JESUS OR PAUL?
ESSENE CHRISTIANITY VERSUS PAULIANITY
by Rev. Brother Nazariah, D.D.
"Paul was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus"
-- Thomas Jefferson
In previous articles published in The Essene Path, I have briefly touched on the topic of how Paul, the self-proclaimed Apostle,
violently opposed the original Essene Christianity of Jesus, first by killing and imprisoning its leaders, then by infiltrating the
movement and leading a schism. The schism led by Paul -- different version of Christianity -- replaced the teachings of Jesus with
the teachings of Paul. As briefly described in previous articles, "Paulianity" evolved into the Roman Catholic Church and gave birth to
all of what is considered mainstream Christianity today, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant. Whereas I have briefly touched
on this topic in previous articles, it is the purpose of this article to deal with it in great depth. I will begin by setting the stage; I will
describe early Christianity as it existed prior to the advent of Paul. What were the main tenets of this pre-Pauline, Essene
Christianity? What was the early Christian doctrine of salvation? Having set the stage, I will describe in detail the schism led by Paul
which evolved into modern Christianity. I will conclude this expose´ with a call to action: A CALL TO REJECT PAULIANITY AND
RETURN TO ESSENE NAZARENE CHRISTIANITY. The choice is simple, yet profound; and every Christian must make it: YAHSHUA
(Jesus) OR PAUL?
First, some necessary background information must be given. There was an ancient Jewish religion which was very mystical, high
and noble. It was a very evolved form of religion, rooted in respect and care for all of creation. This ancient Jewish religion was both
very esoteric -- as evidenced by its Kaballah mysticism -- and yet very practical, as evidenced by its emphasis on daily lifestyle
disciplines, ecology and communal economics. War and slavery had no part in this nonviolent religion. Women were the equals to
men; women were entitled -- in fact, encouraged-- to participate in the Priesthood. This Priesthood -- called "The Priesthood of Melki
Zadek" -- was governed by God via good angels and the divinely inspired BOOK OF THE ETERNAL COVENANT. Their original
founder was Enoch; later, Moses led a major remanifestation of their movement. THIS ENLIGHTENED ANCIENT JEWISH RELIGION
WAS KNOWN AS "ESSENE NAZARENE JUDAISM".
But Essene Nazarene Judaism was not the only form of Judaism. Both forms of Judaism expected a Messiah: the sacrificial cult
expected the Messiah to be a warrior king; the Essene Nazarenes expected a Messiah of Peace, a spiritual King. And so it was that
the Messiah of Peace, the spiritual King of Israel, came to earth through the Essenes; for it was the Essene scriptures and
prophecies that proved true. And so it was that the Essene Nazarene Jews, practitioners of the authentic Judaism established by God
through Enoch and Moses, BECAME THE VERY FIRST CHRISTIANS!
The "first Christians" were not called "Christians"! That term was not used until years later. They were called "Essene Nazarene
Ebionites". For short, they were usually referred to simply as "Nazarenes" or "Ebionites". Let us begin our description of early,
pre-Pauline Christianity with a look at the meaning of the terms "Nazarene" and "Ebionite".
The term "Nazarene" refers to a member of the Essene movement associated with Mount Carmel in Northern Israel. The Essenes
considered Mount Carmel to be so holy that none of the natural vegetation growing there could be disturbed: no trees cut, no bushes
cleared away, no permanent dwellings built. Some of their priests lived on Mount Carmel in tents (similar to yurts) but no permanent
structures were permitted. Even their Temple atop Carmel was a type of large tent, a beautiful yurt with a bloodless altar. Only a
small contingent of their priests actually lived atop Mount Carmel, the majority of their membership lived in an Essene cooperative
village a couple miles from the southwestern edge of the base of the mountain. That Essene village was called "Nazareth". Those
who lived there were called "Nazarenes", as were all members of the Essene sect associated with Mount Carmel. Thus, the fact that
Jesus was referred to as "the Nazarene" and his first followers were called "the sect of the Nazarenes" demonstrates the link
between early Christianity and the Essene Nazarenes of Mount Carmel.
The other term that the first Christians were called was "Ebionite". The word "Ebionite" comes from the Hebrew word "Ebon" which
literally means "poor" but implies "THOSE WHO HAVE VOLUNTARILY RENOUNCED WORLDLY MATERIALISM TO ENTER THE
ESSENE LIFESTYLE OF SIMPLE LIVING AND RADICAL SHARING IN COMMUNITY." Simply put, an "Ebionite" is an "Essene
renunciate", an Essene who has given up materialism to serve God within the context of the communal lifestyle in which all is
shared. While all fully initiated Essene Nazarene Ebionites lived in, or were sent out on missions by, the network of Essene Christian
communes, there was a large outer-circle of members not yet fully initiated who still lived in private homes. These outer-circle
devotees were called "Hearers"; until ready to divest themselves of private wealth and join the communal economy, they studied the
teachings and supported the communes by tithing. In the beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared "Blessed are the
Ebon ("Poor"), for they shall inherit the Earth." He was not pronouncing a general blessing on all poor people; neither was he
praising poverty. Rather, he was making specific reference to his sect, the Essene "Ebon" or "Ebionites" gathered around him atop
The terms "Nazarene" and "Ebionite" are central to a correct understanding of early, pre-Pauline Christianity. Why? Because certain
specific beliefs and practices can be identified with those terms. We know from many sources that both terms -- Nazarene and
Ebionite -- are associated with: vegetarianism, reincarnation, God as both Father and Mother, communalism, pacifism, an absolute
prohibition against slavery, absolute sobriety (no intoxicating drinks or drugs), equality of men and women, holistic health and
Essene Yoga. THOSE ARE THE BELIEFS AND PRACTICES OF THE VERY FIRST CHRISTIANS, the beliefs and practices of the
ESSENE NAZARENE EBIONITES.
And what was the doctrine of salvation of these early, pre-Pauline Christians? They believed that SALVATION IS DEPENDENT
UPON FOLLOWING THE SAVING TEACHINGS OF YAHSHUA (Jesus). In a profound contrast with the theology of Paul -- which
became orthodox Christianity ("Paulianity") -- the literature of the Essene Nazarene Ebionites NEVER TAUGHT SALVATION VIA
BELIEF IN THE SACRIFICIAL DEATH OF JESUS ON THE CROSS. The Pauline doctrine which asserts that you can only be saved
by believing that Jesus died for your sins, is called ATONEMENT. The Essene Nazarene Ebionites had a very different doctrine of
Atonement; it was AT-ONE-MENT. They believed that to be AT-ONE with God (the goal of religion) one must follow THE SAVING
TEACHINGS OF YAHSHUA, not simply believe in his sacrificial death. The Essene Nazarene Ebionites based their doctrine of
salvation on the actual instructions they personally received from Yahshua before his crucifixion. Unlike Paul, who NEVER EVEN
MET JESUS, the leaders of the Essene Nazarene Ebionites were PERSONALLY TRAINED AND INITIATED BY THEIR SPIRITUAL
MASTER, YAHSHUA. In The Essene New Testament, Jesus tells his disciples that blood sacrifice cannot bring salvation:
Jesus was teaching his disciples in the outer court of the Temple and one of them said unto him, "Master, it is said by the priests
that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Can blood offerings take away sin?" Jesus answered, "No blood offering
of beast or bird or man can take away sin. For how can the conscience be purged from sin by the shedding of innocent blood? Nay,
it will increase the condemnation.... For sins against the Law of God there can be no remission, except by repentance and
So, Jesus made quite clear that no blood sacrifice -- not even his own -- can provide salvation for your sins; rather, you must quit
sinning (repent) and follow his SAVING TEACHINGS. And that was the doctrine of salvation of the Essene Nazarene Ebionites.
It should be noted that while the Essene Nazarene Christians did not believe in the remission of sins via Jesus' sacrificial death,
THEY DID BELIEVE JESUS PERFORMED A POWERFUL WORK ON THE CROSS. Fallen angels who had become disembodied
demons were tampering with the subtle, etheric atmospheres of Planet Earth; especially: 1) the energy vortex involved with the
process of exiting the body at death; 2) the purgatorial realm of past life review between incarnations; and, 3) the energy vortex
involved with the process of taking new birth. For Jesus to purify and reorganize those subtle, etheric atmospheres of our planet, IT
WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO DIE AS A HUMAN BEING AND ENTER THOSE SUBTLE REGIONS THROUGH THE ENERGY
VORTEX WHICH WAS INFESTED WITH PARASITIC DEMONS. He did so, freeing many souls who were being held captive in the
subtle planes (being sucked of life-force by vampire-like disembodied entities) and purified the entire between-lives region and
energy vortexes. This took place during the three days after his crucifixion and prior to his reappearance to the disciples at the tomb.
Thus, the Essene Christians believed that salvation was dependent on following the savings teachings of Jesus -- not belief in his
sacrificial death -- BUT DID BELIEVE HE PERFORMED A MIGHTY WORK BY DYING AS A MAN AND PURIFYING THE
BETWEEN-LIVES REGION. But no matter how vital and necessary that deed was, if we simply believe in it and neglect to follow his
teachings, we will not experience AT-ONE-MENT with God. AT-ONE-MENT WITH GOD IS ACHIEVED VIA HARMONY WITH THE
LAWS OF GOD -- the laws of the universe -- AND THOSE LAWS (and how to be in harmony with them) ARE THE SUBJECT OF
THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS.
Having set the stage, I will begin now to describe how Paul, the self-proclaimed Apostle, violently opposed the original vegetarian
Essene Christianity of Jesus, first by killing and imprisoning its leaders, then by infiltrating the movement and leading a schism. That
schism, as I shall describe, evolved into mainstream, meat-eating Christianity.
About two decades after the crucifixion of Jesus, we meet Paul. Essene Nazarene Christianity was still true to the teachings of
Jesus, being led by James, the brother of Jesus. Paul, an agent of the Jewish puppet-government installed by imperial Rome, then
made his first appearance, leading a bloody assault on the Essene Christians in the Temple at Jerusalem. That vicious attack in
which many Essene-Christians were murdered by Paul and his henchmen -- an historical fact you won't find in your "Pauline"
Christian Bible -- is described by the Apostle Peter in an ancient Essene Christian manuscript titled, THE CLEMENTINE HOMILIES
AND RECOGNITIONS; we read:
"... the high priest of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem had often sent priests to ask us that we might discourse with one another
concerning Jesus: when it seemed a fit opportunity, and it pleased all of our church, we accepted the invitation and went up to the
temple. It was crowded with people who had come to listen, many Jews and many of our own brethren. First the high priest told
people that they should listen patiently and quietly.... Then, he began exalting with many praises the rite of animal sacrifice for the
remission of sins and found fault with the baptism given by our Jesus to replace animal sacrifice....
"To him our James began to show, by abundant proof that Jesus is the Christ, and that in Him are fulfilled all the prophecies which
related to His humble advent. For, James showed that two advents of Him are foretold: one in humiliation, which He has now
accomplished; the other in glory, which is yet to be accomplished....
"And when James had plainly taught the people concerning these things, he added this also, that unless a man be baptized in
water, in the name of the threefold blessedness, as the True Prophet taught, he can neither receive remission of sins nor enter the
kingdom of heaven: and he declared that this is the prescription of the unbegotten God.... And when James had spoken some more
things about baptism, through seven successive days he persuaded all the people and even the high priest that they should hasten
straightaway to receive baptism....
"And when matters were at that point that they would all come and be baptized, Paul and his men entered the temple: and Paul
cried out: 'Oh men of Israel, why are you so easily influenced by these miserable men?' He began to excite the people and raise a
tumult... and drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been done by James. Paul rebuked the priests for having
listened to James, and, like a madman, began to excite the priests and people to murder James and the brethren, saying 'Do not
hesitate; grab them and pull them to pieces.' Paul then, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others
also, seeing him, joined in the beating. Much blood was shed. Although James and the brethren were more numerous and more
powerful they rather suffered themselves to be killed by an inferior force, than to kill others. Paul attacked James and threw him
headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead left him."
Fortunately, James, the Brother of Jesus and leader of the Essene Christians, was revived by Essene healers. He and the other
survivors of Paul's attack left Jerusalem and went to an Essene commune to heal. Paul continued to persecute Essene Christians,
going from city to city with secret police agents, arresting and killing many.
Then, on the road to Damascus, Paul (this is the point where he changed his name from Saul to Paul) claimed to have a vision of
Christ, and supposedly converted to Essene Christianity. By claiming conversion, Paul was entitled to receive initiation into the
Essene mystery school (he entered their three year ministerial training program in Damascus) and to learn the various secrets of the
group, including their hidden camps and underground church locations. At first, the brethren considered his conversion to be
authentic. Later they realized it was no real conversion: IT WAS AN INFILTRATION!
Once Paul had infiltrated the group and received ordination, he began to change the teachings of Jesus. Certainly, Paul is entitled
to his own opinion. But a study of all the source material makes clear that Paul did more than simply state his own opinion: he
DELIBERATELY and SYSTEMATICALLY replaced the original teachings of Jesus and the "old apostles" with his own very different
teachings, not only on women's rights, slavery and more. In The Story of Christian Origins, Martin Larson writes:
"Paul declares that... the Elect may even eat meat sacrificed to idols.... Whereas Jesus honored women and found in them His most
devoted followers, Paul never tires of proclaiming their inferiority. He declares that, man is the head of the woman and she must
always submit to his will.... Whereas the Essenes proclaimed equality among the Brethren [the Essenes were the first people on
earth to condemn and forbid the practice of slavery], Paul repeatedly declares that Christian slaves must be obedient to their
In one of the best books on early Christianity, Those Incredible Christians, Dr. Hugh Schonfield reports:
"For the Apostolic Church much that Paul taught was grievous error not at all in accord with the mind and message of the Messiah.
The original Apostles could urge that the truth was known by them. But Paul had never companied with Jesus or heard what he said
day after day [remember: Paul had never even met Jesus], and Paul's visions were the delusions of this own misguided mind....
"It was not only the teaching and activities of Paul which made him obnoxious to the Christian leaders: but their awareness that he set
his revelations above their authority and claimed an intimacy with the mind of Jesus, greater than that of those who had companied
with him on earth and had been chosen by him.... It was an abomination, especially as his ideas were so contrary to what they knew
of Jesus, that he should pose as the embodiment of the Messiah 's will.... Paul was seen as the demon-driven enemy of the
Messiah.... For the legitimate Church, Paul was a dangerous and disruptive influence, bent on enlisting a large following among the
Gentiles in order to provide himself with a numerical superiority with the support of which he could set at defiance the Elders at
Jerusalem. Paul had been the enemy from the beginning, and because he failed in his former open hostility he had craftily
insinuated himself into the fold to destroy it from within."
In the two excerpts given directly above -- the excerpt from Larson's book and the excerpt from Schonfeld's book -- six important
assertions are made in regard to Paul:
Jesus honored women and found in them his most devoted followers, but Paul proclaimed the inferiority of women and said that they
must obey the will of men;
The Essenes forbade slavery but Paul ordered Christian slaves to obey their Christian masters;
Although Paul never met Jesus, he ignored the instructions of the Apostles who had been personally trained by Jesus, replacing the
teachings of Jesus and the Apostles with his own very different teachings;
Paul was, in the view of the Essene Christians, the "demon-driven enemy of the Messiah."
Paul had been the enemy of Essene Christianity from the beginning, and because he failed in his former open hostility he had craftily
infiltrated the movement to destroy it from within, leading a schism which became numerically strong enough to subdue the original
I will now address each of the above six assertions, providing evidence to support them. I will deal with the significance of the first
assertion -- that Paul taught it was okay to eat meat offered to idols -- when I address number five because the two are intimately
linked. Thus, I begin with assertion number two.
We saw above that Martin Larson, in his book The Story of Christian Origins, asserted that whereas Jesus honored women, Paul did
not. Larson asserts that Paul taught the inferiority of women, commanding women to submit to men. We need not look far for
evidence; simply grab the nearest bible and read Paul's own words; in First Corinthians, Chapter 11, Paul declares:
"Be imitators of me.... I commend you because you remember me in everything.... But I want you to understand that while the head
of every man is Christ, the head of every woman is her husband.... And any woman who prays with her head uncovered dishonors
her husband; if a woman will not cover her head with a veil, then her hair should be shaved off.... For a man ought not to cover his
head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.... Neither was man created for woman, but woman for
man. That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, as a sign of submission to her husband that all men and angels will
see.... And if anyone disagrees with me about his, they must be told to obey; for nothing else is acceptable in churches of God."
Similarly, Paul declares in Chapter 5 of Ephesians:
"Wives be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife in the same way that Christ is the head of
the church. As the church is subject to Christ, so must wives be subject to their husbands in everything."
If you think the above words of Paul are not only egotistical -- "Be imitators of me" -- but also brand him as a male chauvinist, hold
onto your hats (especially you women in church!); IT GETS WORSE! In Chapter 14 of First Corinthians, Paul writes:
"In all Christian churches, the women should keep silent whenever in church. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be
subordinate.... If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak
in church.... If any one thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, he must acknowledge that what I am writing to you is true and from the Lord
In the above excerpts from the Pauline New Testament -- the New Testament used by every Christian Church in the world today
EXCEPT ESSENE CHURCH OF CHRIST (we use The Essene New Testament which has NO WORDS OF PAUL), Paul reveals
himself to be biased towards women -- indeed, he seems to hate them -- and to be a megalomaniac. ("Megalomania" is a disease of
the mind marked by unwarranted feelings of personal superiority, omnipotence and grandeur.) Probably, most of the older women
reading this article remember having to wear hats or veils on their heads at church when they were little girls. That Pauline doctrine
was enforced in nearly all Christian churches in America up until the women's liberation movement of the 1960's. That Pauline
doctrine is still enforced in nearly every Christian church outside of America. Even today in America, especially in the Southern
States, women still must wear head coverings in many of the more conservative denominations. Obviously, the Catholic prohibition
against women being priests is rooted in this Pauline bias against women.
JESUS NEVER SPOKE NEGATIVELY ABOUT WOMEN THE WAY PAUL DID. At spiritual gatherings of his disciples, Mary
Magdalene constantly peppered Jesus with spiritual questions, as did another woman named Mary and a woman named Martha.
Jesus encouraged them to speak. Jesus' positive viewpoint in regard to women was a natural outgrowth of his understanding of God
as both Father and Mother; we read in The Essene New Testament:
Jesus said, "God is both male and female, not divided but the Two in One.... In God the masculine is not without the feminine, nor is
the feminine without the masculine.... In God the masculine powers and feminine powers are perfectly united as One.
"Verily, God created mankind in the Divine image male and female, and all nature is in the image of God.... In the beginning, God
willed and there came forth the First Beloved Son and the First Beloved Daughter, united as Love and Wisdom, created in the Image
and Likeness of the Father-Mother, and of these proceed all the generations of the spirits of God, the Sons and Daughters of the
"Therefore shall the name of the Father and Mother be equally hallowed, for they are the great powers of God...."
Wow! what a vastly different vibratory frequency are the words of Jesus in regard to the feminine energy than Paul's! While Jesus
praises the feminine energy as being Divine and calls women "the daughters of God", Paul tells women to cover their heads as a
sign of submission to men -- or to have their heads shaved bald as punishment -- and forbids them to speak at church! Hey Ladies,
take your pick: Essene Christianity or Paulianity?
Next we will examine Schonfield's assertion that Paul permitted Christians to own other Christians in contrast to the absolute
prohibition against slavery by the Essenes. Once again, we need look only so far as the nearest Pauline Bible -- the Bible on your
bookshelf -- for evidence to support Schonfield; for, once again, Paul's own words condemn him. In chapter 6 of Ephesians, Paul
instructs Christian slaves to obey their Christian slave masters as though the slave master were Jesus Christ:
"Slaves, be obedient to your masters, with fear and trembling, as to Christ."
Likewise, in chapter 3 of Colossians, Paul orders Christian slaves in another congregation to obey their Christian slave masters:
"Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, fearing the Lord."
In 1st Timothy chapter 6, Paul instructs his ministerial student, Timothy, in the Pauline doctrine on slavery, and then displays his
egotistical megalomania by asserting that anyone who disagrees with him knows nothing:
"Christian slaves must work hard for their owners and regard their owners as worthy of all honor.... If their owner is a Christian, that
is no excuse to slow down their labor; rather, they should labor all the harder because a brother in the faith is profiting from their
toil.... Timothy teach this truth and demand that all obey. For if anyone disagrees or teaches otherwise... he is puffed up with conceit
and knows nothing. Timothy some may deny that this is the sound message of Jesus Christ... and may dispute over the meaning of
Christ's words. These arguers have warped minds, are stupid and depraved."
Yes, the above words upholding slavery, like the previous words downgrading women, are printed on the pages of the supposedly
"holy" Bible, the book which Pauline Christians call "the Word of God". Fortunately, there does exist a truly "holy" Bible; and,
fortunately, that Bible forbids slavery and upholds the dignity of women. That truly holy Bible is The Essene New Testament; and it is
indeed worthy of the term "THE WORD OF GOD." Unfortunately, the Pauline fundamentalists don't read it! Thus, the above excerpts
from the Pauline bible upholding slavery were used by governmental and religious "authorities" to defend the institution of slavery for
nearly 1,900 years. In fact, when Abraham Lincoln first tried to put an end to slavery in America many Christian Churches opposed
him AND USED THE ABOVE WORDS OF PAUL TO DEFEND SLAVERY IN AMERICA. The Southern Baptist denomination was
formed to defend the practice of slavery in America; their theological defense of slavery was based on the words of Paul. AND EVEN
THE KU KLUX KLAN BASED THEIR EARLY PRO SLAVERY PROPAGANDA ON THE ABOVE WORDS OF PAUL. (The Klan was
formed three years after the end of the Civil War but hoped to overturn the freedom won by blacks and return to slavery.) How many
whipped black backs, stretched black necks (lynchings), cross burnings, (yes the Christian cross burning in front of a black person's
home is a symbol of the Pauline Christian Klan) and burnt black churches are directly attributable to the above words of Paul?
Larson was certainly correct in his assertion that THE ESSENES ABSOLUTELY FOREBADE THE PRACTICE OF SLAVERY. In fact,
as Upton Clairy Ewing points out in his book The Prophet of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Essenes were the very first people in history
to condemn slavery:
"The Essenes were the only sect in their part of the world who opposed the custom of slavery. They seem to have been the first
people on earth to condemn slavery."
Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary of the Essenes, wrote:
"Least of all were any slaves to be found among them, for they saw in slavery a violation of the law of nature which made all people
Jesus, the Essene Messiah and founder of the religion Paul claimed to represent, declared:
"The Spirit of God is upon me. God has sent me to help the brokenhearted, TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES!"
The fact that Paul betrayed the anti-slavery doctrine of Jesus and the Essene Christians is made clear by Ewing; we read in The
Prophet of The Dead Sea Scrolls:
"When Jesus said: 'whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even to them', he, in effect, challenged the slave owner to
extend freedom to others if he would himself be free....
"The Nazarenes, also called Ebionites, the sect who represented the first Christian congregation at Jerusalem under James, the
Lord's brother, abided by the strict ascetic rules of their Essene brethren. They held it to be contrary to the plan of God for anyone to
"However, at this point we find a parting of the ways: Palestinian Christianity was to be taken over and changed by the evangelist who
labored amongst the Gentiles [Paul]. Materialism succeeded asceticism and human freedom became the first great ethic of Jesus
Christ to bow to the carnal customs of the heathen. Paul at this time was, no doubt, under great stress and pain in both body and
spirit, for in assuming the Roman custom of slavery, he was in consequence severely criticized and shunned by the old apostles. For
this... he was called an 'Apostate'."
Please notice above that the Essene Christian's prohibition against slavery was only the first "great ethic of Jesus Christ" to be
betrayed by Paul. Paul systematically altered many of the teachings of Jesus, replacing them with his own false gospel. Which
brings us face-to-face with the fourth assertion made by Larson and Schonfeld: PAUL, ALTHOUGH HE NEVER MET JESUS,
IGNORED THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE APOSTLES WHO HAD BEEN PERSONALLY TRAINED BY JESUS, REPLACING THE
TEACHINGS OF JESUS AND THE APOSTLES WITH HIS OWN VERY DIFFERENT TEACHINGS. That is a strong accusation to
make. Do other scholars agree? Let's see.
In the excellent book Christ or Paul?, the Rev. V.A. Holmes-Gore wrote:
"Let the reader contrast the true Christian standard with that of Paul and he will see the terrible betrayal of all that the Master
taught.... For the surest way to betray a great Teacher is to misrepresent his message.... That is what Paul and his followers did, and
because the Church has followed Paul in his error it has failed lamentably to redeem the world.... The teachings given by the blessed
Master Christ, which the disciples John and Peter and James, the brother of the Master, tried in vain to defend and preserve intact
were as utterly opposed to the Pauline Gospel as the light is opposed to the darkness."
The great theologian Soren Kierkegaard, writing in The Journals, echoes the above sentiment:
"In the teachings of Christ, religion is completely present tense: Jesus is the prototype and our task is to imitate him, become a
disciple. But then through Paul came a basic alteration. Paul draws attention away from imitating Christ and fixes attention on the
death of Christ The Atoner. What Martin Luther, in his reformation, failed to realize is that even before Catholicism, Christianity had
become degenerate at the hands of Paul. Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ. Paul threw the Christianity of
Christ away, completely turning it upside down, making it just the opposite of the original proclamation of Christ."
The brilliant theologian Ernest Renan, in his book Saint Paul, wrote:
"True Christianity, which will last forever, comes from the gospel words of Christ not from the epistles of Paul. The writings of Paul
have been a danger and a hidden rock, the causes of the principal defects of Christian theology."
In the above excerpt a reference is made to the "epistles of Paul". The word "epistle" means "letter". The Letters of Paul became a
part of the New Testament; in fact, THERE ARE FAR MORE WORDS OF PAUL IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THAN THERE ARE
WORDS OF JESUS! And as we are seeing from our study, the words of Paul are not at all in harmony with the words of Jesus! To
continue to drive home that point, I am going to intentionally overwhelm you with an avalanche of quotations from great thinkers! The
next is from the great American philosopher, Will Durant; in his Caesar and Christ, he wrote:
"Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ.... Through these interpretations
Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known.... Paul replaced conduct with creed as the
test of virtue. It was a tragic change."
Robert Frost, winner of the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1924,1931,1937 and 1943, in his "A Masque of Mercy", wrote:
"Paul, he's in the Bible too. He is the fellow who theologized Christ almost out of Christianity. Look out for him."
James Baldwin, the most noted black American author of this century, in his book The Fire Next Time, declared:
"The real architect of the Christian church was not the disreputable, sunbaked Hebrew (Jesus Christ) who gave it its name but rather
the mercilessly fanatical and self-righteous Paul."
Martin Buber, the most respected Jewish philosopher of this century, wrote in Two Types of Faith:
"The Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount is completely opposed to Paul."
The famous mystic, poet and author, Kahil Gibran, declared in Jesus the Son of Man:
"This Paul is indeed a strange man. His soul is not the soul of a free man. He speaks not of Jesus nor does he repeat His Words. He
would strike with his own hammer upon the anvil in the Name of One whom he does not know."
Above, the great Gibran, accurately reported something that I noticed when I first read the epistles of Paul as a youngster: PAUL
DOES NOT QUOTE FROM THE WORDS OF JESUS! (Even before the gospels were written, all initiated Christians were instructed
in the sayings of Jesus.) When you read the epistles of Paul, the Father of mainstream Christianity, all you get is Paul's own ideas;
he never quotes the wise sayings of Jesus, he never reports on the life of Jesus. That point is also made by the famous theologian
Helmut Koester, in his The Theological Aspects of Primitive Christian Heresy:
"Paul himself stands in the twilight zone of heresy. In reading Paul, one immediately encounters a major difficulty. Whatever Jesus
had preached did not become the content of the missionary proclamation of Paul.... Sayings of Jesus do not play a role in Paul 's
understanding of the event of salvation.... Paul did not care at all what Jesus had said.... Had Paul been completely successful very
little of the sayings of Jesus would have survived."
Although I have amply demonstrated that Schonfeld and Larson's fourth assertion -- that Paul replaced the teachings of Jesus with
his own very different teachings -- enjoys the support of many great thinkers, I am going to let the avalanche of supporting quotations
continue to fall upon the reader a bit longer. But not without good reason. Because I am going to end this article with a call for
Christians to abandon Paulianity and embrace Essene Christianity, I must provide OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR THE
ASSERTION THAT PAUL BETRAYED THE TRUE TEACHINGS OF JESUS. And since many of the evangelical Christians currently
under the yoke of Paul (instead of Jesus) are patriotic Americans, how about the following quotation from Thomas Jefferson, third
president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence; he wrote in his "Letter to William Short":
"Paul was the first corrupter of the doctrines of Jesus."
The renowned English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, in his Not Paul But Jesus, declared:
"It rests with every professor of the religion of Jesus to settle within himself to which of the two religions, that of Jesus or that of Paul,
he will adhere."
The eminent theologian Ferdinand Christian Baur, in his Church History of the First Three Centuries, wrote:
"What kind of authority can there be for an 'apostle' who, unlike the other apostles, had never been prepared for the apostolic office
in Jesus' own school but had only later dared to claim the apostolic office on the basis on his own authority? The only question
comes to be how the apostle Paul appears in his Epistles to be so indifferent to the historical facts of the life of Jesus.... He bears
himself but little like a disciple who has received the doctrines and the principles which he preaches from the Master whose name he
The great Mahatma Gandhi, the prophet of nonviolence who won freedom from England for India, in an essay titled "Discussion on
Fellowship", wrote: "I draw a great distinction between the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus and the Letters of Paul. Paul's Letters are a
graft on Christ's teachings, Paul's own gloss apart from Christ's own experience."
Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, wrote in his essay "A Psychological Approach to Dogma":
"Saul's [Paul's name before his conversion] fanatical resistance to Christianity... was never entirely overcome. It is frankly
disappointing to see how Paul hardly ever allows the real Jesus of Nazareth to get a word in."
As you can see, I am quoting from the intellectual cream of humanity. A few more and I will consider my point to be made. Let us
continue with George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925; in his Androcles and the Lion, we read:
"There is not one word of Pauline Christianity in the characteristic utterances of Jesus.... There has really never been a more
monstrous imposition perpetrated than the imposition of Paul's soul upon the soul of Jesus.... It is now easy to understand how the
Christianity of Jesus... was suppressed by the police and the Church, while Paulinism overran the whole western civilized world,
which was at that time the Roman Empire, and was adopted by it as its official faith."
Let us follow that Nobel prize winner with another. Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, has been called "one of
the greatest Christians of his time." He was a philosopher, physician, musician, clergyman, missionary, and theologian. In his The
Quest for the Historical Jesus and his Mysticism of Paul he writes:
"Paul... did not desire to know Christ.... Paul shows us with what complete indifference the earthly life of Jesus was regarded....
What is the significance for our faith and for our religious life, the fact that the Gospel of Paul is different from the Gospel of
Jesus?.... The attitude which Paul himself takes up towards the Gospel of Jesus is that he does not repeat it in the words of Jesus,
and does not appeal to its authority.... The fateful thing is that the Greek, the Catholic, and the Protestant theologies all contain the
Gospel of Paul in a form which does not continue the Gospel of Jesus, but displaces it."
William Wrede, in his excellent book Paul, informs us:
"The obvious contradictions in the three accounts given by Paul in regard to his conversion are enough to arouse distrust.... The
moral majesty of Jesus, his purity and piety, his ministry among his people, his manner as a prophet, the whole concrete
ethical-religious content of his earthly life, signifies for Paul's Christology nothing whatever.... The name 'disciple of Jesus' has little
applicability to Paul.... Jesus or Paul: this alternative characterizes, at least in part, the religious and theological warfare of the
Rudolf Bultman, one of the most respected theologians of this century, wrote in his Significance of the Historical Jesus for the
Theology of Paul:
"It is most obvious that Paul does not appeal to the words of the Lord in support of his.... views. When the essentially Pauline
conceptions are considered, it is clear that Paul is not dependent on Jesus. Jesus' teaching is -- to all intents and purposes --
irrelevant for Paul."
Walter Bauer, another eminent theologian, wrote in his Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity:
"If one may be allowed to speak rather pointedly, the Apostle Paul was the only Arch-Heretic known to the apostolic age."
My point has been made. Schonfeld and Larson were quite correct in their assertion that PAUL REPLACED THE TEACHINGS OF
JESUS WITH HIS OWN VERY DIFFERENT TEACHINGS. I have supported that assertion with powerful quotations from the
intellectual cream of humanity. But before moving on to the next assertion in our list of six from Larson and Schonfeld, I choose to
end this section on a humorous note (at least I find it humorous!). This rather humorous and certainly true quotation comes from
another Nobel Prize winner; Ernest Hemingway: "That Saint Paul.... He's the one who makes all the trouble!"