Dualism, Ontology And Pauline Authority -- By: Christopher B. Cone

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 12:36 (Aug 2008)
Article: Dualism, Ontology And Pauline Authority
Author: Christopher B. Cone


Dualism, Ontology And Pauline Authority

Christopher B. Cone, Th.D., Ph.D.

President; Professor of Bible and Theology,
Tyndale Theological Seminary

The origin of the Pauline project is not an unimportant question. Paul represented his doctrines as emerging not from human agency (Gal 1:1, 11) but from divinity, claiming an apostolic commission by way of direct encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ (Acts 9; Gal 1:12), and subsequent visions and revelations of the Lord (2 Cor 12:1, 7). Paul betrayed no lack of confidence that his gospel and many following prescriptions are authoritative and thus should be heeded. Significantly he reckoned the source of that authority as the truth of Christ in him (2 Cor 11:10).

However, the Pauline claim of divine grounding does not go unchallenged. Assertions such as that of Bren1 —that Paul was driven by a fundamental dissatisfaction with the Law system and developed an original system to combat it [that Paul was in conflict with doctrines of the Old Testament], or of Boyarin2 —that Paul was motivated by Hellenistic philosophical concerns [that Paul was influenced and directed by Platonic thought], are representative denunciations of the divinity factor as the sole impetus for Paul’s doctrines.

It would seem an obvious reality that if these are accurate criticisms, and the doctrinal grounding is not divine, then the spiritual and ethical demands of Paul are merely theoretical and unbinding.3 Hence for an

accurate appraisal of the authority and applicability of such central imperatives as the appropriation of the righteousness of God exclusively through belief in Jesus (Rom 3:22; Gal 3:22, etc.) and the subsequent walking in a manner worthy of such a calling (Eph 4:1; Col 1:10), such assertions—(1) that Paul was in conflict with the Old Testament, and (2) that he was directed in large part by Platonic thinking—will be considered in this article.

Portrait Of Paul

Paul was born in Tarsus (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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