Responses to Akbarally Meherally's site

Paul's Authority

Examining the Contradictory Testimonies by Paul

The essential question that Mr. Meherally asks in this section is: did Jesus give Paul detailed instructions on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:16-18), or did Jesus tell Paul to go to Damascus where he would receive instructions (Acts 9:7; 22:10)?

Mr. Meherally begins his discussion by providing us with some history concerning Paul:

During the ministry of Jesus, Saul (Paul) was a dedicated member of a powerful, exclusive Jewish sect called Pharisees. These overbearing vainglorious Pharisees were labeled as stiff necked hypocrites, for their pretensions to sanctity.

When they confronted Jesus he called them; Sons of a liar:

"You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." John 8:44

Saul, a zealous persecutor of the devoted disciples of Christ, became the first Christian missionary and an Apostle to the Gentiles, after converting himself to Christianity by a "Vision", which he claims he had (c. 35), on the road to Damascus. The missionary changed his name from Saul to Paul and became the biggest contributor to the Books of the New Testament. A question of the fundamental importance is: What did and did not happen, during his journey from Jerusalem to Damascus?

Mr. Meherally's introduction is, for the most part, true. The only clarification is that Paul wrote letters to a variety of Churches in the first century giving them encouragement, admonishment, and instruction. These letters are included in the New Testament but they are not “books”, as are the Gospels of mark, Matthew, Luke, and John.

Now we will examine Mr. Meherally's questions and concerns:

Narration No. 1:

Acts 22:1. While defending himself before the people of Jerusalem, Paul narrated the first narration in the Hebrew dialect; "Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you." ..... "And it came about that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?' And I answered, 'Who art Thou, Lord?' And He said to me, `I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.' And those who were with me beheld the light, to be sure, but did not understand that voice of the One who was speaking to me. And I said, 'What shall I do, Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Arise and go into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do." (That was the end of conversation between Jesus and Saul. Jesus spoke no more than that).

The story continues and a man named Ananias comes to see Paul in Damascus. "And he (Ananias) said, 'The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear an utterance from His mouth." (That was the end of conversation between Ananias and Saul ).

Note: In this first narration, Jesus Christ simply gives instructions to Saul that in the City of Damascus he will hear the specific details of his appointment. Jesus himself did not specify any detail or details of his appointment.

In Acts 22:1-21 Luke tells us that Paul was speaking to Jews in Jerusalem. These people knew who Paul was and what he was preaching and they had him arrested and incarcerated in the Roman Army barracks in Jerusalem. In this passage, Paul is speaking to the Jews from the steps of the barracks and begins by giving his credentials as a Jew, and then he gives a detailed account of his meeting with Jesus and his conversion.

Narration No. 2:

Acts 26:12ff. While defending himself before King Agrippa Paul narrates the incident in first person; "While thus engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way alight from heaven, brighter than the sun, shinning all around me and those who were journeying with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads'. And I said, 'Who are Thou, Lord?' And the Lord said, `I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the thing which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; delivering you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me."

Note: In this later narration, Jesus Christ himself personally gives the specific details of his appointment

In Acts 26:2-23 Luke, tells us about a speech given by Paul. At this point in history, Paul has been imprisoned for approximately two years after his arrest in Jerusalem and his speech from the Roman Army barrack's steps, mentioned in Acts 22. This speech was given to the Roman Governor Festus and King Herod Agrippa. Both of these men were already very familiar with the facts of this case and they did not need, and most likely did not want, a detailed explanation of Paul's case. They only needed, and most likely wanted, a brief summary of the facts. Paul gives them a brief summary. Paul briefly reminds them of his Jewish credentials by saying "I lived as a Pharisee" and is completely aware that King Agrippa knows all about the facts of the case (verses 25-27).

Fundamental Questions:

1. Did Jesus Christ personally made the appointment and himself delegate the elaborated authority to Saul, as narrated in the second narration?

Jesus told Paul his duties in Damascus according to both Acts 9 and 22. However in Acts 26 the context is very different than in the previous two passages. In Acts 26, Paul is not concerned with the chronological order of the events, or where these events occurred, because he is talking to people who have already heard his story many times. If Paul had actually contradicted his testimony, his enemies most definitely would have pointed it out!


1. The common defense that I have so far heard from the readers is that the first narration was a shorter version of the encounter. Dear Readers; I would not have written this article, if that was the case. The second narration is not a complimentary extension of the first. It is a glaring contradiction which if presented from a witness stand, could be challenged by any student of law from being admitted as a "Statement of Truth", since the witness had perjured himself.

No. Once again, Paul was talking to people who knew the facts in Acts 26. He did not perjury himself and was never accused of perjury by his enemies.

2. It is also interesting to note that there is no mention about "receiving forgiveness of sins... by faith in Jesus", within the instructions given by Ananias to Paul?

I do not see a problem or contradiction in this. God had different missions for Ananias and Paul.

3. Which ever way you cut it, Paul was never a "prophet". Can a "minister" supersede the teachings of any prophet or propagate contrary to the teachings of the prophets? Please read what prophet Moses taught in Deut. 13:4 and Jesus Christ himself Commanded in Mt. 5:19 and then compare those with what Paul advocated as a minister in Gal. 2:16.

Let us examine these passages:

Matthew 5:19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

But consider verses 21-22:

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca,' [an insulting name] is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

and verses 27-28:

"You have heard that it was said, `Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So Mr. Meherally, considering the words of Jesus, have we honestly kept the commandments? Are we truly blameless in the eyes of God? I honestly confess to you that I have sinned - we all have sinned.

Galatians 2:16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

Are Paul's word different from the words of the Prophets and the words of Jesus. NO WAY!! Please consider the following verses:

David said in Psalm 143:2 And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.

Luke said in Acts 13:38-39: Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

You are at a cross road; Which path should you take and whom should you follow? A "minister" or a "prophet"!!!

Amen! I choose to follow Jesus and His servant Paul.

Andrew Vargo

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