by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXIV

May, 1945

Number 10

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

A brother doubts that we "can sustain the Pauline Parenthesis."  He means we cannot prove that during this administration of God with mankind, the gospel of the Uncircumcision is to be taught, and that the gospel of the Circumcision is in abeyance, until after the church which is the body of Christ is complete.  Paul says in Galatians 2:7, "But on the contrary, perceiving that I have been entrusted with the evangel of the Uncircumcision, according as Peter of the Circumcision..."  I believe, as do many others, that Paul's ministry is still in force, and that Peter's is not, and will not "Come back," through his writings, until after the Pauline ministry is closed.  The brother says I cannot sustain this position.  I grant him the right to think as he does, and he will not deny me the right to try to prove that the position can be sustained.  

Let it be noted that Paul does not say, in the passage quoted above, "the evangel TO the Uncircumcision," etc.  He uses the word "OF."  In other words, Paul was not forbidden to herald the gospel TO any Jew.  As a matter of fact, there were Jews in nearly all the ecclesias.  The question, "TO WHOM shall I herald?" did not enter into it at all.  The question was what "WHAT shall I herald?"  Whether his hearers and readers were Jews or "gentiles," the message must be the gospel of the Uncircumcision."  This gospel does not point to the kingdom of the heavens on earth, but to heaven.  Those who believe the message, whether Jew or "gentile," are members of the body of Christ.  

Those who say there is only one gospel, and that Paul was chosen to herald it to gentiles, and Peter to the Jews, are faced with the necessity of showing that Peter said that those to whom he wrote are chosen in Christ before the disruption of the world, and that they are blessed with every spiritual blessing among the celestials, in Christ.  Paul said this in his general epistle, called "Ephesians."  Let them show where Peter mentioned a joint body, joint enjoyers of the allotment, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the of which he and Paul became dispensers.  Paul says this in Ephesians, with the exception that he leaves Peter out of it.  Let them show where Peter promised his readers that they shall be snatched away for meeting the Lord in the air.  Paul made this promise to HIS readers, in First Thessalonians.  

On the other hand, let them show where Paul ever used such expressions as there: "It is the era for the judgment to begin from the house of God;" "If the just one is hardly being saved, where will the irreverent and the winner appear?"  as Peter said in HIS epistle.  Let them find where Paul ever consoles US, with the promise that the Chief Shepherd will be manifested. This found in Peter's writing.  

As to the "parenthesis," a term which I do not like to use, let it be understood that the name taken by Saul, after he was severed from the other apostles, means "pause," or "interval."  He took the name, "Paul."  But I do not base my contention on this.  In Acts 13:6-12, where Paul begins this severed ministry, the Jew, Bar-Jesus, is blinded, and the gentile, Sergius Paul, is blessed.  Is not this prophetic?  In verses 46 and 47 Paul turns to the nations, (Gentiles), and as many as were set for eonian life believed, while the Jews, as a body, did not.  In Acts 28:26-28, the sentence against Israel is pronounced with force, and Paul declares, "Let it be known to you, then that to the nations was dispatched this salvation of God, and they will hear."  Then in Romans 11:25, Paul says, "For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret, brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent among yourselves, that callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the complement of the nations may be entering." 

Israel has never been wholly calloused.  It is only in part.  All during this administration there seems to have been a "remnant according to the choice of grace," Romans 11:5.  The period of callousness in part will not end until the complement of the nations has entered.  Does this not mean that during this administration—this parenthesis, if you please—"gentiles" are being called, while the national blessing for Israel waits?  I call this the Pauline interval.  

When Saul first began to herald Christ, he was "evangelizing the faith which he once ravaged," Galatians 1:23.  Later, he, together with Barnabas, was severed for a special ministry, Acts 13:2.  It was then he became "Paul."  Parts of his oral ministry are recorded in the Acts.  During this time he wrote his pre-prison epistles.  

Much of his oral ministry was to Israelites.  It is worthy of note that while he did not make known to them the grace that is for the nations—that is, he did not explain it in detail—he taught such things as Jews must believe, Whether they were to go into the body, or the kingdom.  The burden of his message was, that Jesus is the Christ, Acts 17:3, 4.  Ecclesias, or churches, while preponderantly "gentile," were regarded as under the jurisdiction of the Jewish church.  Perhaps this is one reason why Jews in the churches were sometimes troublesome.  There seems to have been a multiplicity of teachers, and those of the Circumcision would lean toward the law, and teach it, First Timothy 1:5-11.  

Paul's pre-prison epistles were for the readjusting of the saints.  This was a gradual work.  They must be led, step by step, into the gospel of the Uncircumcision.  

In Paul's first epistle—First Thessalonians—much of what is said might as well have been said to the Jewish church.  In only a few instances does the apostle declare matters utterly at variance with the gospel of the Circumcision.  Examples are: the promise of rescue from the coming indignation, 1:10; the meeting with the Lord in the air, 4:13-18; the assurance that the day of the Lord will not overtake them as a thief, and the promise of salvation despite their drowsiness, 5:1-11.  No such teaching is found in the gospel of the Circumcision.  

Second Thessalonians discussed the day of the Lord in a way that would not "fit" Israel, but much that the apostle said in that epistle might be found in either gospel.  

In the Corinthian epistles other matters that are foreign to the gospel of the Circumcision are brought in.  But not all of the gospel of the Uncircumcision is there revealed.  

In Romans the departure is more pronounced.  Obedience of faith, in contrast with faith and works, is brought in early in the epistle.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who is believing, 1:16.  This is true of Jews as well as Greeks.  In this epistle we find that justification is by faith, apart from works, 4:5.  When we rebuke those who "sit down on grace," and depend entirely on God to bring justification through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus, 3:24, we are rebuking them for doing just what Paul commended.  We find that we are baptized into death when we are baptized into Christ.  We are dead to sin, not in the sense that we cannot sin, but in the sense that we cannot persist in it.  Having been entombed together with Him through baptism into death, we walk in newness of life, chapter 6.  We may sin, but that is not our walk—that is our stumbling.  The one blame is Sin that is making its home in us, chapter 7.  The walk is in accord with spirit, not flesh, chapter 8.  Nothing is condemnation to us.  We are in Christ Jesus.  No such teaching is found in the gospel of the Circumcision.  

In Galatians we have a strong argument for faith, as against works of law.  There we find Peter an exponent of one gospel, and Paul the exponent of another, and Judaizing teachers bringing a different gospel.  This is evidently a mixture of the two.  If anyone should bring to them a gospel beside the one Paul brought—whether it be the Circumcision or the different one, which is not an evangel—he is anathema.  

"What is the benefit, my brethren, if anyone should be saying he has faith, yet may have no works?  The faith cannot save him,"  James 2:14.  Would you say this is identical with Paul's gospel?  Paul says precisely the opposite, in Romans and Galatians.  James says faith without works is dead.  Paul says faith without works is reckoned for righteousness. 

(To Be Continued)

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