I was recently directed to a debate between Christian apologist Cris Putnam and a man named Jeffrey Daugherty that had the following thesis: “The message of Jesus Christ was changed by the Apostle Paul (who was not a true apostle) in order to create a structure to control the general populace of the Roman Empire, setting the stage for the New World Order.” This is the theme of a book Daugherty wrote as well.
In the debate mention was made of a “fact sheet” Mr. Daugherty was willing to send to those who emailed him and requested one. Therefore, I requested one and obtained it. This “fact” sheet gives the arguments he used in the debate and which serve to supposedly validate his position that Paul was a false apostle, distorter of Jesus’ message, spy for Rome, etc. In this presentation we will critique these arguments and test Daugherty’s theory.
Before we begin it is befitting to give some background information about Daugherty. According to his website bio, after a divorce he left Charismatic, Pentecostal Christianity to follow his understanding of Jesus’ statement that “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” which, according to Daugherty, involves the idea that we are divine as well as a rejection of idea that men are born sinful (i.e., original sin). So no one in the Bible except Paul taught original sin, allegedly. The preface of Daugherty’s book as well as the endorsement on the cover were written by George Noory who is a radio host for Coast to Coast AM. Noory endorses ufos, bigfoot, goblins and things of this nature.
Daugherty’s arguments from his “fact sheet” will be in red
My responses to him will be in black
Argument #1 - Matthew 24:23-26:-Jesus says that false prophet will claim to have seen him “in the desert.”-Acts 9-Paul claims to have seen Jesus in the desert.
This is a big stretch. What Jesus was actually warning about were false prophets claiming Jesus’ second coming would happen in the desert or that its nature would include Him being seen by people in “inner rooms” (Matthew 24:26). However, as Christ explains, the nature of His second coming after the tribulation would be like lightning coming from the east and shining as far as the west (Matthew 24:27). Neither in Acts 9 nor anywhere else does Paul claim to have seen Jesus’ second coming. In fact Paul warns about those who claimed the resurrection (and hence Jesus’ accompanying second coming) already took place (2 Timothy 2:17-18). In Acts 9 Paul was simply affirming Jesus came to him in a post-resurrection appearance, something other non-Pauline New Testament books that Daugherty approves of also talk about. For example, in Matthew 28:9-20 Jesus appeared to the women and disciples after his resurrection. Or one could mention Jesus’ post-ascension appearance to the apostle John in Revelation 1:12-18.
Argument #2 - Matthew 7:15- Jesus warns of “ravening wolves” in sheep’s clothing. -Romans 11:1- Paul boasts of being a “Benjamite”. -Genesis 49:27-”Benjamin is a ravening wolf.” -Paul only person identified as Benjamite in the New Testament.-Logo of Tribe of Benjamin is a wolf.
In his debate Daugherty claimed Jesus’ first century Jewish audience would have immediately associated Jesus’ mention of ravening wolves with the tribe of Benjamin because of Genesis 49:27. However, when Genesis 49:27 depicts Benjamin as a ravenous wolf it is a positive thing denoting victorious conquest of its enemy, not an insult (John H. Sailhamer, Genesis, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 2, [Zondervan, 1990], p. 278). So when Jesus spoke about false prophets being ravenous wolves, he wasn’t taking a shot at Benjamites like Paul or the tribe of Benjamin, but simply saying false prophets also will try to conquer believers as workers of iniquity (Matthew 7:23). Paul was just the opposite of one who promoted iniquity. He was one of the most outspoken teachers of holiness in the New Testament (see Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 etc). Moreover, if Jesus was so opposed to Jews of the tribe of Benjamin like Paul and indicated they produced false wolves, why does the New Testament give the same support to the tribe of Benjamin that it does to the other tribes? Revelation 7:8 says: “12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun, 12,000 from the tribe of Joseph, 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.” Also, why does the New Testament nowhere warn of them? What is more, Jesus doesn’t warn of a singular false prophet who would corrupt the church as he should of if Daugherty’s theory about Paul’s supposed massive corruption was true. No, instead Jesus warns of plural false prophets. And there were many false prophets who tried to corrupt the church: Nicolaitans, Docetists, Antinomians, Charismatics, Gnostics, Judaizers and many others. In his commentary John Gill made a persuasive argument that when Jesus referred to false prophets in sheep’s clothing who were actually wolves, this was a way of identifying the Scribes as false prophets since, according to Mark 12:38 and other ancient Jewish literature, they enjoyed wearing long robes made of sheep’s wool to appear to be holy. Thus, if this is correct Jesus was exposing the scribes who appeared to be as innocent as sheep wearing sheep’s clothing but were actually wolves.
Argument #3 - Revelation 2:2-The Apostle (founder) of the Church of Ephesus was tried and found to be “false”. -Ephesians 1:1 Paul identifies himself as the Apostle to the church at Ephesus.
Revelation 2:2 does not say the Ephesians found the apostolic founder of the Church of Ephesus to be false. Rather, it says they “have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.” There is a big difference. Daugherty is adding to the text. Moreover, Paul didn’t found the Church of Ephesus. As Grant Osborne notes, “The church was apparently established by Priscilla and Aquila, who had been left there by Paul in A.D. 52, and they were aided by Apollos (Acts 18:18-25). . .” (Grant Osborne, Revelation, eds. Robert W. Yarbrough, Robert H. Stein, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, [Baker Academic, 2002], p. 109). The fact is Revelation 2:2 does not say the Ephesians found Paul to be false, or the founder of their church false, only that they tested certain people and found them to be false and not apostles. To claim this refers to Paul is eisegesis, that is, reading things into the text that are not there, not exegesis, that is, drawing things out of the text that are there. Contrary to Daugherty’s false claims Paul actually warned the Ephesian Church in Acts 20:29 that wolves would come into the church and that they would need to be on guard because of this. So Paul accurately predicted Revelation 2:2’s statement that the Ephesians found certain people to be false and not apostles. Moreover, the context of Revelation 2:2 shows these false apostles were antinomians (e.g. 2:2’s mention that they were “evil ones”), something Paul was not. As Paul says in Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (see also Paul’s commands to obey God’s rules and live holy in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). So Paul was not in view contextually as one the Ephesians found to be false, antinomians were. No first century biblical text states Paul was false.
Argument #4 - Only one of 177 mentions of Paul by others than himself that calls him an apostle.
All “apostle” means is one who is sent as a representative of another and bears the authority of the sender (Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 1, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1964-1976], p. 421). Many people in the New Testament describe Paul this way without using the word “apostle.” Also, out of all the mentions of James the Lord’s brother in the New Testament, he is only called an apostle once (Galatians 1:19). Does that mean he was not a representative of Christ with Christ’s authority? Moreover, the students of the apostles outside of the Bible (i.e., the apostolic fathers) identified Paul with the word “apostle.” For example, Polycarp mentions “Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles” (Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, 9). Clement mentions “the blessed Apostle Paul” (Clement, Letter to the Corinthians, 47). Ignatius says: “I do not, as Peter and Paul, issue commandments unto you. They were apostles” (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, 4). The fact is Paul was an apostle, though not one of the original twelve (something he never claims to be).
Argument #5 - 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul admits “they which are in Asia have abandoned me.” Ephesus is in Asia.
Daugherty is mistaken about his Bible reference. He actually means 2 Timothy 1:15 not 2:15. Moreover, all Paul is saying is while imprisoned in Rome for the second time because of his gospel labors, no one in Asia would visit him in prison or not be ashamed of his chains. The next verse proves this when it says, in contrast to v. 15, “he [Onesiphorus] often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains.” So, while Asians like Onesiphorus were not ashamed of Paul’s chains and would visit him, no one else from Asia did. Thus, in his depression, Paul exaggerates by hyperbolically interpreting this as all Asians “abandoning” him. This was because, as William Mounce notes, “. . .the Asians did not want to be associated with a state criminal, perhaps because they feared suffering the same fate. . .” (William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, ed. Ralph P. Martin, Lynnn Allan Losie, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 46, [Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2000], p. 494). Nothing in the text says the Asians stopped believing he was an apostle or that he was a spy creating a new world order etc. This is again absurd eisegesis – reading things into the text that are not there.
Argument #6 - Where are all Paul’s other churches in Revelation? Did they all have their candlesticks ”removed” according to Revelation 2:5 for not rejecting the false apostle Paul like the Ephesians, Paul’s only church included, did?
Where in Revelation 2-3 is the Jerusalem Church of which James was bishop, and of which Daugherty doesn’t seem to have a problem with? Is its absence in Revelation 2-3 proof it also had its candlestick removed? No. John didn’t write to many churches because his purpose was only to write to these seven churches of Asia. That’s what John says in Revelation 1:4: “John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come.” His purpose was not to write to all the churches in the world. That would be quite a long letter. That’s why other churches Paul founded like the ones in Corinth or Thessalonica were not mentioned. Moreover, contrary to Daugherty, Paul founded many of the Asian churches John wrote to. Acts 19:10 affirms because of Paul “all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” So since John mentions various Asian churches Paul founded, Daugherty’s argument that John’s failure to mention churches Paul founded as being good churches is refuted.
Argument #7 - Paul would have to be the thirteenth apostle. How is this possible when the following verses say there are only twelve? Revelation 21:14, Matthew 19:28
Actually the New Testament broadens “apostle” from the twelve (Mark 3:14; Acts 1:2, 26) and those who helped historically found the church (Ephesians 2:20; Rev. 21:14) to others outside the twelve like Barnabas (Acts 14:14), James the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19) and others (Romans 16:7). Paul was not claiming he was in the group of the twelve. Daugherty just doesn’t realize according to the New Testament one can be an apostle without being one of the original twelve. Again, an “apostle” just means one who was sent as a representative of another who bears the authority of the sender (Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Volume 1, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1964-1976], p. 421). Others besides the original twelve fit these criteria. Nowhere does the New Testament say there could not be other apostles outside the twelve.
Argument #8 - In Paul’s first conversion story in Acts 9:11 he goes to “the house of Judas.” Also in his first telling of the story in Acts 9:7 all the men with him hear the voice from heaven, but in his retelling in Acts 22:9 he changes the story and says they did not hear the voice. Why? Could it be that the men refuted Paul’s earlier story?
It seems Daugherty thinks Paul went to Judas Iscariot’s house or that the fact Paul went to a house of a man named Judas has some superstitious significance. However, at this time Judas was already dead. So why would Paul go to Judas Iscariot’s house? If he thinks there is a superstitious significance, he needs to realize Judas was a very common name in the first century. Paul most likely had a Jewish companion or acquaintance named Judas whose house he was resting at (David G. Peterson, The Acts of the Apostles, ed. D. A. Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2009], p. 307). One of the twelve apostles apart from the betrayer was named Judas the son of James (Acts 1:13). The author of the book of Jude’s real name was Judas as well. So Paul going to a house of a person named Judas, a very common name, really proves nothing.
Now, in regards to Paul first saying the men heard the voice in Acts 9:7 but then saying the men did not hear the voice in Acts 22:9, Daugherty’s theory is incorrect. Gleason Archer already explained this:
“Greek makes a distinction between hearing a sound as a noise (in which case the verb ‘to hear’ takes the genitive case) and hearing a voice as a thought-conveying message (in which case it takes the accusative). Therefore, as we put the two statements together, we find that Paul's companions heard the Voice as a sound (somewhat like the crowd who heard the sound of the Father talking to the Son in John 12:28, but perceived it only as thunder); but they did not (like Paul) hear the message that it articulated. Paul alone heard it intelligibly (Acts 9:4 says Paul ekousen phonen--accusative case); though he, of course, perceived it also as a startling sound at first (Acts 22:7: ‘I fell to the ground and heard a voice [ekousa phones] saying to me,’ NASB). But in neither account is it stated that his companions ever heard that Voice in the accusative case” (Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, [Zondervan, 1982], p. 382).
So no, Paul did not change his tune because the men in question allegedly refuted his initial story. That is not found in the text at all.
Argument #9 - In Acts 19:10-16 Paul declares that his mission was announced to him by Ananias, but in Acts 26:16-18 he changes the story and says Jesus told him directly. Why? Did Ananias recant as well? Did Paul just lie?
Daugherty again mistakes Bible references. He means Acts 9:10-16 not 19:10-16. Moreover, there is no contradiction here. Paul recounts in Acts 26:16-18 how on the road to Damascus Jesus appeared blinding him and announcing his apostleship to the Gentiles. In Acts 9:10-16, however, Ananias is not told by Jesus to announce to Paul his mission, but simply to lay hands on Paul so he would get his sight back. Ananias did not announce to Paul his mission at all. Paul already knew about it. Here is Acts 9:10-20. Notice nowhere does Ananias announce to Paul his mission contrary to Daugherty’s assertion. Jesus explains to Ananias Paul’s mission. But Ananias does not explain it to Paul:
Acts 9:10-20 reads:
Act 9:10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." Act 9:11 And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, Act 9:12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." Act 9:13 But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. Act 9:14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name." Act 9:15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Act 9:16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name." Act 9:17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Act 9:18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; Act 9:19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. Act 9:20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God."
Hence, either Daugherty is ignorant when he claims Ananias announced to Paul his mission, or he is lying. Either way Daugherty is incorrect again.
Argument #10 - The name ‘Saul of Tarsus’ literally translated to ‘The Man From Hell’. ‘Saul’ is the same as ‘sheol’ and Tarsus was long thought to be the gate to the underworld.
This is false. The English word “Saul” is shaw-ool' (שׁאוּל) in Hebrew. However, the English word “Sheol” (meaning Hades) is sheh-ole' (שׁאול) in Hebrew. These are different words contrary to Daugherty’s assertion. In regards to Tarsus, it does not mean “gate to the netherworld.” No professional lexical material I possess says such a thing. Daugherty is probably thinking of the Greek word Tartarus (Τάρτσρος) which was the Netherworld in Greek thought. But this is not the same as the city Tarsus (Ταρσός) Paul was from. Again, these are different words.
Argument #11 - Luke 1:68-73 contains an intentional omission that identifies ‘Saul’ as an enemy that hates the new believers. When compared to the Old Testament introduction to Psalm 18 and 2 Samuel 22:1 you see the omitted name of “Saul”.
Or could it be the name “Saul” was omitted here because mentioning King Saul of the Old Testament is not relevant to the New Testament use of this text? Luke is just explaining the fulfilment of hope that the House of David was expecting which is mentioned in those Old Testament texts. Why jump to a conspiracy especially in light of the fact that New Testament writers often omitted part of an Old Testament text they were quoting that was not relevant? Consider James’ quotation of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:16-18 where James leaves out the reference to Edom in his quotation of that text. Does that mean there is a conspiracy with Edom and James? No, it was just not relevant to quote that part.
Argument #12 - Acts 20:4-6 shows Paul was a spy. Those verses say that a man named “Pyrrhus” accompanied them to “Troas” or Troy. “Pyrrhus” was the name of the most famous spy of the day, popularized in Plutarch’s Pyrrhus, the Fool of Hope. “Troy” is mentioned because in Homer’s telling of the Legend of the Trojan Horse one of the spies inside the horse was “Pyrrhus”. King James Version omits “Pyrrhus” but NIV, NASB, AMERICAN STANDARD, DARBY translations all have it.
Acts 20:4-6 does not say someone named “Pyrrhus” accompanied Paul. The man who accompanied Paul there was Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus. Moreover, he didn’t accompany Paul to Troas. Verse 5 says he and others went on ahead to Troas without Paul waiting for him there. If Daugherty can’t even get these simple facts straight, why should we believe his conspiracy theories? Now, vv. 3-4 indicate Sopater represented the churches of Macedonia which is why he and others accompanied Paul while there. So Sopater was part of that church community as a leader. Pyrrhus of Epirus who Plutarch wrote about, on the other hand, was a Greek general and king who died in 272 B. C. So obviously Daugherty is not claiming Paul and the Pyrrhus Plutarch wrote about knew each other. The argument seems to be because Paul was accompanied in Macedonia by a man who was the son of someone named Pyrrhus that this somehow means Luke was telling us Paul was a spy. However, the Pyrrhus Plutarch wrote about was not a spy, much less the most famous spy of the day contrary to Daugherty’s assertion. Plutarch mentions one incident where Pyrrhus sent spies during a war situation, but that doesn’t make Pyrrhus a spy or most notable for spy activities. He was known as a Greek General and king. Daugherty has to stretch this to make his point convincing.
In regards to Troas supposedly being mentioned because Homer wrote about Troy and a spy named Pyrrhus who was in a Trojan Horse, some comments are necessary. Troas Alexandria (the full name of the city mentioned in Acts 20:5) and Troy (what Daugherty mentioned) were two different cities. Second, Homer’s Iliad does not mention a man named Neoptolemus who was also called Pyrrhus as being one of the Greek soldiers in the Trojan Horse, later sources do. However, with that said, in that story the men in the Trojan Horse were not really spies. They just got into the city of Troy by hiding in the wooden Trojan horse so that late at night they could sneak out of it and open Troy’s gates letting the Greek army in to take over the city. That’s not a spy. A spy claims to be someone they are not in order to get in tight with a group or place. These men did not claim to be people of Troy. Hence, they were not spies. They were just used to open Troy’s city gates.
With respect to the KJV supposedly omitting the name Pyrrhus in Acts 20:4 because the translators allegedly knew of a conspiracy, that is absurd. The KJV calls him Sopater of Berea and not Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus as other translations do because the Greek manuscripts the KJV used, namely the Textus Receptus, did not contain it. It wasn’t a conspiracy. Copyists accidently omit certain things all the time. This is called scribal oversight. Only people with an axe to grind would strain this into a conspiracy.
In sum the reason serious historians do not buy into these kind of theories is because all they are are examples of unreliable pattern searching. And as we have shown, the assertions are wrought with many errors. Pyrrhus was a common name and that’s why someone with that name appears in the book of Acts.
Argument #13 - Acts21:40-It is a military absurdity that the Romans would allow a captive prisoner to address a crowd, especially in a foreign language. They would allow a spy to do so, however.
No, there was no military danger in allowing Paul to address these Jews in the Hebrew language, since, they had just finished trying to murder Paul (Acts 21:31) and the Romans, using logic, knew Paul would not be able to get such hostile people to do anything militarily in his favor if allowed to address them. The reason the commander allowed Paul to speak here was because Paul first convinced him he was not an Egyptian revolutionary (Acts 21:38), then impressed him with his courteous composure amidst troubles, and finally stated he was a citizen of a major and important Hellenistic city (Acts 21:39). Therefore, there is no reason to posit some conspiracy about Paul being a spy. That is just not what the text affirms at all. It is perfectly logical that Paul would be allowed to speak here in order to try to calm the situation and also better inform the commander of what exactly the problem between Paul and these Jews was – i.e., the gospel.
Argument #14 - Acts 6:2-4- Luke exhaustively shows that deacons do business and pointedly says they do not preach. Yet, just six verses later we have the deacon Stephen preaching! Luke uses this glaring contradiction to show that something is wrong here.
The emphasis in Acts 6:2-4 is not so much that deacons could never preach, but that it was not appropriate for apostolic preachers to serve tables and neglect the ministry of the word of God. Thus, initially Stephen was selected to be a deacon. However, that does not mean his role could never change. In time, both Stephen and Phillip changed their roles and joined in on the outreach. There is nothing controversial about this and I do not see how it proves Luke wanted to show something was “wrong.” That makes little sense.
Argument #15 - Acts 7 is a word-for-word description of the stoning of Apostle James, which Luke closes the account by showing that it is all “laid at the feet of Saul” showing that it was Paul that killed James with his own hands.
Actually Acts 7:59 explicitly says Stephen was here stoned, not James. If Daugherty is absurdly suggesting the account is really about James and not Stephen then he has problems since in Josephus’s report of James’ martyrdom, all Josephus says is James was stoned by the high priest Ananus for going against the Law (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9). That’s it. Very short. He does not give a detailed word-for-word description similar to Acts 6-7’s account of Stephen’s death. Moreover, if we look at Eusebius’s account taken from Hegesippus and Clement of Alexendria, James is first thrown off the temple of Jerusalem, stoned and then clubbed in the head breaking his skull. This is totally different from Acts 6-7’s account of Stephen’s martyrdom. So, the idea that Acts 6-7 is a word-for-word description of the stoning of James is false. The extra-biblical material concerning James’ death is not at all the same but very much different. Stephen, on the other hand, was brought before a council by the scribes and elders for teaching things like Jesus would destroy the temple, he gave a long Christian speech interacting with the Jews with questions and answers, he saw a vision of Jesus and the glory of God, and he was then rushed by the Jews, expelled from the city and stoned before which he asked Jesus to receive His spirit and not punish his enemies. Nothing in the accounts of James’s death is like that at all. Daugherty is clearly making things up.
Argument #16 - Acts 8:1 shows that Paul, after killing James, went on to murder many other believers well after his ‘conversion’ in the desert on the road to Damascus and his going to “the house of Judas”.
As a matter of fact Acts 8:1 says nothing of Paul killing James. It refers to Paul, as a Pharisee before his conversion, supporting the execution of Stephen. This was not after his conversion. Stephen was stoned in Acts 6-7 and based on the evidence most scholars date this event to A.D. 34-35. Paul was converted later in Acts 9 and scholars date his conversion near the same time but shortly after, that is A.D. 34-35 (D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, [Zondervan, 2009], p. 368; Ben Witherington III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-rhetorical Commentary, [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1998], p. 90). James, however, according to the evidence, died way later in A.D. 62 (Bruce Chilton, Jacob Neusner, The Brother of Jesus: James the Just and His Mission, [Westminster John Knox Press, 2001], p. 157). Where Daugherty gets the idea Paul was converted at the time of the stoning of Stephen/James we are not told. Acts doesn’t say this. No New Testament book says this. Josephus doesn’t say this. No one does.
Argument #17 - Paul was under constant attack by the Apostles in the New Testament for being a liar. So much so that he had to write over and over that he was not lying: Romans 9:1, 2Corinthians 11:31, Galatians 1:19-20, 1Timothy 2:7.
Daugherty provides no proof the twelve apostles accused Paul of being a liar. The texts he cites do not say that. In regards to Romans 9:1, the context shows Paul wanted to refute a natural concern Jews might have had about his gentile mission. He explains his concern for the salvation of the Jews is in no way deterred by his stress on Gentiles not being under Mosaic Law for salvation (Romans 9:3-6). Therefore, in v. 1 he explains he is not lying about his concern for the Jews just because he is also committed to the salvation of Gentiles. Thus, what we do not have is Paul defending himself from the twelve apostles calling him a liar (something not in the text at all), but rather he is anticipating Jewish scepticism about his concern for Israel in light of his commitment to Gentiles being saved apart from Law. He was explaining the message Gentiles are justified apart from the Law is not anti-Jewish and that God still loves the Jews. The truth that Gentiles are not justified by the Law is not just a Pauline doctrine, but was taught by Jesus himself. In John 3:16 Jesus says whoever believes inherits eternal life. In John 5:24 Jesus says those who believe have eternal life and do not come into judgement. In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus explains how the Pharisee who depended on his Mosaic works was not justified, but that the Gentile tax collector who came to God with the empty hand of repentant faith was. Moreover, in Acts 15:9-12 Peter says hearts are cleansed through faith and salvation is by grace, not Mosaic works. We can go through each text Daugherty cites and prove they have nothing to do with the twelve apostles saying Paul was a liar. It is natural that on crucial gospel issues with a potentially skeptical audience, a person will want to stress or prove he is of the truth.
Argument #18 - Paul admits that he lied in Romans 3:7, and that he used “subtilty” [sic], which is in the Greek, “fraud” , in 2 Corinthians 12:16.
The context is vital and it refutes Daugherty. In Romans 3:1-8 Paul is actually posing hypothetical questions to himself from an anticipatory unbelieving Jewish interlocutor’s/objectors perspective (Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1996], pp. 180-181; Leslie C. Allen, Romans, New International Bible Commentary Based on the NIV Translation, ed. F. F. Bruce, [Zondervan, 1979], p. 1322; Everett F. Harrison, Romans, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary with the New International Version, ed. Frank E. Gaebelen, [Zondervan, 1976], p. 36.) Paul then answers these objections as a Christian. This is to help the Roman Christians better understand his teaching in dialogue format. Hypothetical Jewish objections to his teaching are found in vv. 1, 3, 5, 7-8a. Paul’s Christian answers to these objections are found in vv. 2, 4, 6, 8b.
Thus, Daugherty has confused v. 7 as Paul’s position or a statement from him indicating his mindset, when in reality it is a verse which is meant to be read as a Jewish interlocutor’s/objector’s objection to Paul which he goes on to answer. The reason Paul, as a hypothetical unbelieving Jew, asks if since through his lie God is still glorified because God judges the liar and receives glory, why the Jew or sinner is still punished for lying, is because Paul just got finished teaching unfaithfulness or sin ends up revealing the righteousness of God through judgement (vv. 3-5). Thus the argument to Paul is: why shouldn’t I just lie or sin since everything just ends up glorifying God in the end (i.e., since sin leads to God’s judgement which brings glory to God and shows God’s righteousness)? Paul’s answer in v. 8 is, “some people slanderously charge us with saying [this]. Their condemnation is just.” Thus, some falsely take this fatalistic approach as a logical conclusion of Paul’s teaching. However, Paul reveals that’s not his position and says those who attribute such a teaching to him and other Christians will be justly condemned (see v. 8 again). Thus, the conclusion is that it is not okay to sin or lie even though doing so results in God’s judgement (i.e., God’s glory and righteousness being revealed). How one can then turn things around and make it as though Paul were admitting to be a liar is inexcusable.
In summary, Romans 3:7’s mention of “my lie,” when understood in context, in no way whatsoever has Paul admitting to being a liar. That is a hypothetical unbelieving Jew’s objection/assertion to Paul which he goes on to answer, not Paul’s own admission.
Paul is very clear in his writings insofar as avoiding deception, lying and dishonesty is concerned. For example, in Colossians 3:9 Paul says, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices” (Colossians 3:9). Moreover, in Ephesians 4:25 Paul states, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). In Romans 3:13 Paul condemns using one’s tongue to deceive.
Argument #19 -Josephus, in Antiquities Book XX places Paul in Rome as a valet to Nero as late as AD 63 and AD 66.
Since Daugherty only gives the book number of Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews and not the chapter, it is difficult to locate where in this book Daugherty thinks Paul is. The names “Paul” and “Saul” do not appear in that book. He may be referring to Burrhus who is mentioned in chapter 8 of that book. He is described as Nero’s tutor and secretary who wrote Nero’s Greek letters for him. However, there is nothing in this chapter showing Burrhus was Paul. Historians note Burrhus was a general who served Emperor Claudius in the field and was then Nero’s adviser and secretary. With all these time consuming tasks where did he get the time to master Jewish and Christian theology in order to write, preach and debate with others about it? Paul scholars realize just how theologically deep Paul’s epistles were and how acquainted he was with the Old Testament. Therefore, it is untenable to contend Paul was Burrhus because the latter would not have the time to master Judaic and Christian theology, something Paul did. These are obviously two different people. No serious Josephus scholar or historian claims Burrhus was Paul. We are dealing with mere assertion on the part of Daugherty instead of a meaningful evidenced case on this point.
In sum, it is clear Daugherty is incorrect about his theory. He needs to repent of the lies he has made against a great saint of God. Daugherty is clearly blinded by his error in a severe way leading to him being a false teacher. God, who is absolutely sovereign over history as the Bible explicitly states, ordained Paul’s epistles be in the Bible because they are inspired. God loves His church and would not allow half of His bride’s New Testament to be penned by a false apostle.
Also, Original sin is biblical, not just Pauline. After the fall of man occurred in Genesis 3, Genesis 6 explains the radical effects on humanity: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Two chapters later we read: “…the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth…” (Genesis 8:21). “Youth” in the Hebrew mind did not mean 13-18 as it does in our culture. It meant from infancy to the point of adulthood. Jeremiah 17:9 explains the natural corruption of man’s heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In Mark 7:21-23 Jesus explains man is not naturally good, much less divine: “21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Man being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) simply means men were made to be God’s representatives on the earth who governed it on God’s behalf (Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis, eds. James D.G. Dunn, John William Robertson, Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2003] p. 39).
Now, the message of Jesus was not that people are divine and need to realize it, but that people are sinners in need of salvation from their sin. In Matthew 20:28 Jesus said he “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” In Matthew 26:28 Jesus said “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Daugherty’s idea men are divine is not something Jesus taught. That’s actually a prideful belief of Satan and the real antichrist. In Isaiah 14:12-14 Satan said he wanted to set his throne on high and become like the God. In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the actual antichrist is described as opposing God and making himself out to be God. Daugherty is an antichrist for teaching men are divine, Paul wasn’t.
If Daugherty does not repent of his error and believe in the gospel (that is, trust Jesus; crucifixion and resurrection for forgiveness of sins) as well as believe all God’s inspired apostles and scriptures, he will perish for eternity for his sins. Pray for his salvation.