Friday, May 27, 2022

The Apostolic Documents In The Apostolic Churches

My last post cited some comments from Tertullian in the process of discussing the evidence for Paul's authorship of Ephesians. I want to expand that quote, to include more of what surrounds it, since what Tertullian says has significant implications for the authorship attributions of other Biblical documents as well:

"To sum up: if it is agreed that that has the greater claim to truth which has the earlier priority, and that has the priority which has been so since the beginning, and that has been since the beginning which was from the apostles, there will be no less agreement that that was handed down by the apostles which is held sacred and inviolate in the churches the apostles founded. Let us consider what milk it was that Paul gave the Corinthians to drink, by the line of what rule the Galatians were again made to walk straight, what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, and the Ephesians are given to read, what words are spoken also by our near neighbours the Romans, to whom Peter and Paul left as legacy the gospel, sealed moreover with their own blood. We have also churches which are nurselings of John's: for although Marcion disallows his Apocalypse, yet the succession of their bishops, when traced back to its origin, will be found to rest in John as originator. In the same way also the legitimacy of the other churches is to be tested. So I affirm that among them— and I am not now speaking only of apostolic churches, but of all those which are in alliance with them in the fellowship of the mystery—that gospel of Luke which we at this moment retain has stood firm since its earliest publication, whereas Marcion's is to most people not even known, and by those to whom it is known is also by the same reason condemned." (Against Marcion, 4:5)

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The Importance Of And Evidence For Paul's Authorship Of Ephesians

I've sometimes brought up the importance of Ephesians 6:1-3 in the context of early Christian eschatology. I've also mentioned the evidence Ephesians provides for Jesus' Bethlehem birthplace. And the letter is valuable in other apologetic and non-apologetic contexts. People typically underestimate the importance of Paul's authorship of the document. They also underestimate the evidence for his authorship.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Why wasn't early Christian eschatology criticized more?

In my last post, I argued that the earliest opponents of Christianity don't seem to have thought that Jesus and his followers falsely predicted the timing of his second coming. That raises the question of why they didn't make that accusation. Modern critics of Christianity frequently make the accusation that Jesus, Paul, and the early Christians in general set a false date for Jesus' return. Why would there be such a difference between Christianity's earliest opponents and its modern critics?