out of curiosity, why is it that you appear to be pitting paul against the rest of the apostles? and why do you feel that they were not a unified group as to their teachings? did they not all teach the same gospel from the same source? were they not all heralds of Jesus? why does paul seem to be the apex for you?

AGAINST is a strong word! There are relative levels of UNIFIED teaching. The gospel comes to us first as the seed, then the blade, then the full-grown stalk, then the stalk with ears, then the full-corn in the ear. There is no contradiction or lack of unification in any of these progressive levels of revelation. But there is certainly a contrasting emergence of the pure and eternal gospel! Rhetorical paradoxes that we might encounter in scripture are to be resolved by interpreting the 'inferior' revelation in light of the 'full' and final revelation. Paul FULLY preached the Gospel in its full-corn brilliance. Men who propose and dogmatically assert that prior interpreters could say the same thing about their teaching--these persons need to be challenged.

Edward J. Carnell ('The Case for Orthodox Theology') was condemned in the early 80's--by the crowd opposing a New Covenant theology of Christian ethics. This was because of his controversial assertion that the Pauline epistles must interpret the gospels. I propose that Carnell was correct! His simple yet powerful method of interpreting scripture is one of the major instruments of truth that led me out of the unbelievable darkness and heresy of the sect that I was once pastor of!

Paul IS the apex--but the others taught the same gospel, albeit progressively. Gal. 1:9 is the key. Once Paul shared his superior revelation with Peter, John, and James; they signed-on to his message and were never the same afterwards. That is why conservative interpreters who defend James as worthy of canonical status propose this: it was written before Paul shared his superior revelations! Keep this in mind: Paul was the only human being in history to experience the ACTUAL presence of heaven itself and all the glory of God in his sovereignty over history (in contrast to a symbolic or visionary representation of it--like Isaiah). To keep Paul humbled after this absolutely unique and superior revelation, he was appointed a lot of suffering greater than that of all other persons in Christ!

I am convinced that the apostle John became a dedicated and passionate defender of Paul's gospel after Paul was martyred. He might have had suspicions of Paul early-on. But later in life, after witnessing the stamp of the Holy Spirit on Paul's ministry and the truth of his claims to the ultimate revelation, he became the most passionate Paulinist in history! Not that he followed Paul; he defended Paul's full-corn gospel only because Paul followed Christ.