First of all, sorry for the spotty posting of late. Second, it appears that the last Smackdown ended in a tie. I don’t quite know how to respond to that, but since Joseph Smith’s polygamy is more personally disturbing to me, I’ll declare him the winner (the priviliges of the FPR elite, dontchaknow).
Onward and upward,
This weeks topic of contention:
Which early Christian apostle provides a better set of parameters by which to examine the presidency of Brigham Young:
Peter or Paul?
Peter: the rock upon whom the apostolic church was built; authorized the spreading of the word to the Gentiles; the “president” of the quorum of the twelve; apparently irritated by the meanings some people gave to Paul
Paul: mission-oriented; known for giving long speeches that resulted in death; if not a doctrinal innovator, at least someone whose doctrines were taken in new directions; the “least” of the apostles; unafraid to correct senior apostles if he thought that they were wrong
There you go, Happy Halloween. Vote away and comment below.
3 Replies to “Historical Mormon Smackdown: Cross Dispensational Apostolic Inspiration edition!”
Peter…authorized the spreading of the word to the Gentiles
John, I would have thought, not having read anything else, that this phrase would apply more aptly to Paul than Peter. After all, Paul is fiercely antinomian (anti-legalistic tendencies were a recipe for heresy to a pious Jew), thus Paul seems to have had a better grip on bringing gentiles into the fold because he felt that the keeping of Torah could be bypassed (ie, one need not become a Jew in order to become Christian) in order to believe. Paul even has a spiel about avoiding the circumscision of the foreskin in order to become a Christian–something it seems the Jerusalem church would have opposed.
Peter, on the other hand, at least as it seems to me, is more “Jewish” in his approach (he even told God that he keeps a kosher table after being commanded not to!) and, I think would therefore be a bit more resistant to gentile conversion (assuming one did not become Jewish first). N. T. Wright discusses this extensively throughout his works.
Don’t get me wrong, I think both of them can go either way, it’s just to me Paul seems much more concerned about gentile conversion than Peter. Just a friendly observation–that’s all.
All in all, I think BY would fit more into the “Paul” category on theological issues (ie, BY to me seems somewhat unfettered to any form of categorized theological system), and more Peter-ized (is that a word?) in terms of administration.
David, I agree with you (if nothing else, this difference in opinion seems to be why Peter and Paul get into a tiff). However, isn’t it the visionary experience with Cornelius that leads to the first Gentile baptism. Even if this represents a later redaction of events, there seems to be a clear tradition that Peter’s involvement in the conversion of the Gentiles predates Paul’s (in the pro-Pauline Acts, no less). Paul’s concern about converted Gentiles is clearly greater than Perer’s.
“I think BY would fit more into the “Paul” category on theological issues (ie, BY to me seems somewhat unfettered to any form of categorized theological system), and more Peter-ized (is that a word?) in terms of administration”
This is actually the distinction that I was getting at when I put up this post. I tend to think of both Paul and Brigham Young as theological improvisers (based in revelation, of course), both attempting to come up with authoritative explanations on the fly. I agree with the characterization of Peter fitting best in an administrative sense, but only in that sense. Ultimately this is why I think Paul is a better fit.
Ultimately this is why I think Paul is a better fit.
Yeah, I totally see your point. Paul was my vote too. BY sort of has that “buck the system” attitude when it comes to all things theological, which I sense when I read Paul. Peter seems more like a preservationist, yet cautious with the novelty of Christianity.
Peter’s involvement in the conversion of the Gentiles predates Paul’s
Naturally — it has to pre-date him based on chronology. Paul would have been just a little boy when Peter and Cornelius had their encounter. But it also seems that even tho Peter had experiences like these, he still could not shed himself of his “Jewishness,” which I think is something Paul shirked much easier. Paul even shows how radical his transformation was by mentioning things about being raised at the feet of Gamaliel and being “a Jew among Jews”, etc. Then he goes on to slam Torah-keeping, circumscision, the temple (oops! did I say that?!), etc. Very radical and extreme stuff for him to be saying/writing.
Likewise with BY — he seems to me to respect his past (as Paul did), but have no compunction about ripping it a new one if need be (like Paul).