Paul an Apocalypticist

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cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
I learned in a class that Paul was an apocalypticist. Do you guys think he was? That is, do you think that Paul thought that the end of the world would come within his lifetime, or at least pretty soon?

More importantly (this is what I'm more concerned about), does it matter? I mean, say you guys feel that Paul was an apocalypticist. Say he thought the apocalypse would come by 100A.D. Then he was wrong.

On the one hand, he was wrong about that, but who cares? Nobody knew when the apocalypse would come, so how should he?

On the other hand, if he was wrong, how much of his work should we trust? Well of course we must believe everything in the NT, but if he implied in the NT that he thought the apocalypse was imminent, and he was wrong, so what else was he wrong about?

My main question isn't really whether he was an apocalypticist, but rather, whether it matters, that is, can an apostle ever be wrong?
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Apostles made no errors in their writings. Not one. The Bible is scripture, the Word of God. It is inspired. That is to say the scriptures are penned by the Holy Spirit. Paul was not an Apocalypticist. I believe he believed that Christ would come, in some sense of the word, in judgment on apostaste Israel. In dealing with difficult interpretive issues we must be careful. The word of the Lord is pure, we should try to see the harmony even if difficulties confound us.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I agree with Ian: depending how much theology one wants to read into partial preterism, could this not be seen as Christ indeed coming to visit apostate Israel? Although I do not accept his eschatology, GE Ladd made a good comment on this in Kim Riddlebarger's book. I can't find it at the moment. Also, how do you want to define "apocalyptic"? I can think of several definitions, all of which would seriously alter the interpretation of Pauline theology. If I were you and someone brought this to my attention, I would challenge them on using a loaded term in a vague manner.

And of course, how what is the underlying worldview of the interpreter? As the brilliant theologian Gil Grissom of C.S.I. states, "Evidence without context is no evidence." I can take a lot of sayings in the NT and make them appear contradictory without regard to context and the worldview of the writer.
 

cupotea

Puritan Board Junior
Sorry it's taken a while to reply; the library's been closed for the past few days.

Anyway, I guess they meant "apocalypticist" in that Paul supposedly thought that the apocalypse would come within his own lifetime. This message is apparently preached in the letters to the Thessalonians. I figured you guys would think he wasn't one, since, as Ian said, that would make him wrong. But then again (to play the Devil's advocate), the message wasn't "the apocalypse will be within my lifetime", it was, "I think the apocalypse will be within my lifetime"--that is, it's implied that he feels that way. Sorry I don't have a Bible on me to give you the exact verses; I'm in a bit of a hurry so I can't look them up online. I haven't really made up my mind about it. But I guess what you guys are saying is that Paul couldn't be wrong, either in personal thoughts or in his writings?
 
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