I love reading the Bible over coffee first thing in the morning. Then I got to thinking… was it Peter or Paul that was responsible for starting the Christian religion? My opinion is that it had to be Paul! He was a heck of a persuasive character to convince those Greek-speaking communities to give up their gods for the one true God. What do you think?
According to scholars, Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians would be the first “book” in the New Testament if we were to list them chronologically. Paul was known to visit a community, persuade gentiles and maybe some Jews into believing in the Jewish God, and then go on to the next community.
After leaving Thessalonica Paul had gotten word that some of the members were concerned because their loved ones had died. Paul had promised this community a glorious afterlife encounter after Jesus came back – as long as they believed in Christ. They clearly thought that the Lord would be back before any of them died. Apparently, Paul had forgotten to tell them that they did not have to be alive to participate in this Rapture. He reassures them that their loved ones will be included and not to worry. He tells them that the “day of the Lord will be soon and arrive when you least expect it.”
I wish that I could have been at that first meeting when Paul met with these Greek-speaking laborers to try and convince them that they should reject their beliefs in other gods. He had to be a very persuasive salesman to induce them into believing in a Jewish prophet who was executed by the Romans and came back to life. And that this Jesus went up into the sky with his Father who happens to be the same person but not really the same person, but will return from the clouds real soon. “And no, I was not a witness to any of these things but a blinding light appeared to me and told me so,” Paul might have said. Wow!
So, Paul gets my vote for starting the Christian religion and for the phenomenon that it is today. Time for a second cup of coffee.