For Paul, What Was Required To Be An Apostle?
Paul says one of the necessary conditions of being an actual apostle is having seen the risen Christ. He asks “Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?“ This is not a sufficient condition, since he says the 500 saw the risen Christ without being apostles, but such an experiences was necessary for apostleship:
- [H]e appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
But what about the demonic “false apostles and false brothers” Paul hates? What was it about the false apostles that made them false? It’s not just that they were Christian Judaizers. The 12 were Judaizers, and Paul respected them, though he disagreed. So, what made the false apostles Paul hated “false?”
There seems to be a connection in Paul between the false apostles and the false brethren. The expression false brethren (pseudadelphoi) only occurs twice in the NT. One of those uses is in Gal 2:1-5 where Paul speaks of those who infiltrated the Jerusalem meeting. The only other usage of this expression is in another passage by Paul where it clearly refers to unregenerate people, people who are not believers: 2 Cor 11: 13, 26.
- For such are false apostles [pseudapostoloi], deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
- …in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren [pseudadelphoi].
The false apostles/brethren were not just hypocrites, but imposters. What for Paul could make an apostle someone who is pledged to Jesus but false? Clearly, as I said before in previous posts this would make a lot of sense if they were a faction who followed the living Jesus but did not ascribe to the crucifixion/resurrection theology Peter and James invented, like we see with the Didache and Q. Why?
The difficulty in explaining the false brothers and false apostles is that they weren’t just unfaithful for Paul, but imposters proclaiming another Jesus and message. This would make good sense if they were a faction following the teaching of the living Jesus who didn’t ascribe to crucifixion/resurrection theology. Of course, if there was such a group, this invalidates mythicism.
See my previous posts on this topic gathered here: Jesus Died According To The Scriptures (Conclusion)