wow, your reply is just bursting with issues to discuss. like paulianity. i have heard people revile him terribly and revere him inappropriately. and for sure create doctrines which men devised, not our father. i believe we must view paul as saul becoming paul. he came from the very bunch that jesus called vipers. yet, there he is, an example fo what he told those vipers, that whoever the son of man makes free, he is free indeed. i love paul for his complexity and his intelligence and his thoroughness. i could distill the whole bible down from 783 thousand words to 83 thousand words and 1 corinthians 13 would be a cornerstone in that, most of the words of jesus, first books of genesis, basic moses and some key psalms and proverbs. from the very beginning of my second calling, i understood the old testament to be the scriptures and the new testament to be the explanatory notes. thats what jesus did - he explained or "fulfilled" the scriptures, as we all should desire to do. a good friend of mine called is "walking out the scriptures." thats what jesus meant when he said to "follow me."
i agree with an idea i saw a long time ago and that was the gospel of john along with psalms and maybe proverbs. it just makes sense. who is jesus? the son of god. and the son of david, a man after gods own heart. those books alone might seed a revelation of the rest of scripture, the essence of it at least.
but if i am right that the four living are the four gospels, does that mean we know which four those are? it seems to me that the synoptic gospels have their place in that we have dual or triple witnesses to some of the things jesus said. my most used study bible is covered in hilighter to show the unique parts in each and those which are echoed in two or three or all of the gospels. i have a sneakin suspicion that lukes work is all one book. that leaves room for another gospel, and i believe that gospel is thomas. i cant wait to hear an amen on that. i really need to look at it, but what i have seen i am surprised at what it reveals. it says things that have been revealed to me but that are not written anywhere. but they are in thomas. even the late discovery of this work is congruent with my own belief that the scriptures as we have them are written for the end times. they must be. many of the prophesies jesus fulfilled, he fulfilled only in part. there is still his second appearing, in clouds, which jude rightly interprets for us, are people. every eye will see him not because of technology. god hates technology. it will be because his people are scattered throughout the earth, a temple made not of human hands, with not one stone touching another. thomas deserves its place, i think, and i have recently acquired a translation of it and at first glance they appear to be the words of our lord.
in the bible we have two witnesses - jesus the word of salvation and christ, the fathers annointed which has come in the flesh. it is in the presence of two or more witnesses that a thing is established. this creates three levels of information in the text - that which is confirmed by witness, that which is congruent with the established text and therefore acceptable, and that which is incongruent with the rest of the text and which is highly suspect. within all of this is , of course, perception, which paul calls rightly dividing the word of truth. and example of this would be in the law of moses where he says that the rebellious child should be taken outside the city and stoned to death. well, this is not permission to get rid of difficult children. it is a way of emphasizing the importance of obeying parents and for parents to do all they can to keep the children they love by teaching them obedience. two entirely different "spirits" of the law. thus we can discovers the errors, both inherent and interpretive.
i think some of your problem with paul is something we see over and over again in the bible narrative. there is god and his part and intentions and there is man and how he changes gods part to accommodate him. this is not a power struggle as men would see it, but it is a necessary conflict between parent and child. or man and wife, if thats how you want to see it. same thing. the two must become like minded for any progress to take place. and without progress, a thing must die. jesus put it this way:
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
so is our will gods will or are we to make our will match gods will? frankly, for the new creature, i dont think there is any difference. even what appears to be gross misconduct, like moses hitting the rock twice to get water, becomes indelibly meshed into the word and prophecy. was the garden a set up? did god want adam and eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? i have to say yes. how else can one choose the good and reject the evil without that knowledge? yet, it was not gods will that they disobey him. perhaps it was all a matter of timing. but one thing is for sure, gods will is ultimately done, regardless of any mans input.
i believe the errors in christianity are directly proportionate to the true desire of those in charge to seek the father. jesus tald us so many things that arent what we see int he church, like healings and moving mountains and such. its obvious that people have not been doing it right. and that is not lost on the world, too. its created a situation where there are christians and atheists and the atheists are the honest ones.
i have run out of time but i am interested in looking at some of the errors you see that aare not simply a mass misunderstanding or misinterpretation. i also want to know what you think of thomas.