For the evangelists of that apostolic lineage, Jesus' resurrected body was a literal, physical body revivified, not a spiritual body. Their approach is not based on visions of Christ--although it acknowledges their validity as a conversion experience--so much as on the personal testimony of those most trustworthy men who had witnessed the events of Jesus' life. The variety of models for conversion in the Gospels (see e. g., Matt. 12:38-42; Luke 5:1-11; Luke 8:1-3; Luke 13:1-5; Luke 19:1-10) involve men and some women who change their lives radically to follow the teachings of Jesus, as interpreted by the apostles. These stories take up a remarkable amount of space in the relatively compact narratives of Jesus' ministry. In Mark, there are five such tales (Mark 1:16-20; Mark 1:40-45; Mark 2:13-17; Mark 8:34-9:1; Mark 10:46-52); in Luke, four. These stories come more and more to replace Paul's model for conversion. Even Luke's depiction of the conversion of Paul in Acts fits the new model, not Paul's original prophetic and mystical conception of himself. Visions of Christ were not wrong in themselves. The apostles had them. But, authority based on visions is always dangerous in religious life, because anyone may have them and claim their knowledge is equal to the leaders', whereas not everyone could claim they sat at Jesus' feet.Even Luke seems to see Paul's visions as proof of Paul's conversion, not credentials for his apostolate. The apostolic succession was finite, limited, and definable, as were the doctrines that it produced. Later church leaders had authority because they knew the historical Jesus had transmitted their doctrines and authority to them, not because they had had visions of Christ.

For these apostles, disciples, and evangelists, Paul's faith was too personal, too visionary, and too spiritual. It needed supplementation, in the eyes of the evangelists. Some may have even tried to replace his witness, especially when his thinking was taken up eagerly by the Gnostics. Though Paul's writing was critical for justifying the gentile mission, it was the other apostles whose faith in church organization founded the religion we call Christianity.