Paul is one of the most familiar characters from the pages of the New Testament. Indeed, many Christians tend to read Scripture through a Pauline lens.
It’s easy to make him one of “us,” whatever group it is that is “us.” We all tend to shape Paul according to our own image and then read the rest of the Bible and speak of Christian faith from that perspective.
For this reason, Paul is at the center of many controversies. Martin Marty hits this note in a recent column. He indicates that the Apostle has become a champion of the recent resurgence of a sort of Calvinism among evangelicals.
In looking to Paul as a main resource, this movement is certainly like many others that imagine that if Paul were to show up in our day, he’d encounter them and say, “finally, some Christians who are doing it right!”
I’ve always been amazed how revivalists can see Paul as the ultimate evangelist, theological pugilists see him as the exemplary contender for the faith, and para-church organizational leaders see him as the paradigmatic Christian executive.