First we hear a repeat of the tail end of last week's reading in which Paul establishes his cred,
"For I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ."Paul recounts the time before his conversion,
"You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors."Next we get a taste of predestination,
"But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus."Paul recounts his meeting with Peter,
"Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother."Next comes a strange interjection,
"In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!"I am not quite sure why he needed to write that.
Finishing up this week's segment with the central miracle of Paul's conversion from persecutor to evangelist,
"Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only heard it said, ‘The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me."I have often thought that God chose the right man for the right time when he selected Paul.
So, if Paul was the right man, predestined by God to spread the Gospel, then why is he so maligned by "progressive" Christians when it comes to his writings about marriage, homosexuality, and sexual immorality?