Our Lord stated the principle that we are to follow:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. (John 13:20)
Just as Israel followed Moses, the Church, the body of Christ, is to follow the apostle Paul’s example, leadership, and doctrine. No one sound in their theology would accuse a Jew of heresy for following Moses’ lead. Why then can’t Christendom recognize the unique apostleship of Paul and the leadership to which Christ entrusted to him?
The apostle Paul is to be our, a Christian’s, pattern to follow:
- “for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe” (1 Tim 1:16)
- “be ye followers of me” (1 Cor 4:16)
- “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1)
- “be followers together of me” (Phil 3:17)
- “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:” (Phil 4:9)
- “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am;” (Gal 4:12)
- “as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God” (1 Thes 4:1-2)
- “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us:” (2 Thes 3:7)
Paul is not to be worshipped – we worship Christ – but he was sent by the Lord for a specific purpose (Jn 13:20; 1 Cor 9:17; 1 Cor 14:37; 1 Tim 1:16). Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 3:10 that he “laid the foundation”. Paul is not the foundation. The foundation is Jesus Christ. Paul laid the foundation of Christ for the Church, the body of Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery (Rom 16:25). He is the first to preach that saving message (1 Tim 1:16).
Following Peter, James, or John, apostles to Israel, will place you under the Law. Paul states very clearly that we are no longer under the Law (Rom 3:28; 6:14; Gal 2:16; Philippians 3:9).
The instructions from the apostle Paul to fellow Christians, such as his protege’ Timothy, are very specific – “commit unto faithful men who will teach others, the things that you have heard from me”. The “me” in that commandment does not include the 12, or anyone else. (2 Tim 2:2; 2 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 4:17)
How do we learn the “content” of our faith? Christ states the principle in John 13:20 that applies to every dispensation. Christ sent the twelve, but they were sent to Israel as they were preaching the prophesied Kingdom (and therefore impending great tribulation) “at hand” (Mt 10:5-6). “Go not” means do not go. The twelve were not sent to Gentiles; they were not sent to believers today. Realize that the great tribulation has not yet occurred (read all of Matthew 10 and note Mt 10:22, 34).
Paul was sent to us, the Church, the body of Christ, and he is our pattern to follow. Not doing so, while taking its instruction from all “New Testament” books outside of Paul’s 13 epistles, has only led to a confused and impotent Church that preaches a confused Gospel message. History proves that fact out!