James D. G. Dunn: “Should we deduce that Paul departed from or corrupted the good news which Jesus brought? No!”

David Wood’s argumentation demolished Shabir Ally’s use of western liberal scholarship and skepticism over the apostle Paul, and Luke’s The Acts of the Apostles.

All of the recent  6 debates between David Wood and Shabir Ally (Sept. 28-29 and Oct. 5-6, 2015) were excellent and full of information and argumentation for both sides.  And Shabir Ally argues his view in a calm manner, although very wrong.

I hope to have time to comment on all of them, but this one was significant in many ways, but I wanted to just highlight one thing from this debate.

Shabir Ally and Paul Bilal Williams and other Muslims like to use liberal scholars about a supposed rift between Jesus and Paul and/or between Peter and Paul.

David Wood’s quote of James D. G. Dunn, in his book, Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels was very devastating to Shabir Ally’s argumentation and also Paul Bilal Williams, who used James D. G. Dunn a lot at his blogs which he has changed 3 times over the past few years.

The quote comes a little after the 25 minute mark.  The book Wood quotes from is from 2011.

“Here it becomes obvious that Paul was able to differentiate within the law .  He maintains that some laws, here the law of circumcision  no longer counted, but in the same breathe he reasserts the importance of keeping the law of God.

Does this not remind us of Jesus? . . . 

Paul drew his attitude to the law  from Jesus, no other explanation makes such sense of the evidence available to us.   It was Jesus’ teaching and example which showed him that in Christ neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision but faith operating effectively through love.  [Galatians 5:6]  It was no doubt this teaching and that example that Paul had in mind when he speaks of “the law of Christ”.   

Dunn concludes:

“Should we then speak of a gulf between Jesus and Paul?  NO!  

Should we deduce that Paul departed from or corrupted  the good news which Jesus brought?  No!

Should we conclude that Paul transformed Jesus’ message into something that Jesus Himself would not recognize?  No! . . . ” 

Jesus’ discriminating attitude to the law and the love command . . . ”  (David Wood ran out of time at that point)  

(James D. G. Dunn, Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels.  Eerdmans, 2011, pages 114-115)

See also:


The Apostle Paul wrote, around 48-49 AD, right before the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:

7 “But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles), and recognizing the grace that had been given to me,  James and Cephas (Peter) and John, who werereputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 They only asked us to remember the poor—the very thing I also was eager to do.”

Galatians 2:7-10  (my emphasis)


About Ken Temple

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), through faith alone (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:28; 4:1-16), in Christ alone (John 14:6). But a true faith does not stay alone, it should result in change, fruit, good works, and deeper levels of repentance and hatred of my own sins of selfishness and pride. I am not better than you! I still make mistakes and sin, but the Lord is working on me, conforming me to His character. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:16-18) When I do sin, I hate the sin as it is an affront to God, and seek His forgiveness in repentance. (Mark 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:7-10; Colossians 3:5-16 ) Praise God for His love for sinners (Romans 5:8), shown by the voluntary coming of Christ and His freely laying down His life for us (John 10:18), becoming flesh/human (John 1:1-5; 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8), dying for sins of people from all nations, tribes, and cultures (Revelation 5:9), on the cross, in history, rising from the dead (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28, Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24; John 20-21; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). His resurrection from the dead proved that Jesus is the Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the word of God from eternity past; and that He was all the gospels say He was and that He is truth and the life and the way to salvation. (John 14:6)
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5 Responses to James D. G. Dunn: “Should we deduce that Paul departed from or corrupted the good news which Jesus brought? No!”

  1. Pingback: James D. G. Dunn: "Should we deduce that Paul departed from or corrupted the good news which Jesus brought? No!"

  2. Paul said that Jesus had abolished the Law:

    ‘For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, so that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body[c] through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.’

    Ephesians 2

    Jesus taught that his disciples must obey ALL of the Law (613 commandments) in the kingdom of God:

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever 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 does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 5

    There is a real contradiction between Paul, and Jesus in Matthew on the Law. Therefore I respectfully disagree with JDG Dunn.

  3. Ken Temple says:

    We already hashed this out a long time ago; and your argumentation failed miserably.

    How can it be a contradiction when the apostle Paul also says:

    “We establish the law” (Romans 3:31) – “Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the law.”


    “So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” (Romans 7:12)


    “in order that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us . . . ” (Romans 8:4)

    Since the Greek word for “abolish” that Jesus uses in Matthew 5:17 is different than the one Paul uses in Ephesians 2:15, there must be something else going on in these verses.

    It is important to understand what Jesus meant by “fulfill” in Matthew 5:17. It is deep and all encompassing.

    You did not deal with the fuller context of Ephesians 2:11-22.

    And you miss the rest of how Jesus explains the aspects of fulfilling the law in Matthew 5:21-48.

  4. Ken Temple says:

    also 1 Corinthians 7:19 – “. . . what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.”

  5. Sam Shamoun says:

    Ken, here are two articles which thoroughly dismantle that pathetic attempt by discover truth to refute the Christian exegesis of Daniel 7:13-14:



    I had posted these on Williams’ but he again decided to delete them.

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