Vince (Login MoxiFox) Sufi Posted Nov 20, 2008 11:58 PM
And the answer could well be .......... very mundane!~
Of course, it's possible that his material was heavily edited to remove all traces of his original cause ...... in which case I'd be wrong but ....... I don't think his cause was really anything outside of what he himself wrote.
He had been a super-religious 'gentile Jew' who grew up in Tarsus. He wanted to become a really notable, effective person in his beliefs and so he attacked followers of the Way ........ "persecuting" them. Then he had a dramatic experience that changed his perception completely and he BECAME one of those that he had formerly despised. Yet, he didn't just adopt what they taught; he became a convert of his own vision(s) and set out to preach and teach that. That's about all he said about his own motives. (I leave Acts out of it in order to get a clearer picture of what Paul said about himself).
Compare that to more recent examples ......
Ellen G. White was fervent for Christianity but then got "visions" and split, to start up the Seventh Day Adventist church. Mary Baker Eddy started up the Christian Science movement. I believe their motives were sincere and not motivated by desire for power, prestige or money. Whatever they LATER became wasn't what initially motivated them.
Paul suffered some kind of political hounding -as he briefly mentions in 2 Cor. 11:32- and 'hints at' having fought with beasts in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32) ......speaks often of his suffering and deprivations, so .......... it's possible that he was IN FACT heavily persecuted by the political establishment of his time. If so, it makes a lot of sense that his gospel message was aimed at CHANGING the mindset of people in general and to establish a new and better attitude which would focus on God instead of on gain.
He emphatically points out in Galatians that he had NOTHING to do with the Jerusalem church or with Judean Christians for the first 17 years after his conversion. If you look at his own writings only ...... it would seem to be true. He doesn't talk about them at all and -in fact- doesn't talk about the same Jesus Christ described in the Gospels. There appears to be a complete disconnect.
However the "trend" of looking for a messiah is definitely a huge part of his focus. So it looks to me like he was simply adopting the messiah belief and going off in his own direction with it.