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‘Super-Apostles’

20 Sep

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. (2 Corinthians 11:1-5)

Paul seems to have switched subjects; he went from hoping they wouldn’t accept a different Gospel, to saying they, “put up with” another Gospel, to saying he wasn’t inferior to, “super-apostles”. All three things seem to be completely disconnected aside from the actual subject (accepting a different Gospel/Jesus, etc). Let’s address the most dominant question first. Why does Paul, at this part in his letter, of all parts, does he mention that he’s not inferior to, “super-apostles”?

First, why does decide this part in his letter is an appropriate time to mention he’s not inferior to the ‘super-apostles’? … For that matter, who are these, ‘super-apostles’ and what are they saying/doing?

Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. (2 Corinthians 11:6)

Well, clearly, these ‘super-apostles’ were speaking something and they were speaking that something very well. I’d even say that it would be safe to assume the ‘something’ is another Jesus and another Gospel, one that is trying to deceive them.

Paul clarifies is non-inferior status by saying that though he may be unskilled in speaking, he has more knowledge than the ‘super-apostles’. But what more knowledge could Paul have? Surely these ‘super-apostles’ would have to be knowledgeable in what they were saying and therefore would be more knowledgeable  in this subject than Paul. Yes, except Paul’s been with Jesus (the real one).

Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things. (2 Corinthians 11:6)

Paul is more knowledgeable about the right things, whereas these ‘super-apostles’ (who are in reality neither super or apostles), are knowledgeable perhaps, but about a false Jesus and a false Gospel. Alright, but now I have to ask something purely out of self-interest. How can knowing Paul isn’t inferior to some ‘super-apostles’ who only existed way back then, help us? How can knowing who was more knowledgeable about the right or wrong things, help us aside from giving us some general history of what happened?

Second, how is any of this information helpful to us? …

And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)

How does someone spot a “false-apostle”? How can someone tell if the Gospel they’re hearing is the true one, or one of the many false ones? Someone can tell, by what these ‘super-apostles’ say. Which is to say: They’ll say something like, “do your best and Jesus does the rest!” i.e. It’s either more about what you do than it is about what Jesus did, or they don’t even mention the Gospel at all and simply tell you what you must do.

I’d like to make temporary diversion from the main subject to mention that I’m not saying you shouldn’t trust anyone who either tells you to do something, or even simply gives practical day-by-day teaching, but that the teacher should always be sure to include that what he’s saying isn’t necessary for salvation, but because of Jesus’ death we (are saved and…) now have the fruits of the Spirit and through that comes our obedience to Christ.

Aside from that, the point is simply this: false apostles are abundant, false Jesus’ perhaps more so, but there is only one true Jesus and only one true Gospel, therefore we should be wary of any and all teachings that come our way: in short, we should be like the Bereans.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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