Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gospel trumps Apostleship

Galatians 2:11-14 (ESV)
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. [12] For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. [13] And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. [14] But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?"

No matter how often I read this passage in Scripture I still come away awestruck. There is a lot to glean here. Peter fell into hypocrisy, should it be any shock that we sometimes do also? Paul, who has a somewhat dubious claim to apostleship, (Paul is the only one who received his apostleship by falling off a donkey in the desert and seeing a vision. Many people see things when they fall in the desert.) confronts Peter, and Peter accepts the correction as if from a fellow brother apostle. Peter does not at all question Paul’s apostleship. This tells me that no matter how dubious Paul’s claim to Apostleship may seem, it is not to be questioned. Peter could have questioned it. And we may have lost three quarters of the New Testament if he had. Peter does not question it. He accepts Paul’s rebuke.
It also tells me Paul is right about the Gospel. Peter knew this too. Peter didn’t question Paul’s interpretation of the Gospel, any more than he questioned Paul’s apostleship. And it is the Gospel that wins out. The Gospel, the word of God, trumps even seniority! I mean Peter could have made the same argument here that Rome tries to make today with the pope and the supposed apostolic succession. Rome rests the truth claims of the Papacy on the primacy of Peter. Peter obviously had no such compulsion. He submits to the word. If Peter had any supremacy he could have argued against Paul on these grounds without questioning Paul’s apostleship. But Peter hears the word, and the word works repentance even in Peter. Peter repents, and is forgiven. The Gospel trumps everything! The Gospel trumps the law. The Gospel trumps apostleship. The Gospel trumps hierarchy! So rest assured, it doesn’t matter who tells you your sins are forgiven, the truth is they are!


steve martin said...

Dogoneit Bror!

You are absolutely right!

The gospel does trump everything! The Word wins. Period.

I am going to print this out and mail it to the pope.

I'll let you know what his answer is.


apollo819 said...

We had David P. Scaer, M.Div., Th.D. as our guest speaker for reformation.
He articulated the differences between Lutherans,(LCMS), and everyone else in a way that anyone could understand.
I know its off subject, but was wondering if you know of him and his writings?

The Lords Peace Bror..

Bror Erickson said...

Studied under the man, So did my dad. Doubt he will be around for my son to study under him, but then Scaer's son is there now, so the nepotism continues.
He has quite a few books out.

Anonymous said...

Where do you get the idea that Peter accepted Paul's rebuke or that Peter even acknowledges such an event taking place? You must have been transported up to the third heaven 15 years ago to chat with Peter about it, right? Because I certainly don't see anywhere where Peter was given a chance to defend himself against the lying claim that such a confrontation took place in Antioch. And please, don't refer to 2nd Peter! Even those least familiar with patristics know that 2nd Peter was unquoted until late third century and was set off as one of the doubtful books until the 4th. And even if Peter did write it, he must have never read Galatians.