Gospel Contradictions vs. the Power of the Gospel

My wife told me, “Anyone who says there are no contradictions in the Bible has never read a harmony of the Gospels.” I agree, but this is my testimony.
For four months before becoming a Christian, I was arguing almost daily at work with Sgt. Roger Thomas, my supervisor, but also an assistant pastor at a local Church of God in Christ. He was outspoken and filled with joy. Though I was arguing with him, had recently become an atheist, and thought Christianity was oppressive, I had great honor and respect for Roger and his joy. I would regularly argue him into a corner, and then he would laugh and say, “You’ll make a great Christian one day, Paul. I love your smile.”
I had seen a book once on contradictions in the Bible, and I wanted to find it so I could show Roger the contradictions. I couldn’t find it at the local library, so I decided I would write one myself. I got myself a Bible, and I started with the Gospels. It wasn’t very long before I lost track of looking for contradictions. I was marveling at Jesus. He certainly didn’t seem “sweet,” like everyone said he was. He was amazing, awe-inspiring, majestic, yet humble. He was kind, but he was sharp with those who opposed and frustrated with those who lacked faith.
I was not surprised, then, that the apostles believed he was the Son of God even after having a chance to find fault with him for 3 years. I was, however, overcome by the very idea. I might be able to convince a person or two that I was the sinless Son of God for three minutes. Maybe even three hours, but surely not for three days. Jesus got 11 men who lived with him and followed him around for three years to risk their lives for the proclamation that he was God’s Son.
It was not long until someone else I was arguing with got past all my arguments by asking one question. “None of that matters,” he said, “the only question is whether Jesus is the Son of God.”
I realized with a bit of horror that I did believe he was the Son of God. Jesus did not teach the same things I did. He did not live the way I did. Admitting he was the Son of God would mean significant changes in my life, but I had to be honest.
I said, “yes,” and the whole world changed. I was flooded with joy. Light was brighter, green was greener, life was filled with hope.
I asked God, quietly and inwardly, “What did you do to me? What is this?” He said, “I just baptized you in my Holy Spirit.”
I never got to the contradictions. I only found those after reading and re-reading the Gospels quite a few times. I still don’t care about them. I still care only that Jesus is the Son of God, and I have never regretted those changes I had to make, the many that the Spirit of God required of me after those first few changes, the troubles that come with obeying the Spirit of God, and of course I have never regretted the innumerable blessings and the fellowship with heaven that come from knowing Jesus.
I recommend to anyone that you go find those Gospel contradictions. You can find them better with a harmony of the Gospels, but if you want to keep your life, enjoy the world, and perish, you might want to find other reading. The Gospels will take your life, put you on a course against the pleasures of your body, and grant you a down payment, an escrow, on eternal life, the gift of the Holy Spirit.
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About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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10 Responses to Gospel Contradictions vs. the Power of the Gospel

  1. Jon says:

    “I was flooded with joy. Light was brighter, green was greener, life was filled with hope.”

    How I wish and pray this was my experience also.

    • Paul Pavao says:

      I do pray for you, Jon, but I do remember that when I really poured out my heart to God about what to say to you, I feel like he told me, “Blessed are those who have not seen, but yet have believed.” Have faith, friend. Whether you can feel it or not, Jesus bought you out of slavery with his blood. Now you are his possession, and you are in the favor (grace) of Almighty God. Just as he was Jesus’ Abba, he is yours, whether you feel it or not. We walk by faith not by sight, but we all want sight–me and you. I want more, and you want some, but Jesus says you are more blessed than me. Our comfort is not in this world, so “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled,” and “blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” You have rewards in heaven for fighting on by the power of the Holy Spirit who is obviously at work in you because you hunger and thirst for God and for righteousness, and you are doing this without the sight, the experience, that many others have. You are not cursed, my friend, but blessed.

      I think that is what God is saying.

      Maybe I should be writing you for advice on staying strong when we don’t feel anything. I have experienced that, having to serve God through 2015 with a health-induced depression, yet knowing I was commanded to rejoice–and again, rejoice–even through the depression. I have experienced that, but just for most of a year.

      • Thank you Paul
        I know that I must sound like a stuck record at times, but receiving repeated encouragement is what I need sometimes. Reading that encouragement I find gives me “permission” to believe the promises of God in scripture, regardless of how much I “feel” them to be true.
        I have been spending time in Romans recently for this reason, trying to apply the promises there to my life. Also the sermon on the mount – reflection on the fact that the commandments there are a reflection on the character of the one who gives them has been a fact I’ve found key to dwell on.
        Thank you for your immense patience – your words of kindness really do go a long way.

  2. cgatihi says:

    “You’ll make a great Christian one day, Paul. I love your smile.”

    I love it. He was right. =) Praise be to God!!!

  3. Sonny says:

    The Resurrection has been the deal maker for us. No one in all of history has claimed to survive a witnessed, full course Roman Crucifixion and/or claimed to have risen from the dead afterwards. The witness of John 21 is enough for me to believe and change. Like a “new Sun” were to appear in space this event claims my attention forever. When I read attacks on the Bible, like Dr. Bart Ehrman’s critical reviews of the scriptures, we marvel that Bart can easily find fault with men in their translations, rewrites and glosses, yet He nor any others can shake our faith in the Resurrection with any facts to disprove, only speculations. We have the records of real people that saw and walked with Jesus in the new Kingdom and the witness of the Holy Spirit to seal us. When people allow the Holy Spirit to teach the Word, and not use the Bible to control the Spirit the rest is easy. Acts 5:32 We pray for unity and peace!

  4. Kal El Anakin Skywalker says:

    Paul your comment near the beginning – “argue into him a corner” should be” argue him into a corner”. An Agape Love observation from your LDS/Saint Friend from California, The Atonement, It Is The Central Doctrine, Washing My Garment/Robe In His Blood, In His Eternal Debt/Grace, He Died To Make Man Holy, It’s Not Just 6 Words To A Song, They Have Eternal Meaning.

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