Christians must refuse to be mesmerized by deceitful words.
In response to his critics, Paul protests that his preaching: “was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:4). However, he also says: “I have become all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22); “I please all men in all things” (1 Corinthians 10:33). This is the position of a man not given to being candid and straightforward.
Close scrutiny reveals that Paul’s epistles are full of devices by which he seduces Christians into condemnation. One of these is in the way he beguiles with the slogan “all things.”
Paul says love “hopes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Thereby, he offers Christians the hope of the wicked along with that of the righteous. Jesus discourages believers from hoping to gain the world (Matthew 16:26). But Paul entices us, declaring: “All things are yours” (1 Corinthians 3:21). Surely, there are many ungodly things that do not belong to the righteous.
Nevertheless, Paul lures Christians with the promise that God will: “freely give us all things” (Romans 8:32). But a true believer should not even desire “all things.” God will certainly not give us immoral things. Jesus says the heavenly Father only gives “good things” (Matthew 7:11). But Paul would not be prudent. He says God “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Does that not include food sacrificed to idols? (Revelation 2:14).
Paul says: “All things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). But Christians must refuse to be mesmerized by deceitful words. If we continue in sin; God will not work things out for us (Matthew 5:29-30). God worked nothing together for the good of Eli; he destroyed him and his house.
Paul says: “All things are lawful” (1 Corinthians 6:12). But this cannot be true because sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). In effect, what Paul provides is a license to sin. There is nothing morally lawful about fornication and adultery. So why make such a misleading statement in a letter to the churches?
Paul says furthermore: “All things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). But Jesus disagrees. Jesus says the things of men are not of God (Matthew 16:23; Matthew 21:25). He says to some Jews: “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44). That means some things are of the devil. But Paul’s tenets blur the lines of demarcation between the things of God and those of the wicked?
Paul continues: “All things indeed are pure” (Romans 14:20). We may well ask: “Does that include pornography?” He says: “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15). This means nothing is unclean in itself; it is the mind that makes it so. So if a priest thinks raping young boys is pure, then it is. Paul counsels: “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind” (Romans 14:5). “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Romans 14:22). This is a blueprint for unrighteousness.
Paul’s says love “believes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). This is a sneaky way of making us accept whatever he tells us. Thus, he says we must be “obedient in all things” (2 Corinthians 2:9). But surely we must disobey directives to preach for the sake of monetary gain (1 Corinthians 9:11). Nevertheless, Paul continues: “Do all things without murmurings and disputings” (Philippians 2:14). What if he were to say women should keep silent in church? (1 Corinthians 14:34-37). Should we obey implicitly and not even allow women to sing in the choir?
Paul says: “Children, obey your parents in all things” (Colossians 3:20). Then he adds: “Obey in all things your masters according to the flesh” (Colossians 3:22). Of course, he soon claims to be our father and master (1 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 10:8). Should we obey Paul when he gives us his own commandments and not the Lord’s command? (1 Timothy 2:12-15). Peter, a true apostle of Christ, says we should not: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Should we make excuses for Paul and say he is just inadequate at speaking with precision? He has not left us that loophole because he claims his epistles are inspired. One thing is certain; Jesus does not speak like Paul. Jesus’ words cannot lead men astray. But Paul’s sweet nothings counteract our defences against sin.
Paul is boastful in this deception. He brags: “Crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery!” (2 Corinthians 12:16). He also makes a strange promise: “God will send (men) strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
Paul says this in the confidence that Christians will not realise that his epistles constitute that “strong delusion.”