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A personal Scriptural Letter to Pastor Femi Aribisala, by Mike Diagbare

I have  for some time now read many of your articles and contribut-ions in the Vanguard Newspapers, especially the articles on religion, quite a number I agree with and acknowledge you not only as a good writer but also an important contributor to religious knowledge.

There is, however, a topic I vehemently disagree with and also find very offensive—your writings about the Apostle Paul. You are not only wrong but totally ignorant and misinformed in your articles about the Apostle Paul.  Your last article in Sunday Vanguard of August 3, 2014, titled the Good News and the Deceitful News” provoked me enough to reply to your continuous attack on Apostle Paul. ”

Let me quote you, “those who follow Jesus did so because of His life. But, because of Paul’s ignorance about His life, many who follow Jesus now do so because of bogus claims about His death”…. Whatsoever good news Jesus proclaimed has nothing to do with the  death on the cross or any sacrifice for sin. This is because Jesus and his disciples preached the good news before His crucifixion. So doing, not once did they say he would die for our sins.”

Femi, here is a script-ure you should read. Matthew 20:17-28: “Now, as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priest and teachers of the Law. They will condemn Him to death and turn him over to the Gentiles and be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day, He will be raised to life’ … Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a RANSOM for many.”

These were the actual words of Jesus; not Apostle Paul’s. If Jesus said He gave His life as ransom, what was wrong with Apostle Paul saying it in 1 Corinth-ians, 15:1-4, which you yourself  quoted. Is it not obvious here that the good news you referred to as Apostle Paul’s fabrication is very much tied to Jesus’s death? Verse 2 of 1 Corinthians 15 further says: “By this gospel you are saved if you hold on firmly to the word I preached to you.” What then is the contradiction in Apostle Paul’s interpretation of the good news of the coming, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

It is obvious you were not knowledgeable enough to know this Scripture exist in the bible. If you knew you would not have accused Apostle Paul of fabricat-ing Scripture. You have in the past formed the habit of quoting the gospel out of context, paraphrasing and using  unacceptable language, such as “fraudulent”, “ignorant”, “bogus” etc with regards to Apostle Paul’s ministry.

Knowing the Scriptur-es as I do, I can comfort-ably say these adjectives really qualify your writ-ings on Apostle Paul. Why would you write trash such as; “The pro-blem with this good news is that it is one big deception. It is actually contrary to the true one delivered. Paul was not one of Jesus’s disciples. He never heard Jesus preach and he displays unpardonable ignorance about Jesus’s doctrine in his epistles. Bereft of the discipleship of Jesus, Paul fabricated his own christology.”

Femi, if you say the suffering, death or crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is not the good news Apostle Paul wrote about, then, you should tell your readers what is. You also wrote: “In-deed, if Jesus has really taken away our sins, how come ‘sinless priests’ are still raping young boys? How come ‘sinless pastors’ continue to swindle the gullible poor of their meager savings? If, according to Paul, Christians are new creations in whom old things have passed away, behold all things have become new (II Corinthians 5:17), why are we still cheating, telling lies, fornicating and committing adultery?”

The answer is that these Christians, pastors and so-called prophets do not follow the commandments or injunctions of Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul. You, Femi, also wrote: Whatsoever good news Jesus proclaimed has nothing to do with the death on the cross or any sacrifice for sin. This is because Jesus and His disciples preached their good news before His crucifixion. So doing, not once did they say he would die for our sin.”

Further, you wrote about Apostle Paul’s claim regarding God’s grace as part of the good news. And you continued; “Moreover, compulsive and unrepentant sinners are not welcomed in God’s kingdom. Entry into the kingdom is also by works and not by grace”.
Femi, it is a pity you have been unable to understand the doctrine of Apostle Paul’s teaching and grace. Grace is a favour we do not deserve. Although Apostle Paul talked about the grace of God in relation to the good news of Jesus Christ, he says in Romans 6:1-3: “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or, don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were bapti-zed into His death?

This is because no one will be declared right-eous in His sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin (Romans 3:20).”This is so as no one is right-eous under the law. We require God’s grace. It is true that Apostle Paul was not one of Jesus’s disciples. Does the scripture not tell you of Apostle Paul’s encounter with Jesus on his way to Damascus to persecute the followers of Jesus? You will agree the encounter would have had a very dramatic effect on his life and mission. You will also agree Apostle Paul probably was the most intellectually inclined of all Jesus’s apostles who were mainly fishermen.

It was Apostle Paul who also undertook three missionary journ-eys from Jerusalem to Corinth, Thessalonica, Phillippi, Antioch and the whole of the area known as Cappadocia. The spread of present day Christianity is attributed to Apostle Paul. Apostle Paul’s gospel did not contradict Jesus’s gospel. It in fact confirms all Jesus’s gospel and this is true on any subject of discussion. All the letters Apostle Paul wrote to the different churches were begun or marked by statements like — “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God…”

Will it not be prepost-erous for Apostle Paul, after introducing himself this way, to preach a different gospel of Jesus? Apostle Paul wrote about non-sinning nature and repentance in his epistles (Galatians 5:17): “So, I say live by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other. So that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under law. The acts of a sinful nature are obvious, sex-ual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, discensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom.

In Collosians 3:5, Apostle Paul went further when he wrote: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature. Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Be-cause of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to talk in these ways in the life you once lived. But now, you must rid yourself of all such things as these, anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices, and put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of the Creator.”
This is Apostle Paul’s repentance and avoid-ance of sin.

Femi, did you read these writings of Apostle Paul. Is Apostle Paul telling sinless priests to rape young boys or sinless pastors to continue to swindle the gullible poor of their meager savings? And, Christians to continue in sin? It is a fact that Apostle Paul wrote about GRACE in Romans 6:1-4 and Ephesians 2: 8-9. These verses should be read and understood in conjunction with each other. Like it is clear in Ephesians 2:9, grace was introduced into the equation because Apostle Paul recognized the “boastful” tendency of human beings.

Isaiah 64:4 says all our righteousness are like filthy rags. It is God’s prerogative who enters heaven. No matter how righteous or sinless we are, we still need the GRACE OF GOD.
Femi, much as I agree with a lot of your writings especially with regard to the conduct of pastors and church practices, you will need to stop this profanity against Apostle Paul.

Apostle Paul was chos-en by Jesus Himself to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Jesus made a perfect choice and you cannot question Jesus’s choice. If you do, then, you doubt Jesus. And, if you doubt Jesus, you are not a Christian, and, if you are not a Christian, you are at liberty to write anything many Christians will  consider nonsense.


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