March 20th, 2003
No, I do not think that you have been dishonest. I believe that you honestly believe the things that you set forth, I have just been trying to show some of the implications of the words that you have written down. I did get the impression from your comments regarding 1 Corinthians11 that if the writer is addressing the church then it is exclusively the church and I got the equal impression from Galatians 6:1-10 that it is exclusively the individual. It is from your comments that I came to the conclusion that IF (that is hypothetically) you were to accept Galatians 6:1-10 as speaking to the churches that you might (in your mind, hypothetically) exclude individuals from giving. So I was speaking in hypotheticals when I wrote that. Obviously, I don’t know what is in your mind, so I can’t judge what you believe from that perspective and that is why I asked you to correct me if that was not the case. So, the question that I was putting forward is this: Hypothetically, if you were to accept Galatians 6:1-10 as speaking to the church and as giving instruction to the church would that limit the individuals ability to give to others? I ask that question based upon your handling of 1 Corinthians 11 as exclusively applying to corporate worship. I hope that you can understand how I might be curious about that and I hope this explains why I would say such a thing. Thanks for clearing it up. I accept your explanation and am glad that you do not think that.
As to the second issue, I do stand by my words. I do not think that I am accusing you of being dishonest, but merely not justifying your conclusions. A person can be honest and yet not justify their conclusions. I am saying that your argument assumes the very thing that must be proved in this context. We have already seen that sometimes a New Testament writer can be addressing the church and yet speak to individual action (such as in 1 Corinthians11). So the presence of the singular number in the context alone does not justify concluding that therefore the whole context is speaking to individuals. This is the only argument that you have set forth in regard to your case and I was merely trying to show that it is not an argument at all, but an assumption that proceeds from the doctrine of saints-only itself. I am not questioning your sincerity or honesty, but merely trying to get you to set forth some kind of logical argument to justify your conclusion. What FORCES one to the conclusion that Galatians 6:1-10 can ONLY be speaking to individuals??? What is it about the context of these statements forces one to that conclusion??? It simply cannot be the singular number alone. That alone does not justify it, just as the plural number alone does not justify my case. My case is built upon MORE than just the plural number. It is built upon the 1) address of the epistle, 2) the purpose of the epistle, 3) the expectation that Paul had for the churches to deal with the problems they faced and 4) the plural number. All I am asking is for you to give me some additional reasons why I should conclude that Galatians 6:1-10 addresses ONLY individuals. I have not seen you do that and so I conclude that it is merely demanded by your doctrine and that is the only other reason that it could be. I hope that you can see that I am merely trying to reason about the statements that you have made regarding this passage and not trying to impugn your character or deal with you in a dishonest way. I have been rather blunt in an effort to try to get you to deal with the specific issues, but I have not received any response from you in those things, and so I have just assumed that you don’t have anything to say about them or can’t say anything about them. I invite you to prove me to be wrong about that.
In addition, I have set forth my case based upon the purpose of the epistle to the Galatians. You have never answered this particular argument. I would like to hear what you have to say about the purpose of the epistle to the Galatians. Why did Paul write that epistle? What did he expect the churches to do to resolve the problems that they had? This stuff is relevant to how we understand Galatians 6, but you have said nothing about it. Do you agree with me regarding the purpose of the epistle? Do you disagree? Do you think that Paul expected the churches to resolve these problems? Do you think that Paul wanted individuals ONLY to resolve these problems? I just don’t know what you think about these issues and I would like to know.
By the way, personally, I don’t expect to be dealt with in any less vigorous a way than the way I try to deal with the arguments that you set forth. I WANT what I teach to be TESTED, PROVED, and TRIED by others, because if I am not teaching the truth, then I need to know it and I need to change. So I want others to bring the strongest possible arguments against what I am teaching. When this is done, I try not to take it personally, but do try to understand what is being said and see if my position can be defended based upon the arguments alone. That is all I am trying to do with your statements as well and I hope that you will take it in that spirit. I have no personal animosity toward you and believe that you have none toward me either. I hope this satisfies your questions that you have set forth below. If it does not, then ask some more questions and I will try to answer those as well.
End of discussion on Galatians 6:10