Title: Paul was Not a Christian (The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle)
Author: Pamela Eisenbaum
Publisher: Harper One Reprint
My rating 2 out of 5 stars.
One of the reasons I wanted to read the book was hoping to gain insight into the Jewishness of Paul and his writings. What I got was frustration and sadness. The author isn’t a Messianic Jew nor does she believe that all the writings of Paul should be attributed to him for various reasons. However, when someone takes bits and pieces of Scripture but not the whole that is wrong. When the author accepts some of Paul while dismissing others for human reasons, that too is wrong. For all Scripture is God-breathed; there is a holiness and height to which no mere writings of man can attain.
I don’t agree with excusing disbelief because of nuances of writings or one codex being used and ignoring others. To me it is like when we eat certain meals where ingredients are mixed together, we pick out before eating it what we don’t like and consume what is left. The Scriptures are by no means equal to any writings by man. God’s ways and thoughts aren’t like ours. God is high and lifted up, and His train fills the temple. He is holy, holy, holy. We aren’t.
I agree Paul wasn’t a Christian as stated in the title. He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees, a man who learned to be content in all circumstances. He was from the tribe of Benjamin, he was an apostle and frankly he was brilliant. Even the apostle Peter tells us that Paul wrote things hard to understand, not impossible, but hard.
When will mankind understand that being finite we can never fully comprehend the Infinite, nor explain the infinite God of heaven and earth? The God who made us, knit us in our mother’s womb, whose words go forth and don’t return void! We need to realize that faith is believing and must be exercised, especially when we come face-to-face with our inability to adequately understand the Word. The problem with unbelief is that it keeps a person from seeing the spectacular God who is revealed in the heavens and in the Word of God.
Other reviews can be read as I read them, and one even pointed out the author’s misuse of Greek. I am not in the world of academia, but others are like Ravi Zacharias who can far better defend faith and other issues with such warmth and understanding. This book undermines Paul, God’s revelations to him, and the gospel to which Paul proclaimed to the Gentiles after doing so first to the Jewish people.