Paul the Apostle has often been called the architect of the Church. His diligence in planting churches and looking after them took up the greater part of his life. It wasn’t an easy task and often included all kinds of difficulties from persecution, hunger, and imprisonment to shipwrecks. But there was a drive within Paul that wouldn’t let up; not before he accomplished that which he had felt called to do.
But was he the architect of the Church? Didn’t his letters seek to answer questions, refute heresies and encourage the church and not place some sort of static form or structure for the Church to adhere to?
So what was Paul if not the architect of the Church? I believe first and foremost his calling was to BRIDGE THE GAP of the Jewish faith with Christ:
“Is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.” (Romans 3:29-30 NIV)
Every city and town he entered, Paul first sought out the Synagogue and spent time in showing how Old Testament prophecies pointed to Jesus, his death, resurrection and Lordship. He visited the churches and defended the Gentile believers who were being suffocated by Jewish customs and traditions. He even went up to Jerusalem to defend Gentile believers before the Apostles of the Church. Paul had a passion to bridge the understanding of the Jewish people with the Christ, in whom all things are fulfilled.
Today the challenge remains. The people we encounter are the product of values and traditions, experiences and beliefs that have been imposed or nurtured upon them. Do we have the knowledge of where people are in their world? And do we have tools to bridge the gap and show that even today Christ is the fulfillment of all?