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When Did The Formal Church Organize

05/23/2018
Seek The Truth Blog

When Did The Formal Church Organize:

Of the books attributed to the Apostle Paul that a majority of scholars believe to be pseudepigraphic, the books of Timothy are most interesting. For centuries, the instructions given by an author claiming to be Paul have been used for the organizational structure of the Church. Whether or not the author was actually the Apostle, the books have had widespread influence. The books, or rather the letters, to Timothy, describe the roles of women, qualifications for leaders, roles of bishops, and more. Hyper-fundamentalist groups adhere strictly to the statements in the letter as requirements for how their church should be organized, and as their basis for the exclusion of women from participating in certain roles in the church.

A majority of Christian scholars, however, do not believe this letter to be written by the Apostle Paul for both theological reasons and historical ones. In 1 Thessalonians, a letter believed by most scholars to have been written by St. Paul, the author states that he believes himself to be among those who "still alive and remain" when Christ returns. Considering the expected remaining time, the Apostle Paul would have not likely felt it necessary to establish an organizational structure for the church -- he was going to be "caught up in the clouds" to meet the Lord, and Christ himself would organize His people as He pleased. (1 Thess 4:17)

Instead, most scholars believe this letter to have been written sometime in the late 1st to mid 2nd century, based mostly upon the statements promoting an organizational structure. Evidence does not support this structure having existed in the Christian Church until years after the death of Paul, they claim, and the views on women are in conflict with Paul's statements of equality and his description of women who were active in the church. Further analysis by scholars has identified 306 words that the Apostle Paul does not use in his letters considered to be authentic, and their style of writing is that of a different personality. Though other "writers" of the books of the Bible were illiterate and made use of transcriptionists, Paul would have been able to both read and write based on what we currently know to be true.

Those leaving hyper-fundamentalist groups often struggle to integrate with other Christian churches after having been under a militant literal interpretation of passages from the book of Timothy. It is very difficult for them to be comfortable with a female participating in active roles in the church, or to understand how church elders can agree to an organizational structure that does not fully match that laid out by "Paul" in the book of Timothy. Though pseudepigraphy is but one of the many aspects considered by mainstream Christianity for their doctrinal beliefs, it is also one of the most difficult to understand or accept after having been influenced to reject the human element of the Bible's creation.