So, I've finished Paul's letters and my opinion of Paul has improved. What! A liberal something positive to say about Paul? Yeah, in fact, Paul gives us permission to be inspired and find the Gospel ourselves. Paul makes it clear that those who go no further than the law are as inslaved as those who succumb to sin. And, I agree with Paul, not only in advocating self-control, but in the areas of self-control. Sexual immorality can be a disaster for people. Drunkeness can ruin lives. Hell, gluttony is doing a pretty good number on America today.
Of course, Paul wasn't writing treatises on morality as much as advice to specific congregations. Hence, there is a fair bit of cultural bias in his writing. His letters reveal weakness of his own. But, I have no problem taking Paul's advice for what it is. Paul was a passionate church leader, who like me, never saw Jesus. His letters are thus valuable to me.