The Succession of Prophets
Why We Reject Paul
Supposing his words are almost without error. This does not make them scripture. Scripture was only breathed through the prophets.
Furthermore, there are prophets throughout history and into the present.
Nevertheless, these prophets since the time of Christ have no authority to alter canon by either addition or negation. The most power they have is to aid in making its true and ancient meaning obvious for the average reader. In this sense, they have an extreme gift for interpretation and one of their tasks is to make Scripture known.
But on the question of the succession several points should be made.
I. Several hundred years after the time of Christ, a man came along, preaching in the name of the prophets and that he was a valid succession and he came preaching a final revelation. His name was Muhammad and his book is called the Qu'ran.
II. Sometime after Muhammad came and went, another came saying he was a valid succession from the line of Muhammad. He had one additional revelation. The Muslims were split down the middle into Sunni and Shi'a camps.
III. Even further down the road came a man named Ba'ha'ullah. He said that he too was in the tradition of the former prophets and a continuation even of Muhammad. He vastly revolutionized the Islamic faith, and today, we call it the Ba'hai faith, and we laugh at its adherents who shun any visual representation of Ba'ha'ullah, except the more sensitive and politically correct among us, of course.
IV. Still we have other self-proclaimed prophets. Among them was one by the name Mary Baker Eddy, professing a new doctrine, but still in the succession of Christ and the prophets. She bestowed on her generation and posterity the nutty Christian Science.
V. As things always were, and still today, we had characters such as Charles Taze Russell and his ilk, who rewrote the entire Bible to their own liking. We have doctrines novel to the modern era even, including theosophy pioneered by Blavatsky, L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology, and still we have an endless plethora of teachings, new ones for every people in every generation. And a lot of them conspicuously claim the authority granted in succession, who, while they may not use this language, they pay due respect to the prophets of old and to the Messiah, whose system their new theories pretend to be a continuation of, though they do lie.
And we are convinced at every juncture of history, at every opportunity that it has had to either invalidate or to confirm this teaching, it has provided more and more corroboration since the beginning that the final revelations of canonical stature, that is, deserving to be admired on the level of purely God-breathed, prophetically inspired teaching, was finished at the time of Christ.
Any subsequent revelation, no matter how true, must unquestionably take a back seat to the Law and the Prophets and Christ. There is nothing beyond the words of Christ in the which a man might be saved. No Peter, no Paul, no Pope, can effect upon us a greater or more perfect salvation than that found in Christ. And this does not mean that their writings are not of substantial value, but that they are not necessary to salvation.
We of the anti-Paul sect, in our deliberate investigations of history, conclude that Paul is a usurper and a progenitor of novel doctrines foreign to the teachings of Christ, that in the Church age, his teachings have overshadowed and have been lauded to a greater height than those of Christ, and that he is merely another, yet at the beginning, of a long line of pretenders, claiming themselves to be a continuation in the sense of succession, with every affirmation in their words to the ministry of the Prophets and the Christ, but who in deed have overthrown the ministries of the Prophets and the Christ.
Our firm resolution is to regard anything attributed to the pen of the pretended Apostle Paul as wholly subject to error, as already containing a disastrous number of errors, and if esteemed as being worthy of consideration at all, to be esteemed as such only in a secondary sense of being the fifth wheel to all portions of Scripture, and whose plain meaning can never be accepted to invalidate portions of the prolegomena but must be read entirely in light of prolegomena. Insofar as it negates it, the epistles should be dismissed. Insofar as it confirms or illuminates, it should be heralded as a valuable insight but never to sit beside Holy and God-breathed Scripture.