Remember, Saul, who later changed his name to Paul to indicate his changed life, persecuted the followers of Jesus. Something that gets glossed over all the time is that he did so under the watchful eye of the religious institution. Even more, the religious leaders wrote a letter of authority so that Saul could go to other countries to persecute believers.

Saul even authorized, on at least one occasion, the murder of a believer (Stephen). Stephen’s crime was, well, that he didn’t believe the right thing. Stephen was not convicted of a criminal offense, a social abuse or failure to live up to his potential. The only “crime” Saul accused him of was believing in Jesus Christ as Saviour.

More than anything else I am attacked, mocked, and condemned by adherents of the religious institution called, in North America and Europe, the Church, for speaking the same message that Jesus preached, that the institution has abandoned God. I am told by religious leaders to stop saying that in public; let’s keep it a secret. Others say that the institution isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we have. Is that a cop out or code for, “I really am on the side of my group and feel your words are a personal attack on me”?

The Nuremberg Trails of 1945-46

Even secular justice holds as a high principal that anyone in any organization can be held personally responsible for its activities. No one can say they were following orders or the tradition of the group as a way to escape being morally guilty for immoral actions. That was sorted out at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

Saul was not a freelancer. As an agent of the religious HQ in Jerusalem he helped destroy true believers who were seen as enemies of religion.

Now whether a person who claims to follow Jesus  attaches to no group at all or to one of the substations of a larger form of religion is never the issue. Do you seek justice? When you misjudge someone (either as a freelancer or adherent of a creedal group) does your love for Jesus demand that you tread carefully, Biblically, openly and with prayer and fasting, or do you let injustice roll?

The spiritual person’s loyalty rest with God alone.

By whose authority do you judge others or defend your immorality? If it is not solely by the Bible in the Spirit you run a high risk of being the same criminal as those who authorized Saul to persecute and murder servants of the Most High God and the Saviour of the world.

Think about it. Pray about it. Fast if necessary. Who do you really serve?