Saul of Tarsus, also called Paul, wrote to “Titus, a true son in our common faith”, partly in this wise:
Tit 1:5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you-- … 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
It is readily apparent that Saul’s condemnation of the Cretans is, to say the least, unfair in basic human terms. Most of today’s Cretans, whom Saul included in his “always”, might say so. Before then, then, after then, now and hereafter, common sense tells us it can never be true that “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” To believe so would be tantamount to believing that God especially erred in making Cretans: not normal humans but evil beasts, liars, and lazy gluttons.
Saul apparently hitched on a popular utterance by a false prophet, and confirmed it to be true in his self-assumed role as “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Naked racism, clothed in a religious mantle?
In unfairly condemning all Cretans for always, Saul also took a potshot at the Jews, including Christians who believed in continued observance of the Ten Commandments and other laws. Of those who preached retention of circumcision, Saul wished in another epistle:
Gal. 5 – “11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!”
And of those with whom he had doctrinal differences, he said:
Gal. 1 – “8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”
Where, in the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, divine love in person, do we find any basis for the venom of racism and religious intolerance that Saul spewed out? And how can Timothy be Saul’s true spiritual son? Our Lord said:
Mt 5:44 - But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,…
Joh 3:17 - For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Mt 23:9 - Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.
Paul the Pharisee certainly said many profound and good things in his epistles. But his above-cited statements, and many more, indicate leaven in his teachings. Did not the Lord warn us?
“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees…” (Matt 16:6, 11; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1, 15).