Important New Discovery

Archeologists Discover Letter Written to St. Paul

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7 Comments on “Important New Discovery”

  1. AZTexan Says:

    I object to the tone – amen? – of this post, Brother Sean – amen? – and I hope you will repent – amen? – of your Pharisaical spirit – amen? Remove the log in your own eye, brother – amen? Lemme ask ya this, brother – amen?: Do you fast and anoint yourself with oil on a regular basis, asking the Spirit to cleanse you of your sinful hypocrisy – amen? If not, that’s prolly one of the main problems with your heart, brother – amen? I’ll be praying for the Lord’s healing and forgiveness of your judgmental attitude – amen? – which is the stinky rotten fruit of a sick heart owned by tha davil. Amen and amen.

  2. Hugh McCann Says:

    Cute, but John Robbins did it better in 1988:

    Paul the Apostle
    c/o Aquila the Tentmaker
    Corinth, Greece

    Dear Paul:

    We recently received a copy of your letter to the Galatians. The committee has directed me to inform you of a number of things, which deeply concern us.

    First, we find your language to be somewhat intemperate. In your letter, after a brief greeting to the Galatians, you immediately attack your opponents by claiming they “want to pervert the gospel of Christ.” You then say that such men should be regarded as “accursed”; and, in another place, you make reference to “false brethren.” Wouldn’t it be more charitable to give them the benefit of the doubt-at least until the General Assembly has investigated and adjudicated the matter? To make the situation worse, you later say, “I could wish those who trouble you would even cut them selves off!” Is such a statement really fitting for a Christian minister? The remark seems quite harsh and unloving.

    Paul, we really feel the need to caution you about the tone of your epistles. You come across in an abrasive manner to many people. In some of your letters you’ve even mentioned names; and this practice has, no doubt, upset the friends of Hymenaeus, Alexander, and others. After all, many persons were first introduced to the Christian faith under the ministries of these men. Although some of our missionaries have manifest regrettable shortcomings, nevertheless, it can only stir up bad feelings when you speak of these men in a derogatory manner.

    In other words, Paul, I believe you should strive for a more moderate posture in your ministry. Shouldn’t you try to win those who are in error by displaying a sweeter spirit? By now, you’ve probably alienated the Judaizers to the point that they will no longer listen to you.

    By your outspokenness, you have also diminished your opportunities for future influence throughout the church as a whole. Rather, if you had worked more quietly, you might have been asked to serve on a presbytery committee appointed to study the issue. You could then have contributed your insights by helping to draft a good committee paper on the theological position of the Judaizers, without having to drag personalities into the dispute.

    Besides, Paul, we need to maintain unity among those who profess a belief in Christ. The Judaizers at least stand with us as we confront the surrounding paganism and humanism, which prevail within the culture of the contemporary Roman Empire. The Judaizers are our allies in our struggles against abortion, homosexuality, government tyranny, etc. We cannot afford to allow differences over doctrinal minutiae to obscure this important fact.

    I also must mention that questions have been raised about the contents of your letter, as well as your style. The committee questions the propriety of the doctrinaire structure of your letter. Is it wise to plague young Christians, like the Galatians, with such heavy theological issues? For example, in a couple of places, you allude to the doctrine of election. You also enter into a lengthy discussion of the law. Perhaps you could have proved your case in some other ways, without mentioning these complex and controverted points of Christianity. Your letter is so doctrinaire, it will probably serve only to polarize the differing factions within the churches. Again, we need to stress unity, instead of broaching issues, which will accent divisions among us.

    In one place, you wrote, “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.” Paul, you have a tendency to describe things strictly in black and white terms, as if there are no gray areas. You need to temper your expressions, lest you become too exclusive. Otherwise, your outlook will drive away many people, and make visitors feel unwelcome. Church growth is not promoted by taking such a hard line and remaining inflexible.

    Remember, Paul, there is no such thing as a perfect church. We have to tolerate many imperfections in the church, since we cannot expect to have everything at once. If you will simply think back over your own experience, you will recall how you formerly harassed the church in your times of ignorance. By reflecting on your own past, you might acquire a more sympathetic attitude toward the Judaizers. Be patient, and give them some time to come around to a better understanding. In the meantime, rejoice that we all share a common profession of faith in Christ, since we have all been baptized in his name.

    Sincerely,

    Charles Phinney
    Coordinator, Committee on Missions

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=91

  3. Hugh McCann Says:

    But J.R. wasn’t done! From 1997:

    Committee on Pastoral Relations
    Subcommittee on Apostolic Affairs
    The Neo-Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Asia Minor
    243351 Broadway
    Telephone: 1.900. PARADOX†ï†Fax: 1.900.FEELING

    Paul of Tarsus
    Imperial Prison System

    Dear Paul:

    We hope you are well, despite being in prison. (Perhaps you will head our prison fellowship project when you are released.) We missed you at the last meeting of the General Assembly in Philadelphia. It was, as usual, a wonderful experience; we finished our business in record time and had a few days to do some fly-fishing. Too bad you were detained.

    We have received a complaint from the Church at Corinth about your letter in which you criticize some of the brothers there for teaching that there is no resurrection. Their complaint is the most recent to be referred to the General Assembly by the Presbytery of Philadelphia. As you recall, the churches at Rome, Galatia, and Colosse have also complained about your letters.

    The Complainants from Corinth feel that your attempts to draw out logical implications from their sincerely held views about the resurrection evince a spirit of rationalism and an uncharitable attitude that is improper for a Christian, especially an Apostle. They are concerned that you seem to think that your logic and God’s logic are the same. The tone of your letter, they say, is one of arrogant rationalism that delights in embarrassing those who disagree with you over a relatively minor matter.

    We also received from the Church in Corinth a copy of your letter (please consult with our Committee on Communications in Rome before you send any more letters to churches), and after having discussed it in Subcommittee and Committee, we are inclined to agree with the Complainants. Your language about the resurrection is insensitive, but perhaps with the assistance of a good editor, the letter might have been made acceptable to all.

    God’s revelation contains great mysteries, Paul, and your letter, particularly the paragraphs about the resurrection, does not adequately appreciate the incredible spiritual richness of the Gospel, a richness that is not comprehensible to our mere human faculties. Faith, Paul, must curb our merely human logic, for our logic is not God’s logic. Remember what the prophet Isaiah wrote: God’s ways are not our ways, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. The gentlemen in Corinth were particularly hurt by your arguments that if there is no resurrection, then it follows that Christ is not risen, that your own preaching is false, and that their dear departed friends and families are lost. This last statement is most insensitive and un-Christlike.

    The Corinthians believe none of these things, of course; they believe only that there is no resurrection. By their humble acceptance of paradoxes, they show that they understand that mere human logic is of no use in theology, that we are not to use our fallen reason to understand or defend our faith, and that we are to humbly bow before those paradoxes that cannot be reconciled before the bar of human reason. Christianity is an experiential religion, Paul, not a verbal, logical, or intellectual religion. Gnosticism is our worst enemy. Christianity is not based on knowledge, but on faith. Knowledge puffs up, but experience humbles. You simply cannot say things like, “If there is no resurrection, then Christ is not raised.” That is human, not divine, logic. As an Apostle, you especially should know that God’s knowledge and the knowledge possible to man do not coincide at any single point. To think that they do is to suppose that you have a word from God-an arrogant and rationalist attitude on your part.

    Since this is not the first complaint against you, Paul, this Committee, after careful deliberation, has decided to ask you to:

    1.†Cease writing harsh letters to the churches. If you feel you must write, keep your letters positive and upbeat, encouraging and edifying. Avoid criticism and negativism. You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    2.†Apologize to the churches you have offended by your rationalism and offer to work with them in advancing our common message, God’s wish that all men be saved. We have taken the liberty of drafting several letters for your signature.

    3.†When you are released from prison, meet with this Committee so that we may discuss some of the ideas that you have been teaching that seem contrary to the mysteries of our faith and your future role as an Apostle.

    In addition, we have heard that you are not a graduate of an approved seminary, having studied at some place called The Wilderness. We must refer this matter to the Committee on Pastoral Credentials, and you should be hearing from them soon.

    We hope you can come to General Assembly next year, Paul, Caesar willing. We are holding it in Corinth as part of our church-wide program to increase our awareness of and appreciation for other religions. Your absences in the past seem to indicate a lack of interest in or concern for the work of the church, but we are confident that this is not the case.

    Koinoniacally yours,

    Charles G. Phinney
    Amy Simple McFearsome
    For the Committee

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=163

  4. Steve M Says:

    Hugh

    You are right. Robbins did it better!


  5. I have experienced firsthand these kind of rebukes from compromised Christians. Where do they learn these arguments from? Seminary?

  6. Rachel Says:

    It would be funnier if it weren’t so true to life.

  7. maddidjara Says:

    Somebody has translated the Letters Robbins wrote into Indonesian here: http://whereisthewisdon.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/86/ and here http://whereisthewisdon.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/surat-untuk-paulus/


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