1 Corinthians 9: Apostle Paul’s Missionary Deception (Taqiyya)!

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Kaleef K. Karim

Paul admits during his ministry, preaching his Paulinism (Christianity of today), he falsely acted in order to draw people to his faith. In the following passage he openly confesses that he used deception for conversion:

“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” – 1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Paul is confesses here that he acted as a Jew in order to convert them to his faith. He even acted as a pagan so that he can lure them to his religion. The above verse shows that Paul would go in great lengths to spread his religion by deception. Let’s see now what the experts have to say on the above passage.

Loyal D. Rue who is a Professor of religion and Philosophy at Luther college, comments on the passage, he writes:

“In the Christian tradition there is very early precedent for the use of deceptive means for evangelistic purposes. St. Paul himself makes a remarkable admission of his chameleon-like behaviour in the winning converts. Like the consummate used-car salesman, Paul pretends to share the concerns of his immediate audience in order to manipulate them into submitting to his Gospel: “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” [1]

In the Book “Shell Games: Studies in Scams, Frauds, and Deceits (1300-1650)” Richard Raiswell says that deception is endorsed in the Bible if it is for just cause:

“In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes how he deliberately masqueraded in false colours in order to advance the cause of the faith: ‘To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law.’ If the apostle can become all things to all men, then it would see that Scripture implicitly endorses deception when practiced in pursuit of a just cause. Perhaps most conclusively, though, God himself seems not have been above engaging in a little deception from time to time. To ruin Ahab, King of Israel, for instance, the Lord became a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab’s prophets. Later, speaking through the person of Ezechiel to certain of the elders of Israel, God makes it clear that if the prophet appears to have been deceived in some matter, this deception is of divine origin. In the New Testament, Christ also appears on occasion to have been less than honest. When, after the resurrection, Peter and Cleopas set off for the town of Emmaus, they encountered Christ on the road; as they approached their destination, Luke records that Christ pretended to go further.” [2]

James Prince who is the author of the book “The True face of the Antichrist” also makes mention that Paul is a deceiver. I will remind the viewers that this individual is a Christian himself who believes in Jesus Christ, but he does not believe in Paul, according to him he is the “Antichrist”:

“Paul’s testimony proves his own hypocrisy here in 1 Corinthians, 9, 19-22…….…….. Again here I would trade the word save for trap in Paul’s case. Then Paul pretended to be the saviour after all this. I also believe that a person who is weak needs someone strong for support either physically or spiritually. Let me tell you too that neither Jesus nor his disciples became homosexuals to save homosexuals and neither prostitutes to save prostitutes. They didn’t become all to save everybody. This is totally abomination and hypocrisy. Paul, from his own writing, his own admission said that he was all to trap people. What wouldn’t the devil do to deceive? Jesus warned us though. See Matthew 24:4. “Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you.” [3]

Even the early Church fathers understood this passage (1 Corinthians 9:19-22) that Christians are allowed to use deception for greater good. Christian theologian, Clement of Alexandria (born in the 150 – 215 A.D.), points out to Paul’s statement that lying is allowed in certain circumstances. Professor T. Brian Mooney writes about this in his book and says:

“Clement of Alexandria while praising the Christian who would not lie even in the face of torture or death makes an exception for ‘therapeutic’ lies, alluding to St. Paul’s dissimulations in Acts 16:3 and 1 Corinthians 9:20 (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, 7.9.53).” [4]

Saint John Cassian (B. 360 – D. 435) was a Christian monk and theologian. He is another in line of the early Church fathers who stated that, what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:20, was deception. The title of the chapter begins by “How even Apostles thought that a lie was often useful and the truth injurious”. He writes,

Chapter 20
How even Apostles thought that a lie was often useful and the truth injurious.

“Instructed by which examples, the blessed James also, and all the chief princess of the primitive Church urged the Apostle Paul in consequence of the weakness of feeble persons to condescend to a fictitious arrangement and insisted on his purifying himself according to the requirements of the law, and shaving his head and paying his vows, as they THOUGHT THAT THE PRESENT HARM WHICH WOULD COME FROM THIS HYPOCRISY WAS OF NO ACCOUNT, but had regard rather to the gain which would result from his still continued preaching. For the gain to the Apostle Paul from his strictness would not have counterbalanced the loss to all nations from his speedy death. AND THIS WOULD CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN THEN INCURRED BY THE WHOLE CHURCH UNLESS THIS GOOD AND SALUTARY HYPOCRISY HAD PRESERVED HIM FOR THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL. FOR THEN WE MAY RIGHTLY AND PARDONABLY ACQUIESCE IN THE WRONG OF A LIE, WHEN, AS WE SAID, A GREATER HARM DEPENDS ON TELLING THE TRUTH, AND WHEN THE GOOD WHICH RESULTS TO US FROM SPEAKING THE TRUTH CANNOT COUNTERBALANCE THE HARM WHICH WILL BE CAUSED BY IT.

“And elsewhere the blessed Apostle testifies in other words that he himself always observed this disposition; for when he says:
‘To the Jews I became as Jew that I might gain the Jews; to those who were under the law as being under the law, though not myself under the law, that I might gain those who were under the law; to those who were without law, I became as without law, though I was not without the law of God but under the law of Christ, that I might gain those who were without law; to the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: I became all things to all men, that I might save all;’
What does he show but that according to the weakness and the capacity of those who were being instructed he always lowered himself and relaxed something of the vigour of perfection, and did not cling to what his own strict life might seem to demand, but rather preferred that which the good of the weak might require? And that we may trace these matters out more carefully and recount one by one the glories of the good deeds of the Apostles, someone may ask how the blessed Apostle can be proved to have suited himself to all men in all things. When did he to the Jews become as a Jew? Certainly in the case where, while he still kept in his inmost heart the opinion which he had maintained to the Galatians saying:
‘behold, I, Paul, say unto you that if ye be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing,’
Yet by circumcising Timothy HE ADOPTED A SHADOW AS IT WERE OF JEWISH SUPERSTITION. And again, where did he become to those under the law, as under the law? There certainly where James and all the elders of the Church, fearing lest he might be attacked by the multitude of Jewish believers, or rather of Judaizing Christians, who had received the faith of Christ in such a way as still to be bound by the rites of legal ceremonies, came to his rescue in his difficulty with this counsel and advice, and said:
‘Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews, who have believed, and they are all zealots for the law. But they have heard of thee that thou teachest those Jews who are among the Gentiles to depart from Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children;’ and below:
‘Do therefore this that we say unto thee: we have four men who have a vow on them. These take and sanctify thyself with them and bestow on them, that they may shave their heads; and all will know that the things which they have heard of thee are false, but thou thyself also walkest keeping the law.’
And so for the good of those who were under the law, he trode under foot for a while strict view which he had expressed:
‘For I through the law am dead unto the law that I may live unto God;’ and was driven to shave his head, and be purified according to the law and pay his vows after the Mosaic rites in the Temple. Do you ask also where for the good of those who were utterly ignorant of the law of God, he himself became as if without law? Read the introduction to his sermon at Athens where heathen wickedness was flourishing:
‘As I passed by,’ he says, ‘I saw your idols and an altar on which was written: To the unknown God;’ and when he had this started for their superstition, as if he himself also had been without law, under the cloke of that profane inscription he introduced the faith of Christ, saying: ‘What therefore ye ignorantly worship, that declare I unto you.’ And after
A little, as if he had known nothing whatever of the Divine law, he chose to bring forward a verse of a heathen poet rather than a saying of Moses or Christ, saying,:
‘As some also of your own poets have said: for we are also His offspring.’ And when he had this approached them with their own authorities, which they could not reject, thus confirming the truth by THINGS FALSE, he added and said:
‘Since then we are the offspring of God we ought not to think that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone sculptured by the art of device of man.’ But to the weak he became weak, when, by way of permission, not of command, he allowed those who could not contain themselves to return together again, or when he fed the Corinthians with milk and not with meat, and says that he was with them in weakness and fear and much trembling. But he became all things to all men that he might save all, when he says:
‘He that eateth let him not despise him that eateth not, and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth;’ and:
‘He that giveth his virgin in marriage doeth well, and he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better;’ and elsewhere: ‘Who,’ says he, ‘is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?’ And in this way he fulfilled what he commanded the Corinthians to do when he said:
‘Be ye without offence to Jews and Greeks and the Church of Christ, as I also please all men in all things, not seeing mine profit but that of the many that they be saved.’ For it had certainly been profitable not to circumcise Timothy, not to shave his head, not to undergo Jewish purification, not to practice going barefoot, not to pay legal vows; but he did all these things because he did not seek his own profit but that of the many. And although this was done with the full consideration of God, YET IT WAS NOT FREE FROM DISSIMULATION. For one who through the law of Christ was dead to the law that he might live to God, and who had made and treated that righteousness of the law in which he had lived blameless, as dung, that he might gain Christ, could not with true fervour of heart offer what belonged to the law; nor is it right to believe that he who had said:
‘For if I again rebuild what I have destroyed, I make myself a transgressor,’ would himself fall into what he had condemned. And to such an extent is account taken, not so much of the actual thing which is done as of the disposition of the doer, that on the other hand truth is sometimes found to have injured some, and a lie to have done them good. For when Saul was grumbling to his servants about David’s flight, and saying: ‘Will the son of Jess give you all fields and vineyards, and make you all tribunes and centurions: that all of you have conspired against me, and there is one to inform me,’ did Doeg the Edomite say anything but truth, when he told him:
‘I saw the son of Jesse in Nob, with Abimelech the son of Ahitub the priest, who consulted the Lord for him, and gave him victual, and gave him also the sword of Goliath the Philistine?’
For which true story he deserved to be rooted up out of the land of the living, and it is said of him by the Prophet:
‘Wherefore God shall destroy thee forever, and pluck thee up and tear thee out of thy tabernacle, and thy root from the land of the living:’ He then for showing the truth is forever plucked and rooted up out of that land in which the Harlot Rahab with her family is planted for her lie: just as also we remember that Samson most injuriously betrayed to his wicked wife the truth which he had hidden for a long time by a lie, and therefore the truth so inconsiderately disclosed was the cause of his deception, because he had neglected to keep the command of the Prophet:
‘Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that sleepeth in they bosom.’” [5]

Further evidence which shows Paul openly confessing to the Christian Corinthians that he used deception against them. The verse states:

Now granted, I have not burdened you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit! – Corinthians 12:16

When one reads the above verse, it becomes more evident that Paul used deception in many instances. Of-course Christian apologists in a desperate attempt to save Paul’s neck, they will say: “these words are not Paul’s but the words of the Corinthians who are accusing Paul of this”. Whatever way apologists want to put it, the verse is very clear that Paul confesses to using deception or the Christian Corinthians say that of Paul. If apologists don’t agree, saying it was the Corinthians accusing Paul of this, charging him with deception, either way Paul is a deceiver. Earliest Christians themselves didn’t find Paul to be truthful, so how can Christians of today try defend him, when the Corinthians charged Paul with deception?

The academic evidences presented shows that Paul indeed sanctioned lying. Paul not only deceived people, but also demonstrated to his Paulinism followers how to deceive humans. This kind of deception is very widespread. One only needs to look at third world countries and see for themselves, how missionaries deceive, con people out of their lives.


[1] By the Grace of Guile: The Role of Deception in Natural History and Human Affairs [Copyright 1994] By Loyal D. Rue page 243-244
[2] Shell Games: Studies in Scams, Frauds, and Deceits (1300-1650) [Copyright 2004] by Margaret Reeves, Richard Raiswell, Mark Crane page 16 – 17
[3] The True Face of the Antichrist [Copyright 2013] By James Prince page 92
[4] Responding to Terrorism: Political Philosophical and Legal Perspectives By Robert Imre, Professor T. Brian Mooney, Benjamin Clarke page 76
[5] A select Library of Nicene And Post-Nicene Fathers Of the Christian Church [second series] Translated Into English With Prolegomena And Explanatory Notes – Under the Editorial supervision of Philip Shaff D.D., LL.D., And Henry Wace, D. D., [New York: The Christian Literature Company. Oxford And London: Parker & Company 1894] – John Cassian Volume 11, 467 – 468

Paul's missionary deception

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19 Responses »

  1. May God bless for your noble efforts!

    This is really a useful combat kit against the deceptive missionaries!

  2. may Allah bless you and increase u in knowledge

  3. Ameen, Wa’iyyakum dear brothers

  4. Paul was a Jew by heridity and faith who was under the law till he was set free from the law by faith in Christ. So Paul was not being deceptive one bit. Sorry but this new doctrine will not fly.

  5. Salam alaikum, Kaleef. Paul becoming as the people whom he was preaching the Gospel to wasn’t deceptive, but rather a genuine understanding of their beliefs and culture and how it relates to the Gospel he was teaching. It wasn’t a deceptive use of Paul’s unrighteous cunning that he brought into his evangelism, but through God’s Correction that he heeded after initially causing offense, destroying people’s livelihoods and being put in jail for it. There is nothing deceptive about loving, understanding, having compassion and respect for the people he taught the Gospel to.

    If you want to correct people whom actually do evangelize deceptively it would be more effective to teach them the real way Paul used to bring genuine love and understanding when bringing the Gospel to a people. I understand you mean well, but it is actually counterproductive to vindicate actual deception by perpetuating the idea in their heads that Paul used the same deceptive methods for spreading the Gospel. Paul did not “pretend” to be as the people he was bringing the Gospel to as you are claiming in your article, but genuinely “became” as the people in order to reach them with the Gospel just as he stated in his letters referenced.

    • That may be true but your church fathers (who were closer to the time of the message) understood it precisely as deception.

      Muslims are always guilt tripped into adopting the opinions of their so called “early church fathers” (dating 200 years after the Quran) so this page is simply reversing the tactic.

    • But then how are we to understand Paul’s confession of deceit at 2 Corinthians 12:16?

      Now granted, I have not burdened you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit!

    • Paul is totally known and acknowledged to be irascible, cantankerous, abusive, bullying, dogmatic, rigid, unpleasant, misanthropic, and intolerant.
      Instead of reinventing history, try to stick to what is actually known.

  6. Reblogged this on Discover The Truth and commented:

    Just added another commentary on this passage by John Cassian an early church father, that Paul indeed used deception in 1 Corinthians 9.

  7. I think Paul was talkiing about intercultural awareness and using intercultural communication skills. In our world today, we are often reminded about being respectful and undersranding of other people’s cultures and lifestyles when we communicate.

  8. Hi,

    Thank you for your efforts to clear up misconceptions that many Christians, Jews &/or Westerners have about Islam. I very much appreciate this.

    Most of the pages you provide are quite good. It has helped me in trying to explain to other Christians (of which I am one) where they are misinterpreting the Quran or understanding of Islam. I have worked in many Muslim nations and have many Muslim friends. So it concerns me terribly when Christian friends or family read or hear some of these folks who share bad or incorrect information about Islam. I try to answer it whenever I can. It has led me to a lot of study, not merely reading the Quran itself (though not in Arabic, only the English translation), but beyond that.

    It is through such study that I saw this particular link and clicked it. I wanted to answer because I want your links to provide really solid information, especially for Christians who read it. I do not want them to disqualify everything you say because there is one thing they read and think, “Wow. He doesn’t understand this part. So he must not understand anything.”
    It would be a pity if it became a hindrance to your mission.

    Hence, I wish to address the verses where you assert that Paul lies. In reading it trying to out myself in your place, I completely understand why you think that.

    However, if you were to understand the context, Paul’s personal history & his literary style, I think you might come up with a different conclusion.

    You see, I believe Paul wasn’t lying or being shifty at all when he spoke of “being all things.”

    Paul was a unique individual in that he was born a Jew with Roman citizenship.

    His father was of the Pharisee tradition from the tribe of Benjamin, thus named his son after the Old Testament King Saul, also of Benjamin. But “Saul” was Paul’s Jewish name, only. In the Roman/Gentile world, his name was “Paul.”

    What’s interesting is the contrast between the two names. “Saul” was purported to be of great stature, “head & shoulders above all men.” The name “Paul” (“Paulus”) meant “tiny.”

    Given the family’s citizenship status, it is thought that perhaps the Roman conqueror of Tarsus, a general called L. Aemilius Paulus, saw something of merit in Paul’s father or grandfather and granted them citizenship. Perhaps Paul’s name reflects that.

    Regardless, as an adult, Paul saw himself as ministering primarily to Gentiles, so decided to go by his Roman name. This also shows Paul’s decision to be viewed in a humble manner, as one who was “tiny” rather than “above all the others” as per the name, “Saul.”

    As for career and economics, Paul’s family had a leather factory or weaving mill, where they manufactured the famous “cilicium” textiles. So, Paul grew up in a wealthy home where he received the best education and opportunities. Church fathers referred to Paul as a tanner or tent maker and, certainly, Paul records tent making enterprises during his journeys as a means of funding.

    As for culture, Tarsus was home to a renowned Greek university that Strabo, the famous Greek geographer, considered better than Athens and Alexandria. Shortly before Paul’s time, the Stoic philosopher Athenodorus was a noted resident. Paul would have grown up with Stoic culture and ideology all around him & this really comes out in his writing as well as his personal self-denial & willingness to suffer for what he considered to be a greater cause.

    Hence, Paul came from a vast background where he spoke Aramaic & Greek fluently, had a keen understanding of cultural, ethnic & religious diversity, and was well versed in ancient and current history.

    He was also trained and adept in the different literary styles that were pertinent to the time period. It was not uncommon for writers and orators in the first century to use different types of presentations, comparative speech (which is what this passage is) and styles of argument when trying to convey a message. He wasn’t above learning something new if it meant he could communicate better.

    As an adult, Paul experienced both wealth and bankruptcy, renowned position and persecution/prison. He’d lived and worked from Jerusalem to Damascus to Ephesus and beyond. He’d held a variety of jobs and was hosted by a variety of people from the rich to those of modest means.

    Because of this, he could draw from different portions of his life & experience to relate to a wide group of people and speak to individuals at their level and in their own language.

    This is what Paul means when he says that he would “become all things to all people.”

    This is not lying nor is it deceptive.

    Let me put it another way …

    Imagine an engineer who regularly gives lectures to other engineers. To do this, he/she would speak in the highest technical terms since other engineers understand that technical language. He/she would speak in incredibly sophisticated terms because other engineers would have the knowledge base and skill set to comprehend at that level. They would refer to well known theories and arguments without explanation as their peer group already understands. To give explanations, definitions or simplified examples would insult the intelligence of competent engineers. When he speaks to his peers, he/she “becomes an engineer” in the fullest sense of the word.

    Now imagine that same engineer also volunteers with high school students interested in engineering. The way he speaks to these kids is very different from the way he addresses professional engineers. He tries to find ways to teach them foundational concepts. He uses examples that they, as kids, would grasp and he uses simpler terms so they understand what he is saying. He has to define theories and make sure they follow the logic of his arguments. If he used highly technical terms, they would be lost. He knows that some of these kids will grow up to be great engineers, but right now he/she “becomes a teenager” so that they can understand.

    In fact, if he/she is in the USA with American kids, he/she speaks to their culture (so he/she “becomes an AMERICAN teenager”).

    But let’s say that the engineer is Pakistani American. His/her parents immigrated to the USA before he/she was born. He/she was born in the US, so grew up surrounded by and fluently knows American culture. But his/her folks, relatives & friends who are also of Pakistani roots keep their culture alive all through the engineer’s life. He/she speaks fluent Urdu & Punjabi, knows slang, inside jokes, music, movies, TV shows & Pakistani media, sports & movie/music stars, etc., etc. So this Engineer once a year travels to Pakistan to teach kids there just as they do with American kids. AGAIN, he/she adapts for his/her audience. Though he/she MIGHT speak English, it’s mixed with the local language. When they break down concepts and explanations, they are geared for Pakistani, not American kids. He/she can do this easily because of his/her unique heritage & life experience. In this case, the engineer “becomes a PAKISTANI TEENAGER” so his/her audience understands.

    Does this make the engineer a liar?

    The answer, of course, is, “No.”

    We all know that a good teacher/communicator tailors his message for his/her audience. If they fail to do this, the message is lost.

    That’s like Paul. When he spoke to Jews, he used Jewish vernacular. He knew it because HE WAS JEWISH. When he spoke to Greeks/Romans, he used that vernacular because, as a Roman citizen who he grew up in the culture, HE KNEW IT!

    Paul found ways to relate to people so they could understand his message, not so he could lie to them, trick them or be dishonest.

    When he wrote those words, he was also telling Christians that they needed to be flexible with those who were not like them and find ways to open up to people who might not share their experience. He was saying that they needed to be learners, to be empathetic & to try to see through the eyes of others before they just started blabbing away. He wanted those who followed Jesus to act more like Him & make the effort to cross the communications divide.

    Paul talks a lot about humility and not forcing other people to be servants, but to serve them. This may mean you learn a new language or culture. It may mean you do something simple like adjusting your vocabulary so another person can understand you and feel comfortable around you. It means being kind, considerate, & humble, not lying.

    I hope this long explanation provides you with a fuller understanding of that passage. I hope you might consider taking this page off your list so it doesn’t create a hindrance to your message.

    Thank you, again, for your efforts and I wish you all the best.

  9. READ Phil 1:19-21
    19 For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain
    What does it say
    Paul is in prison. He’s in chains. People are talking bad about him. He’s looking at his current situation and says- Its all going to work out. I know it. I’ve got Jesus. I’ve got so much hope that I know, nothing is going to make me ashamed that I believed. Jesus is going to magnified in my body in my death or in my life. If I live, JESUS. If I die- I WIN!

    I believe a life centered on the person of Christ is a life worth living
    A life centered on Sharing the gospel. Serving. Loving. Living.
    Paul’s sole existence was to life a life in Jesus!


  1. 1st Corinthians chapter 9: Apostle Paul’s Missionary Deception (Taqiyya)! « Discover The True Facts
  2. Response To ‘Taqiyya’ Deception – Lying
  3. ‘The People vs Muhammad – Psychological Analysis’ Refuted | Calling Christians
  4. The Original Christian Taqiya | ModWestMuse

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