If there is one man who did more for Christianity than any other man, it was the Apostle Paul. His influence and efforts were so great that in an Easter Sunday TV programme hosted by Peter Jennings of ABC America, Paul was referred to by Christian theologians as the joint founder of Christianity.
The programme brought out 3 main issues that Paul contributed to the popularity of Christianity. Firstly, he made it available to the gentiles or non-Jews on an equal basis, even at one stage rebuking the Apostle Peter for not ‘breaking bread’ together with these new converts, who were then considered by the original disciples of Jesus as ‘unclean’ and more or less ‘second class’ adherents (Galatians 2:11-14)
Secondly, he turned the indignity and shame of the crucifixion of Christ into a saga of incredible sacrifice by the Son of God so that the ‘people could be saved’ . In essence, by promoting the concept of Jesus' earthly 'sacrifice' to save the believers, he salvaged the day for the church, for otherwise it would have been ridiculous for the so-called Son of God to die ignominiously like a common criminal, totally ignored by his Heavenly Father.
But the most significant factor he instituted that led to the spread of Christianity was the abandonment of the requirement for circumcision.
For Hebrews (Jews) who kept faith with God, circumcision was mandatory, as the act was a symbol of their covenant with God.
“And God said unto Abraham. Thou shall keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man among you shall be circumcised.
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.” (Genesis 17:9-11)
Then, the biblical instructions went on with specific details as to who must be circumcised.
Because of this, the converted to Jesus' new church initially had to be circumcised. Paul did away with that, believing that the circumcision wasn’t necessary for salvation. Paul revolutionised (threw away) many Jewish traditional practices making it convenient for the gentiles wishing to join his new church.
In the Book of Joshua, Chapter 5, it was shown that circumcision was not an original Hebraic religious tradition. In fact, it was an Egyptian practice. The Bible stated that after Joshua had carried out God's instruction to circumcise those who were born after the Hebrews escaped from Egypt and thus were uncircumcised, God said:
“Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” (Joshua 5:9)
Modern historians take that to mean, with the circumcision, the Hebrews were no longer in disgrace in the eyes of the Egyptians who previously viewed them with contempt because of their uncircumcised state. However, some Church leaders still refused to accept this modern understanding, and instead translated it to mean that the Hebrews were no longer Egyptian slaves.
But there is no doubt that the Egyptians predated the Hebrews in the practice of circumcision. The Hebrews had adopted many Egyptian traditions and practices as was discussed previously in Why Orthodox Jews Don’t Eat Pork!. Apparently, circumcision was another adopted Egyptian practice.
Isn't this food ... or rather foreskin for thoughts?