With the season of Christmas soon to be upon us, a time for reflecting on “gift” seems appropriate. Amid the differences Harold distinguishes between the doctrines of Jesus and Paul, he rightly admits that the mighty mind of Paul was a vital factor for spreading the message of Jesus. He tells us…
There is no evidence that Jesus knew it would be Saul of Tarsus who would do the tremendous job of carrying Christianity forward by compromising with Judaism, but He appears to have known that this had to happen to insure its immediate future and establish it firmly in the hands of men – and that a masterful, worldly mind would accomplish the task. This is projected in the parable of the factor facing dismissal who is praised although he bribed his Lord’s debtors to provide security and welcome for himself in the houses of the people. The Lord commends him: “…for the children of this world look further ahead, in dealing with their own generation, than the children of Light.” In the parable, Jesus says in effect that he who compromises with the past in order to insure the future is, in his own generation, faithful with a large trust – for truth rests with man and all kinds of men are required to make it welcome and to carry it forward, even as they carry man’s heritage forward in themselves. Or one might say that both the true and the false, the worldly and the unworldly, the steadfast and the compromiser serve life’s process through which man will be brought to full consciousness of himself as son of God.
And what is the ultimate ingredient needed for humans to fully recognize their “child of God-ness?” It is the gift that Paul presents us with. It is his “bottom line,” so to speak. Harold confesses:
In appraising Pauline doctrine, its most important contribution cannot be overlooked: love transcended his redemption dogma, clothing his words in shining armor, sending them unsurpassed through the centuries to lead and comfort men who should not today forget the struggle he had with his own generation to save Christianity from premature dismissal. He transfused its feebleness with the stubborn strength of Judaism; he stands the towering figure in Christian history; his place in the Bible of man’s consciousness is not to be shaken.
And it is love that is the greatest gift of all. Until next time, peace.