Paul, A Minister and a Witness

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When Paul’s life is on the line, Paul downplays his role as an apostle. Speaking to King Agrippa, Paul says, And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.Acts 26:15-18

Here Paul says that Jesus chose him to be a minister and a witness. However, Paul writes in many other letters that he is an apostle.(Romans 1:1, 11:13; 1st Corinthians 1:1, 9:1, 2, 15:9; 2nd Corinthians 1:1, 12:12; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 1st Timothy 1:1, 2:7; 2nd Timothy 1:1, 11; Titus 1:1)

There are three valid reasons Paul says that Jesus chose him to be a minister and a witness instead of an apostle:

  1. Paul lied about his whole Damascus experience, including what Jesus said.
  2. Paul was worried that King Agrippa would know there were only twelve apostles, and so he did not want to claim to be one in order to avoid explaining that he was merely a self-proclaimed apostle.
  3. Jesus told Paul he was to be a minister and witness only, but Paul took this to mean he was an apostle.

We will ignore the first reason, since that is what we are trying to prove. The second reason is of limited value. Why would King Agrippa care if Paul was an apostle or not? Paul was causing an uncivilized stir in the city, and King Agrippa only wanted to maintain peace.

The third reason seems to be the best-case scenario, assuming Paul and Jesus did not lie. Jesus only called Paul to be a minister and witness, but he took Jesus’s message too far.

Value of this Evidence

This is indefensible evidence against Paul’s case for apostleship. Either he lied about what Jesus said to him, or he lied saying he was an apostle. Both indicate that Paul was not an apostle. There is no clean way to resolve this issue unless we admit Paul was a false apostle.

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