Floor Committee 12 - Ecclesiastical Supervision and Dispute Resolution

Started by prsauer, July 11, 2016, 04:47:04 PM

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Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Rob Morris on July 18, 2016, 01:33:09 PM
My mindset toward present-day academicians was forever changed while attending a regional meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature hosted at Andover-Newton Theological Seminary. I can vividly recall hearing the keynote speakers' roundtable openly discuss with the audience the most effective way to "subvert" the beliefs of their incoming students who believed the Scriptures to be inspired or inerrant.

"Subvert" - their word, not mine. Not "instruct", not "inform", not "refine", not "develop"... "Subvert."

The panel included both Collins (JJ and Adela Yarbro), Amy Jill Levine, a very displeased Doug Stuart (the Biblically-conservative representative) and one or two lesser lights whose names I can't recall off the top of my head. I am sure a little internet digging could confirm the date and the exact participants - it must have been around Fall of 2006 or so.

Ever since, I have been emptied of the idea of an impartial and open-minded academy.

I love the frank and open exchange of ideas. I loathe guerrilla tactics. Both are happening in the current academy, so caveat lector.


That may not be a bad word in many context - especially these notable folks at non-denominational universities.


I remember a couple professors at seminary talking about students who refused to even read anything that was outside of their preconceived ideas of faith, e.g., refused to read anything Bultmann. Or, a man I knew who went to another Lutheran Seminary, was described by classmates as spending four years in seminary and "didn't learn a damn thing." His mind was already made up so he wasn't open to anything the faculty might try to teach him. The Bible tells us that there is such a thing as a "closed heart". Idols may need to be destroyed before one can get focused on the one, true God. One's convictions (about scriptures and even about God) may be idols that need to be destroyed. (I believe that "inerrant" is an idol that needs to be destroyed. It is not equivalent to "inspired".)


I suspect that this is even more true at more general divinity schools that have a wider range of students than our Lutheran Seminaries, like at Yale (where the JJ & Adele Yarbro Collins teach) and Vanderbuilt (where Amy Jill Levine teaches). Doug Stuart is at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and he is not listed as a member of the Society of Biblical Literature.


As I noted from a large study of Lutherans, 40% believed in works righteousness. That belief needs to be subverted so that a proper understanding of salvation by grace can be taught and believed. From the viewpoint of those with that faith convictions (my good works help get me to heaven,) attacks against that belief is seen as subverting the faith.


Frankly, if someone is going to Yale and Vanderbuilt Divinity schools, they should expect them to reject the inerrancy of scriptures.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

pearson

Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 11:54:29 AM

Of course, the whole point is that your hands and eyes do not cause you to sin, so there is no problem taking the words at face value.


While fully agreeing with your main point, Pr. Speckhard, the comment above makes me uneasy.  So, what -- Jesus was just speaking off the cuff, trafficking in irrelevancies?  "If your hand causes you to sin, then cut it off.  But since hand-sin doesn't ordinarily happen, disregard what I just said."  If eyes and hands don't potentially cause sin (which is what Jesus says), then I have a hard time figuring out what the "face value" is of those words.  I understand that this is a difficult saying, not easy to parse (and harder to preach).  But falling back on a case of causal inconsistency seems to me to make the problem worse.

Tom Pearson

   

peter_speckhard

Quote from: pearson on July 18, 2016, 03:24:15 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 11:54:29 AM

Of course, the whole point is that your hands and eyes do not cause you to sin, so there is no problem taking the words at face value.


While fully agreeing with your main point, Pr. Speckhard, the comment above makes me uneasy.  So, what -- Jesus was just speaking off the cuff, trafficking in irrelevancies?  "If your hand causes you to sin, then cut it off.  But since hand-sin doesn't ordinarily happen, disregard what I just said."  If eyes and hands don't potentially cause sin (which is what Jesus says), then I have a hard time figuring out what the "face value" is of those words.  I understand that this is a difficult saying, not easy to parse (and harder to preach).  But falling back on a case of causal inconsistency seems to me to make the problem worse.

Tom Pearson

   
It isn't an irrelevancy to point out that sin is an inside-out kind of thing. Much the same as saying that it isn't what goes into a person that makes him unclean. If it were true that your hand or eye were the cause of your sin, then it would be equally true to say that chopping it off or plucking it out would make sense. It is also a perfectly good way to emphasize that nothing in this life or this world can possibly matter as much as being a part of the kingdom. So I wouldn't say it is an irrelevancy. It simply isn't what Brian was trying to set it up as being, which is a set of instructions. The idea was that if someone took a "God said it. I believe it. That's it," approach to Scripture they would somehow have a problem (in need of solving by an academy) when they got to Jesus's words about hands and eyes, as though if they really believed at face value they would pluck out their eyes or cut off their hands. That simply isn't the case.

Weedon

What leads to sin is the heart (to use the Biblical word) and that is what must be uprooted and tossed away: the seat of desire. Hence the prophesy of Ezekiel 36 and the work that God accomplishes in the sprinkling of clean water...

Rob Morris

With respect, Pr. Stoffregen, you may be comfortable with a system wherein all must yield to the mediated orthodoxy of their leaders. I am not...Whether the leadership is the LCMS praesidium, the Vatican, or mainstream theological scholarship.

As to those who believe in what I consider to be false concepts: they should be instructed, guided, led, taught, and pastored. But not subverted. To trick someone into the "right" position might flatter the ego of the one who has done the subverting, but it has not served the faith or even intellectual growth of the one so manipulated. I sincerely hope (and expect) that you do not take the same approach with your Confirmands or parishioners that those professors I mentioned advocated taking with their students.

I dislike when people read their resumes, but so it doesn't seem like I am just posturing, I mention that I speak from my own experience teaching first year seminarians classes in Greek, Hebrew, and Intro to OT and NT at GCTS and Bethel Seminary of the East.

(As a sidenote: why do responders keep assuming I know almost nothing about Biblical studies? You felt the need to inform me that inspired and inerrant aren't the same thing. And to tell me that Doug Stuart is at Gordon-Conwell -- where I was his grad assistant at one point [I am certain he was at the SBL meeting as a presenter because I rode with him to the meeting from GCTS.] Dr. Becker assumed I knew nothing of the canonicity debates, genre studies, or even why the pastorals were named as they are. Just a tad frustrating. But, so be it. Rant ended.)

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 03:54:04 PM
It isn't an irrelevancy to point out that sin is an inside-out kind of thing. Much the same as saying that it isn't what goes into a person that makes him unclean. If it were true that your hand or eye were the cause of your sin, then it would be equally true to say that chopping it off or plucking it out would make sense. It is also a perfectly good way to emphasize that nothing in this life or this world can possibly matter as much as being a part of the kingdom. So I wouldn't say it is an irrelevancy. It simply isn't what Brian was trying to set it up as being, which is a set of instructions. The idea was that if someone took a "God said it. I believe it. That's it," approach to Scripture they would somehow have a problem (in need of solving by an academy) when they got to Jesus's words about hands and eyes, as though if they really believed at face value they would pluck out their eyes or cut off their hands. That simply isn't the case.


There have been cases where people took those words literally. I remember reading a report about such a self-mutilation in the newspaper. Does thinking sinful thoughts mean we need a lobotomy?


Why do you say that we shouldn't take these verses at face-value? What makes them not really true as Jesus said it, while a woman being silent must be literal and true for all time?
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Rob Morris on July 18, 2016, 05:03:19 PM
With respect, Pr. Stoffregen, you may be comfortable with a system wherein all must yield to the mediated orthodoxy of their leaders. I am not...Whether the leadership is the LCMS praesidium, the Vatican, or mainstream theological scholarship.

As to those who believe in what I consider to be false concepts: they should be instructed, guided, led, taught, and pastored. But not subverted.


When someone is stuck in a system, logic does not move them out of the system. I spent two years teaching folks at a congregation about early communion. I did a series of newsletter articles explaining both the history and present reasons why communion before confirmation has been the recommended practice since 1968. However, a week before some youth were to have their first communion, there was a motion signed by the proper number of people, to forbid communion before the youth were confirmed. I'm sure that most pastors can talk about how it is impossible to change some convictions with right and logical arguments. Subversion, or what I've said in the past, shocking the people out of their comfortable position, is sometimes required.


When a student goes through four years of seminary and "doesn't learn a thing," it's not because they weren't being instructed, guided, led, taught, and pastored by caring professors. A hard heart might require a jackhammer to break through the tough, stubborn, protective coating to get to the malleable part that can be converted.


QuoteTo trick someone into the "right" position might flatter the ego of the one who has done the subverting, but it has not served the faith or even intellectual growth of the one so manipulated.


I think that you are pushing the meaning of "subvert" beyond it's definition. It isn't about tricking someone. The dictionary defines "subvert": undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution). I believe that pointing out all of the variant readings and problems with translating some Greek and Hebrew terms - or just noting the footnotes in modern translations that show such difficulties, is "undermining" the conviction of an inerrant Bible. My goal is to undermine the authority of the conviction of a Bible without errors, by pointing out errors that we know that exist in the text and in translating. 


QuoteI sincerely hope (and expect) that you do not take the same approach with your Confirmands or parishioners that those professors I mentioned advocated taking with their students.


Yup. At the first congregation I served, a member complained to me about causing her to doubt. My response is that without causing some possible doubts, there can be no growth in faith. Someone who is only told things that they already believe isn't growing at all. The faith has to be challenged to grow and be strengthened.


QuoteI dislike when people read their resumes, but so it doesn't seem like I am just posturing, I mention that I speak from my own experience teaching first year seminarians classes in Greek, Hebrew, and Intro to OT and NT at GCTS and Bethel Seminary of the East.


I've also taught first year seminary students Intro to OT. I received a minor in Greek in college. I've been publishing exegetical papers on the Greek of the Gospel texts for over 25 years. I've been a parish pastor for over 40 years - and a member of the Society for Biblical Literature for 40 years.


Quote(As a sidenote: why do responders keep assuming I know almost nothing about Biblical studies? You felt the need to inform me that inspired and inerrant aren't the same thing. And to tell me that Doug Stuart is at Gordon-Conwell -- where I was his grad assistant at one point [I am certain he was at the SBL meeting as a presenter because I rode with him to the meeting from GCTS.] Dr. Becker assumed I knew nothing of the canonicity debates, genre studies, or even why the pastorals were named as they are. Just a tad frustrating. But, so be it. Rant ended.)


Doug Stuart was a name I didn't recognize. When I searched through the SBL membership database it didn't come up. The names of the other three did and their institutions. I had to go elsewhere to find out about Dr. Stuart.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 18, 2016, 05:33:54 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 03:54:04 PM
It isn't an irrelevancy to point out that sin is an inside-out kind of thing. Much the same as saying that it isn't what goes into a person that makes him unclean. If it were true that your hand or eye were the cause of your sin, then it would be equally true to say that chopping it off or plucking it out would make sense. It is also a perfectly good way to emphasize that nothing in this life or this world can possibly matter as much as being a part of the kingdom. So I wouldn't say it is an irrelevancy. It simply isn't what Brian was trying to set it up as being, which is a set of instructions. The idea was that if someone took a "God said it. I believe it. That's it," approach to Scripture they would somehow have a problem (in need of solving by an academy) when they got to Jesus's words about hands and eyes, as though if they really believed at face value they would pluck out their eyes or cut off their hands. That simply isn't the case.


There have been cases where people took those words literally. I remember reading a report about such a self-mutilation in the newspaper. Does thinking sinful thoughts mean we need a lobotomy?


Why do you say that we shouldn't take these verses at face-value? What makes them not really true as Jesus said it, while a woman being silent must be literal and true for all time?
I take the words at face value. They are true just as Jesus said them. I take them quite literally. I think someone who actually multilated himself because of these words didn't read them very carefully or understand them.

Oddly enough, on the verses about women being silent in the churches, you are the one taking them literally (and then saying they don't apply anymore). If you come to an LCMS church you will see and hear women praying, confessing, singing, and otherwise not being literally silent. Why? Because we don't takes those verses literally, we understand them as a figure of speech referring to public preaching in the service. You may say our interpretation is wrong and we can have a discussion, but if you say it is wrong because it is literal you are simply factually and demonstrably wrong abut that.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 06:20:45 PM

Oddly enough, on the verses about women being silent in the churches, you are the one taking them literally (and then saying they don't apply anymore). If you come to an LCMS church you will see and hear women praying, confessing, singing, and otherwise not being literally silent. Why? Because we don't takes those verses literally, we understand them as a figure of speech referring to public preaching in the service. You may say our interpretation is wrong and we can have a discussion, but if you say it is wrong because it is literal you are simply factually and demonstrably wrong about that.


I agree, your interpretation isn't a literal reading of the text. Greek has a word for public preaching. It isn't used there. That's why I think your interpretation is wrong.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

peter_speckhard

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 18, 2016, 06:27:37 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 06:20:45 PM

Oddly enough, on the verses about women being silent in the churches, you are the one taking them literally (and then saying they don't apply anymore). If you come to an LCMS church you will see and hear women praying, confessing, singing, and otherwise not being literally silent. Why? Because we don't takes those verses literally, we understand them as a figure of speech referring to public preaching in the service. You may say our interpretation is wrong and we can have a discussion, but if you say it is wrong because it is literal you are simply factually and demonstrably wrong about that.


I agree, your interpretation isn't a literal reading of the text. Greek has a word for public preaching. It isn't used there. That's why I think your interpretation is wrong.
You wrote: "Why do you say that we shouldn't take these verses at face-value? What makes them not really true as Jesus said it, while a woman being silent must be literal and true for all time?" In short, you claimed I said we shouldn't take Jesus words [about plucking out eyes and chopping off hands] at face value when in fact that was the exact opposite of what I said. You then claimed that my take on women being silent was literal, which it manifestly is not. Yours is, with the further explanation that you think it does not apply to us anymore. Thus, I have no confidence in your ability to understand or apply language meaningfully. I know you are an expert at all the mechanics of Greek, but you never end up with more than a heap of parts.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 07:18:08 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 18, 2016, 06:27:37 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 06:20:45 PM

Oddly enough, on the verses about women being silent in the churches, you are the one taking them literally (and then saying they don't apply anymore). If you come to an LCMS church you will see and hear women praying, confessing, singing, and otherwise not being literally silent. Why? Because we don't takes those verses literally, we understand them as a figure of speech referring to public preaching in the service. You may say our interpretation is wrong and we can have a discussion, but if you say it is wrong because it is literal you are simply factually and demonstrably wrong about that.


I agree, your interpretation isn't a literal reading of the text. Greek has a word for public preaching. It isn't used there. That's why I think your interpretation is wrong.
You wrote: "Why do you say that we shouldn't take these verses at face-value? What makes them not really true as Jesus said it, while a woman being silent must be literal and true for all time?" In short, you claimed I said we shouldn't take Jesus words [about plucking out eyes and chopping off hands] at face value when in fact that was the exact opposite of what I said. You then claimed that my take on women being silent was literal, which it manifestly is not. Yours is, with the further explanation that you think it does not apply to us anymore. Thus, I have no confidence in your ability to understand or apply language meaningfully. I know you are an expert at all the mechanics of Greek, but you never end up with more than a heap of parts.


1. To your interpretation of the plucking out eyes and chopping off hands, I replied that your interpretation is not a literal reading of the text. However, you really didn't answer my question about why you came up with a non-literal reading of the text. Perhaps because a literal reading would be absurd, so we must look for some other interpretation.

2. To your interpretation of the 1 Timothy text, I agree with your interpretation that women, even in LCMS congregations, are not silent in worship. They speak and sing and greet others - and that is not contrary to these verses. I disagree that the silence (or quietness) is meant to apply to "public preaching," because Greek uses, κηρύσσω, for "public preaching" (see 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:2). (I grant that this word is not used of any women.) δίδασκέω ("teaching") is not quite the same as "preaching". It is something women can do. A closely related term, καλοδιδάσκαλος, is used in Titus 2:3 of older women "teaching what is good". (It might be argued that they were only teaching younger women.)

Priscilla (named first) and Aquilla "explain" (ἐκτίθεμαι) to Apollos God's way more accurately. Was this "explaining" the same as teaching? ἐκτίθεμαι is used of Peter (Acts 11:4) explaining to the circumcised believers the events related to the baptisms of Gentiles at Cornelius' house. It is also used of Paul explaining (Acts 28:23) to Jewish leaders through witnessing about the kingdom of God and persuading them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and prophets. Whatever ἐκτίθεμαι might be (whether "teaching" or "preaching" or something else,) it was something Paul, Peter, Aquilla, and Priscilla all do with adult men.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Rob Morris

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 18, 2016, 05:55:49 PM
Quote from: Rob Morris on July 18, 2016, 05:03:19 PM
With respect, Pr. Stoffregen, you may be comfortable with a system wherein all must yield to the mediated orthodoxy of their leaders. I am not...Whether the leadership is the LCMS praesidium, the Vatican, or mainstream theological scholarship.

As to those who believe in what I consider to be false concepts: they should be instructed, guided, led, taught, and pastored. But not subverted.


When someone is stuck in a system, logic does not move them out of the system. I spent two years teaching folks at a congregation about early communion. I did a series of newsletter articles explaining both the history and present reasons why communion before confirmation has been the recommended practice since 1968. However, a week before some youth were to have their first communion, there was a motion signed by the proper number of people, to forbid communion before the youth were confirmed. I'm sure that most pastors can talk about how it is impossible to change some convictions with right and logical arguments. Subversion, or what I've said in the past, shocking the people out of their comfortable position, is sometimes required.


When a student goes through four years of seminary and "doesn't learn a thing," it's not because they weren't being instructed, guided, led, taught, and pastored by caring professors. A hard heart might require a jackhammer to break through the tough, stubborn, protective coating to get to the malleable part that can be converted.


QuoteTo trick someone into the "right" position might flatter the ego of the one who has done the subverting, but it has not served the faith or even intellectual growth of the one so manipulated.


I think that you are pushing the meaning of "subvert" beyond it's definition. It isn't about tricking someone. The dictionary defines "subvert": undermine the power and authority of (an established system or institution). I believe that pointing out all of the variant readings and problems with translating some Greek and Hebrew terms - or just noting the footnotes in modern translations that show such difficulties, is "undermining" the conviction of an inerrant Bible. My goal is to undermine the authority of the conviction of a Bible without errors, by pointing out errors that we know that exist in the text and in translating. 


QuoteI sincerely hope (and expect) that you do not take the same approach with your Confirmands or parishioners that those professors I mentioned advocated taking with their students.


Yup. At the first congregation I served, a member complained to me about causing her to doubt. My response is that without causing some possible doubts, there can be no growth in faith. Someone who is only told things that they already believe isn't growing at all. The faith has to be challenged to grow and be strengthened.


QuoteI dislike when people read their resumes, but so it doesn't seem like I am just posturing, I mention that I speak from my own experience teaching first year seminarians classes in Greek, Hebrew, and Intro to OT and NT at GCTS and Bethel Seminary of the East.


I've also taught first year seminary students Intro to OT. I received a minor in Greek in college. I've been publishing exegetical papers on the Greek of the Gospel texts for over 25 years. I've been a parish pastor for over 40 years - and a member of the Society for Biblical Literature for 40 years.


Quote(As a sidenote: why do responders keep assuming I know almost nothing about Biblical studies? You felt the need to inform me that inspired and inerrant aren't the same thing. And to tell me that Doug Stuart is at Gordon-Conwell -- where I was his grad assistant at one point [I am certain he was at the SBL meeting as a presenter because I rode with him to the meeting from GCTS.] Dr. Becker assumed I knew nothing of the canonicity debates, genre studies, or even why the pastorals were named as they are. Just a tad frustrating. But, so be it. Rant ended.)


Doug Stuart was a name I didn't recognize. When I searched through the SBL membership database it didn't come up. The names of the other three did and their institutions. I had to go elsewhere to find out about Dr. Stuart.

(With two conversations at the same time, I hope I used the quote function properly)

Kind of interesting - you are defending the tactics espoused at the roundtable and correcting my understanding of the words spoken there. You seem to believe you have a better understanding of what was said and meant... at a meeting that I attended and you didn't.

To agree with the published viewpoints of certain scholars is one thing - to blindly defend statements that you did not hear would seem to be pushing things a bit far in the cause of current academic orthodoxy.

Having read a number of your comments here, I did not expect that you and I would come to a great deal of shared ground on this particular topic. You are serving in a position well-suited to your beliefs. I am serving in one well-suited to mine.

At least one of us is in error. May God by His Spirit correct whichever one it is. And may God by His grace forgive each of us, sinners that we are.

(BTW - one of the reasons I dislike when people start resume reading is that it seems to promote a, for lack of a better phrase, "whose is bigger" mindset. I had no intention of implying that you were not qualified to hold your viewpoints, even though I disagree with them. I merely wanted to ensure you that I was not just armchair quarterbacking. I hope you don't feel that I was trying to belittle you in any way and if you received my comments in that way, please receive now my apology.)

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Rob Morris on July 18, 2016, 09:08:56 PM
(With two conversations at the same time, I hope I used the quote function properly)

Kind of interesting - you are defending the tactics espoused at the roundtable and correcting my understanding of the words spoken there. You seem to believe you have a better understanding of what was said and meant... at a meeting that I attended and you didn't.


Not correcting your understanding, but offering my understanding of the term.

QuoteAt least one of us is in error. May God by His Spirit correct whichever one it is. And may God by His grace forgive each of us, sinners that we are.


Which is why we proclaim so boldly: salvation by grace, rather than salvation by being right. In addition, why do we seem to insist that God has to play by our rules: that is, one way has to be the right and the others wrong? Why couldn't God give us more than one right way? Could Jews be saved by trusting God as Abraham did? And Christians saved by trusting God through Jesus who came and is coming again?

I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

readselerttoo

Quote from: pearson on July 18, 2016, 03:24:15 PM
Quote from: peter_speckhard on July 18, 2016, 11:54:29 AM

Of course, the whole point is that your hands and eyes do not cause you to sin, so there is no problem taking the words at face value.


While fully agreeing with your main point, Pr. Speckhard, the comment above makes me uneasy.  So, what -- Jesus was just speaking off the cuff, trafficking in irrelevancies?  "If your hand causes you to sin, then cut it off.  But since hand-sin doesn't ordinarily happen, disregard what I just said."  If eyes and hands don't potentially cause sin (which is what Jesus says), then I have a hard time figuring out what the "face value" is of those words.  I understand that this is a difficult saying, not easy to parse (and harder to preach).  But falling back on a case of causal inconsistency seems to me to make the problem worse.

Tom Pearson

   


I imagine the point that Pr. Speckhard was making was that hands and eyes are connected to bodies.  By themselves they do not authorize sin.  A person is a sinner totally, eyes and hands included.  So it is similar to Jesus saying "Make the tree (not just the branches) good and the fruit will be good."

Mbecker

Quote from: Rob Morris on July 18, 2016, 05:03:19 PM
(As a sidenote: why do responders keep assuming I know almost nothing about Biblical studies? You felt the need to inform me that inspired and inerrant aren't the same thing. And to tell me that Doug Stuart is at Gordon-Conwell -- where I was his grad assistant at one point [I am certain he was at the SBL meeting as a presenter because I rode with him to the meeting from GCTS.] Dr. Becker assumed I knew nothing of the canonicity debates, genre studies, or even why the pastorals were named as they are. Just a tad frustrating. But, so be it. Rant ended.)

Rob,
I didn't mean to lecture you on the issue of canonicity, but merely to point out that just because an early-Christian document claims to be written by an apostle does not provide certainty that the document was in fact written by an apostle. As you surely know, there are numerous examples of such pseudepigrapha from the ancient church. There are in fact many reasons to doubt that Paul was the author of the Pastorals.

You were the one to raise the issue of genre, and I merely pointed out that the stylistic differences between the undisputed Pauline letters and the Pastoral Letters fit within the same genre, namely "apostolic letter." We're not comparing apples to oranges here, but apples to apples.

In one of your earlier posts you had written,"Lastly, if the Pastorals are totally identical in genre, then why do we distinguish between pastoral and general epistles at all?" I thought this was a serious question, so that is why I wrote what I did about why we call these letters "the Pastoral Letters" and why they don't fit the category of "general epistle."

I'm sorry that my replies caused you to be upset.

Matt Becker

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