Interview with the Apostle Paul

(Questions about the Church)

It must be understood, the apostle Paul died many years ago. This interview, therefore, is hypothetical. The interviewer (writer) will be quoting the words of the apostle Paul’s recorded in the King James translation of the Bible. I will try to make all of his statements consistent with the inspired record.

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Paul, you need to understand that the questions I will ask will reflect this fact, today there are many organizations called churches in the world. Is this the way it was in your day?

No! As you can read in my epistles, I only needed to address a letter to the church in a given geographical location. I wrote a letter to the church at Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi *1and the church received the letter.

Was it God’s intent that ultimately the church would be divided as it is today?

No. Satan is the one that has brought about this condition. There is one body and we are all *2 members of that one body if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. *3

You use the word “body”. Does that word have the same meaning as the word “church”?

The word doesn’t mean the same but it is another word that describes the church. The word refers to a “called out people”. The church, as I used the term in my writings, is the body of Christ and the body is the church *4. As I was saying, the divisions that are so prominent in your day first began in my day in the city of Corinth. I had to rebuke the church there severely because they were carnal and walking as men. The saints there began to denominate themselves apart and to say they were of me, or Apollos or Cephas. There was one group that even began to say they were of Christ to the exclusion of other saints. This was very divisive and so I rebuked them sharply. *5

Would you rebuke children of God today who take a name to identify themselves and the work they do for the Lord?

Yes, if the name was any name other than the name of the one who died for them. We as Christians should do everything we do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. *6

Paul, isn’t it true though due to our different personalities, ethnic backgrounds, education and family backgrounds we need different churches?

It is true that our different backgrounds would seem to make it necessary to have different churches; but this is not the case. We must remember, when one is saved things happen that make our backgrounds and personalities of little importance as far as the functioning of the church is concerned. One of the purposes of the church is to take those with different ethnic backgrounds, (that is, the Jews and Gentiles) and make them one new man. *7 It is also true that when one accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, old things pass away and all things become new. *8 Something else that is often forgotten, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are indwelt with the Holy Spirit who guides them into all truth. *9 So you see, while the believer doesn’t lose his physical characteristics, his thought processes and spiritual understanding are truly changed, if he will allow the Holy Spirit to guide him.

But, even though we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, people just don’t see anything alike, even when reporting on an accident or something that happened right in front of them.

It is true, humanly speaking we can’t all see alike. However, we are not speaking of things on the human level but on the spiritual level. The Holy Spirit has commanded us to all speak the same things and to have no divisions among us, to be of the same mind and judgment, and to walk by the same rule. *10 The Christian life is a growing process. So all Christians should be trying to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. *11 If believers would do this, there would not be the divisions among believers that exist in your time.

Paul, there is a saying “Behind every cloud is a silver lining”. Isn’t the silver lining behind the cloud of sectarianism the fact that by dividing and organizing we can spread the gospel further, faster?

Satan has always been spreading the lie “let us do evil that good may come”. In fact, I was accused of saying such a thing which I never said. *12 Satan has raised questions concerning obedience ever since he questioned Eve in the Garden of Eden “yea hath God said”. *13 Mankind is alienated from God and physically dying because Eve was convinced what God told them to do and not do could be improved on. In fact the Lord Jesus when he was here on earth prayed for unity among believers because he knew it would give support to the gospel of Jesus Christ. *14 Satan also realized how effective this would be and so, as I said earlier, began to divide Christians very early in the church’s history.

I believe it is true, the most productive period in the history of the church were the first few years after it began. Today, the divisions among Christians give the unbeliever a basis to question the authenticity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me ask this question, “You are the writer that speaks most about the church, are you the founder or head of the church”?

Let me state emphatically, I am not and no man on earth is the founder or head of the church which is Christ’s body. I speak most about the church for three reasons. One, I am the apostle to the Gentiles, and this was a very important office to me. *15 Second, I received by direct revelation the mystery concerning what the Lord is doing with the church today. *16 Third, I was commissioned to complete the written word, revealing God’s will and plan for the church which is his body. *17 Something that was unique about my knowledge and ministry is this, I didn’t receive my education from those who were apostles before me but by direct revelation from God. *18

If you are not the head of the Church, who is?

Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. He is the chief corner stone. The church is to be subject to him in everything. *19

Paul, today there are many names describing many churches. What is the correct name for the church? Is there a name all members of the church should use?

Your question seems to indicate a misconception. The church is described by several terms: the body of Christ, church of the living God, church of God and there are others. *20 Members of the church are referred to as saints, Christians and brethren. The church is simply Christ. *21 Members of the church should do everything they do in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many times the church is described by the geographical location where it is or meets. Members of the church should be careful to never use a name or description to identify themselves separate from other members of the church or to identify theological distinctions. To do so is sin.

Paul, how is it decided who becomes a member of the church which is Christ’s body?

All the members of the church are made members by the head of the church the Lord Jesus Christ. This is done by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. *22

Paul, we hear the word “saved” used often. What does this word mean when applied to the church?

To begin with, all of us were born sinners, dead in trespasses and sins. We were alienated from God, out of fellowship or communion with him and needed to be reconciled to him. *23 God of course, recognized this and when we were without hope sent his only begotten Son to die for us. *24 Because of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be restored to fellowship with God by unearned favor (grace) through faith. *25 Grace is something good we receive which we didn’t earn or we don’t deserve. Salvation is not something one can work for. If it was, we would have something to boast about. Some people think grace and works are a team that together bring salvation to a person. This was a misconception that was prevalent in my day. Many, like myself had our roots in the Mosaic Law. But works and grace don’t go together to get salvation or to keep salvation. Works are a product of salvation. Salvation is received by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the way I was saved. *26 The moment one believes with his heart and calls on the name of the Lord, many things happen: crucified, buried, risen with Christ, sealed unto the day of redemption, baptized into the church, seated in heavenly places, and old things pass away, all things become new. All this is done through the faith of the operation of God. *27

Scriptures used in this hypothetical interview:
1 Corinthians 1:, Ephesians 1:, Philippians 1: *2) Ephesians 4:4 *3) 1 Corinthians 12:13; :27 *4) Ephesians 1:22&23, Colossians 1:18 *5) 1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:1-4 *6) Colossians 3:17 *7) Ephesians 2:15, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11, *8) 2 Corinthians 5:17 *9) John 14:17, 16:13, 1 Corinthians 6:19, *10) 1 Corinthians 1:10, Philippians 1:27, 3:16 *11) Ephesians 4:3 *12) Romans 3:8 *13) Genesis 3:1 *14) John 17:21-23 *15) Romans 11:13 *16) Romans 16:25, Galatians 1:12, Ephesians 3:3 *17) Colossians 1:25 *18) Galatians 1:17-2:2 *19) Ephesians 1:22, 2:20, 5:23-24 *20) 1 Corinthians 1:2, 10:32, 12:27, Ephesians 1:1, 4:12, 1 Timothy 3:15, Romans 1:13&7, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Acts 11:26, Galatians 6:18 *21) 1 Corinthians 12:12 *22) Colossians 3:17 ; Acts 2:47, 1 Corinthians 12:13 *23) Romans 5:12, Ephesians 4:18, Colossians 1:21, Romans 3:10, 5:10, 2 Corinthians 5:18, *24) Romans 5:6, John 3:16-18 *25) Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:6 *26) Romans 10:13, Acts 22:16, *27) Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12, Ephesians 2:6, 4:30, 1 Corinthians 12:13

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