not “rightly divide the word of truth”—that is, use dispensational Bible study—the Bible will not make sense, and it will even be contradictory.
Dispensational Bible study enables us to understand truth directed to one group of people in the Bible must be separated from truth given to another group of people in the Bible. Recall that all of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us: parts of the Bible are spoken and written to various groups of people other than us.
“Rightly dividing the word of truth,” using God’s Word, God’s way, is the key to understanding the Bible. The King James Bible says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). For example, we do not obey the instructions in the Old Testament or the Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) because that was God speaking to the nation Israel. What was spoken to Israel belongs to Israel, not to us. Likewise, the part of the Bible written to us as members of the Church the Body of Christ belongs to us, not to Israel. The Bible says that Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). Paul is our apostle. God’s instructions to us as Gentiles are the information revealed in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.
As you would expect, since dispensational Bible study is God’s method for Bible study, Satan will oppose it every which way he can. Last week, in part I, we looked at two frequent objections to dispensational Bible study, statements people use in an attempt to discourage you from properly studying and understanding the Bible. They are:
- How could the Body of Christ begin with Paul if “the church” is found in Matthew chapter 16 and Acts chapter 2, some years before Paul’s salvation? The Body of Christ began in Acts chapter 2, right?
- If we should follow Paul’s example, then we need to follow Paul in water baptism, right?
In part I, last week, we answered those questions. This week, in part II, we will look at two additional frequent objections that critics of Pauline dispensationalism (mid-Acts dispensationalism) use to discredit right division.
By the way, because we do not adhere to Acts chapter 2 as the beginning of the Church the Body of Christ, our critics call us “hyperdispensationalists.” While I believe the Church the Body of Christ began with the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 9 (as indicated in Ephesians 3:2 and 1 Timothy 1:15-16), some believe the Body of Christ began in Acts chapter 13 or Acts chapter 28. The Acts chapter 28 people are termed “ultradispensationalists.” The terms “hyperdispensationalists” and “ultradispensationalists” are derogatory terms used to belittle those who disagree with the traditional “Acts chapter 2 view” of the Body of Christ.
Okay, now let us look at and refute two more examples of common objections to right division.
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Paul is a man, so I refuse to follow him. I go by what Jesus said, not what Paul said.
RESPONSE TO OBJECTION #3:
Those who are vehemently opposed to Pauline dispensationalism accuse us of “worshipping Paul.” Many Christians, when told that they need to follow the Apostle Paul, contend that we need to “follow Jesus” and “obey Jesus.” These dear church members are not only guilty of not following Paul, but they really are not following Jesus either! Who is really following Jesus today?
- Jesus said we must keep the commandments in order to inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:16-19; Mark 10:17-19; Luke 18:18-20).
- Jesus said minister to Jews only—we should have no ministry to Gentiles or Samaritans (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24).
- Jesus said to sell all that you have and give alms to the poor (Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:33; Luke 18:22).
- Jesus said to cast out devils, speak with new tongues, take up serpents, drink poison, and lay hands on the sick (Mark 16:17-18).
- Jesus said that if you would ask His heavenly Father in His name to give you something, believing, He will give it to you (Matthew 21:22; John 14:13-14).
- Jesus said to teach the Law of Moses (Matthew 28:20 cf. Matthew 5:17-19).
- Jesus said that you are to preach, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” while healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, casting out devils, and NOT taking collections (Matthew 10:7-8).
Not one person today obeys all of the above statements that came from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ. While many church members claim to be following some commandments of Jesus, they are not following all of His commandments: they only obey what they want to obey. In all actuality, the verses cited above are not spoken to us.
The Four Gospels are God’s Word, for “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). However, Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was confined to Jews under the Mosaic Law (Romans 15:8; Galatians 4:4,5). We are neither Jews nor under the Law (Romans 6:14-15; Galatians 3:28). Jesus said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24; cf. Matthew 10:5-7). “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8).
If we want to know what God has to say to us as non-Jews living in this the Dispensation of Grace, we will not look at what He told Jews. As non-Jews, God has given us an apostle, “the apostle of the Gentiles,” Paul. The ascended Lord Jesus Christ selected Saul of Tarsus, saved him, and made him Paul the Apostle. Jesus Christ sent Paul to us. Paul writes, “I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostles of the Gentiles; I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13). The Lord Jesus told Ananias: “for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15; cf. Acts 22:21 and Acts 26:17-18).
The Lord Jesus said in John 13:20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” The ascended Lord Jesus Christ sent Paul to us, so if we receive Paul, we receive Christ. If we reject Paul, we reject Christ. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14:37: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” What Paul writes are the very words of the Lord Jesus Christ: when you obey Paul’s instructions, you are obeying Christ!
It is interesting to note that those who say “I go by what Jesus said” are actually oftentimes quoting Paul instead of quoting Jesus! Many of those who claim to “follow Jesus” do not quote Jesus’ instructions of “keep the commandments to be saved” (Matthew 19:16-19). NO! They quote Paul, where he writes, “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), or Romans 3:28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” or Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Clearly, Paul and Jesus are preaching opposite messages, but they are doing so because they are preaching to different peoples. The Four Gospels are to the nation Israel what Paul’s epistles are to us—they are God’s messages to those respective peoples! Just as God revealed through Moses the Dispensation of Law, God through Paul revealed the Dispensation of Grace. To ignore Paul’s epistles and claim the rest of the Bible as yours is not only to steal something that does not belong to you, but also to ignore the man that God sent to minister to you as a Gentile in this the Dispensation of Grace!
We do not exalt Paul as God or Saviour, as our critics claim. Instead, we “magnify” the office given to Paul. Paul writes that “magnifies his office,” his God-given role as “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). To cast away Paul as a nobody is to cast away Jesus Christ “according to the revelation of the mystery” as a nobody (Romans 16:25-26).
There is only one gospel in the Bible, so there was no special gospel or unique ministry committed to Paul.
RESPONSE TO OBJECTION #4:
The Bible speaks of many gospels. For example, Matthew 9:35 says that the Lord Jesus Christ preached “the gospel of the kingdom” during His earthly ministry. According to Acts 20:24, the Apostle Paul preached “the gospel of the grace of God.” An angel in Revelation 14:6-7 preaches “the everlasting gospel.” Galatians 2:7 says, “the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision was [committed] unto Peter.”
“Gospel” simply means “good news.” The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ were not always proclaimed as “good news.” In fact, nothing in the Bible indicates that Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses knew anything about Calvary. The gospel God revealed to Noah was “build an ark because a global flood is coming” (Genesis 6:13-22). Abraham believed in the good news that he was going to have a son, Isaac, and Isaac would begin the nation Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). Why was Calvary not preached to them, as it is preached today?
A. THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM AND THE GOSPEL OF THE CIRCUMCISION
For nearly 2000 years, the Old Testament spoke of the nation Israel rising to kingdom glory, and salvation going to Gentiles through Israel (Genesis 12:3; Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 60:1-3; Zechariah 8:20-23; et al.). Israel would be a “kingdom of priests” that would minister to Gentiles (Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 61:6).
Jesus Christ was Israel’s King and Messiah, and He came to Israel to usher in their kingdom. So, as was afore mentioned, Jesus and His twelve apostles preached, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; et al.). This gospel is obviously called “the gospel of the kingdom.” Notice the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was NOT preached as a gospel during Christ’s earthly ministry because Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was hidden from the apostles, despite Him explicitly telling them that He would die, be buried, and resurrect (Matthew 16:20-24; Mark 9:9-10, 31-32; Luke 9:44-45; Luke 18:31-34; John 20:9).
As we know, Israel rejected her Messiah Jesus, and had Him crucified on Calvary’s cross. In the early Acts period, Peter and the eleven apostles preached “the gospel of the circumcision” (see Galatians 2:7). The “circumcision” refers to the nation Israel (an allusion to their physical circumcision). In Acts 3:25-26, Peter preached that Israel needed to repent, so that their kingdom could be established, and the Gentiles could be saved in that kingdom: this was the Abrahamic (Circumcision) Covenant promised in Genesis 12:1-3 (cf. Acts 7:8). Unfortunately, Israel rejected the preaching of the twelve apostles and the little flock (believing Israel) during the early part of the book of Acts. Unbelieving Israel ultimately stoned their prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7. At this point, Israel had blasphemed against the Holy Ghost and fell (Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10).
B. THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD AND THE GOSPEL OF THE UNCIRCUMCISION
In Acts chapter 9, God saved Saul of Tarsus and made him Paul “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). According to Galatians 2:7, God committed to Paul “the gospel of the uncircumcision,” a gospel that taught that Jews and Gentiles could be saved apart from Israel’s kingdom program, which God was beginning to temporarily suspend. Remember, “the gospel of the circumcision” was the message of Israel rising to kingdom glory and Gentiles being saved through Israel. “The gospel of the circumcision” was the message that Israel had temporarily fallen, and salvation was going to Gentiles apart from Israel’s kingdom (Romans 11:11-12). God postponed Israel’s kingdom and inserted the Dispensation of Grace, a secret program/time period that He had now revealed. The Dispensation of Grace, previously hidden in the Old Testament, was committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust, and that time period would precede Israel’s kingdom (Ephesians 3:1-9).
In this the Dispensation of Grace, the Apostle Paul also preached “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), a message that involved Israel’s crucified, buried, and risen Messiah now becoming “the Saviour of all men, specially those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10). Paul preached that Jesus Christ “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6). This is the gospel that we preach today: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The Apostles Peter, James, and John never preached that gospel. Paul called it “my gospel” three times (Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 2:8).
According to 2 Peter 3:15-16, the Apostle Peter admitted Paul had “wisdom given unto him,” wisdom of which Peter wrote: “[Paul is] speaking in [his epistles] some things hard to be understood.” Paul knew some things that Peter did not, and Peter confessed that! Peter knew that Paul’s ministry was separate from that of the twelve apostles.
- So, “church” in Scripture does not always refer to the Church the Body of Christ. There are three “churches” in Scripture, and they should not be confused as being one church. The “church” of our dispensation, the Church the Body of Christ, began with the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 1:15-16). The Body of Christ is separate and distinct from the nation Israel.
- Paul was water baptized, but he was also physically circumcised, he spoke in tongues, and he shaved his head. He did these things during the transitional book of Acts for the Jews’ sakes. Eventually, Paul quit water baptizing, quit speak speaking in tongues, and quit shaving his head. We are to follow Paul as he follows Christ, as taught in 1 Corinthians 11:1, but we do not need water baptism (1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:5).
- Paul is a man, so we do not exalt Paul as Saviour or God. When we follow Paul, we are following Christ in this the Dispensation of Grace (1 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 1:6). What Paul writes are “the commandments of the Lord” for this dispensation (1 Corinthians 14:37; cf. 2 Timothy 2:7).
- There are many gospels in the Bible, but there is only one gospel today. It is Paul’s Gospel, the gospel which the ascended Lord Jesus Christ revealed exclusively to Paul (this is “the Gospel of Grace,” as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Paul had a special ministry in that he ministered to Gentiles once God began to set Israel aside. The Apostle Paul ministered apart from Israel’s program, and he preached a special Gospel that taught that Gentiles could be saved apart from Israel by becoming members of the Church the Body of Christ.